Why hasn't Disney solved the main/late dining debacle already?

Disney1fan2002

<font color=red>Like OMG the TF is SOO psyched to
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Personally, I always choose Late Dining - I consider it the ideal dining time. 5:00 is way too early to eat dinner, in my opinion! And I'm glad that Main Dining is so obscenely popular because it means that the 2nd Seating usually isn't full and is much quieter. There are less children, so the children that are in 2nd dining get more attention from the wait staff.

So if you ever get "stuck" with Late Dining, my advice would be to have an open mind and give it a try - you might find out that it's really not a bad option.

^^ THIS TIMES 1000!!!

I think the people making a big deal are 1st time cruisers who can't imagine their snowflakes up past bedtime. They don't realize there are no bedtimes on a cruise. Like I said in my PP, we were that family with young kids who thought we needed main dining. We hated it!!! Next cruise we got late dining, and keep it every time. So much nicer.
 

PrincessShmoo

DIS veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2009
Is everyone assigned late dining and they have to request main? It seems I am always assigned late no matter how early week book.
Yes, the default when making a DCL reservation is late seating. Once the reservation is made, you can change it to main (early) seating, if there is
availability.
 
  • tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    My Time Dining is actually not show up when you want. You have to make a reservation for a dining time. The normal dinner time (6-7:30 PM) reservations are booked up almost immediately. Or if you don't have a reservation, you can either show up super early when the dining room opens, or super late and not have to wait. Otherwise, they'll take your name and tell you to come back in 30 minutes, then try to make a reservation for you for the rest of the week.

    Norwegian Cruise Line has "Freestyle" dining which is where you can show up when you want. They don't have first or second seatings - everyone just shows up at anytime for dinner.
    We learned the trick with NCL was NOT to just show up and wait (we waited 90 minutes our first night). In the free dining rooms you can only make reservations 24 hours in advance, so each night we just made our next night's reservations when we arrived, and we requested the same server team with each reservation. A little work, and I'm on vacation looking not to do any work. Given how wonderful NCL's pre Freestyle dining was, Freestyle is a huge letdown.
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    I don't understand the draw of main dining. We have sailed with our kids since they were 4, 5 and 7. We had main dining exactly ONCE and never want it again. There is too much going on on the ship in the afternoons to stop everything and have to get ready for dinner. Late dining was perfect. We would go to the 6pm show, have a little time to hit up a trivia game before our seating, or go back to the stateroom and relax. After dinner, the kids would choose to go back to the stateroom for bed, or check out the late-night happenings in the kids clubs.

    Is everyone assigned late dining and they have to request main? It seems I am always assigned late no matter how early week book.

    PS, for the people who can't wait until 815 to eat, there are other food options onboard. Eat early and then go to the MDR to order dessert if you want the ambiance of the MDR.
    I'm not sure what's not to understand. 8:15 is very late for many people to eat dinner, especially if you're an early riser. We were having breakfast by 7-7:30 most mornings and lunch not long after noon so a 6pm dinner is ideal. IF our whole schedule was shifted by 2 hours then it would make sense for a later dinner, so even though it is not my preference, I understand it. Also my son and I do not eat a tremendous volume of food so our typical at home schedule of eating works for us... we're not eating enough to have to spend 8 hours digesting it before dinner.

    If you're going to the 6pm show, how is it that much of a difference to stop activities for a 6pm show or 5:45 dining? We always showed up a half hour early for shows for choice of seating so it's maybe an additional 15 minutes earlier stop time to make it to 5:45 dining even with a shower. To me it's 6 of one half dozen of another. Maybe you just don't like how it feels or it doesn't fit your schedule but surely you can understand that different people have different schedules they prefer to follow.
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    I don't understand the draw of main dining. We have sailed with our kids since they were 4, 5 and 7. We had main dining exactly ONCE and never want it again. There is too much going on on the ship in the afternoons to stop everything and have to get ready for dinner. Late dining was perfect. We would go to the 6pm show, have a little time to hit up a trivia game before our seating, or go back to the stateroom and relax. After dinner, the kids would choose to go back to the stateroom for bed, or check out the late-night happenings in the kids clubs.

    Is everyone assigned late dining and they have to request main? It seems I am always assigned late no matter how early week book.

