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Dining on the High Seas

The most two most often asked questions regarding Disney Cruise Line Vacations is how does rotational dining work and what else do I have to pay for?

Disney Cruise Line offers a unique experience when it comes to dinner each evening...Rotational Dining! So how does it work?

When booking your cruise you'll have usually have the option of Main or Second Seating. While there are benefits to both, each family has their own preference. 
On the Disney Wonder and the Disney Magic, the Main Seating is at approximately 6 p.m.; the Second seating is at approximately 8 p.m.

On the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy,the Main Seating is at approximately 6 p.m.; the Second seating is at approximately 8 p.m.

Main dining does book quickly  so you may not have the option to choose it when you book your trip. No worries though!  You can always get wait listed for Main Dining as well as checking if you can switch once you get on board.

For those assigned to Main Dining, you'll be able to enjoy a show afterwards. For those with Second seating, you'll head to the show first!

WhereWhen you check-in to your cruise, each passenger will get a Key To the World Card. On your Card you'll see a few "random" letters. These refer to your restaurants!
Here you'll find your dining time, dinner rotation and table number.  Your dining time and table number will stay the same every night.    See those three letters ERA?  That's how you know which restaurant you'll visit each night (Don't worry, Disney also leaves something in your stateroom that explains it too!). Our dinner rotation was:
  • Enchanted Garden
  • Royal Table
  • Animator's Palate

If you are on a cruise longer than 3 nights, you'll repeat the restaurants but rest assured the menu's will change! You'll get the restaurants "regular" menu once and then special menu's as well!

The cool part about rotational dining is that your servers come with you each night! They get to know what you like, what you don't, any food allergies you have and much more! They become such an integral part of your cruise's part of what makes Disney...well Disney!
Us with our best friends...sure we went on the cruise together but we still loved dining with them!

What if you don't want to attend your regular dining experience for once reason or another? Well you still have options! There are many quick service options open and Cabana's, which normally services a self-serve buffet, will be open during the dinner hours. You don't have to show up at a specific time or participate in any dress code. There is always room service too...all of which is included in the price of your cruise!!

So now I know how Rotational Dining do I know what food included in the cost of my cruise?

Food included with the cost of your cruise includes:
  • Breakfast- Choose from buffet's or sit down restaurant
  • Lunch-Choose from buffet's or sit down restaurant
  • Dinner-Your rotational dinner or you may opt for a buffet instead
During the day you'll also be able to chose from several counter service restaurants as well as the regular options. Depending on the ship you are sailing, you will have different options.

You've also probably heard about the unlimited Ice Cream (or your kids have). Well it's true!!  All the ice cream you care to enjoy!

Non-alcoholic beverages are included in the cost of your cruise IF you order them at a meal or if you use the self-service beverage station.

If you order non-alcoholic beverages from the bar you WILL be charged!!
Also included in the cost of your cruise is ROOM SERVICE!  The majority of the items on the menu are included but just be aware that a few items are not:
  • Snacks like pre-packaged candy, nuts and popcorn
  • Beer and Wine
  • Other beverages like bottled water and soda
Also remember to have some cash on hand to tip the Cast Member that delivers your food as that is NOT included in the gratuities you pay on board the ship.

If you are on a cruise that is visiting Castaway Cay, remember the same rules apply on the Island! Your food and non-alcoholic drinks are INCLUDED and alcohol is not.

So what's not included?
  • Any Alcohol
  • Beverages ordered at the bar (non-alcoholic)
  • Adult dining at Palo and Remy (includes brunch and dinner)

Don't forget that while on board a Disney Cruise ship you'll be responsible for gratuities. You have the option of pre-paying these, otherwise the minimum amounts will be charged to your stateroom at the end of the cruise.

Per Guest per cruise                           3-Night           4-Night            7-Night
Dining Room Server                            $12.00            $16.00             $28.00
Dining Room Asst. Server                   $9.00               $12.00            $21.00
Dining Room Head Server                   $3.00              $4.00               $7.00
Stateroom Host/Hostess                      $12.00            $16.00             $28.00
Dining Manager                                   Your Discretion
Room Service                                     Your Discretion
Palo                                                    Gratuity included
Vista Spa & Salon                               Your Discretion
Babysitting                                          Gratuity not expected
Port Adventures                                  Optional; not included in port adventure price

I hope that's given you a little insight into dining aboard a Disney Cruise ship! Remember, if you book your Disney Cruise vacation with me I'll be able to provide you one-on-one assistance into planning the perfect vacation!

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