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Want all the best Disney Cruise Dining Tips? One thing that you can be sure about on a Disney Cruise is that you will never be short on dining options!
Here is our guide on how to get the most out of your experience with these Disney Cruise Dining Tips.
Disney Cruise Dining Tips
Want to make the most of your Disney Cruise Experience with these Disney Cruise Dining Tips?
Disney Cruise Early or Late Seating?
The food on a Disney Cruise is a huge part of your vacation experience.
Your choices about dining on a Disney Cruise start before you even leave dry land. They start as soon as you book your Disney Cruise.
When you book directly or with a Travel Agent you will be asked whether you want Early or Late Dining.
This relates to the time that you will dine in each of the 3 Rotational Dining Restaurants (more about that later).
What is the difference?
Early Dining is usually at 5.45 and Late Dining is at 8.15. These times may be a bit later on Disney Alaskan and European cruises.
Early Dining is by far the most popular. The reason for this is largely because there are lots of families with young children on a Disney cruise.
You probably don’t want to eat at 8.15 if you have a four-year-old.
When my children were younger I always wanted to have Early Dining on a Disney Cruise. However, since they have got older I much prefer Late Dining.
Why? The Servers have more time to spend with you on Late Dining.
You also see the first show of the evening in the Walt Disney Theater. The first showing tends to be less crowded than the later one, so you do not have to arrive quite so early for a seat.
If you have late dining and don’t want to see the show it is also a great time to do other things on the ship. The adult pool is usually very quiet at this time.
It is also a good opportunity to ride the Aquaduck if you are on the Disney Fantasy or Disney Dream.
Disney Cruise Dine and Play
When your kids would rather be here than at dinner
If you have tried to change from late to early seating but it just hasn’t been possible, there is still a service that may help you.
This is the Disney Cruise Dine and Play. This great idea is aimed at children aged between 3 and 12 who are going to the kid’s clubs.
If you are on the late seating mention to your Servers that you want to use the Dine and Play Service.
They will ensure that your children’s meals are brought out first so that they can but their dining time down to a minimum.
Around 9 pm members of the kid’s clubs team will stand at the back of the restaurant. They are waiting to escort your children to the clubs so that you can enjoy your meal in peace.
How To Change Your Disney Cruise Dining Time
If you are not happy with the Disney Cruise Seating Time that you have there are ways that you can try and change it.
The first thing you should do is before you board. Call Disney Cruise Lines or ask your Travel Agent to call. You can then ask to either be changed or if that isn’t possible, to be put on a waitlist for your desired dining time.
Disney Cruise Lines always tries very hard to accommodate a guest request to do this.
Sometimes you will hear that your dining time has been changed prior to getting on board the ship.
Other times you will have to wait until you get on board to try and change your Disney Cruise dining time.
When you reach the port and check-in you will be given a paper Navigators which will give you the details of what is happening on the ship. It will always show you the place where the Disney Cruise Dining Team will be when you board the ship.
As soon as you get on board go to the place that is shown and talk to the Disney Dining Team to see what they can do to move your Dining Time for you,
Disney Cruise Embarkation Lunch Options
What many guests do not realize is that there are a number of choices for lunch on the day that you board the ship.
Most guests will head straight for the buffet. Whilst that is a great option it is good to know that you do have alternatives.
On each Disney Cruise ship, there is a sit-down lunch in one of the restaurants on Embarkation Day. Most guests walk straight past the restaurant on their way to the buffet!
The sit-down lunch is at Triton’s on the Wonder and Lumiere’s on the Disney Magic. As you usually board on Deck 3, you really don’t have very far to go to lunch!
On Disney Fantasy and Disney Dream you should head to Animator’s Palate if you want the a la carte lunch.
Disney Cruise Concierge have their own location for lunch. They can either have the buffet type snacks available in the Concierge Lounge or go to the new sit down exclusive lunch located in one of the restaurants.
