Disney wishes delights with ‘1923’ restaurant
Disney has created three new dining experiences for its dinner rotation on the Disney Wish. We in the Niles family experienced all three at the Christening Cruise media preview and will be sharing our thoughts in three articles here on Theme Park Insider, starting today with the “1923” restaurant.
If you’ve never sailed with the Disney Cruise Line before, Disney uses a rotational dining system rather than sending everyone to a main dining room each night for dinner. Your group will be assigned a time and a table at one of three restaurants each evening. Your wait staff will also rotate with you each evening, as will people seated at adjacent tables. Rotation dinners are included in your cruise fare, so you can order as much or as little as you like, but alcoholic beverages aren’t included, so you’ll pay for those by the glass.
Named for the year Walt and Roy Disney founded their company, 1923 is the “upscale and quiet” dining experience at Disney Wish’s three rotating restaurants. There’s no show here, like there are at the Arendelle and Worlds of Marvel dinner parties. Instead, the focus remains on the food, as well as the time you spend with your dining companions.
As for that food, the theme in 1923 is California cuisine, though a basic structure persists in the three rotating dining menus. The meal begins with a bread service, followed by your choice of four entrees, two salads, two soups, five entrees, two vegetarian selections, and four “Lighter Note” options, including salmon fillet, roast chicken breast, a grilled sirloin steak, and a fourth selection that varies by restaurant.
At 1923, this selection is a Los Feliz lobster salad, with Baby Bibb lettuce, endive, avocado, jicama, purple potato, tostones, black beans, grape tomatoes, cilantro, and lime.
A few thoughts – first, none of us ordered this. Second, the 1923 menu includes several references to California towns and communities that reminded me of the place names from the original California Adventure theme park. Few facts will make sense to anyone familiar with the Golden State. My son lives in Los Feliz, a neighborhood in inner LA near Griffith Park that has nothing to do with lobsters or growing vegetables. It just starts with an “L”, like Lobster.
The third thought is that the Disney Wish menu list tends to list everything in one dish without communicating their proportions, especially with entrees, where many of the vegetables listed turned out to be little more than garnishes, rather than the side dishes we originally assumed were.
We ate at 1923 on the second night, and after our experience in Arendelle on the first night, we opted to order one of each appetizer for the table.
Spicy ahi tuna with porcini mushrooms from Alameda, with marinated lotus root, oyster mushrooms, black sesame crunch and wasabi and yuzu mayonnaise
Hyperion Four Cheese Tricolor Tortelloni, with Meyer Lemon, Artichoke, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Baby Spinach
Burrata mozzarella cheese and prosciutto di Parma, with crispy cranberry and sunflower seed phyllo, and charred blood orange
Kingswell duck confit pastilla, with dates, apricot, ginger, red pepper, saffron and black raspberry jam
The sides brought some sparkle to the tortelloni, but its flavor didn’t stand up to competition from the other entrees. The pulled duck confit in the pastilla (named after the street where Walt and Roy had their first business office), was more like a starter than an appetizer – nice but a little too heavy for the light, stimulating bite appetite we were looking for in this course.
Our winners were the perfect Burrata, paired well with Prosciutto and the Ahi dish. The tuna, in particular, provided lively flavors to wake up your tongue, making it my favorite appetizer of the entire cruise. This is the dish I will dream of for days to come.
We also selected the Roasted Roma Tomato Soup with Sourdough Crostini and Purple Basil
and fennel, Bartlett pear and tatsoi salad with manchego cheese, walnuts and sherry vinaigrette
The tomato soup was more like a hearty mashed roasted tomato than a thinner soup. Good taste, but a bit heavy for a second course. Eating on a cruise is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to pace yourself to get to the finish every night.
The salad brought back the menu’s proportion problem, which I described above. It was basically a bowl of shaved fennel. This might be a black licorice fan’s dream, but after eating the few balanced bites I could put together with the limited amount of other ingredients in the salad, I was done here and ready to move on to something else.
