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Old 06-14-2013, 07:53 AM   #1
Main Street Matilda
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Early Seating or Late Seating for Dinner

Ok - I know this is really a "personal preference" question, but this is our first Disney cruise and we are torn between early and late seating for dinner. I'm just wondering if there are factors that I'm not considering? For example, for early seating, do you find yourself running around after excursions to get back? Is the atmosphere different between the 2 seatings?

My kids are old enough that they can adapt to either - so my worry is that there are other factors I'm just not considering in my decision.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:58 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Main Street Matilda
Ok - I know this is really a "personal preference" question, but this is our first Disney cruise and we are torn between early and late seating for dinner. I'm just wondering if there are there factors that I'm not considering? For example, for early seating, do you find yourself running around after excursions to get back? Is the atmosphere different between the 2 seatings?

My kids are old enough that they can adapt to either - so my worry is that there are other factors I'm just not considering in my decision.
I prefer early because I'm diabetic. However, many people prefer the layer dining because it gives the a wee bit more time to get to the boat and it allows them to stay in the dining room longer (though there is no rush for the early dining except to get to the show on time.
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Old 06-14-2013, 07:58 AM   #3
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My sister went on a Disney cruise last year with her 8 year old and had the later dining. She said that was the worst mistake ever! She rebooked for this year and has requested early seating.

Having not traveled on Disney but on Carnival, I think that the early seating, especailly with kids is the best scenario. Sure some excursions may get done and you have to rush for dinner but in all, it is a better experience. If you have later dining, you are waiting until 8 to eat. By the time you are done with dining, the night life (if you are not a single drinking person) is about done. If you eat early, the kids can still enjoy activities, shows and even swimming. We traveled with two young girls about 8 & 10 and this timing worked out best. Plus, this is the time we normally ate. The later time is just so late to eat and is a lot of food to eat with only a few of hours before going to bed.

That's just my thought on it.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:00 AM   #4
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We prefer early but yea we do find ourselves rushing around for dinner but with that being said when we are done with dinner it's time to relax while its stills early!! I don't think my family could do late seating for one we eat early at home and another its nice being done eating while its still light outside... But like I said this is us... I'm sure there will e people point out the good things of te late dinner also...

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Old 06-14-2013, 08:01 AM   #5
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This is a thread where the same Question was asked.
I answered this in thread.

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3114562
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:02 AM   #6
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It's totally personal, but if I were you, I'd book early and switch to late depending on what you decide. Always a wait list for early, never late.

Btw, we have older kids (20&14) and we still like early. We never feel rushed, but we don't foo foo for a long time to get ready. We also liked to be dressed for the show. Don't enjoy sitting in the theater with the days skuz on us people will say there are way more kids at early, but I'm not a huge fan of kids so if there was an over abundance, we've never noticed. People will also say late is more leisurely and that's exactly why we don't like late. Dinners already take a very long time and the extra time is just tooooo long for us. All personal!
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:06 AM   #7
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This is what our family of 4 has found to work for us-two kids DS:13 and DD: 8.

Our first DCL vacay was in 2011 and we were so rushed from the first day. The Sail Away party and departure from PC was a little later due to weather but we still has a 5:45 dinner seating. Our kids also often take advantage of grabbing pizza and other snacks for lunch around 2 or 3 pm. We do so much during the day we have a late lunch and it kind of ruined having a dinner before 6pm.

Our last 2 cruises-most recently 3 weeks ago on the Fantasy- we have opted for the 8:15 seating. If your kids are into the pools or the Duck (if on the Dream class ships), they become a lot less crowded b/w 5-7 pm. Also, I suspect your older ones will be involved in Vibe or Edge, so they can hang out with their new friends for a bit longer during that primetime teenage time of the later afternoon going into the evening.

For me, I am also a character person and loved leaving dinner at 9:15ish and heading to the atrium for shorter lines (in my opinion).
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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Gosh, this is exactly why I'm glad I asked this question (and that these boards exist!). I didn't even consider things like the night-life and shows. I was really only thinking about excursions.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Main Street Matilda View Post
Gosh, this is exactly why I'm glad I asked this question (and that these boards exist!). I didn't even consider things like the night-life and shows. I was really only thinking about excursions.
If it's a late port, our experience has been, Disney holds dinner a little later. We've always been able to fully enjoy our time in port and still eat dinner in the MDR.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:31 AM   #10
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From what I can tell, every family is different with different needs. But here's what we found: Late seating did not work for us, at all

We've done a total of four cruises, all DCL. Our first three were early seating and the last one, the first Med of this season, was late. Originally, we were scheduled to do late on the EBTA and the Med. On our cruise meet thread for the EBTA it seemed that most folks strongly suggested doing late. We were scheduled to do late and changed to early close to sailing. It worked great for us. We love going to the shows after dinner so that our dinner actually settles. We eat early at home as well and we have young children (both are nine).

Anyway, we kept our late seating for the Med as everyone said we'd be too rushed to make ti to our early seating. I wish we hadn't listened. Late seating did not work for us or our kids. Our kids were so worn out from the excursions that they ended up not being able to make it to dinner a few nights. I would have rather we'd come back from excurisons to eat and skipped shows if need be. Plus, we hate going to bed with overly full tummies. I think we might have missed dinner once (on our Florence night) if we'd had early seating, but we ended up missing it twice (for the adults) and three times (for the kids) with late seating.

Anyway, just think about your family and go from there. Everyone told us that late was the way to go and it just didn't work for us.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:34 AM   #11
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I'd suggest you look at some navigators to see the sort of evening entertainment that is provided and decide based on that which you'd prefer.

I like late dining myself. Don't need to get ready for dinner too early, can either do it before the show or inbetween the show and dinner. Can then move straight onto evening activities.

Not sure if your aware of the dine and play scheme? This is offered on late dining only. Kids come to dinner with you and are served quickly then they are escorted to the kids clubs leaving the parents time alone.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:46 AM   #12
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We have only done two cruises. One with late and one with early. We have young kids and I have to say I much prefer late dining. I hate missing the shows and we missed 4 of them on our recent cruise because we were either meeting characters, having photos done or just too tired to sit through a show.
With early dining we were late 4 times getting to dinner.
With late dining the kids could be fed and then the youth counselors came and got them and took them to the club or lab. Then we could enjoy our leisurely dinner. We got to do the earlier shows so we never missed one. It was the best of both worlds for us.
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:49 AM   #13
Main Street Matilda
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I'd also be concerned about the kid's programs. I'd want my children, the youngest in particular, to have time after dinner to go "hang out". Does an early seating allow for that?
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Old 06-14-2013, 08:59 AM   #14
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I think it depends on your routine at home. We normally eat dinner around 800pm. The late seating is perfect for us.
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Old 06-14-2013, 09:07 AM   #15
tajz90
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Main Street Matilda View Post
I'd also be concerned about the kid's programs. I'd want my children, the youngest in particular, to have time after dinner to go "hang out". Does an early seating allow for that?
My experience is that I had a harder time making our kids show up for late dinner than early. They much preferred to spend the evening... ALL EVENING with their new friends.
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