Q: What is Rotational Dining aboard Disney Cruise Lines and how does it work?
Whether you’re a regular at the Disney parks and new to cruising or an avid cruiser setting sail with Disney for the first time, when it comes to dining at sea, Disney Cruise Line does things a little bit differently.
Rotational Dining is a fun perk of going on a Disney Cruise. Each of the cruise ships has at least three table service options included in the rotational dining program. Under the system, guests eat at a different restaurant every night with each restaurant featuring a different decor and menu. These are as follows:
Disney Dream: Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Palace
Disney Fantasy: Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Court
Disney Magic: Animator’s Palate, Lumiere’s, and Carioca’s
Disney Wonder: Animator’s Palate, Triton’s, and Tiana’s Place
The great thing about Rotational Dining is that not only will guests have their meals at the same time each evening, but also the same servers will follow you from restaurant to restaurant. This is a real perk of rotational dining as it allows you to build a relationship with your server and it’s easier for them to keep track of any needs you may have (special seating requests, dietary restrictions etc).
Can I select the time I want to eat each night? Yes. At the time you book in your cruise you will have the option to choose from Main Seating or Second Seating for your dining. Main Seating aboard a Disney Cruise takes place at 5:45pm and Second seating takes place 8:15pm. On the Disney Dream, this dining assignment also dictates when you will see Broadway-style shows. For instance, if you are in Main Seating you will see the evening shows at 8:30 each night after you’ve eaten. If you are in the Second Seating you will see you show at 6.15 before you’ve had your dinner. Main Seating tends to be the preferred option and will fill up the quickest. Second Seating may offer a nice option for adults cruising who don’t mind taking their dinners later in the evening.
Main Seating tends to book up really quickly so depending on how close you book to your departure date, you may find that it is already filled up and you have to choose Second Seating. If this is the case, you do have the option of being waitlisted for Main Seating and will automatically be moved should something come up.
How do I know what restaurant I eat at first? When you get the Key To the World Card for your cruise it will include dining information. You will find the time that you dinner starts each evening followed by letters indicating your rotation. For instance, RAE on your card would mean that Royal Palace, Animator’s Palate and Enchanted Garden would be your Rational Dining order aboard the Disney Dream.
What if I’m on a long cruise? If you’re on a 5+ night cruise you will repeat the same restaurants however the menus will have changed from when you dined there previously.
Is there a dress code for the Rotational Dining restaurants?
For most of the meals the dress code is “Cruise Casual” this means that t-shirts and shorts are permitted though tank tops are not. Depending on the length of your sailing, there also may be special “dress-up dinners” where jackets and dresses are required or special themed events like Pirate Night.
Will my family be sat by themselves? Depending on the size of your party, you may be asked to sit with other cruise guests. These guests will be rotating through the dining right along with you. Though it may seem awkward at first, it is a fantastic way to meet new people and make new friendships Disney-style.
How do I tip my Rotational Dining server? Suggested gratuities are automatically added to your stateroom bill which you will receive as your cruise is winding down. If you want to adjust the amount you can go to Guest Services and have it altered.
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