    PS, for the people who can't wait until 815 to eat, there are other food options onboard. Eat early and then go to the MDR to order dessert if you want the ambiance of the MDR.
    I don't understand this - what is the difference if you have to go to a show at 6:00 or dinner at 5:45? Do you dress for dinner after the show? We're finally going to have the extra time before dinner on an upcoming cruise because we're finally NOT going to most of the shows. Unfortunately for our next cruise we have main seating (extended family with a toddler) but hoping to make the best of that by going swimming after dinner when the pool isn't crowded (hopefully?).
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    Personally, I always choose Late Dining - I consider it the ideal dining time. 5:00 is way too early to eat dinner, in my opinion! And I'm glad that Main Dining is so obscenely popular because it means that the 2nd Seating usually isn't full and is much quieter. There are less children, so the children that are in 2nd dining get more attention from the wait staff.

    So if you ever get "stuck" with Late Dining, my advice would be to have an open mind and give it a try - you might find out that it's really not a bad option.
    Early seating is not 5:00, it's 5:45 and you're not eating for another 15-20 minutes so it's closer to 6:00 - still early for many people though.
     
  • DietCokeMommy

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 19, 2017
    ^^ THIS TIMES 1000!!!

    I think the people making a big deal are 1st time cruisers who can't imagine their snowflakes up past bedtime. They don't realize there are no bedtimes on a cruise. Like I said in my PP, we were that family with young kids who thought we needed main dining. We hated it!!! Next cruise we got late dining, and keep it every time. So much nicer.
    I think I posted this earlier, but my "snowflake" pretty much screamed through every (early) dinner on our cruise. She was tired and over stimulated and maybe a little sea sick. Her behavior was so bad even our server commented on it. She was 18m at the time and still naps, so napping wouldn't have solved it. We would pretty much run from dinner to get her in bed because she exhausted all of us. My son is much more flexible and can stay up later. But he's still going to wake all of us up at 6am.

    Some people's kids just have to go to bed early. It's not being a snowflake to know that about your kids. If your kids never screamed at 6pm out of sheer exhaustion, then you're a luckier mom than I am.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    I think I posted this earlier, but my "snowflake" pretty much screamed through every (early) dinner on our cruise. She was tired and over stimulated and maybe a little sea sick. Her behavior was so bad even our server commented on it. She was 18m at the time and still naps, so napping wouldn't have solved it. We would pretty much run from dinner to get her in bed because she exhausted all of us. My son is much more flexible and can stay up later. But he's still going to wake all of us up at 6am.

    Some people's kids just have to go to bed early. It's not being a snowflake to know that about your kids. If your kids never screamed at 6pm out of sheer exhaustion, then you're a luckier mom than I am.
    Yep, it always boggles my mind when parents who hit the kid lottery are super judgmental of kids who have it harder, on the assumption that all children are like theirs. It even starts before the baby: I remember someone telling my hyperemesis gravidarum was all in my head because they never felt queasy during pregnancy and I was just "choosing" to vomit 10 times a day. Then there are the ones whose babies slept through the night right away because they didn't have underweight premature babies whose tiny stomachs woke them up to eat every hour, and are convinced that all babies will just go back to sleep if you let them "cry it out." Then those who don't get that picky eaters actually will, in fact, (1) starve themselves for days or end, and/or (2) have a panic attack and throw up if you force them to eat something they can't handle. And now our kids our snowflakes because if your kids were able to adjust to a later dinner/sleep schedule, ours must be able to as well.

    Some kids have challenges, others don't even within the same family being raised the exact same way (as I poster earlier, one of my kids will happily stay up late, the other two will either fall asleep at the dinner table or scream bloody murder the whole time if you start dinner too late--which literally happened to me two days ago when my out of town parents insisted they could handle a 7pm dinnertime--never again). Let's stop the mom shaming please.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    Early seating is not 5:00, it's 5:45 and you're not eating for another 15-20 minutes so it's closer to 6:00 - still early for many people though.
    Like I think I posted pages ago, your home time zone and your home routine are probably the biggest factors in deciding a dining time. My hat has always been off to working parents with kids who do after school activities to even be HOME by 5 pm, let alone be home and have dinner fixed and on the table by 5 pm. In the fall it was always pick my daughter up at school at 3 pm for soccer 330 pm to 630 pm, home just before 7 pm to START fixing dinner. In the spring it was always pick my son up at school at 3 pm for Little League from 3:30 pm until 30 minutes after sunset time* (which can be as late as 8:24 pm in May), home at 9:15 pm to START fixing dinner, doing homework, taking showers.

    *Thank goodness our fields don't have lights, those games can go until a 10 pm curfew!
     

