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

Rob1872

Mouseketeer
Joined
Sep 8, 2015
Well the cruise lines could go to a system like the airlines where you would have to pay more to select your dining time. Same thing as just picking a guaranteed room that has a lower rate. This would give the cruise lines more flexibility. I am a frequent flyer and don't book my flights very early but appreciate that the airlines block many of the good seats for elites and don't open those to the public (for a charge) till close to departure.
Good grief, don't suggest an option where we have to pay more to get what we already have. DCL may actually read these boards and think it is a good idea. First come, first served is fair; if you HAVE to have early dining, then commit earlier. I REALLY haven't heard anyone in this entire threat give a valid reason for why they can't eat 2nd serving if they had to. Everyone who says, "I have to eat X hours before my bedtime." YOU ARE ON A FREAKING CRUISE SHIP!! YOU CAN STAY UP LATER AND SLEEP IN LONGER. Same thing for the people who say, "My kids can't stay up that late. You can shift their wake-up and bed time by 3 hours so they are no longer staying up late. It is no different than people flying in from the West coast and having to adjust their body clock by 3 hours. The people who are complaining don't WANT to change their schedule; it isn't that they CAN'T change their schedule.
The system works to reward people to commit to a cruise as early as possible so DCL can get their ships filled up.
 

MakiraMarlena

It's a big black fish to you
Joined
Mar 28, 2005
Totally against reserving anything for certain types of guests, like guests with children. There are probably a good number of guests WITHOUT children who "need" early dining.

They're not set up for it, but I sort of wish they'd do an anytime dining thing like Royal Caribbean does. However, that also would not grant enough early dining spaces for everyone who wanted it. so there is pretty much NO way they can fix it to everyone's satisfaction.
 

MonaMN

DIS Veteran
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Good grief, don't suggest an option where we have to pay more to get what we already have. DCL may actually read these boards and think it is a good idea. First come, first served is fair; if you HAVE to have early dining, then commit earlier. I REALLY haven't heard anyone in this entire threat give a valid reason for why they can't eat 2nd serving if they had to. Everyone who says, "I have to eat X hours before my bedtime." YOU ARE ON A FREAKING CRUISE SHIP!! YOU CAN STAY UP LATER AND SLEEP IN LONGER. Same thing for the people who say, "My kids can't stay up that late. You can shift their wake-up and bed time by 3 hours so they are no longer staying up late. It is no different than people flying in from the West coast and having to adjust their body clock by 3 hours. The people who are complaining don't WANT to change their schedule; it isn't that they CAN'T change their schedule.
The system works to reward people to commit to a cruise as early as possible so DCL can get their ships filled up.
I don’t disagree with your solution of keeping the system as is, but based on your thinking that kids should just adjust to time changes, I am thinking you don’t have kids. Or if you do, you have incredibly easy kids.

There is a reason why social media is filled with parental angst every time we change the clocks... many kids don’t just adjust. My kid, even at 10, still hasn’t figured out how to sleep in after staying up much later than usual...
 
  • mousefan73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2012
    Good grief, don't suggest an option where we have to pay more to get what we already have. DCL may actually read these boards and think it is a good idea. First come, first served is fair; if you HAVE to have early dining, then commit earlier. I REALLY haven't heard anyone in this entire threat give a valid reason for why they can't eat 2nd serving if they had to. Everyone who says, "I have to eat X hours before my bedtime." YOU ARE ON A FREAKING CRUISE SHIP!! YOU CAN STAY UP LATER AND SLEEP IN LONGER. Same thing for the people who say, "My kids can't stay up that late. You can shift their wake-up and bed time by 3 hours so they are no longer staying up late. It is no different than people flying in from the West coast and having to adjust their body clock by 3 hours. The people who are complaining don't WANT to change their schedule; it isn't that they CAN'T change their schedule.
    The system works to reward people to commit to a cruise as early as possible so DCL can get their ships filled up.
    Agree 100%... I raised two kids.. NEVER did I stick to any bedtimes while on vacation. Sure my kids were there were at times overwhelmed or overtired, cranky, but generally speaking ALL had a great time most of the time. Heck we would even take looong family naps/siestas.. all of us and stay up until Midnight with infants and toddlers , shock!
     

    cedricandsophie

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2014
    I don't know if I'd go so far as to say each dinner has an activity or event, but Tiana's Place on the Wonder and Rapunzel's on the Magic both have music and characters at dinner. Enchanted Garden on the Dream class has the lights that open and change color.
    While we only do late dining I can understand how some wouldn’t enjoy it or tolerate it. But we have never eaten dinner anywhere except the MDR except Palo and Remy. And we only do cruises that are at least 7 nights and preferably longer. For us the MDR experiences are part of the Disney magic. We love having the same servers and the food, while maybe not 5 star, has shining moments and only a few missteps. We just did Iceland cruise for 11 nights and had our best servers ever. We totally fell in love with them and one of them had a wife serving at Palo and fell in love with her too. We are going back on the magic in October for the turner classic movie cruise and will request their table.

