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Old 01-07-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
megs193
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Chances of changing dining time once onboard?

We booked our cruise about 30 days out and all that was left was second seating. Has anyone had luck changing their dining time once they got onboard? Who do I talk to? If we are unable to change, how is the menu at the buffet? Does it change daily or stay the same the whole cruise? Do they offer any appetizers or desserts? Thanks in advance!
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:26 PM   #2
PrincessShmoo
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Originally Posted by megs193 View Post
We booked our cruise about 30 days out and all that was left was second seating. Has anyone had luck changing their dining time once they got onboard? Who do I talk to? If we are unable to change, how is the menu at the buffet? Does it change daily or stay the same the whole cruise? Do they offer any appetizers or desserts? Thanks in advance!
Have you asked to have your name added to the waiting list? That's the first step. When you checkin at the port, if the early seating request hasn't come through, you must go to the dining changes desk once onboard and ask again there. In most cases either or both of these tactics work.

The buffet for dinner is sit-down table service with a menu of selected items from the other menus available that night in the MDRs. There is also a salad bar and carving station. The menu setup is the same, appitizers/soups/entrees/lighter fare/desserts.

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Old 01-07-2013, 05:39 PM   #3
kcashner
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Exactly as above--call immediately and ask to be waitlisted for the time you want. Repeat this phone call about every 2-3 days (squeaky wheel theory).

Then, if your KTTW card still shows late, go to "dining changes" and see if they can help you.

And, there is no buffet at dinner. Cabanas/Topsiders/BBB is closed on the first and last nights of the cruise. On other nights, there is a cruise casual sit down with menu selections from the main dining menu. The food is excellent.
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Old 01-07-2013, 05:44 PM   #4
Tara619
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I'm curious about this too. We booked in October for a June cruise and got second seating. I called last week to be put on the waiting list. I really hope we can get first. I don't think I can eat that late and so close to bedtime. Not to mention a very cranky kid.

What benefit is it to call every 2-3 days if I'm already on the wait list?
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:06 PM   #5
megs193
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If I booked through a travel agent can I still call Disney directly to ask about being wait listed? I am really hoping to be able to switch to early dining but am happy to hear that BBB is sit down and has good food.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:13 PM   #6
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I'm in the same situation. Last year, the same thing happened, and we were granted first seating a few weeks before we left after I had us put on the waiting list. This time, though, we're at about 3 weeks and still no deal. I had my TA contact DCL to note that I have two members of my party who are diabetic, and therefore need to eat at an earlier time. 8 PM is just way too late for a big meal, regardless if they have access to snacks earlier. That could really escalate their sugar levels. The result, appears, to be the same: We're on the waiting list regardless of reason, and my TA said I need to fill out medical forms and submit them to DCL. I didn't have to do this last time.

I'm getting myself mentally prepared to go beg once on the ship for our time to be switched. It might be harder this year because our travel party is so much bigger.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tara619 View Post
I'm curious about this too. We booked in October for a June cruise and got second seating. I called last week to be put on the waiting list. I really hope we can get first. I don't think I can eat that late and so close to bedtime. Not to mention a very cranky kid.

What benefit is it to call every 2-3 days if I'm already on the wait list?
It's the "squeaky wheel" concept. It gets a little more attention.

Quote:
Originally Posted by megs193 View Post
If I booked through a travel agent can I still call Disney directly to ask about being wait listed? I am really hoping to be able to switch to early dining but am happy to hear that BBB is sit down and has good food.

I believe, if you used a TA, they have to make the request.

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:50 PM   #8
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We are also in this situation! The kids are used to eating early and it will wreck the evenings to feed them at 8. They will be sullen crying messes by 8pm and then they will get a post dinner energy boost and be impossible to get to bed!! If we cannot change to the early seating we will be eating twice. Adults will eat a light appetizer and kids will eat dinner around 5:30/6pm at Cabanas and then at 8pm Adults will eat regular dinner and kids can eat dessert or go to the club.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #9
mikensarah83
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Originally Posted by megs193 View Post
If I booked through a travel agent can I still call Disney directly to ask about being wait listed? I am really hoping to be able to switch to early dining but am happy to hear that BBB is sit down and has good food.
We went through a travel agent with our last cruise; our TA had to change/add anything to the booking. When I would call Disney they would tell me they were unable to change that I would have to contact my TA. Even to add transfers from the cruise to the airport had to be done through the TA.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:05 PM   #10
kcashner
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It is a common misconception that they "fill up" main seating first and then fill late. This is simply not true. They BALANCE the seatings, and early on they don't know how full the cruise will be. If a family of 12 requests early and gets it, the next roughly 12 people who book will be assigned to late. If they ask, they will be wait listed to main. Then, number 13 will get main again. They will continue to attempt to balance the bookings. Ultimately there will be people who cancel the cruise, and they will take people from the wait list to fill those slots.

