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Dude! You so totally rock! As you might be able to guess, we got to have dinner with Crush on the first night of our Disney cruise. This experience was a highlight for us. Before we went, we had made a couple of requests for our dining. First, we asked for a private table and second, we asked to be near an “aquarium window” where Crush makes his appearance. If speaking with Crush is important to you or your kids, I would really recommend requesting it. Even the table next to us, could hear and see our interaction, but Crush didn’t address them at all.
Where It’s At
This experience takes place in the Animator’s Palate. If you’ve done much research on a Disney cruise at all. You’ve probably seen videos of people drawing little characters on their placemats and later those drawings coming to life on the screens. That does happen, but you have to visit the animator’s palate twice on a cruise. We didn’t get to do that this time, but it’s something to look forward to. As soon as you enter, you will notice the lighting is all blues and greens to give you that underwater feel. Animator’s Palate is divided into sections with one large screen and several smaller screens. Our awesome waiter seated us beside a smaller screen.
At first, we were disappointed because we only saw Crush on the large screen, but this is where he interacts with the whole section. He then swims around to the smaller screens to interact with tables. Be prepared to wait for a while to talk to Crush. It’s a big restaurant and Crush is only one turtle. He’ll work his way from section to section around the restaurant and that can take a bit. They seated us in a section that was almost exclusively adults so it may have been intentional that we were near the end of the meal.
Don’t worry! You won’t be bored while waiting. The walls are covered in animation paraphernalia. The waiters are constantly bringing food, and you never know who you may see floating by your table. Once in a while, there were also interactions and games on the larger screen. For example, the fish from Finding Nemo that give Dory and Marlin directions by playing charades, they show up several times for a quick game. ( I found this one particularly funny because I had this game on the Finding Nemo DVD back when it first came out.)
Finally, it was time for the main event! Crush come over to our section and taught us some phrases like “cha” and “You so totally rock” so we could become honorary turtles. My favorite part was when he came over to our table. I thought maybe he would have some canned phrases he could say, but it was a real conversation. He used our names, asked us where we were from and joked with us. He told us what squirt was up to and was flattered when I said he looked great for his age. Generally, character interactions feel rushed to me, but Crush talked to us for a good five minutes. Totally worth the wait!
After he had moved around to all the tables, he went back to the center screen, and it was time for us to become honorary turtles. We raised our right flippers, and Crush told us to repeat after him. This is where my inner 5-year-old came out. Crush said, “I, state your name.” All forty people in our section did it correctly, but I said, “I, state your name.” This is what blew my mind. Crush called me out…BY NAME! He actually said, “Kendra, I heard that!” I have never had an interaction be so personal.
If you’ve seen Turtle Talk with Crush in the parks, you may think that the Animator’s Palate will just be a copy of that. Even though some elements are the same or similar, I enjoyed this version way more than the parks’ version. Request an aquarium side table and say “Dude! You so totally rock” to Crush for me.