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Dinner Time...1st or 2nd seating

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by j2o, Feb 21, 2013.

  1. j2o

    j2o Earning My Ears

    Apr 4, 2012
    We are off on our first Disney cruise aboard the Magic in May. What are your opinions on 1st versus 2nd dinner? Right now we are scheduled for the 1st, but are considering trying to change (if that is still an option).

    We've got 4 kiddos: DD10, DS9, DD7, DD5. Usually the 2 littlest ones are in bed by 7:30 sometime 8:00 during the school week, so we said of course - they won't be up for the late meal....but now we are wondering if we will have so many things to do during the day not to mention all the eating throughout the day, that we might not be *ready* for dinner until the 2nd shift.

    What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of the different time.

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  3. suffieldhockeymom

    suffieldhockeymom DIS Veteran

    Mar 14, 2012
    We always eat 2nd seating because we don't want to be rushed. We snack around the pool and enjoy the crowd relief while the 1st seating is happening. After the early show there's time to go to the family club or get dressed for dinner (we go to the show straight from the pool). The kids can dine and play and the club picks them up at 9 from the dining room (make sure you tell your server and they expedite their meals).
  4. sdflipside

    sdflipside Earning My Ears

    Aug 18, 2012
    We did first seating, and it worked out well for our kids. Even with first seating, my DS age 4 fell asleep at dinner table one night....but at least he got a few bites in. LOL.
  5. gatorfreud

    gatorfreud DIS Veteran

    Mar 23, 2008
    If they normally go to bed that early, no WAY would I keep them up to finish dinner at like 10pm! Sounds like a nightmare to me. I would do early dinner, then one of you can take the little ones to bed, and the older kids can go do some other stuff! I never sacrificed my kids' sleep on vacation... they just got too crabby. Not worth it for me.

    Even last summer, mine (7 and 9 at the time) were ready for bed by 9. At home they can easily stay up until 9. We got a nice little ritual of snuggling up in the beds, watching a disney movie, and ordering milk and cookies from room service. :)

  6. melglnh2o

    melglnh2o DIS Veteran

    Jan 13, 2013
    I have a little one (almost 3) and we always do first seating. Sometimes we felt a little rushed getting ready for dinner but it sure beats a meltdown at the dinner table because my DD was overly tired from the day's activities.
  7. Heyriddle

    Heyriddle Mouseketeer

    Mar 4, 2011
    Being from the west coast, we prefer second seating.
  8. Minnie321

    Minnie321 DIS Veteran

    Jan 4, 2010
    We did first seating last week on our first cruise and we liked it - we never felt rushed - even coming in from an excursion that got back at 4. My kids are older so that was not part of our decision - we just decided if we did late they would want popcorn and stuff at the show and would not want dinner.
  9. jayteadunn

    jayteadunn Earning My Ears

    Feb 1, 2013
    We have always had second and on the last cruise we became convinced that we needed to switch to first. Kids are too tired for second. Ours are 12, 11, and 7.
  10. rentayenta

    rentayenta <img src=http://photopost.wdwinfo.com/data/500/dm.

    Feb 28, 2007
    I have been wrestling with this too OP and finally decided to keep the first seating. It will just be DS12 and myself. We are staying with the first seating for a few reasons including that we're early risers. Even coming from Utah, we won't want to eat dinner at 8:00. We eat at 5:00 at home. We also want to take advantage of late night room service. And by late I mean 10 or 10:30. :rotfl2: If we stat dinner at 8:00 there's no way we'll eat again.

    My only concern is feeling rushed during the day but the all aboard time doesn't interfere with dinner so rushing to get ready wont be an issue. I'm also afraid we'd pig out during the show and not be able to try all of the wonderful foods I've read so much about.

    Good luck with your decision. :goodvibes
  11. Alfiebookshop

    Alfiebookshop Earning My Ears

    Jan 7, 2012
    We did 1st sitting last year and found it a little rushed. This year we've booked late dining. That said we haven't got children coming with us - it may be a little late for little ones
  12. MrsDuck

    MrsDuck DIS Veteran

    Sep 2, 2011
    On our honeymoon cruise (December 2012) we had 2nd seating.

    I'm a teacher and am usually in bed by 9 most nights. 2nd seating was not good for us. We were pooped after a full day of activities (and recovering from some wedding stress!) and were typically exhausted by dinner. After dinner, we typically just went to bed.

    If your schedule doesn't normally include a late dinner, I'd opt for first seating.
  13. sftnslky

    sftnslky **May every day be filled with Magical memories**

    Feb 22, 2006
    We are also on the West Coast and second seating is what we choose every time. The two main reasons being the first seating is 5pm which is really 2pm to us...so WAY to early to eat dinner :rotfl: and secondly the second seating is more comfortable...they are not in a HURRY to get you in and out to set up for second seating...and most families with tweens/teens are in the second seating. :thumbsup2
  14. DLW8

    DLW8 DIS Veteran

    Jun 3, 2008
    We have always done late seating (kids were 7 when we first sailed) and it worked well for us. Now that they are older, we definitely do late dining. We don't usually eat dinner until after 7 anyway, and during sports seasons, it's anywhere from 8 - 9. Eating at 5:45 is too early for us. If we are hungry, we grab a snack from the pool deck or something from room service to hold us over.