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    Like I think I posted pages ago, your home time zone and your home routine are probably the biggest factors in deciding a dining time. My hat has always been off to working parents with kids who do after school activities to even be HOME by 5 pm, let alone be home and have dinner fixed and on the table by 5 pm. In the fall it was always pick my daughter up at school at 3 pm for soccer 330 pm to 630 pm, home just before 7 pm to START fixing dinner. In the spring it was always pick my son up at school at 3 pm for Little League from 3:30 pm until 30 minutes after sunset time* (which can be as late as 8:24 pm in May), home at 9:15 pm to START fixing dinner, doing homework, taking showers.

    *Thank goodness our fields don't have lights, those games can go until a 10 pm curfew!
    it depends on after school activities. Sports is not the only after school activity.

    I work full time, single mother, my son goes to hebrew school 1x per week and participates in the fall and spring school play and math club and chess club and we are home by 6 generally but sometimes earlier. Honestly my son is on the spectrum with adhd and on meds - that schedule would not work for him. he is pretty much done for the day by 6pm and we have dinner, he showers, then we have downtime while he does his nightly reading for school. Bedtime is 8:30 and he is an early riser - up at 6-6:30 no matter what time he goes to bed so I have to make sure he gets to bed at a reasonable hour to get enough sleep.

    Meds at 6:30am, gets dressed and has breakfast - homework 7-8am (he does not have more than 30-45 minutes not counting a half hour of reading the night before) and then we leave for school shortly before 8am.

    I shop and meal prep on the weekends so "making dinner" involves reheating something I already put the time into over the weekend... it does not take me long to get dinner on the table. I sometimes make a fresh meal mid-week when we are home around 5:30 and spend about an hour on it.

    Even if we eat at 6:30, 5:45 seating with food on the table by 6pm is a lot closer to that than 8:15 seating with food on the table starting at 8:30pm. As I said he is a naturally early riser so we are having breakfast on the ship pretty much as soon as Cabanas opens. If we were sleeping til 9-10am then 8:30 dinner would be fine.

    I obviously do not enforce an 8:30 bedtime on vacation and sometimes we slip to more like 8am wakeup/breakfast but my son is basically still an early riser and just gets less sleep, which is why we always return on Saturday and not Sunday.

    Just because it's the way you live doesn't mean it's the way everyone lives. I don't require any hats off either, I just do what works best for my family like every parent does! Which is why I don't understand a lot of these "I don't understand why people do it differently than me" comments... Everyone has their own life and their own routine and that's ok!

    I think the people making a big deal are 1st time cruisers who can't imagine their snowflakes up past bedtime. They don't realize there are no bedtimes on a cruise. Like I said in my PP, we were that family with young kids who thought we needed main dining. We hated it!!! Next cruise we got late dining, and keep it every time. So much nicer.
    Yes my son is on the spectrum and yes I do tend to try to stick to a routine with him because kids on the spectrum do better with routine. At this point we have a "vacation routine" and a "home routine" and at the age of 11 he can move fluidly between then without much difficulty but vacation routine much more closely resembled home routine when he was younger. That doesn't make my son a "snowflake." It means I'm his mom and I know what is best for him and I make decisions for our family based on what is best for us and for crusing that includes early dining... and I would feel the same if he were neurotypical as well but was still an early riser and our eating schedule was shifted early. And before you say "well I didn't mean kids with special needs"... having a child with special needs has made me more aware of why kids do what they do and act the way they act and I think it really behooves any parent to know their kids, know their kids' limits and respect them, whether they are neurotypical or not. Parents who are concerned about the impact of eating schedule on their kids are not being ridiculous, they are generally just being good, conscientious parents. Some kids have no trouble with being flexible, but some kids do and it's our job as parents to balance helping them learn to be flexible with not making life for them miserable while they are learning that lesson... neurotypical or not. I will say that the way to foster flexibility is NOT to put kids into a situation where it causes them great distress, but rather to put them into situations where their flexibility can grow over time. So for some kids eating so far off schedule might be really hard for them and it doesn't mean a thing is wrong with the parents or kids.

    What I really don't understand is how judgmental people are of parents. You pretty much can't do anything right. You don't know and respect your kids' limits and the kid has acts out and you're a bad parent because your kid is behaving badly. You DO know your kids limits and respect them and now you're raising a "snowflake."

    I always (on both of my recent cruises lol) book early and get main dining and it's not an issue. I have sympathy for parents who need to make hard decisions WRT their kids as I have had to at several points in my life, doing things I wish I did not have to do because it was best for my child even if not what I wanted at the time. I don't blame Disney for not being able to accommodate everyone... if it were that important to me and I knew it would ruin my trip, I'd book a cruise where I could be guaranteed main dining. Or if I thought I could roll with it I would roll with it.
     
  • KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    ^^ THIS TIMES 1000!!!

