Early or Late?

Which Disney Cruise Dinner Seating is for You?

Chocolate or Peanut Butter? Coke or Pepsi? Dole Whip or Mickey Bar? These are some of life’s challenging dilemmas. Guests on Disney Cruise Line have another important decision: Main or Second Seating? Here are some tips on how to decide which Disney Cruise dinner seating is best for you.

Main Seating (also called 1st or Early Seating) typically begins at 5:45 pm while Second Seating (also called Late Seating) typically begins at 8:15 pm. You may request a dining assignment when you book your cruise, and your travel agent will inform you if your preference was confirmed.

Experienced cruisers often have strong preferences for their dining times. My mom nearly cancelled a cruise when she was wait listed for Late Seating! If you are a first-time cruiser or a family cruising with children for the first time, you may wonder how to decide. There certainly are pros and cons to each dinner seating on Disney Cruise Line.


What to Expect at Early Seating

Many families with young children prefer Early Seating. If you have children who function better on their typical schedule, First Seating is probably for you! Many adults also prefer not to eat late and some have medical issues that require meals at a set time.  Early diners enjoy having the entire evening ahead of them after dinner. Shows, lounges, dance parties, and the AquaDuck await! On Pirate Night, Early Diners may be ready for a turkey leg or a crepe at the Late Night Buffet. There’s always room for one bite of pineapple cheesecake, right?


What to Expect at Second Seating

Second Seating aficionados enjoy the ship in the early evening. After a busy day in port or at sea, those in the Late Seating might take a short nap, enjoy a snack by the pool, watch a show or even have a pre-dinner massage. This is another great time to ride the AquaDuck when it tends to be less busy. My husband and I enjoy having a mojito as we watch the sunset as the ship sails away to our next destination.

Once we arrive at dinner, the pace is relaxed. Disney Cruise Line understands that some kids would rather eat and run, so they offer Dine & Play during Second Seating. Youth Counselors come to each dining room at 9:15 pm to escort children to the Youth Activities area. Your wait staff will ensure that your children’s meals are served promptly.  The kids can then can party on with their friends while you savor a cappuccino and Grand Marnier Soufflé.

Whichever dining time you choose, you will enjoy Disney Cruise Line’s unique rotational dining experience. Each guest visits three separate dining rooms throughout your cruise. Want to dine at a different time one night? You always have the option of room service in your stateroom, quick service on the pool deck or dining at Disney Cruise Line’s casual restaurant option, Cabanas which offers table service at dinner on your schedule on select nights of the cruise. 

Early or Late? Which do you prefer? Let us know!