The squeaky wheel--all you need is one CM who looks at the schedule and says "Oh why not..." and moves you to main. Dining doesn't do actual seat assignments till 2 weeks before the cruise, so any time before that it is up to the CM you talk to whether he/she moves your assignment or not based on what he/she sees on their computer. After that, you can't do anything till after boarding.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:29 PM   #11
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this is more or less what DH and I plan to do. We have two DD's (4 and2) and have second seating on our first cruise( in 12 days!) 7 nights on fantasy . We booked about a month ago and it seems that our ship is pretty full (only cat 4a opens as an option when I look online now). I had been on the waiting list for early dining but the wondering ( will we get it or not?) made it hard for me to make plans and book nursery hours for dd2.
So- I called back and took my name off early dining list. I made nursery reservations for 8-10 every night for DD2, figuring that asking her to sit thru dinner after her bedtime would be a LOT for a two year old to handle. We don;t eat out a lot and restaurant manners leave something to be desired to start with. I wanted to be sure that nursery care was an option if she was cooked. I'm hoping she won't be so cooked that DH and I will hve to skip dinner and head back to the room with her.

the new plan:
hit the bufft or a quick serve around 5 for food- dinner or snack for girls, snack for DH and I.
go see the early show as a family- we think that this would be the experience the girls would like more in a choice between "fancy dinner" and show. They'll be awake and alert for the show.
take a reading of where they are on the exhaustion scale- if they're perky, we'll bring them to dinner and ask servers to expedite meals- send them to the club when the counselors come for "eat and play". If not perky, bring them directly to the club and have an adult meal while they play or veg.
I'm thinking that our four year old may actually make it to dinner a couple nights, less sure about the two.
I did request to be in the rotation that has three animators' visits to maximize chances that they'll be up for it at least once- not sure what the odds are for getting this but I can hope. this is the one MDR taht I think has the most appeal for small kids and the greatest likelihood of keeping them alert while waiting for food... I also figure that we can see the other MDR's for breakfast and lunch so if the girls don't make it to dinner they can see it another time.

I do have the following questions- so if anyone can speak from experience I'd appreciate it-
-will they take dd2 from the MDR to the nursery with dine and play or is that only for lab and club kids? DD2 has no separation issues and will happily follow dd4 anywhere or go with grownups I say are OK.
- if we wind up taking DD2 to dinner rather than her reserved time at the nursery, will they charge us anyway? Is there a cancellation window you have to call before in order to not be charged? In the scope of cruise costs, $6 isn't a lot to lose on peace of mind (knowing that we have the nursery option planned out) but it would buy me a nice adult beverage
- how did your small kids handle late dining if you've done it? Any tips? Is it worth it to try and bring small toys etc to the table for distraction or are they not necessary?
- how busy/loud is the club at night- I'm hoping that my 4 yo will be able to find a quieter nook to watch a movie or read or color rather than be shepherded into the lighted playfloor etc
-do you think the nursery would try to get my two year old to sleep if she's there after 8- would there be cots or whatever for her to do that? I'd love it if they could, just to keep her closer to her normal schedule. should I bring her in her jammies? We'd probably plan to wait until after the show to dress the girls so we could decide whether to dress them up for dinner or down for the club.

thanks for your advice.

Stacey
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:32 PM   #12
Summerl30
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I wanted to switch from early to late. Does this mean that I have to wait? Its less than 2 weeks away. Eh, I actually don't really care. Its DH that wants late dining and I told him I wanted to wait to see if the kids can do it. We've had them eat at 7 for the last 2 months. Just our last seems to have a bit of problems, but I know it would make dh happy, so I was going to call today anyway and didn't get through everything on my to-do list today.
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stacecakes View Post
this is more or less what DH and I plan to do. We have two DD's (4 and2) and have second seating on our first cruise( in 12 days!) 7 nights on fantasy . We booked about a month ago and it seems that our ship is pretty full (only cat 4a opens as an option when I look online now). I had been on the waiting list for early dining but the wondering ( will we get it or not?) made it hard for me to make plans and book nursery hours for dd2.
So- I called back and took my name off early dining list. I made nursery reservations for 8-10 every night for DD2, figuring that asking her to sit thru dinner after her bedtime would be a LOT for a two year old to handle. We don;t eat out a lot and restaurant manners leave something to be desired to start with. I wanted to be sure that nursery care was an option if she was cooked. I'm hoping she won't be so cooked that DH and I will hve to skip dinner and head back to the room with her.

