One of the most common questions that I hear is what do I do when I want to change my Disney Cruise Dining Time?
When you book your Disney cruise you may be able to choose your dining time.
I say may be able because whilst the booking process may give the ability to choose – it doesn’t give that option all the time.
Discover everything you need to know about Disney Cruise Line dinner seating times and how to maximize your chances of getting the dining time that you want.
Disney Cruise Dinner Time Explained
There are two Disney cruise dining times.
Main Seating and Second Seating.
The actual time really depends upon your Disney Cruise sailing.
For instance, the Disney Cruise Alaska sailings usually have earlier dining times than the ones in the Caribbean.
However, your early Main dining time will be sometime between 5.45 pm and 6.15 pm.
The Second Dining time will be between 8.00 pm and 8.15 pm.
Which Disney Cruise Dining Time Should I Pick?
The issue of which dining time you get on with a Disney cruise is one of the most hotly debated topics.
Some love early dining – others would definitely only ever go for late dining.
The one thing that I can easily say is that early dining is a lot more popular than late dining.
The reason for this is probably the demographics of a Disney cruise.
Disney cruise lines is a very much family-orientated cruise. They appeal to families, particularly those with small children.
So who with a small child would volunteer to eat at 8.15 pm? Probably a grand total of no one.
When I had toddlers and young children a meal after 8 pm was my idea of my worst nightmare.
One service which Disney cruise lines do have for parents with young kids on Second Dining is that they will pick up your children from the dining room and take them to the kids club.
Your Servers will make sure that the kids are fed first. Then you can enjoy your dining at a more leisurely pace whilst the kids are happy in the club.
Note that this service has not been available since sailing resumed – so it may not be available on your sailing.
However, now I actually prefer late dining.
I would rather go to an early show, or enjoy some quiet time at the adult pool.
Activities such as the AquaDuck are also at their quietest during Main Dining times.
Also it just seems a bit rushed sometimes to get ready for dinner at 5.45 pm.
This is particularly so when you have been out for the day on an excursion. So there are advantages to the second seating time.
Therefore, if you don’t have young children, do think about whether the Second Dining time on your Disney cruise might be a good choice for you.
How Do You Reserve Your Disney Cruise Dining Time?
When you book your Disney cruise you will be asked which time you prefer.
Sometimes the Main Dining time will not be an option anymore.
The later you book the more likely you will not have the choice of Main Dining when you make your reservation.
Note also that the booking process defaults to second dining time. If you do not look carefully you may miss this step and not even see that there is an option for early dining.
How Do You Change Your Disney Cruise Dining Time?
If you know you want Main or Second Dining and it is no longer available the first thing you should do is call Disney cruise lines and ask to be put on the waitlist.
If you have a travel agent they should do this for you.
Sometimes, if you are on the waitlist, you are notified before your sailing date, that you have been allocated your desired change of dining time.
However, quite often this doesn’t happen before you sail.
If you get to the time of boarding the ship and you still have a dining time which is not your preferred one, don’t give up hope!
As soon as you check-in at the cruise port you can access your Cruise Navigator on your Disney Cruise Navigator App.
This will show you where the dining team will be on board the ship who will be dealing with requests for dining changes and reservations for Palo and Remy.
If you cannot see this on the App then ask a Cast Member the location of the dining team as soon as you board the ship.
Go immediately to the place where the dining team will be waiting to help you.
They will do everything they can to help you make the change. Sometimes that isn’t possible, but you can be assured they will do everything they can.
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Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.