The good times are always rolling at Tiana's Place, where it's Mardi Gras every night of the week. The Disney Cruise Line restaurant, inspired by the very same venue in "The Princess and the Frog," combines the jazzy charms of New Orleans' French Quarter, Cajun cuisine and the hospitality of Disney to create a one-of-a-kind dining experience.
Tiana's Place debuted on Disney Wonder in November 2016 as part of the ship's rotational main dining restaurants, replacing Parrot Cay. Mimicking the venue from the Disney film "The Princess and the Frog," Tiana's Place maintains a lively atmosphere that's very reminiscent of a supper club in the Big Easy. The foyer is surrounded by faux French balconies and Fat Tuesday beads, and once you enter, you're greeted by Tiana herself in a sleek '20s-style ensemble.
At the front of the room there's a stage that hosts the Crawfish Crooners, a jazz trio (occasionally featuring piano) that plays bluesy renditions of Disney classic songs. Surprisingly, it's a perfect marriage and a seamless example of the Crescent City as done by Disney. This also means that the music seldom stops during your entire meal (which is easily a two-hour affair). Depending on your mood (or your child's) this can either be a charming backdrop or challenging amount of noise to talk over. Never fear -- streamers are distributed at the top of the evening, and we saw kids (and adults) spend countless songs waving the purple, gold and green out on the dance floor.
The meal sticks to authentic Cajun flavors with relative aplomb. Appetizers include boudin sausage fritters and sauteed gulf shrimp and grits; try the seafood pepper pot made with Creole bouillabaisse. Entrees feature a Cajun-spiced sea bass on shrimp jambalaya, roasted Creole half chicken with pecan bread pudding, pork, pasta and prime rib. For vegetarians, opt for an artichoke ravioli or honey-roasted butternut squash dish. Leave room for dessert: The favorite is an order of buttermilk beignets (fried dough with powdered sugar), but you will be talked into the white chocolate bread pudding (and for good reason). Don't forget about a pecan tart with bourbon caramel sauce or a bananas Foster sundae.
Adults can celebrate the evening with a themed cocktail (at an additional charge), such as a cafe au lait martini, a genuine Louisiana Abita beer or a three-rum tasting flight. Nonalcoholic "cocktails" for the kids -- Fanta grape with fresh lime juice and a berry watermelon smoothie -- come served with a glowing Raymond the Firefly character from the movie (for an additional $6.75).
Toward the end of the main course, get ready to join an exuberant parade with band members, wait staff, other cruisers and, of course, Tiana. The musical jaunt through the restaurant is akin to a second line -- a traditional parade -- in New Orleans.
As with anything on a Disney cruise, pay attention to the details. We're talking about everything from the decor in the back of the restaurant (souvenirs that might look familiar if you've seen the film), the progression of the plate design with each course and even a hidden surprise in the dessert menus (hint: press the top left!).
Tiana's Place restaurant is free and included in your cruise's rotational dining schedule.
Tiana's Place is found only onboard Disney Wonder.
Updated September 21, 2017