Late Dining with kids...WWYD?

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by twinone, Jan 9, 2013.

  1. twinone

    twinone Mouseketeer

    Dec 5, 2011
    So out Dream cruise leaves in 11 days and were still waitlisted for early seating, I'm trying to come up with plan B since it looks like we might be stuck with the later time now (ugh!) The kids are 11, 8, 7 and 3. The younger two are normally in bed at 730 and 830 so starting dinner at that time is going to be bad for us.

    As much as I love the idea of doing a family dinner together and then sending them to the kids club like we did late year I don't think its going to happen with dinner starting at 815pm!!
    Do you think its better to skip dinner with them and just feed them early and send them to the kids club or bring them with us and then feed them something realy quick in the dining room and then take them to the club?

    Last year when we had early dining we put them in the club after dinner (some adult time!) and we were back in the room getting ready for bed by 10pm at the latest (kids are up for the day at 630am regardless of bedtime).

    WWYD??? Thanks
  2. MelMtlk

    MelMtlk Earning My Ears

    Nov 12, 2012
    I have the same situation, but on top of my kids 11, 9 and 3 ...I am diabetic and late dining is terrible for my sugar levels. I really want to do the dining, but not sure what is going to happen. We are supposed to be high level wait list, but who knows. We are 8 days out and still haven't been bumped! Also, did I mention that my ds 3 is autistic....really nervous!
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  4. neg58

    neg58 DIS Veteran

    Oct 5, 2012
    I would feed them at the sit down dinner at Cabanas at least several of the nights and then do the club. You will all eat together as a family (even if the adults do not eat). Maybe the older children would like to eat with you late one or two nights. Just seems more relaxing to me as you could concentrate on feeding them, then enjoy your meal later.

    You could even do the show at 6:15, Cabanas dinner at 7, and then your regular seating at 8:15. Most of the shows let out at or before 7.

  5. mammacaryn

    mammacaryn DIS Veteran

    Oct 20, 2009
    Whatever "normal" is at home isn't always "normal" on the cruise. My kids bedtimes are like yours, and we've never had an issue with late dining-and we have had it twice. The first dinner, might be a little rough, but maybe not. We have never tried to change times, your kids will surprise you. My kids were 4 and 6, and 5 and 7 on the two cruises we had late dining. (7day cruise and a 4 day) Out of all the dinners combined, we had one in cabanas, and one where the kids just wanted pizza and went to the clubs so we ate alone. All the others were in the dining rooms.

    So, my opinion, don't sweat it. Have fun.
  6. lbgraves

    lbgraves Little Cinderella's Mommy

    Feb 25, 2003
    We found out early when the kids were 3 & 5 and both napped well at home, that when you are on the ship schedules fly out the window completely. There was so much for them to do that they didn't want to go to sleep. We would get them inside in the afternoon somehow to watch a movie or color in the room for a bit before dinner to "rest". They sometimes napped but not always. Both were able to say up through dinner and the show on the tropical deck party night [before pirate night started] and were up on deck dancing until the music stopped. We got in line to get some desert afterwards and while waiting they started to fall apart...about 10:30 or so.

    We also thought that DD3 would fall asleep after dinner while at the late show...but she never did. She sat attentively hardly blinking so she wouldn't miss anything. DH even took her to see POC one day because he thought she would fall asleep. She was fascinated by it and didn't miss a minute -- saying wow and cool often. LOL! [Both kids use to sleep through the Irish dance show at BG and it was a regular practice for us to go to the 3 pm show when there. ;) ]

    They did fall asleep a couple times over the years before dinner. We would dress them for dinner [still sleeping] and put them in a stroller -- and go to dinner. We put the stroller at the end of the table or against the wall when we were seated near one. When they woke up the servers quickly brought them dinner and we folded up the stroller. The kids were rested and ready for the rest of the evening. The picture of DS5 passed out with his head on the table dressed up in his suit on formal night is still one of my favorites from that cruise. :)
  7. quickcat

    quickcat DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2011
    We booked a last minute rate on the Fantasy and are also waitlisted for early. Our DD who is 3 is in bed by 8:00. Last year we never made a show because she would eat and go to bed. She definitely didnt change her routine because we were on vacation- I wish she would have.
    I am just going to try to get it switched when on board and keep my fingers crossed!! Otherwise one of us will be doing room service while she sleeps. ;)
    I laughed when you said you are up at 6:30 regardless- us too- we were always first in line waiting for the morning buffet to open! :goodvibes
  8. bitlerzx4

    bitlerzx4 DIS Veteran

    Sep 9, 2008
    can you call and request an earlier seating?
  9. noahsketomom

    noahsketomom DIS Veteran

    Jan 19, 2010
    We had the same thing last year on the dream with kids 5,6,9 & 10. The three older ones were FINE. We always took advantage of the DINE & PLAY. (They bring the kids meals super fast and then the counselors come around 9 to take them to the club.)