    Also we have rapunzels and would never miss the shows. And the changing colors in animanators palate is so much fun. I feel bad for those that either do not get to or don’t want to get the full Disney experiences in the dining rooms.
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    YOU ARE ON A FREAKING CRUISE SHIP!! YOU CAN STAY UP LATER AND SLEEP IN LONGER. Same thing for the people who say, "My kids can't stay up that late. You can shift their wake-up and bed time by 3 hours so they are no longer staying up late. It is no different than people flying in from the West coast and having to adjust their body clock by 3 hours.
    There's really no need to shout.

    And, in fact, I agree with you that first-come, first-served is fair.

    But insisting that anyone can just adjust their body clock on a whim, especially children, is not. (Heck, I can't even "sleep in" even as an adult.) Do I expect others to accommodate that, no. - On DS's first trip to WDW, we didn't stay for fireworks a single night, because we knew he would be up early no matter what, and miserable if he didn't sleep. We solved our problem by not putting him in that position.

    Your solution is not everyone's solution, and that's OK.
     

    CScott095

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 8, 2013
    I'm currently dealing with the stress of hoping to be moved off the waitlist for main dining. Every time I get some version of "no we can't tell you where you are on the waitlist, but everyone wants main dining because everyone has small kids." Two people in my [social media not-to-be-named] group actually cancelled the cruise because they could not get main dining before PIF. And I recall seeing a man flipping out at guest services on day one because his travel agent apparently didn't explain dining times to him and he had a baby and toddler who couldn't wait until 8:15.

    So since this is a known issue for every cruise, do you think Disney should move the dinners earlier? 5pm and 7:30 would be so much more manageable for families than 5:45 and 8:15. What do folks think?

    Or (more controversially) do you think main dining should be reserved for parties with children age 5-and under? Let's be real, if I were sans-kids I would pick main dining too if given an option, even though I don't really need it. 6/7pm-ish is when I eat at home, plus I'd much rather enjoy a show and entertaining after dinner than watch one before and go to bed straight after eating. But realistically, if the only option for me was an 8:15 dinner, I could live with that, unlike my kids who, the last time a late flight to WDW made us eat after 8, were sobbing their eyes out because they felt so bad, couldn't eat a bite, and then fell asleep in their chairs.
    I don’t think it’s broken. We love not feeling rushed coming back from excursions. I make everyone dress up for dinner, so late dining gives us time to shower, get ready, go to the show, have pictures done, and go to dinner.
    I do love the idea of kids under 5 being relegated to the first slot though but mostly because we’ve had experienced nights in which the parents allowed their kids to run through the dining room while they drank and ignored them!
     
  • bobbiwoz

    I'm happy to dance with you!
    Joined
    Aug 26, 2003
    We shared a table with a woman on DCL who absolutely HAD to eat first dining, and had been given a very hard time by DCL. A doctor’s note apparently did not do it. Her condition had to do with having to eat within certain time frames and ahead of sleep.

    In the end, she did get first dining, but it was a troublesome experience for her.
     

    NaturalNine

    Aussie Adventurer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2015
    Wow, so many dramatic people on this thread.... to say that you’ve been “enduring stress” waiting to have main dining is absolutely absurd

    we had late dining on the Wonder in April and wouldn’t have any other way, in fact for our April 2020 cruise we were given Main by default and went online to substitute it for Late

    I was mildly concerned when allocated late dining in April but was reassured by fellow cruisers that it was fine and it turned out more than fine - watching the first show = less kids as they’re mostly at main dining (still didn’t prevent a few low life parents from letting their children roam during the show but it was the minority), late dining was far more relaxed and the servers were happy for us to take our time, we didn’t have to rush back from shore days and really enjoyed a dip in the hot tub after dinner followed by a cocktail (by this time we had the place basically to ourselves)

    we exposed our children to time zone changes and dining time changes from a young age and now our 5 year old and 10 year old give us absolutely no problems at all.

    No child is born unable to deal with these things (disability excepted of course), it’s a learned behaviour, learned behaviours are entirely down to parenting and exposure to different situations.

