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Old 01-21-2013, 10:11 PM   #1
Meekins
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Newbie Disney Cruise questions

We are contemplating booking an Alaskan cruise for July 2013; however in looking at avaialility on the site (and understanding that we are booking late)...there is only late dinner seating available. Our on last cruise (not DCL) we got late seating and it was a disaster with our 6 yo DD...she was asleep within 5 minutes of arriving.

Has anyone had luck EASILY changin from Late to Early seating? Our our last cruise I spent 3 days back and forth with the Maitre D about the issue (since the travel agent told me changing it on the boat would not be a problem) and honestly the arguing just ruined the vacation for me...and to be honest we did not want to be stuck eating at the buffet each night.

If we DID have to stay with the late seating...how does the entertainment work? Are there earlier shows for those with late dinner? DD loves the shows so we would not want to miss those.

Lastly - and this will sound like a crazy question...DD is still somewhat unsure of the Disney characters - specifically the ones in full costumes and I am just hoping that she would not be scared of them. Anyone else have a child who was unsure prior to the cruise? If so, how did they deal with the characters on board? So far DD is only "ok" with the princesses, but apparently Mickey, Minnie, Donald etc. are all 'scary'

Thanks for your advice and feedback...I need to decide if we are doing this cruise within the next week and I am stressed right out with options!
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meekins View Post
We are contemplating booking an Alaskan cruise for July 2013; however in looking at avaialility on the site (and understanding that we are booking late)...there is only late dinner seating available. Our on last cruise (not DCL) we got late seating and it was a disaster with our 6 yo DD...she was asleep within 5 minutes of arriving.

Has anyone had luck EASILY changin from Late to Early seating? Our our last cruise I spent 3 days back and forth with the Maitre D about the issue (since the travel agent told me changing it on the boat would not be a problem) and honestly the arguing just ruined the vacation for me...and to be honest we did not want to be stuck eating at the buffet each night.

If we DID have to stay with the late seating...how does the entertainment work? Are there earlier shows for those with late dinner? DD loves the shows so we would not want to miss those.

Lastly - and this will sound like a crazy question...DD is still somewhat unsure of the Disney characters - specifically the ones in full costumes and I am just hoping that she would not be scared of them. Anyone else have a child who was unsure prior to the cruise? If so, how did they deal with the characters on board? So far DD is only "ok" with the princesses, but apparently Mickey, Minnie, Donald etc. are all 'scary'

Thanks for your advice and feedback...I need to decide if we are doing this cruise within the next week and I am stressed right out with options!
First thing, call DCL and ask to be placed on the wait list for early dining, well when you make your reservation. Since you will have time before your cruise, it's not a bad idea to follow up with DCL periodically, to "make sure that you're still on the list" (remember the squeaky wheel?). If the request hasn't come through by the time you board, go immediatly upon boarding to the dining changes desk and ask again. In most cases any and all of these methods work. Sometimes they just can't. You have other options. You can eat the buffet for dinner. It's a sit-down table service with a menu of selected items from the other MDR menus that night plus a salad bar and carving station. They serve dinner roughly during the early through late dining times. You can go when ever you wish.

The shows are approximately at the same time as the dinner seatings, early seating goes to the show afterward, late seating goes to the show before dinner.

The character have been trained to be aware of "furry people fears" They will not approach your daughter. She must approach them first.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:17 PM   #3
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We are doing a Bahamian Cruise in April, on the Dream--and we also got the late seating. I put the request in for a change right after I booked and when I paid my final balance--I noticed we had been changed to the main seating (we have 3 staterooms). I have a 2 and 6 year old--so I completely understand your concern!

I've also read that you can sometimes go to the first seating and see if there are any tables available--as sometimes people don't show up.

Hope that helps!
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:20 PM   #4
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Contrary to poplar opinion, they do not "fill up" main seating and then start on late. They attempt to balance the number of guests in each of the slots. If you don't make a request for main, you are automatically placed on late (because they have so many more requests for main.) They also "hold back" some main slots because if one books concierge, one automatically gets which ever one desires.

