As the newest ship to join the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) fleet, the stunning cruise liner arrived at Florida's Port Canaveral with no shortage of dining options. From Scandinavian delights and frozen fractals in the land of Arendelle, to elevated gourmet dishes at an adults-only DCL favorite, Palo, the ship is sure to make mouths water when it embarks on its first public voyage later this month. But Michelin-starred chefs aside, the ship's poolside Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods delivers with satisfying bites that blow other cruise lines' casual eateries out of the water.
Located poolside, this next level food court is a cluster of five quick-service, open-air dining locations that service guests throughout the day. "Quick-service" is Disney-speak for food items already prepared and available to guests by simply walking up to the counter and ordering. Food is continuously cooked, offering a welcomed casual dining experience at your leisure.
The food at Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods is approachable but still high-quality, offering something for every palate in the family with a heaping side of convenience: Each stall is situated within steps of one another. Each restaurant is named for a beloved Disney character, including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck and Goofy. (Sorry, Pluto, you'll have to sit this one out!)
This is also where you can find free-flowing, self-service soda, which is an upcharge on nearly every other cruise line. If you've sailed with DCL in the past, the Festival of Foods will look familiar: It's similar to another concept, Flo's V-8 Café, found on both the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy. But, in addition to cruise ship fare like pizza, soft-serve and chicken tenders, the Disney Wish welcomes two new eateries dedicated to barbeque and Mexican-inspired food.
Setting sail on the Disney wish yourself? I tried everything available at Mickey and Friends Festival of Foods and these are the nine can't-miss menu offerings you should absolutely order while relaxing poolside.
1. Fajita Chicken Tacos, Donald's Cantina
Donald's Cantina offers made-to-order tacos, burritos and burrito bowls. Guests can choose from of variety of proteins including fajita chicken, steak or veggies, black beans and refried beans. Impressively, they serve three types of rice: cilantro, brown and poblano cilantro, along with two types of cheese: a shredded cheddar and pepper jack blend or cotija.
Donald's Cantina puts chain Mexican quick-service spots back on land to shame — because here, even guacamole is included. And next to the stall, guests will find a self-serve cart overflowing with twenty different hot sauces and salsas.
Easily a frontrunner for the best items I ate while aboard, their fajita chicken tacos are made-to-order and feature juicy, freshly-prepared chicken. I loved that the tacos were served in taco holders, making them easy to eat poolside.
2. Macaroni and Cheese, Mickey's Smokestack Barbecue
Mickey's Smokestack Barbecue offers a traditional approach to American barbecue, dishing out smoked brisket, chicken and pulled pork, St. Louis-style pork ribs and smoked kielbasa sausage. Sides include baked macaroni and cheese, collard greens, sweet potato fries and Texas jalapeno cornbread. Your order is served on unique wooden plates, further adding to the downhome feel.
Several self-serve, house-made sauces are available, including barbecue hot sauce, a tangy barbecue mustard sauce and their signature barbecue sauce. But a stand-out favorite was the macaroni and cheese.
The cheesy dish was made with a traditional preparation — similar to many barbecue joints — but I think it was executed better than most. The noodles were al dente, coated in a creamy sauce and topped with perfectly toasted breadcrumbs.
3. Impossible Burger, Goofy's Grill
The focus at Goofy's Grill is comfort food, American-style. Here, you can find made-to-order 100% angus hamburgers, impossible burgers, all-beef hot dogs, grilled bratwurst (with caraway Riesling sauerkraut,) plant-based sausage and, of course, the cruise line's famous chicken tenders. All the fixin's are available, like vine tomatoes, shaved red onion and shredded iceberg lettuce.
Disney has been intentional in recent years to rapidly expand their plant-based options and that was no different aboard the Disney Wish. The impossible burger was a welcomed choice from Goofy's Grill, offering something filling — although lighter than the meat-based variety. The patty was juicy and complemented with fresh veggies and a toasted brioche bun.
4. Fajita Veggie Bowl, Donald's Cantina
With the amount of available ingredients at Donald's Cantina, it's entirely possible to eat a light lunch without sacrificing flavor. The fajita veggie bowl shone with delicious cilantro rice, plenty of fajita-style grilled vegetables and creamy cotija cheese.
5. Chicken Tenders, Goofy's Grill
This beloved DCL favorite is also part of the Wish. I'm not sure how Goofy and his friends continue to do it, but chicken tenders 100% taste better when served at sea. Aboard the Wish, the chicken remains juicy and the coating is wonderfully crunchy with just the right amount of salt.
6. Pulled Pork, Mickey's Smokestack Barbecue
Hands-down some of the best pulled pork I've ever had, the pork at Mickey's Smokestack Barbecue is prepared smoked and not lathered in sauce. The meat was incredibly tender with wonderful flavor from its cooking method. Great on its own, it also paired nicely with the stall's hot barbecue sauce.
7. Vanilla Chocolate Swirl, Sweet Minnie's Ice Cream
Frequent DCL cruisers rejoice! The fleet's iconic soft-serve is indeed found on the new Disney Wish. They keep things sweet and simple at Sweet Minnie's Ice Cream by serving just two flavors: vanilla and chocolate, but it's a Disney Cruise Line favorite for good reason. The vanilla chocolate swirl is one of the best sweet treats on the open sea — utterly creamy and reminiscent of a thick custard. You won't stop at just one on your vacation.
8. All The Sauces, Donald's Cantina
The new ship's commitment to excellence is on full display at Donald's Cantina with their extensive salsa and sauce bar. Fresh salsa flavors like ancho-chili and mango-haberno shine while hot sauces in varieties like, chipotle and jalapeno pack a punch, only amplifying the delicious grilled foods found here.
9. Four Cheese Pizza, Daisy's Pizza Pies
At Daisy's Pizza Pies, five varieties of pizza are continuously being freshly prepared from a state of the art Sveba Dahlen pizza oven. This high-temperature oven bakes the ingredients evenly, resulting in a thin crust pie, similar to Neapolitan-style pizza. They serve a range of pizzas at Daisy's, from classics like margarita or pepperoni and sausage, to a prosciutto-arugula slice and a pie with plant-based sausage, garlic confit and sauteed spinach.
The four-cheese pizza from Daisy's Pizza Pies is straightforward but delicious and quickly found a spot on my favorites list. A zesty San Marzano tomato sauce is topped with gorgonzola, mozzarella, Parmesan and stracchino cheeses. The last added a welcomed creamy texture to its accompanying toppings.
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