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Old 05-31-2011, 07:02 PM   #1
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Main Dining or 2nd seating?

Which is better and why?

I just saw a thread about the pirate party and they mentioned that they may miss part of the party because of their 2nd dining time.
Anyone else know of anything that you may miss because of your seating time?
We would like to do Palo one night and have 3 kids, is thier a dinner time that is better for that?
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:25 PM   #2
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We had the second seating and although we did not miss the Pirate Party, we did miss getting a good place to stand to see everything. We also were not hungry and they had all sorts of great food and deserts. My next cruise I will plan to eat early like the buffet instead of my normal dinner time, if we choose a late seating again.


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Old 05-31-2011, 07:45 PM   #3
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The answers to this question are as varied as they come. I personally ALWAYS book the late dinner seating. I didn't miss any of the pirate party (although I certainly was not hungry for any of the dessert buffet they had either!)

I like the more laid back feeling of the 2nd dining, and not having to rush my day to get ready for an early dinner. Also, not having to get up SUPER early on the last day of the cruise for breakfast is another reason I like the 2nd dinner seating.

Disney schedules things on the ships so that you shouldn't miss events with either dining time (at least they try to do that.)

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Old 05-31-2011, 08:12 PM   #4
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We're getting ready for our third Disney Cruise and chose the late dining time for the third time. I agree with the other posters. There really isn't anything that you are going to miss by doing the second dining. We certainly weren't hungry enough for the pirate buffet, but the 11:30 PM desert buffet was a different story all together.

I think that a lot of your choice depends on the ages of your children and how late they are going to be willing to stay up. My son and I went when he was 10 and again when he was 12 and the second seating was perfect for us. Of course he always has a ton of energy so staying up late wasn't a problem, getting up in the morning was.

I understand that the second seating is far les rushed and I found it very easy to get good seats for the evening show every night. I did hear complaints from fellow cruisers that with everyone rushing from early dinner to the second show it got a bit overwhelming.

I hope you have a great time!

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Old 05-31-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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One consideration with first seating is on port days if you have first seating you may have to hurry back to the ship for dinner, miss dinner in the dining room, eat elsewhere that night, or make arrangements (if possible) to eat at second seating. If you have second seating this is not an issue.

As for dining in Palo, you can eat with your kids in the dining room and then go to dinner at Palo while they go to the kids clubs or in reverse depending upon your seating.

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Old 05-31-2011, 10:04 PM   #6
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None of us can answer that question for you, only you can.

We prefer late seating, because on a Caribbean cruise, our bodies never really adjust to the time change (West Coaster here), and it is closer to our regular dining time.
DW and I have been cruising for nearly 30 years, and we are old school cruisers. We like having a leisurely 2 hour dinner, and late seating fits us better for those reason. They don't have to rush us out to prepare for a second seating. My first cruise, dinner was 3 1/2 hours, and 12 courses. It was a production, not a meal. Of course, that also was on a very formal ship with just one seating for dinner, and a ship where the night club didn't even open until 1:30 am.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:29 PM   #7
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You should consider whether you will want to see all of the shows, also. If you have main seating, you would attend the later show. If you have the second seating, your show is earlier, a little later than Main Seating time, but not too much later! We had main seating on the Alaskan cruise, and we were only rushed getting ready for dinner once, returning from our excursion in Ketchikan. I felt we would have been just as rushed getting ready to see the show after returning from our excursion. We felt it was an advantage that we were already dressed for the show after dinner, and could head to the theater right away when we left the dining room.

If you are concerned about late returns from excursions, this is how we handled that: We discussed our potential late return with our server several nights in advance. He suggested several alternatives, including coming late to dinner (he suggested a time after which we would not have a choice from the menu, although we would be fed no matter how late we showed up), requesting to be moved to second seating through the head server, or selecting our meal ahead of time and having our meal delivered to our stateroom. This was all in addition to the options of visiting the buffet or using room service. He assured us we would not go hungry. That conversation put our minds at ease, and we knew what our options were when we returned to the ship after the excursion. As it turned out, we had plenty of time to change to semi-formal clothes (on our cruise, Captain's Gala Menu was served on Ketchikan night...) and arrived at our seating only about 15-20 minutes late. Since our server already knew we were at a late excursion, they were ready for us.

As you've seen from the pps, this is a personal preference. Disney will try to accommodate you if something interferes with your ability to get to your seating on time. You should take your family's preferences into account when making your choice. There are pros and cons to both seatings.
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:04 PM   #8
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I think late seating is good for adults-only parties and those with older children (i.e., teens). Seems a little less hectic, a little less noisy (I had late once when my party was mostly adults; my almost-11 year old twins loved being allowed to go back to the room (or the Lab) themselves while the adults lingered over dessert).

Still, I don't like to eat late; I always book early seating if I can. So alot is personal preference. If you are travelling with youngsters, late seating can be a bit late for them. If you are a west coast family, you may prefer later seating (for east coast sailings).

Have a great trip either way!
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Old 05-31-2011, 11:08 PM   #9
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We like late dining -- more relaxed, quieter, and less rushed. And we didn't have any problems getting to the pirate party in plenty of time. But early dining is more popular from what I hear, mostly because people with small children want them fed early.

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