Lumiere’s is a table service Disney Cruise Line restaurant that serves what is essentially a cross between American and French cuisine. Lumiere’s has a look that combines Art Deco and Beauty and the Beast (get the restaurant’s name?) into a stylized restaurant that is elegant, yet full of Disney whimsy and charm. This review of Lumiere’s covers dinner on the re-imagined Disney Magic.
This is one of the restaurants in the Rotational Dining schedule on the Disney Magic, meaning that for dinner it offers two seatings, one around 6 pm and another around 8 pm. Because of this, like all of the Rotational Dining restaurants, it’s a large venue that is built for high capacity.
In terms of ambiance, the beauty of the restaurant itself doesn’t match the overall ambiance. We ate here after having dinner followed by brunch at Palo as our first two Disney Cruise Line meals. We knew these intimate experiences weren’t representative of actual dining on the Disney Cruise Line, but it was still a bit of a contrast to go from those meals to the large, noisy, and frenetic Lumiere’s. Kids were having meltdowns after long days of activities (and those who weren’t were playing with swords in preparation for Pirate Night) and servers were rushing all over the place trying to keep every guest satisfied. No complaints here necessarily, both of these things are absolutely to be expected of a restaurant this large that is serving this many people.
By contrast, the actual theme and detail of the restaurant itself are elegant and beautiful. Besides a large mural on the back wall, the details are more evocative of Beauty and the Beast than they are directly pulled from the animated film. The Art Deco styling is beautiful, and the decor choices are generally quite pretty. A lot of this we didn’t even notice until we returned for breakfast the next morning and found the restaurant more or less empty. It was actually quite a romantic environment! This isn’t to say the environment is perfect, as it does feel like it could use a bit of a refresh, but overall it’s very solid.
As for food, we’ve come to the conclusion that dining at the rotational restaurants on the Disney Cruise Line is a highly variable experience since they have to serve so many people at a single time…
One party at one table could have a fantastic meal, and a table 5 feet away could order the same items and have them come out cold or overcooked. That’s simply the nature of the beast. It seems like things are just a little different at Lumiere’s, though. Everything that came out to us had a beautiful presentation, which I wouldn’t expect for a kitchen trying to do serious volume. There must be a huge kitchen staff working like a well-oiled machine to make this whole thing work.
Fortunately for us, our meal at Lumiere’s was spectacular. Honestly, it was almost a little too good. We had heard rave reviews of Palo and Animator’s Palate when planning our cruise on the Disney Magic, but generally, feedback on Lumiere’s and Carioca’s was more hit or miss. That’s sort of why I led with the caveat about the experience being ‘highly variable.’ I’m about to gush about this restaurant because I can only review our experience and our experience was amazing, but I don’t want to set unreasonable expectations for anyone out there reading this. We found it to be a great restaurant, but you probably should go in expecting Palo-lite.
As with our meal at Palo, we ordered multiple menu items from each course so we could try a good selection of the menu. As we indicate in our Top 10 First Time Disney Cruise Line Tips, ordering multiple appetizers, entrees, and desserts is perfectly fine and (in some cases) even encouraged. Nothing went to waste (although everything went to our waists). Yes, we’ve already acknowledged that we’re pigs. Here’s a look at the menu items we tried…
This is the Escargot Gratinee. These are herb marinated snails with mushrooms topped with garlic butter, and served with a baguette. Neither of us are escargot experts, but we found these to be great. Perfect texture and just enough substance so that they didn’t feel like they were totally swimming in garlic butter. A definite big winner among the appetizers.
Here’s the Breaded and Deep Fried Brie with orange and cranberry chutney. Another spectacular appetizer; here they took what you might consider a rather unrefined food (deep fried cheese) and ‘classed it up’ by going with brie, which gave it a more complex and richer flavor. The cranberry chutney was a nice contrasting flavor. These are rich enough that you might be fine with splitting this with someone else if you order a couple other appetizers.
Here’s the Iced Lobster and Jumbo Shrimp. It was good, but very basic as compared to the other excellent dishes we tried. If you really like iced shrimp and lobster, go for it, but there are much better options.
Yes, we did order every single appetizer. Again…pigs. This is the Duck Confit. Another excellent appetizer. Just the right amount of salt to bring out the flavor of the duck, and the dried cranberries and walnuts gave it a nice twist and texture.
The big hit of the evening was the Roasted Rack of Lamb Medium with Dauphinose potatoes, buttered brussel sprouts, and claret rosemary sauce. Tender, flavorful, and melt in your mouth delicious, this rates as one of the best lamb dishes I’ve ever had. Lamb can have a gamey taste to it, which can be a good or bad thing depending upon how strong it is, and it was perfect here, enough to make it uniquely lamb, but not enough to overpower. This is an absolute must-order.
The Crispy Roasted Duck Breast with cabbage, bacon, shallots, honey parsnip puree, and a duck red wine jus was another huge winner. The duck was tender and had a great flavor, which was perfectly complimented by the jus. We both highly recommend this entree.
Here’s the Chateaubriand-Roasted Filet Steak. It’s served with crushed new potatoes with shallots, buttered green beans, red wine jus, and a bearnaise sauce on the side. This was good, but not although that memorable. I think Sarah thought it was better than I did. I’d much sooner order the duck or lamb when we return.
Dessert was up next! After the excellent souffle at Palo, we knew Lumiere’s was going to be a letdown. But really, it wasn’t. It definitely was not of the same caliber, but it was still really good. This Grand Marnier Souffle had a creme flavor with a hint of orange. Very different than the souffle at Palo, and also very good.
Here’s the Sweet Temptations trio of mango cheesecake, tahitian vanilla creme brulee, and peanut butter mousse. Each of these were good, but not as good as the souffle.
We already covered the excellent service we received at the Disney Magic restaurants in our Animator’s Palate Review, and since Disney Cruise Line’s Rotational Dining means your servers “follow” you to each restaurant, our servers here were the same, and were spectacular. As I commented in that review, they made each of our meals feel like a fine dining experience. In this case, since the food and the service were both of a fine dining caliber, the only thing missing was the ambiance, and even that wasn’t terrible. It was just a little like having a romantic meal with 100 or so of your closest friends…and their kids!
Overall, Lumiere’s came out of left field to be the sleeper hit of our cruise on the Disney Magic. We expected great things going in from Palo and Animator’s Palate, but we had no real expectations for Lumiere’s. Despite that, everything we ordered was varying degrees of phenomenal. For a first-time guest aboard the Disney Magic, I would still rank it as the #3 restaurant we experienced if only because Animator’s Palate was so uniquely and distinctly “Disney,” but as a repeat guest, I would certainly do Lumiere’s again over Animator’s Palate (if I had to choose), as the luster of the experience at Animator’s Palate wears off after the first experience. Make sure to take some time to soak up the subtle design details, and definitely slow down and treat this like the elegant–even borderline romantic–meal it can be.
Overall Score: 9.5/10
To read other Disney restaurant reviews from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Tokyo Disney Resort, Disneyland Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line, organized by location, check out our Disney Dining Reviews Index.
Have you dined at Animator’s Palate? What did you think of it? If so, what did you like? What did you think of the show and effects? If you have any questions or thoughts to share, please post them in the comments. We love hearing from readers!