    If you, as a parent, are unable to modify your children’s behaviour to stay up a bit later and sleep in a bit, then that’s down to you. That’s not Disney’s problem - nor is it any other cruisers, if you missed out on the opportunity to get early dining, if that is your preference, then make a decision a) modify your children’s schedule and behaviour, as a parent you are 100% in control of this, or b) don’t cruise

    The entitlement is absolutely staggering
     

    Rob1872

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2015
    We shared a table with a woman on DCL who absolutely HAD to eat first dining, and had been given a very hard time by DCL. A doctor’s note apparently did not do it. Her condition had to do with having to eat within certain time frames and ahead of sleep.
    My point exactly. She didn't HAVE to eat first dining for having a condition to eat within certain time frames and ahead of sleep. She didn't WANT to have to slide her schedule to adjust getting up and going to sleep at a different time.

    When people keep incorrectly stating that people have an absolute need for something instead of just being an inconvenience (granted, possibly a serious inconvenience) it takes away credibility for anyone else making a claim.

    OK, I'm done with this post. People are going to keep making absolutes out of relative issues.
     

    rstackjd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2008
    Just an outside-of-the-box idea here: why not have the kids dining at Cabanas/counters/room service and keep the second seating MDR for dessert only? This way you still get to have dinner before the show, you finish with dessert (yay!) and dining room entertainment and then the pirate show (or else) if they are still up later?
    Problem solver! Excellent suggestions
     
  • mousefan73

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 9, 2012
    My mom also prefers to each early, At home she eats a later breakfast and then again at 4-5 is her normal time.. typical person who "cannot eat late".. We always eat main seating and at the parks, the day just organically happens we also eat late.. What does she do? she simply keeps moving after the meal and goes to bed later. Our cruise meal usually ends 9:30-10ish.. We walk around the ship, deck 4 a few laps, check things out.a nd head to bed around midnight. Plently of time to digest.

    She would never eat that late at home, but on vacations, well its vacation.

    DCL should keep with first come first serve.
     

    rstackjd

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Mar 4, 2008
    Well, at least no one has said "I think Passholders/DVC members should get early dining priority" 😂😂😂😂😂

    We cruise several lines, Disney is preferred becuase of the dining. We prefer late (in part so we get to sit with other adults) but have been assigned early and just had to deal with it. 😉

    Remember, there are literally thousands of parents who would love to take their kids on a Disney cruise regardless of dining time and they just can't afford it. Be thankful for the ability to go rather than whining about the "hardships".
     

    MonaMN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2014
    Wow, so many dramatic people on this thread.... to say that you’ve been “enduring stress” waiting to have main dining is absolutely absurd

    we had late dining on the Wonder in April and wouldn’t have any other way, in fact for our April 2020 cruise we were given Main by default and went online to substitute it for Late

    I was mildly concerned when allocated late dining in April but was reassured by fellow cruisers that it was fine and it turned out more than fine - watching the first show = less kids as they’re mostly at main dining (still didn’t prevent a few low life parents from letting their children roam during the show but it was the minority), late dining was far more relaxed and the servers were happy for us to take our time, we didn’t have to rush back from shore days and really enjoyed a dip in the hot tub after dinner followed by a cocktail (by this time we had the place basically to ourselves)

    we exposed our children to time zone changes and dining time changes from a young age and now our 5 year old and 10 year old give us absolutely no problems at all.

    No child is born unable to deal with these things (disability excepted of course), it’s a learned behaviour, learned behaviours are entirely down to parenting and exposure to different situations.

    If you, as a parent, are unable to modify your children’s behaviour to stay up a bit later and sleep in a bit, then that’s down to you. That’s not Disney’s problem - nor is it any other cruisers, if you missed out on the opportunity to get early dining, if that is your preference, then make a decision a) modify your children’s schedule and behaviour, as a parent you are 100% in control of this, or b) don’t cruise

    The entitlement is absolutely staggering
    And again, I don’t disagree with your general point, but making statements about just modifying a kid’s sleeping behavior so easily makes me again think that you have had easy kids. There are a number of kids for whom it just doesn’t work like that. Try reading the book “The Highly Sensitive Child” as an example.

    We did not go on any real vacations until our kid was four because we tried small trips when she was smaller and it was miserable. For all of us. Some kids don’t just sleep wherever/whenever. They don’t just take a nap. Some kids scream and are utterly miserable - and then so are the parents - when they are overtired. I get tired of the assumptions when there is a lack of understanding that some kids are truly wired differently.

    That said, I think if you have a kid like that, you adjust. You plan. I wouldn’t change how Disney does anything, and we didn’t try a cruise until our kid was 8 and able to roll with it a bit more. But I would love a bit less judging for those of us that know our kids and know it isn’t always so easy.
     

    PollyannaMom

    I was a click-clack champ!!
    Joined
    May 16, 2006
    ...we exposed our children to time zone changes and dining time changes from a young age and now our 5 year old and 10 year old give us absolutely no problems at all.

