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Disney Cruise Line: First or Second Dinner Seating?



Hey there, Disney Pals and Happy February!

     Wait a minute.... how did it become February?? Wasn't yesterday Halloween or something? Ugh! Time is flying! Anyway, I recently had a friend who is planning a Disney Cruise ask me about the early seating dinner option vs. the late one, and I thought that might be a great topic for this week's post. So let's get into it...


     First of all, DCL is truly the BEST cruise line in the world! It's such a fun-filled and relaxing trip! No matter what, families, couples and anyone that sails will fall in love with the cruise line. That being said, when it comes to dinner, the seating time that you should select is really the one that works best for your family. I can give you some pluses and minuses to the two times, and hopefully that will help you decide!

     Your show time in the main theater will be based on your dinner seating, so the schedule will work like this: First dinner seating will go to dinner between 5:45pm and 6:15pm, and go to the theater for their show at 8:30pm. Second seating will go to their show at 6:15pm, and dinner between 8:00pm and 8:30pm.

Disney Dreams cannot be missed!
    Many families with small children find the second seating to be too late for little ones to be eating, and they end up selecting the first seating. As a result, second seating typically is easier to get into, and has fewer children in the dining room. This also means that the Oceaneer's Club tends to have their activities based on the schedule of the earlier dinner. That's not to say that your children cannot attend if you are in the second seating, just that they are more likely to get there mid-activity. For those in the second seating, they do have counselors come to the dining rooms around 9:15pm, to pick up any kids that want to go to the club. It's a nice feature because your kids can eat with you, and then not have to stick around. You can take your time enjoying coffee and dessert, knowing that the kids are safe and off having way more fun than you somewhere.

Ooooo, dessert!
     Second seating has always been favored by my family because we can't get it together fast enough to get ready for early dinner. If you have been in a port that day, or even if you're just playing around the ship, getting dressed and being at the dining room by 5:45pm means wrapping up other activities by about 4:30pm or so and that can be tough. Second seating gives you the chance to take your time a bit more. You can always go to the show in your casual attire, and then get dressed for dinner between the show and meal time. That way, you have more time to play AND to enjoy a VERY quiet ship. We found that if we went to the pool around 4:30pm or so, it was almost empty. We could swim for an hour or more, with almost no one else in the pool area, before getting ready to go to our show. And if you manage to already be dressed by the time you go to the show, you can always use the time before dinner to squeeze in an activity, or to grab a cocktail in a lounge.

By selecting the late dinner, you can enjoy a gorgeous sunset on a nearly
deserted Deck 4. 
     We also enjoy the fact that because there is not another group waiting to get into the dining room when you are at second seating, the servers have a bit more time to chat and for you to enjoy their company. (Of course, be mindful that they DO still have to clean up and can't spend the whole night hanging out in the dining room with you.) This is always a highlight for us, as the crew is always phenomenal.
D passed out and the servers made her comfy.

     The one negative we saw to second seating was that sometimes we would have to rush to get to some of the evening activities. If there was a particular cabaret show taking place, or if it was Pirate Night, we really had to scramble to wrap up dessert and get our butts out the door. This maybe only happened one or two times on the whole cruise though, so it wasn't too big of a deal.

     Overall, I prefer second seating, BUT, if you have small children, you may want to stick with first seating, to avoid meltdowns and/or your children falling asleep at the table. Although D did fall asleep at our table once during second seating and our servers very sweetly pushed two chairs together, covered her in a tablecloth, and made a pillow from napkins. It was adorable. 

     No matter what, you're guaranteed to have delicious meals, fabulous entertainment, and an incredible family vacation! Oh, and if you need help planning your awesome Disney Cruise, or you want to learn how to get the best deals, contact the crew at Kingdom Konsultant Travel and they will hook you up! Have fun and BON VOYAGE! See you next week, everyone!

- Jenn aka "Tink"

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