The Concierge Lunch is offered in Tiana’s Place on the Disney Wonder, Rapunzel’s Royal Table on the Magic and Enchanted Garden on both the Disney Fantasy and the Dream.
Concierge Guests have a special lunch menu that is not available in the other dining rooms. It includes Poached Lobster Salad and Roasted Beef Tenderloin.
Cabanas Buffet is the place that most people choose to have their Disney Cruise Embarkation Lunch. For good reason!
Although the first lunch is the most crowded you will ever see the buffet, you will not find it too difficult to find a seat.
There is plenty of selection and even the pickiest of eaters will find something to eat at the buffet.
Be careful though not to find too much to eat. It is very easy to put on weight very quickly!
Disney Cruise Rotational Dining
You may have heard that Disney Cruise lines have a concept called Rotational Dining. What is this?
Each Disney Cruise Ship has three sit down restaurants. They are different on all the ships although each of the ships has Animator’s Palate.
All of the Disney Cruise restaurants are brilliantly themed.
On the Disney Wonder, you will find Tiana’s Place which is based upon the Princess and the Frog movie. Here you will actually meet Tiana and listen to her performing her favorite songs.
Also on the Disney Wonder, Triton’s is themed around The Little Mermaid. Whilst Ariel herself does not make an appearance you will find a lot of subtle movie references in the decor. This includes the huge mosaic at the back of the restaurant.
On the Disney Magic, you will love to dine at the all-new Rapunzels’ Royal Table. Lots of singing and dancing with Rapunzel and her friends.
On the Disney Dream, you have the Royal Palace and on the Disney Fantasy, it is Royal Court. Both restaurants are themed after the Disney Princesses. The theme is subtle and the restaurants are beautifully decorated in rich tones to give them a luxurious atmosphere.
All of the ships have Animator’s Palate. This is to celebrate the art and innovation of Disney animation. There are two very distinct shows in Animators Palate. One might even bring out the Disney artist in you!
The rotational dining concept is unique to Disney. On each cruise, you will dine in each restaurant at least once (with the exception of the very rare 2 night Disney Cruises).
This not only gives you the chance to explore and enjoy each of the very unique restaurants. It also gives you the opportunity to get to know your servers as they will rotate around the dining rooms with you,
I have spent many months on Disney Cruises. The Servers have ranged from very good to exceptional. The standard of service is very high.
Disney Servers will make sure they know you by name, know your drinks preferences and pretty soon will learn which food you will enjoy the most. They are very knowledgable about the menu, so always ask for recommendations.
For more about the food on a Disney Cruise including lots of pictures and menus Click Here.
Disney Cruise Secret Menu
You may have heard about the Secret Menu on a Disney Cruise. Sometimes when you are in the dining room you will see the table next to you being served with dishes that you did not see on the menu.
How did they get this special food?
We first discovered the ability to request different food many years ago when we mentioned to our Indian Server that we loved Indian food. The next day we had a table full of delicious Indian dishes brought to our table.
We could still order from the Disney restaurant menu, but each night we got this additional treat. We have heard others have also asked if they can have a different kind of cuisine and their Server will do their best.
Just remember that this is not something that is guaranteed. So if your Server can’t help you just be respectful and accept that for some reason it’s not available. There is always something on each Disney Cruise restaurant menu to tempt you.
Table Size on a Disney Cruise
A lot of people are concerned about whether or not they will be sitting on a table with other people on their Disney Cruise.
Generally, the table sizes are for 4, 6 or 8. There can be variations of this so that larger parties can be seated together.
However, unless you specifically request a private table you will likely be seated with other people.
Many people love this but for others, it really isn’t their idea of fun.
You can always request just to be seated with your party and no one else.
For more details of how to do this See This Advice.
Disney Cruise Food Allergies
It can be stressful dining out when you have to deal with food allergies. However, Disney Cruise Lines is an expert at accommodation guests with food allergies.
As soon as you book you can ask for a note to be made that you have food allergies. The dining room staff will have this communicated to them so that they know from the minute you arrive that you have special dining requirements.