    Good luck!
  15. reimero

    reimero DIS Veteran

    Apr 20, 2011
    We've only done second seating, but we prefer it. Our main reasons are these:
    1. Early seating is a LOT more crowded. When we last sailed, from what our server told us, early seating was booked solid. Every seat in every MDR was taken. At late seating, twice now, they put 4 of us at a table for 6.
    2. Early seating is on a slightly tighter time crunch, especially if you're on the Fantasy doing the last Animator's dinner. It's still a good period of time, but they do have to reset the dining room for late seating.
    3. On long/late port days, early seating sometimes before All Aboard time (all aboard at 5:30, but dinner begins at 5:15.) Once you factor in the time needed to get ready for dinner, it can cut your shore stay short. This is especially true if you have an afternoon excursion.
    4. Depending on your cruise, early seating may mean only having the option of seeing the late show in the theater. Sometimes there's a 3pm matinee, sometimes there is not. If seeing the shows is a priority, this is a consideration.
    5. Early seating means early breakfast on debarkation morning.

    Now, if you have young children, keeping to an established schedule is a compelling reason to go with early seating. But the first time we cruised, we were concerned because we don't normally have dinner at 8:15 at night and didn't know how well we'd handle it, but early dining was sold out. We needn't have worried. Late seating worked extremely well for us.
  16. joelnkelly

    joelnkelly Mouseketeer

    Dec 6, 2010
    With two kids ages 8 and 5 we always do first seating. 2nd seating would end way to late and i would rather have them eat early and enjoy a full evening in the kids club. My kids get really grumpy when they dont have dinner by a certain time and I couldnt imagine making them wait for dinner until later.

    Now if it was just myself and the wife I would probably prefer second seating because I hear more families sign up for first seating.
  17. aprilchem

    aprilchem DIS Veteran

    Jan 9, 2013
    Mine are 3, 5, and 7 with a normal bedtime of 7 pm and we chose second seating. We are "schedule" people at home, but when we are on vacation we allow much later bedtimes and the kids compensate by sleeping in later in the mornings. It's our first cruise, but from what I've read on these boards I think we'd prefer the extra time to enjoy our evenings before having to get dressed for dinner & such.
  18. jnsma

    jnsma Mouseketeer DVC Gold

    Mar 9, 2007
    Given your home routine, I'd stay with the early.

    Our kids are 8. We eat at 6 and they go to bed at 8:30 at home. I don't know how they'd react to eating that late every night and don't want to find out. They are busy enough during the day and stay up a little later when on vacation. By the end of the week they start to get cranky and I wouldn't want to push dinner back.

    The one thing we do try to do is shut off other food after 3 or so. There is so many tempting options by the pool that they'd snack all afternoon as opposed to going to dinner. By having the cutoff they are hungry and ready to eat at dinner.

    I've never really felt rushed but then again an hour+ dinner with kids is plenty for me and I don't need to stay longer. Pre-kids or at Palo, I definately enjoy a longer meal.
  19. k3chantal

    k3chantal DIS Veteran

    Sep 7, 2011
    We had the first seating on our first cruise and thought it was the right choice then. But we quickly realized that everyone in our family was happier if the 18 month old ate in the nursery. So I started making nursery reservations for that time.

    Jump forward two years and we are now booked for our next cruise. The first time we did not have a time zone difference and for our next cruise we will. I am currently scheduled for the first seating (I was told it would be easier to get the second seating if we wanted to change) and will probably keep it because if we go to the second seating; it will be VERY late for us since we are use to California time.

    But if you seem more partial to the later seating, your younger kids could try eating at their club.
  20. NickyDa

    NickyDa Mouseketeer

    Mar 14, 2011
    Our first time we had the early dinner and I felt like I was always checking my watch to make sure we had time to get ready for dinner. Next cruise, we opted for 2nd seating and WOW!! We could stay at the pool later, the line for Aquaduck was smaller, I didn't have to worry about starting showers and drying hair for my daughter and I at 4pm...everything just seemed to flow better. Plus, you're not assigned breakfast rotation at the crack of dawn on disembarking day.

    Of course, if you think your kids will need to stick to an early routine, go for it. There are so many places to grab a quick bite to eat by the pools, don't worry about the kids being hungry.

    Sent from MiPhone, ignore the typos
  21. needAcruise

    needAcruise Mouseketeer

    Jul 14, 2004
    Stick to your routine, I say. Less transition for the little ones usually means less of a chance of a meltdown.

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