View Full Version : Early seating: do you really end up feeling rushed?
07-14-2005, 10:02 PM
This is our second DCL cruise - first 7 nighter. On the first cruise we got late seating. We sat with all adults (incl a couple from the Netherlands!, had fun.
We're considering making a request to early seating to sit with another DIS cruising family, but I've read that the early seating feels rushed to get you out for the second seating. I also read you have less time to dress for dinner, but the "pro" is that the food is better because it's fresher?
Thoughts/opinions? We like children (this family has a child, no big deal), but is the first seating overflowing with kids? We don't want to feel out of place being the only adults without kids at that seating.
07-14-2005, 10:22 PM
I can't speak for the early seated adults who don't have kids. We have three. Neither we nor our table mates felt rushed through the meal. As for having enough time to get ready for dinner, nope, no rush. The one time we knew our on land excursion would make it difficult to be on time for dinner, we skipped it and went to Topsiders instead. As for feeling out of place at the early seating becuase you don't have kids, people with kids are too busy to notice if YOU have them or not. LOL. Depending on how their day went, they may even envy you a little. Also, there will be a lot of adults without kids including parents who won't have their kids with them at dinner becuase their kids are at the Club or Lab. I didn't feel like early seating was "Kiddy City".
07-14-2005, 10:24 PM
Many families with small children request first seating, but there is still a rotation with families with older children. Yes, it is true that you will find fewer adults alone or adults with teens in the early group.
I didn't feel rushed when we had early. You still have plenty of time to eat. I don't think the food is any fresher. The kitchen knows that it will have 2 seatings, and prepares the meals appropriately. True, you don't have much time to dress for dinner, especially if you've been on an excursion.
The advantage of the early seating is that many activities in the club/lab are scheduled during the late dinner seating, so kids at late dinner miss these.
Personally, I prefer late seating. Now that my DD is a teen, I don't appreciate listening to other people's very young children at meals. Late is less crowded, and definitely quieter.
07-14-2005, 10:29 PM
We never felt rushed to get to dinner with early seating. We would be getting ready about the same time to make it to the shows if we had late seating. Our servers were fantastic & we always sat & talked with our tablemates. We never felt pushed out of the dining room.
07-14-2005, 10:36 PM
For us it wasn't so much a matter of being rushed for early seating, it's just that we weren't quite ready to give up our seats at the pool to get ready for dinner, LOL. So with our second cruise we chose late seating. For us it was great and served it's purpose, but it didn't work out so great for our kids who are fine if they keep going, but sit them down that late at night (dinner goes past 10pm) and they get cranky and tired. So we're back to early seating for our 3rd cruise. As for the food being fresher, I found it to be fine on late seating.
Personally, if I were cruising without children I'd probably keep my late seating and adult dining companions unless I had a very strong desire to sit with this other family. Good luck deciding. :fish:
07-14-2005, 11:39 PM
We had LATE seating and felt rushed. Not because of dinner, but because Disney does the shows BEFORE dinner if you have late seating. Other cruises we went on did the shows AFTER dinner, no matter which seating you had.
We actually missed the first show because were were idiots and didn't check the Navigator.....never imagining the shows would be BEFORE dinner.
That is one of several differences on a Disney cruise....Disney is clearly geared to a more "early to bed early to rise" crowd than other cruise lines.
We went into Studio Sea at 11 pm, and there were only 6 people in there!!!
Actually, we're just back from Disneyland, and the whole Disney organization has shifted to early hours. The park closes at 9 pm in the off season, and midnight during the peak season. They used to be open to 11 pm in the off season, and 1 am during the peak season. Fortunately my kids are old enough that they got to go to DL when they were still open late. We all have great memories of being in the park between midnight and 1 am, we'd pick a popular ride, and the lines are so short at that time you can literally ride them 6 or 7 or 8 times in an hour. We usually go for a week, so one night we'd ride the Matterhorn in the final hour, the next night Space Mountain, the next night, Big Thunder, the next night, Splash Mountain.
Heck, California Adventure is NEVER open past 9 pm. I'd love to be able to do repeat rides on California Screaming, the Maliboomer, or Tower or Terror.
07-15-2005, 06:31 AM
Not rushed to dinner, not rushed during dinner. YMMV.
07-15-2005, 08:48 AM
I never really considered the "rush" or the little ones when requesting early seating for our upcoming cruise. My DS and DD will be 13 and 15 at the time. We are just early eaters. Hum, wonder if I should change to late? :confused3
07-15-2005, 09:13 AM
I never felt as though I was being rushed to get out of the dining room, but I did feel like the day was ending too quickly when we had to go in to get showered and changed for dinner. We left some sail away parties or viewings because we had to get ready to eat. We've picked late for next time. We were not big show fans so if we miss some it wouldn't matter. If we want to go to the show, if still starts a little later than the first dinner.
07-15-2005, 09:36 AM
I've kind of got the opposite "problem". My mother-in-law insisted on the early seating. Which I believe is at 6:00? My husband and I don't even think about dinner until 8:00! The reason for the early seating is the in-laws don't want to eat that late. Trouble is, I know my mother-in-law will eat well during dinner and then say "I'm too tired" and miss the shows. Sigh, they are paying for the cruise so I'm just going to eat lightly at lunch. I'm not worried about getting ready for dinner. I'm the one that can take ten minutes and be fine.
