Guests departing on their first Disney Cruise want to know which restaurant to “pick” each night of their cruise. Well, since Disney makes things as easy as possible, guests don’t have to “pick” as traveling parties are assigned to a dining room rotation for either main dinner seating or late dinner seating, and are assigned to a specific table in each dining room.
Rotational dining allows guests to rotate through each of the main dining rooms during the duration of their cruise. The serving team assigned to your traveling party will rotate with you and will serve you in each of the three main dining rooms. If you choose to dine in Palo or Remy, you will be served with dining teams assigned to those restaurants. As a cruise guest, you will be informed of your dining rotation in two ways. One is when you check in at the port and are given your Key to The World Card. There will be a series of letters and each stands for a dining room and the letters are in the order of your dining rotation. For example, on our most recent cruise, our letters were “ERRAE.” This meant we were dining in Enchanted Garden the first night, Royal Palace the second and third night, Animator’s Palette the fourth night, and Enchanted Garden on the last night of our 5 night cruise. The second way you will be informed is with the dining tickets in your stateroom—one for each person in your party with the dining rotation listed, the location of each dining room, and your table number. It is important to take at least one of these tickets with you to your assigned dining room the first night. No need after that to bring your ticket along as long as you can remember your table number. If you forget, no worries; this is Disney and they will look it up for you at the dining room.
While waiting in line to get the boy’s kid’s club bracelet at the Port Terminal before boarding the ship for our most recent cruise, there was another mother in front of me who indicated that this was their first Disney cruise (I think our shirts give it away that we have done this before) and she asked how to find out their dining rotation. I showed her on your Key to The World Card how she could find out and told her about the dining tickets she would find in her stateroom.
The main dinner seating is at 5:45 pm and the late seating 8:15 pm. We have always opted for the main seating. If you wish to change your dinner seating or rotation, check with Guest Services upon boarding the ship. They will do their best to accommodate you based on availability.
So, the only “picking” to do is what you are going to eat when you arrive at your dining room for the evening. Unless, that is, you have opted to dine at Palo or Remy, which charge an additional fee and require a reservation, or choose more casual dining on Deck 9 or 11 respectfully depending on your Disney ship.
I appreciate the dining rotation system and knowing which dining room we will be dining in each night of our cruise. I don’t have a high need to know prior to our cruise as we typically don’t make reservations for Palo or Remy—we have eaten brunch at Palo on two cruises. Knowing that the decisions are already made is comforting to me and my family. We stayed at an all inclusive resort in the Caribbean which required making same day reservations at one of the seven on-site restaurants and it was an inconvenience to do that each day.
Another great thing about rotational dining on a Disney cruise is that your serving team gets to know your family, especially on longer cruises. So, don’t be surprised if your drink preferences are already waiting for you when you arrive at your table!