    No child is born unable to deal with these things (disability excepted of course), it’s a learned behaviour, learned behaviours are entirely down to parenting and exposure to different situations.

    If you, as a parent, are unable to modify your children’s behaviour to stay up a bit later and sleep in a bit, then that’s down to you. That’s not Disney’s problem...
    I never said it was Disney's problem, but I really resent being told it isn't a problem at all. It's lovely for you that you have kids who responded well to time changes. It's not my fault, or my parents fault, that I don't. It's biology:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-you-an-early-bird-or-a-night-owl/

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/night-owl-sleep_b_4276411

    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/2/27/17058530/sleep-night-owl-late-riser-chronotype-science-delayed-sleep-phase

    You adapt one way (by changing your sleep patterns) I adapt another (by working my daily schedule around my natural sleep times). What's wrong with a little "to each their own" here?
     

    NaturalNine

    Aussie Adventurer
    Joined
    Aug 15, 2015
    It's lovely for you that you have kids who responded well to time changes. It's not my fault, or my parents fault, that I don't. It's biology
    incorrect - children’s ability to adapt to a situation is based on their programming, their programming is entirely based on exposure to various situations during upbringing

    this then carries through childhood into adulthood

    But we are getting side tracked here

    the OP most certainly did say it’s Disney’s problem, which, it isn’t, it’s a predicament the parent finds themselves in. Fortunately, cruising is not a birth right, so, they have lots of options without being so dramatic as saying they are “enduring stress” of when their children can eat in the MDR
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    incorrect - children’s ability to adapt to a situation is based on their programming, their programming is entirely based on exposure to various situations during upbringing

    this then carries through childhood into adulthood

    But we are getting side tracked here

    the OP most certainly did say it’s Disney’s problem, which, it isn’t, it’s a predicament the parent finds themselves in. Fortunately, cruising is not a birth right, so, they have lots of options without being so dramatic as saying they are “enduring stress” of when their children can eat in the MDR
    Except that it IS specific to kids and not about parenting because one of my twins is a night owl who will happily eat late and stay up till midnight and the other twin and his younger brother will cry uncontrollably before falling asleep sitting up in their chairs. And it is an issue that is pretty common because when I switched cruises for work and lost my main dining the Disney rep I spoke said that kids screaming and sleeping through late dining happens all the time. And it is their problem that they don’t fill the dining room first come first serve but instead switch to waitlist when they still have main dining availability, as shown by the fact that after I called and hinted I might drop the cruise they switched me. And this was still well before PIF so not likely that spots miraculously opened just in time. I would much rather they were transparent so I could know when booking (or in this case rebooking) a cruise if my family could actually enjoy dinner on it.
     

    MomOTwins

    The Mommy Fairy
    Joined
    Mar 5, 2018
    P.S., I see posts on this board all the time expressing dissatisfaction about various aspects of Disney cruises from the small pools, to MDR food and service, to upcharges. The only time I see people telling people who suggest a change to DCL's practices to just "don't cruise" if they don't like it, or who say the problem is with the person and not with Disney, is when it has to do with kids. The venom I see towards parents in this thread is really getting fatiguing. I'm sure there's something you non-parents (or lucky parents of easygoing kids) would like to change about DCL too.
     
    Last edited:

    Lisa F

    is a very wise woman
    Joined
    Feb 22, 2000
    P.S., I see posts on this board all the time expressing dissatisfaction about various aspects of Disney cruises from the small cruise, to MDR food and service, to upcharges. The only time I see people telling people who suggest a change to DCL's practices to just "don't cruise" if they don't like it, or who say the problem is with the person and not with Disney, is when it has to do with kids. The venom I see towards parents in this thread is really getting fatiguing. I'm sure there's something you non-parents (or lucky parents of easygoing kids) would like to change about DCL too.
    it's not just here, it's the whole internet. I was the best parent ever before I had my son, lol. Though I kept my mouth shut about it and I'm glad I did... because what I learned has been humbling.

    People who either have no kids or who have had easy kids who pat themselves on the back for their great parenting have nooooooooooooooooo idea.
     

    MonaMN

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Nov 21, 2014
    I never said it was Disney's problem, but I really resent being told it isn't a problem at all. It's lovely for you that you have kids who responded well to time changes. It's not my fault, or my parents fault, that I don't. It's biology:

    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-you-an-early-bird-or-a-night-owl/

    https://www.huffpost.com/entry/night-owl-sleep_b_4276411

    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/2/27/17058530/sleep-night-owl-late-riser-chronotype-science-delayed-sleep-phase

    You adapt one way (by changing your sleep patterns) I adapt another (by working my daily schedule around my natural sleep times). What's wrong with a little "to each their own" here?
    Yup. And I will add this overview:

     

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