My thoughts on pros and cons of Second Seating

dcassetta

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 24, 2006
I wonder if this depends on where you live, midwest here. We tried late seating once and we were so hungry it was ridiculous. We tried not to snack before dinner, so that we could enjoy it once we got there. It was definitely quieter in the dining room, but it just didn't work. At home we have eaten between 5 and 6 for years so the 5:45 time always worked out great for us. For us too the late service was to relaxed, we like our food coming faster. It seems that the early service they try to turn the dining rooms over quicker. I could see where some would like the more relaxed late seating so that they could sit and talk about the fun things they did that day while they are enjoying their meal:)

What I would like to see DCL add is my time dining, we have become spoiled by it. It is really nice on excursion days so you don't have to rush to get to the 5:45 seating.
I just don’t see how Disney will do anytime dining unless the new ships have a completely different format to their MDR‘s. It’s really not possible to walk into Tiana's , or AP anytime you want. Cabanas at night is the closest thing that they have to anytime dining. But, it’s not available every night, and it’s also not possible for everyone to dine there.
 

cgolf

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 21, 2012
I just don’t see how Disney will do anytime dining unless the new ships have a completely different format to their MDR‘s. It’s really not possible to walk into Tiana's , or AP anytime you want. Cabanas at night is the closest thing that they have to anytime dining. But, it’s not available every night, and it’s also not possible for everyone to dine there.
They could do My Time, which is where you reserve a time and go at that time, for example 6 one night and 7 a different night because you had a late excursion. They would just have to set aside some tables to do this. Seeing how many people rolled in late every night for early dining, this may help out some families and the servers that struggle to get the late arrivals out on time. I agree though that anytime dining wouldn't work, the reservation system would be needed so they could plan ahead. On RCCL and Celebrity we set our reservation times for each night before we ever set foot on the ship.
 

freshmanjs

DIS Veteran
Joined
Aug 6, 2006
I wonder if this depends on where you live, midwest here. We tried late seating once and we were so hungry it was ridiculous. We tried not to snack before dinner, so that we could enjoy it once we got there. It was definitely quieter in the dining room, but it just didn't work. At home we have eaten between 5 and 6 for years so the 5:45 time always worked out great for us. For us too the late service was to relaxed, we like our food coming faster. It seems that the early service they try to turn the dining rooms over quicker. I could see where some would like the more relaxed late seating so that they could sit and talk about the fun things they did that day while they are enjoying their meal:)

What I would like to see DCL add is my time dining, we have become spoiled by it. It is really nice on excursion days so you don't have to rush to get to the 5:45 seating.
Not being critical - but curious. How does this work? In our family, there is never a day when I'm done working before 6 or where the kids are done with after school activities and homework by 6. i can't imagine how eating at that time would be possible, even if we wanted to do it.
 
  • dad of 3 addicted to DCL

    Waiting for July
    Joined
    Aug 14, 2017
    I think that there is also a diversity of meal time needs based on the kids' ages. Our 3 are now teens and we eat much later without the requisite meltdowns they had as elementary school aged kids. Also, they're more self-aware of their bodies and are able to either feed themselves (via quick serve) or speak up so that my wife and/or I can get them fed if we're out and about. That's our experience
     

    cgolf

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 21, 2012
    Not being critical - but curious. How does this work? In our family, there is never a day when I'm done working before 6 or where the kids are done with after school activities and homework by 6. i can't imagine how eating at that time would be possible, even if we wanted to do it.
    My work schedule is 7 to 3:30 with some work at home at night and my wife either got done with work at 3 or 5:30 and on her late nights I would have supper ready before she got home a little before 6. We also have always gone out to restaurants early so we didn’t have to wait for a table. My daughter was not into sports so that helped too. She was in band and performed in the school musicals in high school. It’s not for everyone, but works great for us. In fact our favorite restaurant has a happy hour till 6 where we get 3$ old fashioned and 2$ orders of cheese curds:)
     

    lilsonicfan

    <font color=teal>The TF knows Canada VERY well!!<b
    Joined
    Jan 20, 2003
    We are from the west coast, so if sailing from the east coast, early dining seems impossibly early to me (we are also used to eating later, around 7-7:30 usually). That said I have early dining for our EBTA and contemplating switching, esp. since with all of the time changes we will be eating earlier and earlier every day.
     

    sunmoon620

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2009
    Your fears are mine. We are waitlisted for main and if we get late we will just be eating in cabanas except on days it's not available. That's just too late for us to eat and I don't want to eat multiple meals. As it is normally I am a 2 meal a day person, I'm just not hungry that late and I know we will be hungry at our usual dinner time. Thanks for justifying this for me!

    Don't miss out on the Dining room experience if this is your first cruise! It is fabulous!
     
  • tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    I always ask folks trying to decide which seating they want, what time do they normally eat dinner at home, AND what time to they typically eat dinner while on a non-cruise vacation.
    I was on vacation last week, away from home for 4 nights and never ate before 7 pm, one night now until 10 pm because we were so busy doing things.
    When my kids were home, and they were involved in after school sports, dinner was never before 630 pm during soccer season, and sometimes as late at 9 pm during Little League season.
    Now that my kids are grown, for the first time in 30 years, we do eat dinner at home at 5 pm.