I have sailed with people who had specific dietary needs and they have always been highly impressed by helpful everyone is on a Disney Cruise.
One of the most challenging places to deal with a food allergy is a buffet. However, the team in Cabanas do everything they can to help.
When you arrive in Cabanas simply approach any Cast Member and they will help you. They can direct you to the foods to avoid and also cook up any special items that you need. For instance gluten-free pancakes at breakfast.
You Servers in your rotational dining restaurant will also know of your allergy. They will talk through the menu with you.
Each night they will give you the menu for the following day so you can see what is available for you. If you order ahead things can often be adapted to accommodate your dietary needs.
Disney Cruise Room Service is a Treat
You know sometimes when you are staying in a hotel and you really want room service? Then you look at the menu and decide it isn’t worth breaking the back for?
That won’t happen on a Disney Cruise! Most of the items on the Disney Room Service menu are free.
All Hands on Deck is a great option for Sail Away!
There are so-called “Secret” items too. Ask for a Mickey Bar and your wish will be granted. Pie of the Day is also not on the menu but will be brought to you on request.
Asking for Cookies and Milk to be delivered to your room each night seems like pure luxury. However, you can do it as often as you want on a Disney cruise.
If you love your coffee as soon as you wake up why not order a hot carafe of coffee to be delivered the evening before? The coffee will still be warm in the morning and you won’t have to be woken up by room service in the morning to receive it.
Breakfast in bed or out on the balcony is always a treat. Just put out the breakfast card before 3 am the night before and breakfast will be delivered at the time you choose.
Can’t find your breakfast card? It is located in the desk drawer when you board your cruise. If you can’t find it then just ask your Room Steward for some extras and they will be happy to help.
Remember that most items on the Room Service Menu are free, but this does not include service. Always tip your Server. You can either do this in cash or by adding a tip to the slip you will sign.
One thing that few people realize though is that Room Service will not just leave the items in your room after 9 pm unless you are there to receive it. Also, the person who is there has to be over 18.
Disney Cruise Coffee
You can get free coffee in a number of places on the ship. There is a free drinks station on the pool deck on each of the Disney ships.
This drinks station is open 24 hours a day so you can always get your coffee or soda fix at any time you need one.
You can also get free drip coffee in any of the restaurants or at Cabanas Buffet.
If you want specialty coffee you will need to pay for this. One of the best places to enjoy a cup of coffee is in the adults-only Cove Cafe. I often forget to ask for a proper cup, but they will always give you one if you ask!
One thing which isn’t widely known is that you can get a Coffee Card from Cove Cafe. If you buy 5 coffees you will get the 6th one for free.
This is a pretty good deal. Always remember to ask for your coffee card in the Cove Cafe as the Cast Members often forget to mention it.
You may even see a Hidden Mickey in your coffee
There are ways to get over the mediocre coffee problem without having to purchase it on board. If you are really clear about the type of coffee fix that you need, you can bring your own onboard.
The simplest way if you like the taste, is just to bring Starbucks VIA Coffee.
You can easily pack this in your suitcase and then use the water from the pool deck to make your own coffee.
If you want to use your favorite ground coffee you can just pack that with this Bodum Travel Press.
Disney Cruise Character Breakfast
We all know just how expensive a Disney Character Breakfast can be. However, it is included in the price of some Disney cruises.
The Disney Cruise Character Breakfast is only offered on cruises of 7 nights or more.
You do also have to plan ahead if you want a Disney Cruise Character Breakfast. Gone are the days when you simply had a day and time allocated to you and you could just go to breakfast at the allotted time.
Now you need a ticket for a Disney Cruise Character Breakfast. It is free, but nevertheless, you need one or you can’t get in!
Tickets are available online in your Cruise Personalizer. As soon as you are able to book activities online you should grab one of these tickets. They do run out.
If they are not available online as they have all been allocated, do not give up. Sometimes guests cancel before sailing so it may be available online again.