    I think the people making a big deal are 1st time cruisers who can't imagine their snowflakes up past bedtime. They don't realize there are no bedtimes on a cruise. Like I said in my PP, we were that family with young kids who thought we needed main dining. We hated it!!! Next cruise we got late dining, and keep it every time. So much nicer.

    The snowflake comment is so rude. I think people who are "making a big deal" are people who know their own children. How about you do YOU?
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    it depends on after school activities. Sports is not the only after school activity.

    I work full time, single mother, my son goes to hebrew school 1x per week and participates in the fall and spring school play and math club and chess club and we are home by 6 generally but sometimes earlier. Honestly my son is on the spectrum with adhd and on meds - that schedule would not work for him. he is pretty much done for the day by 6pm and we have dinner, he showers, then we have downtime while he does his nightly reading for school. Bedtime is 8:30 and he is an early riser - up at 6-6:30 no matter what time he goes to bed so I have to make sure he gets to bed at a reasonable hour to get enough sleep.
    Not an issue then since they save places for families like your's that have a medical need.
     

    DisneYE

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 7, 2013
    The snowflake comment is so rude. I think people who are "making a big deal" are people who know their own children. How about you do YOU?
    Yeah. This.
    Also, people who know themselves.
    My DD13 actually prefers late dining, its ME that pushes for early dining.
    Why? Because I'm an early riser, I don't like eating too much before going to bed as I like to wake up with a light stomach so I can go to the gym and exercise.
    Guess I'm a snowflake too.:confused3
     

    lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    Not an issue then since they save places for families like your's that have a medical need.
    Not necessarily true. Maybe they save some spots, but i’ve read several reports from people with a medical need who could not get main dining. While I think noting a medical need as reason for wanting early dining can be helpful, just be aware that it is not a guarantee.

    Enjoy your vacation!
     

    Pens Fan

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 27, 2014
    We learned the trick with NCL was NOT to just show up and wait (we waited 90 minutes our first night). In the free dining rooms you can only make reservations 24 hours in advance, so each night we just made our next night's reservations when we arrived, and we requested the same server team with each reservation. A little work, and I'm on vacation looking not to do any work. Given how wonderful NCL's pre Freestyle dining was, Freestyle is a huge letdown.
    I'm not sure how long it's been since you've sailed NCL, but you now (and for as long as we have been sailing on them) can book the MDR's at the same time you can book specialty dining. Both can be booked at least 120 days prior to sailing (130 if you are in the Haven). It takes all of about 5 minutes to go online and book this - so easy!!!.

    We have never made a reservation for the MDR and have never waited more than a few minutes for a table. We do book specialty dining in advance just as we would if we wanted Palo/Remy on DCL or any special restaurant on a land vacation. I don't think we've waited more think 5 minutes to be seated at any NCL restaurant. I'm not discounting your experience, but I really don't think it's the norm - at least not in our experience.
     
    Last edited:

    sunmoon620

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 2, 2009
    We personally love late Dining! We eat lunch late and soak up every bit of sun we can get. We love watch the ship sail away from each port of call and really like the 45 min or so between the show and dinner to sit it the atrium an people watch at the bar!
     

    FigmentSpark

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 9, 2016
    My snowflake refuses to eat leftovers, no matter how good the meal was. Luckily for me, he's now 6'3" and 16, so he makes his own food on leftover day. If I'm really lucky, he'll share some with the rest of us. He's getting good at cooking.

    I agree, all kids are different. We all deal as best we can. And sometimes you just pick your battles. Ours was to not force our kids to eat stuff they didn't like (although I did want them to try it). Dinner time was not the time for battles, even if it was more work for me. I battled the stuff that mattered, like, doing homework, and being respectful.

    We like early dining, to the point where I don't know if we'd go if we had late dining. But that's just what works for our family. To each his own.
     

    tvguy

    Question anything the facts don't support.
    Joined
    Dec 15, 2003
    I'm not sure how long it's been since you've sailed NCL, but you now (and for as long as we have been sailing on them) can book the MDR's at the same time you can book specialty dining. Both can be booked at least 120 days prior to sailing (130 if you are in the Haven). It takes all of about 5 minutes to go online and book this - so easy!!!.

    We have never made a reservation for the MDR and have never waited more than a few minutes for a table. We do book specialty dining in advance just as we would if we wanted Palo/Remy on DCL or any special restaurant on a land vacation. I don't think we've waited more think 5 minutes to be seated at any NCL restaurant. I'm not discounting your experience, but I really don't think it's the norm - at least not in our experience.
    Glad they took action to fix that nightmare.
     

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