As above, wait list for main, and then follow up on the request. Dining table assignments are not made until 2 weeks before the cruise, and you can be moved at any time both before and after that.
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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I am in a similar situation as you. Our cruise is 5 days away on the dream and we were put on late dining. We have 2 staterooms and my mom is currently undergoing chemotherapy. With this particular type of chemo that she is on she cannot eat between the hours of 7 pm and 10 pm. I was put on the wait list shortly after we booked the cruise for the early dining. I called to check on any updates on our dining time the other day and there has been no change, we are still on the wait list 5 days out. So we are hoping that they will be able to accommodate once we get on the ship otherwise we will miss out on all the restaurants
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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I am in a similar situation as you. Our cruise is 5 days away on the dream and we were put on late dining. We have 2 staterooms and my mom is currently undergoing chemotherapy. With this particular type of chemo that she is on she cannot eat between the hours of 7 pm and 10 pm. I was put on the wait list shortly after we booked the cruise for the early dining. I called to check on any updates on our dining time the other day and there has been no change, we are still on the wait list 5 days out. So we are hoping that they will be able to accommodate once we get on the ship otherwise we will miss out on all the restaurants
Did you note this as a medical need rather than simply a request? If so, it should have been met by now. It may be too late to make a difference in advance, but you will be able to explain it to the head servers at the location noted on the Navigator for "dining changes."
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
Did you note this as a medical need rather than simply a request? If so, it should have been met by now. It may be too late to make a difference in advance, but you will be able to explain it to the head servers at the location noted on the Navigator for "dining changes."
When I called to make the request I notified them of the medical reason and they put a note with our request that it was for medical reasons. I was never told to do anything different so I think so I will take your advice and speak with the head servers. Thank you!
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:24 AM   #8
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Can't speak to the dining issue, but I can tell you that the characters are really fabulous with fearful children. This is true Disney-wide. They will often do something like offer a hand for the child to look at, or try a high-five. Don't worry that they will be too pushy. They're really great with apprehensive kids.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:42 AM   #9
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On our first Disney Cruise we were wait listed for main seating. I noticed days before the sailing that our reservation showed that we had main seating so sometime in the days leading up to the cruise, we were switched over. I read a lot at the time (this time last year actually) about that happening. I wouldn't stress about it too much either.

I know it was already answered but basically when main dining is eating, late dining is taking in the shows. So you will be watching a show and then going to dinner if you end up with late dining. Whereas with main dining you go eat and then go to the show.

A benefit of the later seating is that the kids club counselors come to the dining room to collect children that are finished with dinner partway through the dinner service. So you can enjoy your meal while your daughter is enjoying herself in the kids club if you chose to use that option. I have also heard late dining is less rushed than main dining (there are all sorts of threads on here about late versus main on benefits for one over the other). I have had main dining each cruise so I haven't actually experienced this child pickup benefit but I could tell you that both of my kids would love it if they knew about it! They both ADORE the kids club. One is eight and the other is five.
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Old 01-22-2013, 12:52 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kcashner View Post
Contrary to poplar opinion, they do not "fill up" main seating and then start on late. They attempt to balance the number of guests in each of the slots. If you don't make a request for main, you are automatically placed on late (because they have so many more requests for main.) They also "hold back" some main slots because if one books concierge, one automatically gets which ever one desires.

As above, wait list for main, and then follow up on the request. Dining table assignments are not made until 2 weeks before the cruise, and you can be moved at any time both before and after that.
And as above, no character (face or fur) is ever supposed to approach a child. They may wave or make other gestures, but the child will have to initiate anything more than that. If the child shows any fear, the character will just ignore them and give them their space.
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:35 PM   #11
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Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply - I feel better having a better understanding of it! Now I just have to convince my DH and we really can afford it He has requested this trip to Vancouver to see my 'out-laws' and while I am willing to go...it would be SO much more fun if the week of 'out-law' fun was followed with a fabulous cruise
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:58 PM   #12
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Thanks so much for all of the helpful information! I'm a newbie too and there's lots to take in!
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:59 AM   #13
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Regardless of how the Dining arrangements turn out. If you are even the slightest of "outdoor" people you will absolutely LOVE the Alaska cruise. We have been on 8 Disney cruises and the Alaska cruise was by far our favorite. It is so wonderful to see all of the mountains, glaciers, wildlife etc. whenever you look out a window or go out on deck, instead of just seeing the ocean as you sail from port to port. We have never spent so much time on the verandah and at the rail on the top deck as we did on that cruise.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Meekins
Lastly - and this will sound like a crazy question...DD is still somewhat unsure of the Disney characters - specifically the ones in full costumes and I am just hoping that she would not be scared of them. Anyone else have a child who was unsure prior to the cruise? If so, how did they deal with the characters on board? So far DD is only "ok" with the princesses, but apparently Mickey, Minnie, Donald etc. are all 'scary'
Not a crazy question at all. When we embarked on our first DCL cruise, youngest DD (almost 4 at the time) was TOTALLY afraid of all the characters except the princesses (she was also afraid of Santa and the Easter Bunny, so we weren't surprised). I still laugh at our formal night picture where she is cowering to get as far away from Mickey as possible. The characters are everywhere, but as previous posters have said, are very careful not to upset kids who are afraid of them. I refer to this cruise as her immersion therapy because by the end of the cruise, she was doing Friendship Rocks and shaking hands with Mickey and hasn't been wary of any characters since.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:22 PM   #15
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We booked our Alaska cruise for this June late too. Most of the options had only late dining, but then one of the room options suddenly had main dining! We had no idea why, but maybe spend some time tweaking options and room numbers to see if something new pops up! I also have one who is nervous around "big heads" and they were great about keeping their distance by just blowing a kiss or waving. She was fine if she didn't feel they were coming over to her.
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