    Having said that, in 10 cruises, we have always had late seating. Just so much more relaxed that having to be ready by 5 pm. We also lean towards late morning, or afternoon excursions. We are on vacation, and we are looking to relax. Our kids were 12 and 16 on our Disney cruise. We never in bed on the ship before 1 am. At least one night there was an encore, late performance of a show, but other than that, our after dinner routine typically involved handing out on the deck, playing shuffle board and basketball, or just standing at the bow of the ship, in the wind, watching the stars, and the lights from islands in the distance.
     

    jalapeno_pretzel

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 13, 2015
    Looking forward to trying late coming up. Our first and only has been with the early time, and it was really just too early for us. I am looking forward to using the pools while so many others are at the early dining.
     

    bcwife76

    DisneyMomma
    Joined
    Dec 10, 2014
    We have always chosen late/second seating and could never do early/main. We eat dinner later at night at home anyway (I mean, not usually 8:30!, but hardly ever before 7pm). It just works for our family and we've been cruising with our kids since they were 7 & 4. The only time it 'backfired' was our very first cruise where our youngest fell asleep at the very first dinner, but was wide awake for the rest of the dinners. And then when we did Alaska again it seemed to affect our youngest and 2 out of 7 dinners she was conked out before the main entree lol In general though our kids seem to be night owls and our youngest (who is now 8 1/2) can outlast my husband and I some nights (if we let her lol).
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    main for us. we eat at 6:30 at the latest at home and would end up hangry or eating too much. I just don't like eating dinner late at night either. There are some pros to it but the cons WAY outweigh them for me. And I guess I am in the majority.
     
  • Amunet

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 31, 2011
    Wow, thank you so much for this! I've only sailed as two adults, so we prefer 2nd dining so we can have our own table. We are night owls too. Though, hearing about other experiences with a bit more detail is quite helpful.
    We are planning on doing a DCL wedding and this helps with figuring out what Dining to recommend
     

    mmouse37

    DCL Diva!!
    Joined
    Jun 29, 2001
    We always prefer late dining. 5:45 is way too early when we are on vacation. We are from the East Coast. When we recently brought our grandkids ages 3,3 and 1 we still opted for late dining. The two three year olds are all about the princesses and love all the Disney songs from the Disney movies so the shows thrilled them. We knew they would love the shows and we much preferred for them to be awake to enjoy them than falling asleep at them. We didn't care if they fell asleep at dinner. A few nights they went to the club with the counselors when they came around to the dining rooms.

    It is all personal preference.

    MJ
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    Looking forward to trying late coming up. Our first and only has been with the early time, and it was really just too early for us. I am looking forward to using the pools while so many others are at the early dining.
    Just keep in mind that roughly half the ship also has second dining, so the pools may not be totally empty.
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    Just keep in mind that roughly half the ship also has second dining, so the pools may not be totally empty.
    they do, but there are also shows and I can tell you even in a resort town where the beaches are crazy all summer, I can get parking if I go around 3 in the summer and the beaches are pretty empty, it is still very warm with nice water and sunny til late. The pools may not be EMPTY but it is definitely not a prime time for swimming no matter what seating you have.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    main for us. we eat at 6:30 at the latest at home and would end up hangry or eating too much. I just don't like eating dinner late at night either. There are some pros to it but the cons WAY outweigh them for me. And I guess I am in the majority.
    You did your homework, and that is what you have to do to figure out what will be best for you. But I'd totally don't get the draw of Early Seating. I'm on vacation, we might make it to breakfast about 930 am and lunch about 230 pm, so 815 pm is a little early too! My kids had been on one cruise before we cruised Disney, and one of their few disappointments on Disney was the lack of a Midnight buffet!
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    they do, but there are also shows and I can tell you even in a resort town where the beaches are crazy all summer, I can get parking if I go around 3 in the summer and the beaches are pretty empty, it is still very warm with nice water and sunny til late. The pools may not be EMPTY but it is definitely not a prime time for swimming no matter what seating you have.
    Oh, I would assume they would be less crazy - I don’t do pools as they skeeve me out, especially on ships, so I have never been up there (I also like the shows and will not miss the Disney ones) - but just as the ship will not be empty on Nassau Day, I would expect that the pools while definitely less busy are not empty.
     

    cadien

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    One observation I have had lately, is that Dinner service on late has been very slow and generally we have been last to leave the dining room, by the time we left we had missed many of the activities that would start at 9:30 or 9:45. Unfortunately you seem not to be able to order just an entree and get it at the same as the appetizers, just the way they do the kitchen and services, to speed things up. I think on our future cruises, we will probably do Cabanas or bow out of dinner after the Entree, to speed it up.
    That's a good point. We ran into that on our first cruise because we didn't order every course but the people we shared the table with did. But on this last one, we happened to be seated alone most nights and then we received everything promptly and wrapped up sooner.
     

    lolomarie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 3, 2013
    Not being critical - but curious. How does this work? In our family, there is never a day when I'm done working before 6 or where the kids are done with after school activities and homework by 6. i can't imagine how eating at that time would be possible, even if we wanted to do it.
    We have young kids, 4 and 1, and we eat at 5:30. Work from 7-3:30, home by 4:15, eat at 5:30. Baby is in bed by 6:30, boy by 7.

    We're hoping for main dining.
     

    doublesided

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Feb 28, 2016
    Don't miss out on the Dining room experience if this is your first cruise! It is fabulous!
    We won't have a choice if we aren't switched to main unfortunately. There's no way I'm putting my son through the ups and downs of blood sugar issues with changing mealtime that drastically. Hoping for some magic at the last minute.
     

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