07-15-2005, 10:57 AM
We have taken 6 Disney cruises. Some with kids, some just DH and I. We always had late seating until the last, which was the 10 day Dec 2004 cruise. We waitlisted and were able to be moved to early seating. We found that we did feel rushed to get to dinner on time after excursions and I did have to drag DH away from conversations as a courtesy to staff who were needing to prepare for the next seating. He loves to visit! :chat: We tried it, decided late seating is better for us, both with and without kids (ages 3-15). We have two more cruises booked (one with kids, one without) and are back on late seating for both.
07-15-2005, 12:38 PM
We have done both. We like the late serving because we don't feel as rushed to get ready, but we like early because we like eating our big meal earlier in the evening (and not right before bedtime....we usually go to bed around 11:00, I suppose ifyou stay out until 1 or 2:00, it may not matter).
It is a hard call, but we have decided to alway book early for our next cruise. If we don't like it, we will move back to late.
It did seem like the kids programs in the club/lab work better with the early seating. So you may want to consider that.
We felt rushed to get to our seating when we did the first one on our first cruise. My children did not like that we had to rush from what we were doing in order to go eat. We now request the second seating. I can see where someone might feel rushed form a show to dinner. We do not kill ourselves to make it to the shows. We have seen them and enjoy them but if we miss a few minutes no big deal.
07-15-2005, 01:14 PM
I never felt rushed at early seating. In fact I was up on deck 20 minutes before dinner watching the ship leave harbor. What I did miss about early dinner was not being able to see the sunset on some nights (I saw sunrise though, so I'm not compaining). Our group was seated in a rotation with very young kids (read this as kids who get up from their seats and play in porthole windows, dance around tables, etc). This is not enjoyable to be seated next to, and I think by day 4 my husband was very tired of it! When my youngest son got restless at one meal, I took him to the Oceaneer's Club - which was where he really wanted to be anyway... did I really expect an almost 5 year old to sit still for yet another 90 minute meal when he knew he could be playing with friends just one deck away? :rotfl2: Some nights he choose to stay in his club and eat with his friends instead of even going to dinner with the rest of our group. :cheer2:
Personally, I loved being able to see the shows after dinner. Dinner is served over a 90 minute time frame (it takes that long to serve bread/appetizer/soup or salad/entree/dessert), so it was really closer to 7pm by the time you actually eat anyway, and that fits our family.
07-15-2005, 01:17 PM
I definitely felt rushed the only time I had early seating....late seating is fine as long as you plan on sleeping late, etc.
07-15-2005, 02:21 PM
We didn't feel rushed at all for our early seating. We enjoyed it.
07-15-2005, 05:28 PM
We had first seating and I would say the pace felt quick, but not to the point of feeling rushed. It definitely wasn't leisurely. Our server was ready to take our order shortly after we sat down and the menus were in our hands. There was not much of a break between the appetizer course and the main course. And the dessert menu was in our hands while the main course plates were being cleared. I'm just used to a more leisurely pace where there are distinct breaks between the courses to talk and fool around with the kids.
Looking at my watch, I think we were done usually by 7:30 to 7:45. For a full dinner with appetizer, soup/salad, main course, and dessert, that is quick for me. I think I usually take 2 hours for a meal with that many courses and sometimes a little more.
07-16-2005, 03:22 AM
I gotta agree with Pineapple...we had time to eat (6 o'clock seating) but not always time to really look at the menu and we certainly didn't feel we could "dawdle". We were traveling with friends and, at one meal, our family came to the table 10 minutes late. Our assistant server had already taken and served our friends' drink orders and didn't come back for ours for about 5 more minutes...and then brought them when the food arrived. Sigh. We were always on time after that but felt a bit chastised, ya know?
And it wasn't that our servers weren't friendly and nice--they just had a job to do and did it as efficiently as humanly possible. That doesn't always translate into a leisurely meal. OTOH, if we had fed our kids or ourselves any later than 6, we would have needed to get another quick meal in between like pizza or a hot dog to keep everyone from getting cranky. (Yes, the adults too! :rotfl: )That would have meant that I was eating 4 meals a day instead of 3, plus the occasional Scoops, drink of the day, cappucino...
If I were traveling without kiddos, I might choose the later seating but there was also something nice about doing the "dinner and a show" thing instead of the other way around. Probably very much a personal choice.
07-16-2005, 09:51 AM
If you are going to attend the shows, you have to stop what you're doing in the afternoon and get ready for SOMETHING....whether it's dinner first or the show first. We had 6 p.m. seating. We made sure we were back to the room no later than 4 p.m. so we could all shower and have some downtime. (Read as DH attempting to nap and DD watching tv.)
Sunday, we couldn't be at sailaway and in the room getting ready at the same time. Therefore we went to dinner changed but not showered. We felt really rushed and yucky.
Monday, we got caught in a rainstorm in Nassau, so we got right into the showers after returning around 3:30. We felt so much better that night and it was dress-up night too. We left the room at 5:30 and had time for family portraits with Minnie, Mickey, ship background, and Donald/Daisy before 6:00.
Tuesday was Castaway Cay day. We returned to the ship around 1. DD and I hit the pools while DH took a nap. DD and I went to the room around 4.
Wednesday was @ sea. DD and were going to see "The Pacifier" at 3:30. I went to the Rainforest Room from 1-2:30 and got my shower in there. (loved it) When I returned to the room, all I had to do was apply make-up and dry my hair. DH stayed poolside with DD until 2 (she got tired of it earlier than expected) and then she got her shower. After we came back from the movie around 5, all we had to do was change into dinner outfits. It was SO much better to be relaxed...
Yes, we could have skipped things and had more pool time, but we have a pool in the backyard. That's just my take on it. Now if I was out on an excursion and couldn't make it back, I'd eat a fast-food supper that night.
Excursions and swimming at the pool are not in the same category for me.
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