    My five year old? Not so much.


    This happened twice out of our four night cruise. (The first night and after a long day at Castaway Cay.) I still love the pirate picture. Ideal? No. But she usually woke by dessert and was good to go for another hour or so -- just long enough for coffee, pick up kids at the club, and relax in the room for a bit.

    This year, I've been vetoed by the rest of the adults in my party to do late dining again! *sigh* The good thing about it is that the aqua duck & pools are dead around 5 when everyone else is getting ready for main dining! I will be prepping them before the next cruise though and keeping them up later, feeding them later, etc. in the week or so leading up to it.

    You will still have an amazing time!! Enjoy!!!! :goodvibes
  10. ginger3son

    ginger3son Earning My Ears

    Jun 28, 2008
    We have done both early and late seating and we found that the late seating worked best for our family. With the early seating we felt so rushed.
    I would usually nap my young kids around 3 or 4, and then I would get ready for the night. I would then take everyone to the shows while my husband got ready.
    A part of me is a little nervous about how my 18 month old is going to handle eating so late but hopefully a late nap will help him adjust.

    BTW when at home I put DS 18mn and DS 5 to bed at 7. And DS 6 and DS 9 go to bed at 8. When on vacation all of our normal routines are left at home!!:hyper:
  11. kcashner

    kcashner DIS Veteran

    Dec 4, 2003
    Have you listed your need for main seating as a MEDICAL need? In that case, it will be met. It might be too late now since you cruise in 8 days, but I'd still be at "dining changes" telling the head servers about the diabetes issue.

    To OP, you are not "stuck" until you are on the ship and have been told that there is no way to move you. If you end up with late seating, do a snack in the late afternoon, then use the "Dine and Play" feature at dinner. If that doesn't work on the first night, consider dinner at Cabanas on the second night.
  12. IrenicMom

    IrenicMom DIS Veteran

    Apr 27, 2006
    We've only ever had late seating - and we've had mixed success. This last cruise, they were 9 and 7, and the the 9 and 7 year old daughter were less than enjoyable at dinner, but my 7 year old son was fine.

    We're going to try it again this time (they're night kids - we're still perplexed as to what went wrong this last time). If it doesn't work? We'll feed them early and let them go to the club. Or, we'll all eat early and say "lesson learned".

    I will say - on our last cruise, there were MANY people who were switched up to early dining (we were trying to switch our brunch reservation). As the PP mentioned, it's not a done deal until you're on the ship and they say there's no way.
  13. dragonfly08

    dragonfly08 DIS Veteran

    Feb 21, 2010
    We had late seating on our last cruise, didn't get off the wait list, and were unable to have our seating changed once on board.

    A lot of people say "normal" changes on the ship...your kids will nap when they don't usually at home, they'll be able stay up later, etc. They haven't met my kids. There was NO WAY an 8:15 dinner was going to work for us.

    We wanted family dinners. Plus feeding the kids then sending them to the club while DH and I ate wouldn't work...*I didn't want to eat that late, and DD #2 refused to go to the club after the first day.

    So we didn't eat dinner in the dining rooms for the entire cruise. We usually ate at Beach Blanket Buffet (we were on the Wonder). Once we did quick service from Pluto's and Goofy's and ate on deck. We're not huge dinner eaters to begin with so that worked out really well for us. We could have a light bite that didn't take up too much of our time, and the pool area was usually emptier since so many people were at the first seating dinner, still in port, or getting ready for second seating.

    We're cruising again later this year and do have early seating so I'm looking forward to trying the dining rooms. If the length of the dinner doesn't work for us, we'll just skip a night or two and go back to something quick/light! But it'll be nice to have more options this time, I'll admit.
  14. kriswin1

    kriswin1 Earning My Ears

    Nov 3, 2012
    we leave in 9 days and we just got off the waiting list for early dining. we had a medical form as well. i called yesterday to check on it and they said that the roster had just been pulled to clear up the waiting list. later i the day i got the notification that we had been changed. such a relief. we booked 60 days out and had been on the wait list the entire time.
  15. quickcat

    quickcat DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2011
    I will keep holding out hope then! We are on the Jan 26th cruise so I was thinking there was no way but now I'll keep hoping. :goodvibes
  16. disneydork3

    disneydork3 Obsessed with Disney

    Mar 11, 2012
    If you go to the Royal Palace when you board, they will do everything they can to get you early seating. We did in June (Simone was AWESOME) and they accommodated us. Give it a try, it's worth it! Happy sailing!!
  17. tvguy

    tvguy Question anything the facts don't support.

