The Palo Experience

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By Chris Johnson


There are lots of great places to eat aboard Disney’s two ships (what do they put in those burgers to make them so delicious, anyway?), but there is only one restaurant where adults can sneak away for a romantic meal alone: Palo.

To say that I love this restaurant would be a gross understatement. Palo is DCL’s adults-only restaurant and is on both the Magic and the Wonder. It serves Northern Italian fare in a remarkable setting, with an amazingly attentive staff. The cost for dinner is $15, which now includes gratuity, and yes, that’s for anything on the menu with the exception of alcohol. Palo not only offers dinner on both ships, but on the Magic‘s 7-night cruises, it also offers a champagne brunch and high tea.

Since Palo is the most upscale option on the Disney Cruise Line, and your chance to have a uniquely adult dining experience, there is a dress code requirement. The Disney Cruise Line website outlines the dress code, so you’ll know what to pack: At dinner, men are required to wear a dress shirt or jacket and pants (no jeans). Trust me on this one, guys, the pants are important (but for a nice meal anywhere, that’s probably a good rule to follow!). Women should wear a dress or pantsuit (also no jeans). At brunch or tea, don’t wear shorts, jeans, swimwear, or tank tops. Palo offers an exceptional dining experience and dressing up a little bit makes it all the more special (plus, after lounging around in shorts and flip-flops all day, won’t it be nice to remind your sweetie that you clean up pretty well?).

After noticing how nice your special someone looks, you’ll be knocked out by Palo’s amazing view. With full windows that wrap around over half of the restaurant, a sunset is truly a sight to behold. The view is just the bonus to the ridiculously tasty food that is offered. While I’ve never had anything that I didn’t like in my many Palo experiences, here are a few things that you simply have to try:

  • Calamari – Remember the best calamari you’ve ever had? Yeah, that was the ugly kid brother of this calamari.
  • Beef Tenderloin – Beyond delicious. As we say in Georgia, it’s “slap yo’ mama good.”
  • Chocolate Soufflé – Legendary. Tibetan monks chant about it. You may want to ask for it at the beginning of the meal as it takes some extra time to prepare (and you might want to save room for it!).

In addition to amazing food and incredible scenery, Palo has probably the best and most consistent staff of any restaurant I’ve ever dined in. My wife Jess and I have eaten in many fine-dining establishments both in the Disney universe and outside of it, and we have always been impressed with the service at Palo.

Although the food and ambiance are amazing, what truly sets Palo apart are the people who make the restaurant come alive. What matters most about any vacation experience are the memories that last for years, and I’ve gotten some great ones courtesy of the folks at Palo. From Florencia, the amazing woman who served us brunch (and has opened Palo both on the Magic and the Wonder, having sailed on both ships as they left the Fincantieri shipyards) to Ana, our Romanian server who introduced us to red wine and Coke (try it, it’s AWESOME), to our most recent server, Zoran, who was greatly entertaining, took care of one of us when we weren’t feeling well, and even assured me that I wasn’t the only person to ever lose his pants in Palo (let’s just say when you forget your khakis and borrow a pair, try to make sure you are close in size or have a belt), we’ve made memories at Palo that will last forever.

Memories with the whole family are priceless, but so are the ones with just you and your special someone. Remember, your family started with you two in the first place —  honor that bond with a date at Palo.

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