the new plan:
hit the bufft or a quick serve around 5 for food- dinner or snack for girls, snack for DH and I.
go see the early show as a family- we think that this would be the experience the girls would like more in a choice between "fancy dinner" and show. They'll be awake and alert for the show.
take a reading of where they are on the exhaustion scale- if they're perky, we'll bring them to dinner and ask servers to expedite meals- send them to the club when the counselors come for "eat and play". If not perky, bring them directly to the club and have an adult meal while they play or veg.
I'm thinking that our four year old may actually make it to dinner a couple nights, less sure about the two.
I did request to be in the rotation that has three animators' visits to maximize chances that they'll be up for it at least once- not sure what the odds are for getting this but I can hope. this is the one MDR taht I think has the most appeal for small kids and the greatest likelihood of keeping them alert while waiting for food... I also figure that we can see the other MDR's for breakfast and lunch so if the girls don't make it to dinner they can see it another time.

I do have the following questions- so if anyone can speak from experience I'd appreciate it-
-will they take dd2 from the MDR to the nursery with dine and play or is that only for lab and club kids? DD2 has no separation issues and will happily follow dd4 anywhere or go with grownups I say are OK.
- if we wind up taking DD2 to dinner rather than her reserved time at the nursery, will they charge us anyway? Is there a cancellation window you have to call before in order to not be charged? In the scope of cruise costs, $6 isn't a lot to lose on peace of mind (knowing that we have the nursery option planned out) but it would buy me a nice adult beverage
- how did your small kids handle late dining if you've done it? Any tips? Is it worth it to try and bring small toys etc to the table for distraction or are they not necessary?
- how busy/loud is the club at night- I'm hoping that my 4 yo will be able to find a quieter nook to watch a movie or read or color rather than be shepherded into the lighted playfloor etc
-do you think the nursery would try to get my two year old to sleep if she's there after 8- would there be cots or whatever for her to do that? I'd love it if they could, just to keep her closer to her normal schedule. should I bring her in her jammies? We'd probably plan to wait until after the show to dress the girls so we could decide whether to dress them up for dinner or down for the club.

thanks for your advice.

Stacey
We did not do late when the kids were really little, but now we prefer it. Our youngest will be 6 this week. And she did just fine with late last summer. I could definitely see how it would be too much for a 2-year-old though. At the tables, they will have crayons and a menu with activities on it for the kids. If you have really good servers, they may also try to entertain the kids, but this is normally after dinner is served. We like late now because we can speed up the kids' meals and then send them out with the CMs to the Club/Lab. You can still do that with early, but you have to take them yourself.

As for the nursery - I don't think the CMs will take her to the nursery for you. You'll need to drop her off and sign her in - unless they've changed this on the new ships. (The last time we used the nursery we were on the Magic.) It probably has something to do with the charge.

They will charge you if you're a no show. But I don't know how far in advance you need to cancel. I'd just check with them the first night and ask.

There are always quiet spots in the Club/Lab for the kids. They really have a lot of freedom to do what they want. I almost always find DD5 in a princess costume drawing or watching a princess movie.

The nursery will definitely try and get her to sleep if you ask them to. They keep it quiet in the back part for the babies who are sleeping. I'm not sure they were ever successful in getting DD to sleep, but I know they tried. I have seen CM's rocking kids and soothing them in cribs too. I would definitely take her in jammies in the later evening.

Good luck and enjoy your cruise!!!!
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:56 PM   #14
meajuly5
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I had a 5 and a 1.5 and all we could get was 2nd seating. Missed one dinner. They fell asleep twice and went to the club a few times. The baby stayed with me and napped right at the table. There were more than a few tables with sleeping kids...
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Old 01-07-2013, 07:58 PM   #15
kcashner
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Originally Posted by Summerl30 View Post
I wanted to switch from early to late. Does this mean that I have to wait? Its less than 2 weeks away. Eh, I actually don't really care. Its DH that wants late dining and I told him I wanted to wait to see if the kids can do it. We've had them eat at 7 for the last 2 months. Just our last seems to have a bit of problems, but I know it would make dh happy, so I was going to call today anyway and didn't get through everything on my to-do list today.
Don't wait--call DCL ASAP. Moving from early to late is a request that will definitely be granted and you'll make another family very happy. Whether the CM is still able to do it or she has to send a message to dining services on the ship, it will happen.

Just a hint--we always get a "healthy" late afternoon snack with late seating. It makes everything much happier.
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