However, if at the time that you board you still haven’t got a ticket for the Disney Cruise Character Breakfast you should go to Guest Services to see if there are any available. They usually have some, but it is on a first come first serve basis.
Disney Cruise Late Night Snacks
If you are still hungry later in the evening you will still be able to find some late-night snacks.
You can always call room service in the early hours in the morning if you get a sudden need for a sandwich or the Cake of the Day.
However, all of the Disney Cruise ships also have late-night snacks available in one of the bars. You can check the location and times in your Disney Cruise Navigator.
Disney Cruise Palo
Disney Cruise Palo is an adult-only dining experience. No one under the age of 18 is permitted to dine at Palo.
Palo offers Dinner and Brunch. Dinner is served at Palo on every day of the cruise, but Brunch is only served on Days at Sea.
You can make a reservation for Palo prior to sailing by booking online with the Disney Cruise Personalizer.
Either Dinner or Brunch at Palo is an additional charge of $ 40.
Palo Brunch offers a huge buffet selection. You can also order from the a la carte menu.
If you do not get a reservation prior to boarding do not worry. Often all of the Disney Palo reservations are taken online and it shows as not available.
However, if you want a Palo reservation and you do not have one by the time you board you need to take a look at your embarkation day Cruise Navigators.
This will show you where the Disney team will be so that they can take care of your reservation. Usually, they will have something available, but you do need to make sure that you take care of this as soon as possible after you board.
Should you book Palo Brunch or Palo Dinner? We have written a Comprehensive Guide which you can see here.
Disney Cruise Remy
If you are sailing on the Disney Fantasy or Dream you can look forward to the ultimate dining experience at sea.
Disney Cruise Lines Remy restaurant is fine dining at its best. It is comparable to the experience at Victoria and Alberts in Walt Disney World – without quite so much sticker shock.
Well, you do have to be prepared to shell out some serious money, but this exceptional dining experience is simply the best at sea.
Themed after Pixar’s Ratatouille movie you will find a lot of subtle design details in the restaurant. What’s not to love about a restaurant which even has a stool for you to rest your purse on?
Look at the Remy design carved into the chairs.
The Champagne Brunch is one of those Disney cruise experiences which you must have at least once. Costing $75 per person with an additional $30 if you have the optional champagne pairing, this is not an inexpensive experience. However, it is worth it.
Remy Dinner is available for $125 per person. The Wine Pairing adds another $105 per person. Again, it is a fabulous experience and one which you should try at least once.
Disney Cruise Dining Tips Cove Cafe
The adults-only Cove Cafe is a great place to grab a cup of specialty coffee or just spend some quiet time relaxing.
What many people don’t realize is that the cakes and pastries in the glass cabinet are included in your Cruise cost.
The Cove Cafe is a great place to enjoy a relaxing breakfast of coffee and pastries away from the crowds of the buffet.
Disney Cruise Dole Whip
Who wants a Dole Whip without having to stand in line for ages as you do at the Disney Parks?
Now your wish is granted as you can get a Disney Cruise Dole Whip. If you want to indulge the cost is $4.95 for the Dole Whip on the Disney ships.
If you want to be even more indulgent you can add Myers Dark Rum to your Dole Whip. The charge for this is $6.75
Disney Cruise Disembarkation Breakfast
On the final night of your Disney cruise, your rotational dining servers will tell you the location and the time of your final morning breakfast.
The location will be in the restaurant where you dined on the last evening of your cruise. For example, if you dined in Royal Court that is where your breakfast will be.
One advantage of Late Seating is that you will have the later breakfast time so you can have some extra time in bed!
However, what guests don’t always realize is that they can still go to the buffet on the final morning.
Over the years I have realized that I much prefer this option to go to the buffet. The options in the buffet are good and there is plenty of choices.
However, I think the breakfast menu on the final day is probably the worst offered on the whole cruise! The options are limited and it never tastes that great.
Also, I prefer to say goodbye to the Servers for the final evening. It just seems like you go on a positive note, rather than being sad on the final morning.
Do you have any Disney Cruise Dining Tips?