Tiana’s Place, the brand new rotational dining restaurant aboard the Disney Wonder located on deck 3 aft, is inspired by Princess Tiana from the Disney animated feature, The Princess and the Frog. Influenced by southern-style cuisine, chefs cook up Tiana’s recipes, drawing inspiration from the flavors and ingredients of the Louisiana bayou. Our review of Tiana’s Place will touch on the food, the theming, and the wonderful dinner show featuring The Crawfish Crooners.
Disney claims the re-imagined restaurant transports guests to an era of southern charm, spirited jazz and street party celebrations. Being that this was our first dinner aboard the refurbished Disney Wonder, coupled with the fact I’ve avoided reading other reviews, I was not really sure what to expect. I planned on using Carioca’s from the Disney Magic as my baseline for a DCL restaurant remodel. As we walked aft from the Promenade Lounge, we were transported from the cruise ship to the French Quarter right into Tiana’s Place, a super club dance hall. Just a few steps into the space and I could tell my expectations would be blown away.
Passing through the main entrance, you instantly feel like you in New Orleans’ French Quarter (I assume; as I’ve never been) with the brick walls and iron railings complete with hanging Mardi Gras beads.
An easel placed right outside the actual entrance advertises the evenings act, The Crawfish Crooners, who delight guests with the sounds of New Orleans. More on the crooners a bit later on in the article.
The ‘lobby’ of Tiana’s Place looks opening and inviting with the wine cabinet behind the podium.
Tiana’s Place is decked out with various framed paintings, pictures and newspaper clippings that honor Tiana’s family and her home.
There are some unique lighting fixtures around the restaurant.
You know the thing about good food? It brings folks together from all walks of life. It warms them right up and it puts little smiles on their faces. And when Tiana’s Place opened, people are going to line up on deck 3 a good thirty minutes before main seating just to get a taste of the food. Frankly, I do not blame them. Now, let’s get on to the food.
Tiana’s Place features it’s own unique drink menu. Rather than the small selection normally listed on the dinner menu the drink menu features some specialty cocktails both alcoholic and non along with a rum flight, and a selection of beer from Louisiana.
We had the pleasure of being seated at a table with a nice view of the stage which provided a great backdrop for the Tiana’s Place menu with the awesome cover directly pulled from the film.
The complete Tiana’s Place menu is transcribed over on this page.
The plates are hilarious, imagine the frog jumping from the bread plate to the dinner plate.
Tiana’s bread service is a herbed brioche with roasted onion dip. The dip is that while saucer in the background out of focus. Regardless, the bread was fresh, but the dip was lacking something and was a bit in the ‘meh’ category.
For appetizers, I went with the Boudin Sausage Fritters which are minced Pork and Boudin Sausage, breaded and fried topped with a drizzle of bourbon aioli. I was pleasantly surprised by this appetizer, I fully expected to get mostly fried batter, but they were packed with the sausage and packed with flavor! It would be awesome if at the end of the night they put the leftovers out on the buffet in Crown & Fin Pub. On second thought, that would be a terrible idea.
Emily got the New Orleans Seafood Pepper Pot which was a Creole bouillabaisse with calamari, shrimp, scallops and flat leaf parsley. Isabelle ordered Mama Odie’s creamy tomato soup with chopped cilantro. She enjoyed most of it and was kind enough to share. I thought it was one of DCL’s better tomato soups – it was a bit thicker which I liked because really, who wants a watery tomato soup in the first place?
Thankfully, we ate with our friends Heather and Tony, who tolerated my craving to photograph each item that hit the table. For that level of kindness, I let it slide later when duplicate entrees were ordered.
The Iceberg Wedge was served with a layer of sliced tomatoes under the wedge which was then surrounded by cubed pepper jack cheese, chopped bits of bacon and finished with creamy thousand island dressing.
Moving along to the entrees. The culinary team offered a twist to the rotational restaurants’ sea bass. The Cajun spiced sea bass at Tiana’s Place is served atop shrimp jambalaya and topped with fennel salad and remoulade. Emily & Isabelle thought this was delicious & flavorful.
Charlotte La Bouff’s Bucatini Pasta which is poorly photographed below (sorry, my bad – trying take fast shots so everyone can eat warm food) comes with pancetta, oyster mushrooms, eggplant, spinach, peas, basil and shaved parmigiana-reggiano cheese.
Tony and I both ordered the roasted creole half chicken. The chicken arrived cut open, a bit dry, and a lacking in the flavor department in my opinion. Personally, the Creole seasoning could use a lot more cayenne pepper. The toasted corn, buttered chard and chicken jus did not add much to the overall flavor and was more or less forgettable. The gem on the plate was the pecan bread pudding. Frankly, I’ll order it again because as I’ve discovered, the flavoring varies.
