As the Italians say, “a Carnevale ogni scherzo vale!” (Anything goes at Carnevale!) Carnevale, the traditional winter festival famous in Venice and known as Mardi Gras outside of Italy, is a spectacle of glamorous costumes, culinary delicacies, and riotous celebration. Now through February 29, you’ll get a chance to experience this fun festival at Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs. We recently enjoyed a Carnevale dinner and had a fantastic time. Catch all the details below.
1 – Maria & Enzo’s
Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs, is a popular destination for lovers of great Italian food. The restaurant is an intimate Italian trattoria set in the once-abandoned Disney Springs airline terminal from the 1930s, now transformed into a restaurant. The dining room is open and airy, featuring 50-foot ceilings with views of Lake Buena Vista. The restaurant interior showcases artifacts that recall air travel of the time, with brightly illustrated pictographs, reimagined air terminal boarding gates, and a First-Class Lounge where randomly selected guests are upgraded upon arrival.
The menu, created by Michelin star-rated Chef Theo Schoenegger, features a variety of handmade pastas including Busiate con Granchio (spiral pasta with crab), Rigatoni all Norma (eggplant, chile, tomato, ricotta salata) and ‘Ncasciata al Forno (Sicilian baked pasta) – served tableside. Other highlights include Braciola di Maiale (Berkshire pork chop, plum mostarda), Nodino di Vitello (grilled veal chop) and Tonno (grilled ahi tuna steak, pistachio pesto) all served with rosemary potatoes and tempura fried vegetables. The spectacular wine list of more than 100 bottles is – lovingly — primarily Italian. The restaurant is open from 11:30 am to 12 midnight daily.
The backstory is that the restaurant was the dream of Maria and Enzo, who met in Italy before moving to Florida and wanted to introduce Italian cuisine to the town folk of the bustling Disney Springs. An airline pilot, Enzo, was drawn to an abandoned airline terminal, which became the spacious setting for the restaurant.
2 – Carnevale 2020
Carnevale has returned this year, giving guests a unique dinner experience when they dine at Maria & Enzo’s during the month of February. It runs nightly from 5:00–10:00 pm with a special menu and live entertainment.
“Back by popular demand, we’re thrilled for our guests to dine with us during Carnevale again this year at Maria & Enzo’s. The decorations, entertainment, and authentic Italian food really add to the excitement of this entire experience throughout the month of February at Disney Springs.” – Patina Restaurant Group Marketing Director, Kyle Collins
For Carnevale, the restaurant was decorated with colorful balloons, streamers, masks, and other decorations. There was a warm glow throughout the large room. Before heading downstairs to the main dining area, we were able to choose a colorful mask and some beads to wear throughout the evening.
3 –Carnevale 2020
In February, guests eating at dinner at Maria & Enzo’s will receive food items from the Carnevale menu as part of the celebration.
In addition to the food items you order off-menu, during Carnevale your dinner will also include the following at no additional cost:
- Pinzimoni (Italian Crudite) with Giardiniera Cremosa
- Homemade sfincione focaccia, ciabatta bread
- Mamma Marias mini-meatballs served with entrée course
- Bugie e Chiacchiere (fried sweet pastry)
Don’t miss the Carnevale specialty drink offerings. Chad and I enjoyed two drinks, the Red Mask and King Carnival, before the meal from the Carnevale Drink menu.
For dinner, Chad chose the Bistecca Alla Griglia, the ribeye steak, and I chose the Ravioli Ai Tre Formaggi. The food was absolutely delicious. The mini-meatballs served with the entrees as part of the Carnevale meal a delicious addition! They were excellent and plentiful. As a party of two, we were served eight in total, which was more than enough to enjoy.
Finally, for dessert, you’ll enjoy the Bugie e Chiacchiere, a tasty fried sweet pastry. We ordered additional dessert items to top off the night. Chad loved the Tiramisu, claiming it was the best Tiramisu he’d ever had. I loved the Nocciola Sundae: hazelnut gelato, caramel sauce, caramelized hazelnuts, and whipped cream. I was in heaven, and by the end of the meal, Chad and I were stuffed.
Dinner is always a great meal at Maria & Enzo’s, but the Carnevale extras make it very special.
3 – Live Entertainment
One of the biggest reasons to go to Carnevale, other than the food, is the nightly live entertainment, which includes a violinist, a balloon artist, face painters, and mask artists. We thought they did a great job with the entertainment without overdoing it. I received a very cool balloon flower corsage to wear throughout the evening. There was also an artist who was available to do face painting for anyone who wanted it. That option would be a lot of fun for the kids. We also enjoyed hearing the violinist play Italian favorites as well as special requests (Guns n Roses for us)! The entertainment is only available during Carnevale and was such a treat to enjoy while eating dinner.
4 – Handmade Masks
Another unique part of the evening was receiving a personalized, hand-painted mask! An artist is available to custom paint a mask that you can take home as a souvenir. It was a treat to watch the artist paint the masks and interact with guests. These are available to all guests for no additional charge. Stop by the table at the beginning of your meal, make your request, and come back later in the evening to pick it up.
5 – Make Your Way to Maria & Enzo’s to Enjoy Carnevale
We had a fantastic evening at Carnevale. The food was delicious, the atmosphere and the entertainment were top-notch. What would have been a typical night out was transformed into a unique evening with great entertainment you can’t get anywhere else. If you have a chance to dine at Maria and Enzo’s now through February 29, we highly recommend making a reservation for dinner to enjoy Carnevale. The night we went was booked solid. You can visit mariaandenzos.com or call 407-560-8466 for reservations and more information.
Editor’s Note: The Patina Group provided us a complimentary dinner for Carnevale. However, as always, the thoughts and opinions contained in this article are entirely our own.
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