So let’s move on to the inputs:
Tortiglioni pasta with prosecco cream, pancetta, shallots, cremini mushrooms and lemon thyme
Seared Verlasso Salmon Fillet with Wild California Honey Parsnip Mash, Orange Fennel Essence and Black Garlic Sauteed Rapini
Italian rack of lamb in a flat-leaf parsley and rosemary crust with dauphinoise potato, roasted baby turnip, carrot and zucchini and rosemary Zinfandel sauce
1923 Pepper Filet Mignon with Buttered Long Green Beans, Smoked Bacon, Smashed Fingerling Potato Hash and Pink Peppercorn Latte
The menu also included a riverside roast chicken with leek rings, Brussels sprouts, Yukon potato fondant, Honeycrisp apple chutney and Cabernet Sauvignon reduction, which neither of us ordered.
The mushrooms dominated the pancetta in the tortiglioni, although the Prosecco cream provided a nice flavor to the pasta. But that dish was soon forgotten as we quickly turned to the perfectly cooked salmon, which was delicious on its own but even better when dragged into the parsnip mash.
The tenderloin delighted, cooked precisely to order, but after a hot day in Castaway Cay, the portion took too long to finish – a rare occurrence on the Wish, which typically served reasonably modest portions for its entrees. The pepper sauce (not pictured as it was served on the side and I just forgot to take it in the picture) tasted a bit too sweet for all of us which has become a common criticism of pepper sauces edge of the Wish.
The lamb was my favorite entree of the cruise, though. Again, the chefs here nailed the preparation, delivering perfectly cooked lamb under a savory crust, accompanied by a robust sauce that had just the right level of sweetness for the meat, rather than going too far in this direction, as the net did. The vegetables here were also the right size for a side dish, the dauphinoise potato adding a welcome indulgent touch to the plate, with that gruyère cheese and cream adding some life to the thinly sliced and stacked potato.
At 7:23 p.m., passengers dine in one of two long dining rooms, each named after one of the Disney brothers, Walt or Roy. Each area is divided into several rooms, decorated with concept art, sketches, and other memorabilia from various Disney films and projects. With the name “1923” I expected the focus to be on the projects from the early days of the Disney brothers’ studio, but our room was all “Frozen”, which we had been thinking a bit about since we had the Arendelle dining experience at night. before.
Servers throughout our three night stay provided attentive care and thoughtful recommendations. They knew us immediately by name and seemed well experienced in knowing when to engage and when to let guests have their space when dining. Disney Cruise Line staff excel at making guests feel like welcome regulars wherever they are on the ship, especially in the dining areas.
In addition to the food, we ordered Buena Vista Old Fashioned, which – like all alcohol – was an extra. (And no one seems to remember the exact amount. Oops.)
Pretty standard for an Old Fashioned (“why do we order that?” someone said), but the big milk chocolate coaster above was pretty cool.
On that sweet note, dessert. We ordered:
Churros Calientes: Churros with sweet spices, Dulce de Leche
Atwater Fuji Apple Cheesecake: Sweet Dough Shell, Caramelized Apples, Cinnamon Cheesecake, and Oatmeal Crumble
Signature dessert was Burbank’s blueberry lemon creme bavaroise, with vanilla bean from Ecuador, lemon rocks and dried raspberry meringue
And the Ice Cream Sundae selection was the Hollywood Hills Hot Chocolate Fudge Sundae, with vanilla ice cream, fudge brownie bites, fresh whipped cream and glazed cherry.
Names again. Slow your roll, Disney. We didn’t order the gluten free orange almond cake or the no sugar added coconut tapioca pudding.
We didn’t taste anything “caliente” about the churros, which tasted like pure Disneyland bliss, served with a delicious (and thick) dulce de leche sauce. The other desserts were pretty much as advertised: a lovely apple-cinnamon cheesecake pastry, a dab of blueberry inside Bavarian cream, and a refreshing hot fudge sundae, although I have to add that brownie, the Bites become teeth-breaking obstacles when buried inside anything ice for more than a moment. Give me a scoop of cold ice cream on a big warm brownie if we want to combine these favorites instead.
Disney Wish’s 1923 might not have taken us back to 1923 and felt no more authentically Californian than a California Pizza Kitchen. But he delivered what really matters – a delicious meal in a lovely environment with comfortable service that kept our whole family chatting happily throughout our stay there.
And if I could have this Ahi appetizer delivered to my house, please sign me up for two.
Read and watch more from the ship: All Aboard Disney Cruise Line’s New Disney Wish
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