Moving along to dessert. THE DESSERT MENU LIGHTS UP, I REPEAT… THE DESSERT MENU LIGHTS UP. Ok, in our study of 5 menus only 40% of them lit up. In the case of the dessert menu which is used multiple night a week for two seatings, the shelf life is going to be short. The batteries are not replaceable, but kudos to DCL for spending the extra for this small detail as it was a very nice touch. However, iut will be interesting to see if they get replaced or just transitioned to basic menus. Tip: push on Ray to activate the other fireflies.
Put signature dessert on a menu and a blogger will order it… See, I ordered the Southern Style Pecan Nut tart with bourbon Carmel sauce. Sure it was delicious and filling, but…
There really is only one dessert anyone should order at Tiana’s Place. Tiana’s Buttermilk Beignets! Isabelle left me half of a beignet to try. I-N-C-R-E-D-I-B L-E!!!! I really missed the boat and didn’t want to bother asking our serving team to bring out an extra. These are so popular, we saw them delivered the following two nights to a family at a nearby table in Triton’s and at Animator’s Palate. This is something we’ve never asked our server to do, although there was the one time a Palo server offered to get the Grande Mariner Soufflé after telling him I thought it was better then the their chocolate soufflé. I know, unpopular opinion, but neither Emily nor I enjoy the chocolate version from Palo.
That about wraps up the talk about the food at Tiana’s Place, but that is only part of the overall experience.
Tiana’s Presets The Crawfish Crooners • Sounds of New Orleans
Tiana’s Place is more than just a rotational main dinning room on the Disney Wonder. It is a full fledged supper club dance hall featuring The Crawfish Crooners – a jazz band bringing the sounds of New Orleans to the high seas. I was not at all expecting this level of dinner experience. I figured it would be a short act about the length of the Animation Magic show in Animators Palate. For once, my plan to expect the worst and hope for the best paid off in multiples!
The Crawfish Crooners play on a stage in the back of Tiana’s Place in line with the main walkway. To make room for the stage, the buffet which was previously located near the kitchen in the front of the restaurant was removed during dry dock. As a result, the Disney Wonder no longer offers an embarkation buffet like they did in Parrot Cay. However, a sit down lunch is being offered on embarkation day in Triton’s to help offset the crowd in Cabanas.
The Crawfish Crooners played for approximately an hour during two sets throughout the course of the dinner seating. The dinner show features Louis (the trumpet playing alligator from he Princess & the Frog) and Tiana. From time to time, Tiana will address the crowd in between her table side visits with guests.
A complete video of The Crawfish Crooners set is embedded below. Since I was not expecting a show this long, I was not prepared to film the show. You will notice I made use of the floor and my chair to prop up my camera. As you will hear in the video, the sound levels could use some adjusting. The instruments you could hear fine, but the performers audio was a bit low. Especially Tiana’s audio, as it was not easy to hear her over the baseline restaurant noise of plates, glasses, and silverware. Even nit picking the audio, the show was amazing really enjoyable.
- ** Tiana’s Welcome **
- Down in New Orleans
- When the Saints Go Marching In
- Ain’t Misbehaving
- ** Band Introduction **
- The Bear Necessities
- You’ve Got a Friend In Me
- Birth of the Blues
- Sweet Georgia Brown
- Alexander’s Ragtime Band
- ** Tiana welcomes Louis **
- Almost There
- Won’t You Please Come Home
- Summertime (and the Livin’ is Easy)
- It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)
- Oh Miss Hannah Tiana
- *** Tiana Speaks ***
- Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
- Gonna Take You There
- Dig A Little Deeper
- A Spoonful of Sugar
- Happy Birthday
- Ev’rybody Wants To Be A Cat
- ** Tiana’s Goodbye **
- Crawfish Crooners Instrumental Finish
Our head server mentioned that DCL is looking for ways to bring similar experiences to other restaurants in the fleet. I really hope this is true and not a crew started rumor. I say, add a stage to Carioca’s during the next dry dock and figure create a show inspired by The Three Caballeros musical. As for Enchanted Garden, I’d suggest a symphony in the garden approach based on the current theming and play some Disney music.
Overall, the Tiana’s Place dinner show experience should not be missed. I’m not kidding, the evening was extremely enjoyable and near the end, interactive with the Mardi Gras parade. We did not on this cruise, but if we did, we would have regretted missing the show for Palo. I’d almost go as far to say it is worth booking a voyage on the Disney Wonder just to spend the evening at Tiana’s Place, but I’m not here to spend your money so frivolously.
I’d love to hear those who have also had the opportunity to experience Tiana’s Place aboard the Disney Wonder. What did you think about the overall experience?