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tropical dreams

early or late seating for dinner

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3 hours ago, tropical dreams said:

This will be our first disney cruise with a five year old. Any suggestions on which dining time works better?

What works for one, may not work for another.


Only you know how your child will handle eating dinner at 8:00 pm or if he/she needs to eat earlier.


Things that can affect the answer:

What time zone do you live in?  What time zone is the cruise in?  

Is your child flexible with schedule changes?


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Choosing dining time is really a matter of your family's preference. All shows are scheduled so those with early dining see the show after dinner (during late dining) and those with late dining see the show before dinner (during early dining).


Because most of the ship will be at either dinner or a show at any given time, there won't be a significant difference in the kids' club activities offered during each dining time. There may be slightly more activity during late dining, because more families opt for early dining. However, if you have late dining and there is an activity your child really wants to attend at the kids' club, you can ask your server to expedite your child's dinner. 



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Most people want early dining but I wouldn't discount late dining as an option. Early begins at 5:45pm which means you need to be back at your room pretty early to get the whole family ready. This could make things pretty rushed if returning from shore. You can always stop and get a late afternoon snack to tide everyone over. This would allow time to not rush back from shore. Also realize that if you have early dining you will be seeing all the shows in the later evening. Will your kids be alert for the show? You can always expedite kids dinner at late seating (or just have kids eat quick service and have dessert at the table) and send them to the kid's club so the parents can enjoy a more leisurely meal kid free. 

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We did a Disney cruise when my daughters were 4 1/2.  We had late dining and it was perfect.

The first cruise my daughters went on was not a Disney cruise and we had early diner.  We hated it.  Felt it was too early.  Not enough time for a nice afternoon nap before we had to get ready for dinner.    Girls next 2 cruise (both on RCCL) we did late dinner and liked it better.


We are going on a big family Disney cruise (14 of us) and my brother in laws wanted early seating with their young kids.   

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