    Dec 15, 2003
    Keep trying to change it if it is a concern. But an amazing number of people "forced" to take late seating discovery it works better than early on a cruise.

    And my hat is off to everyone of you that can get you kids in bed by 7:30 or 8 pm. As infants my 2 never would go to sleep before 10 pm, and were up and ready to go at 6 am:furious:. And when they hit school, and things like soccer and Little League, were usually weren't even home until 8 or 8:30 pm to eat dinner, do homework, shower and get ready for bed.
  18. LasseKjus

    LasseKjus Mouseketeer

    Jan 10, 2006
    We're late nighters usually at home so late seating isn't a problem but I could never do early seating. On our last cruise I was thinking about that thing. The dinner was at 5:30. We spent most of the cruise in the Atlantic time zone, meaning an hour later than eastern. Coming from the central time zone, that's 2 hours earlier for us making dinner the equivalent of 3:30 pm for us. Our kids are 9, 6 and 4 and can survive without naps. A couple of times, the youngest one was asleep at dinner, but we survived. He usually just slept thorough dinner and woke up after for whatever we were doing.
  19. Madzac

    Madzac DIS Veteran

    Nov 7, 2008
    We are also waitlisted for early dining but we dont cruise until June so I am really hoping. Kids will be 11, 8, 5 and a new 2 then. I dont worry about the older three at all, but the little one is so afraid of other people there is no way I see her going to the nursery. I envision never getting to dine in the dining rooms or trying to eat with her sound asleep on top of me. Ugh.

    Anyone know how early early dining usually fills? If we love this cruise and decide to book again when on board for next spring break will it already be full? And does anyone know how often the wait list comes through?

    Hope everyone gets what they are hoping for! Once our youngest is older I think late dining would be great... but now, not so much!
  20. 3mmm

    3mmm Mouseketeer

    May 16, 2007
    My 2 cents is that late dining is the only way to go! And I say that for a number of reasons.

    first, we did not choose late dining the first time, we were stuck with it! The kids were 4, 3 and a sickly 14 month old. Friends told us to relax. It worked out great because naps happened later in the day and when they woke we would order a room service snack - chicken fingers for kids and cheese platter for us. We had plenty of time to make it to the early show and the kids were good for dinner although they did sometimes fall asleep (but peacefully, I might add). We had plenty of time between the early show and dinner for pictures and some family activities.

    second cruise (now with 4 kids), we got early dining!!! BIG MISTAKE!!!! We were so rushed to get to dinner, naps were a flop, and there was little time between dinner and the show to do anything. Yes, my kids were in bed earlier and they didn't fall asleep at dinner, but the whole cruise was a miss for us.

    third cruise - mediterannean - 5 kids now, youngest 6 months - extended family with us. I convinced everyone to do late dining which was no small feat I must add!! Especially in the med, you want late dining because the ports are often late. What was especially nice for us was that the pools empty out early evening. We found it wonderful to skip the show (yes, we LOVE the shows) and meet as a family after a long day of exurcisons and have the Mickey Pool ALL TO OURSELVES - literally , 10 grandkids, and 8 adults all to ourselves and a couple of cocktails!!!

    fourth and fifth cruise - late dining - yes my kids fall asleep at dinner sometimes, even my then 11 and 12 year olds on our Panama Canal cruise, but they are never a whiny, crying sleep, just a tired, contented sleep.
    The wait staff is awesome.

    We are cruising next spring break and we will never go back to early dining - it just doesn't work for us! And so you know we are on Eastern time zone and the three youngest still go to bed between 7 and 8 at home. Kids adapt so well (and I have 2 special needs kids, but I am the first to admit that every kid is different and what works for my family may not work for yours)

    Just don't give in the towel if you don't get early dining - it may be just fine!!
  21. Summerl30

    Summerl30 Mouseketeer

    Oct 8, 2012
    I'd try the first night and if it really doesn't work, then come up with a plan b then.

    I *just* switched yesterday to late dining for our cruise next week (hopefully another family is happy!). Dh really wanted late (when we cruise, we like to eat late...on our med cruise last year, we had dinner between 9 and 9:45 every night on mytime dining on Royal and loved it!)

    We have been eating dinner 2 hours late (7pm) almost every night since DH asked me to switch and it seems to be fine with all but my 5 year old. She can stay awake, she just doesn't eat much by then. I figure I can always take her to eat a little earlier like chicken fingers or hamburger or something and then just have her sit at the table for dinner with the rest of the family.

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