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music83lover2001

Better dinner time-first or second seating?

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We booked late and we got stuck with the second dinner. We are on the waiting list for the first seating. I have heard good and bad points for both, but which is better. We have no kids in our party. Are there a lot of kids at the second dinner?

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The first/main seating usually consists of the families and older crowd. And the second/late seating is generally couples. That is a VERY generic explanation.

 

We've sailed on the Disney Magic twice. The first time I booked the early seating, because of the kids. Well when you come in from port all hot and sweaty at 5pm, and have to be ready for dinner by 6pm, sometimes it's kind of a bummer. I remember one night just eating pizza on deck so we wouldnt' have to change. (The pizza is homemade and delicious by the way!) So last time we booked the late seating to give us more time between coming in from port and getting ready for dinner.

 

This actually turned out to be a problem, but ONLY because I was traveling with my then-7 year old daughter. The schedule in the kids club is based upon the kids eating early, so a lot of times there were activities in the kids club the same time as our dinner seating.

 

So for our upcoming cruise we are booked for the early seating.

 

I explained all of this in case other folks have the same question, but bottom line is WITH kids = 1st seating, WITHOUT kids = 2nd seating.

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Second seating allows you to start your excursions later. It also give's you more time to get ready for dinner, after your excursions. If you need hard statisics, can't help there, except most families with children, opt for early dinning, so as not to break up a normal routine. Except for the Pirate night party, you won't see too many children up, and about on-board, after 9:00 pm. They are basically exhausted, and asleep. If they are up, they are congregated for character signings, and photos. Now early dinning, means your days start earlier, if you want a full day. Earlier excrsions, etc... You may get a better location on deck for the Pirate Party, it just depends on your life style. I think, based on 5 cruises with Disney, the majority of families with children opt for early seating from, what we've experianced. Your life style should dictate your dinning time. The adult only shows start later in the night, and the adult entertainment, continues on until about 12:30 am. Tough choice, go late! Sleep in, stay up late, it's your vacation experiance. Metrowon.

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We always did first when DD was young once she hit 12 we switched to second. It is MUCH quieter at second with less babys and hungry tots. The one bad thing is dinner can run quite late depending on the service but if you have a snack in the afternoon you should be fine. I am really looking forward to our NCL cruise to try the anytime thing. But second is much less rushed when you are on excursions etc.

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I read somewhere that it could be better to do the opposite and book a late seating even with elementary age kids. Then get a snack/dinner for them at the pool area and go to the early show with the kids. Then they can enjoy the evening kids club activities and the adults can enjoy dinner together without them. Otherwise the kids have to choose between the show or the Kid's activites and may end up falling asleep during the show.

 

I think my kids will enjoy Animator's Palatte and the Pirate night, but not be interested in the regular dinners otherwise and would rather see the shows and enjoy the Kids Activities. And I would sure enjoy the Adult only dinners at the end of the day.

 

Any opinions on this?

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We are going on the Magic in Jan with our 3 children, ages 6, 4, and 2. We got stuck with the late seating but I think we can make the best of it by adjusting their schedules a bit and having a later lunch. Hopefully it will all work out :).

 

Kelly

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Disney will attempt to accomodate any dining requests. The Disney dining is on a rotation basis (different restaurants every night). If you have no children, they will try to place you in a primarily adult-only rotation. You have a better chance at being seated with adults in the later dining time.

 

I personally prefer second dining since I have no children and I feel less rushed to finish my meal "on time". If you really would prefer main seating, talk to the maitre d right after you board. More than likely he'll be located wherever they are taking Palo reservations. If all else fails, call the purser's desk. Remember to do it right away since on Disney especially, people want main seating to accomodate their children's regular dining/sleeping times.

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I'm all for second seating...... without kids. We normally eat about 5-5:30 at home, but it really find it nice to have the extra time at the end of the day. There's always snacks, and if you're on board, hit the lunch as late as you can too to help stretch it out.

 

With kids, we're on early, and figure that since most kids will be, the crew will be ready for us.

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I read somewhere that it could be better to do the opposite and book a late seating even with elementary age kids. Then get a snack/dinner for them at the pool area and go to the early show with the kids. Then they can enjoy the evening kids club activities and the adults can enjoy dinner together without them. Otherwise the kids have to choose between the show or the Kid's activites and may end up falling asleep during the show.

 

I think my kids will enjoy Animator's Palatte and the Pirate night, but not be interested in the regular dinners otherwise and would rather see the shows and enjoy the Kids Activities. And I would sure enjoy the Adult only dinners at the end of the day.

 

Any opinions on this?

 

My kids were interested in every dinner with us and pretty muich every dinner on every ship, no matter the cruiseline. That is sort of one thing that we keep consistent from ship to ship, the family eats together. The kids may choose to run to the kid's club immediatly following or go see a show...but our meals are still together as a family.

 

Early seating has always been the best choice for us.

 

And I think if I had to wait to eat any later, as a mom of 2 early risers, even I would probably be asleep in my soup if I waited till late seating. :D

 

 

-------------

And to answer the OP...without kids...the pros of Late Seating

--not hurrying out of the ports, into the shower and off to dinner. You can take your time. And you can stay off the ship longer if the port allows it.

--less kids

 

The cons

--having the show before dinner (I just need to be fully fed in order to sit through a show)

--might not match when your normal dinner time is...some people don't like the feeling of eating so close to their bedtime.

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We booked late and we got stuck with the second dinner. We are on the waiting list for the first seating. I have heard good and bad points for both, but which is better. We have no kids in our party. Are there a lot of kids at the second dinner?

 

I just returned from Disney's Mediterranean Cruise. I really enjoyed the whole trip. Although I was in the 2nd Seating, we often just went to a dining room of our choice (except Palo) to see if we could be seated earlier. We got seating from no-shows or someone was late from a shore excursion. We found the buffet to be just wonderful...sometimes a better choice with a delicious selection.

 

So seating at any time seems to be allowed depending on availability.

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We had early seating and enjoyed it. There were a lot of kids at that one, but trust me...you don't even know there are kids on this ship most of the time. I think most parents tell their little ones...."Be good, or no autographs with Mickey!!!"....and it works. It's a very nice environment, and kids were not distracting at all in the dining rooms at night.

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We're booked for early seating, but will most likely switch to late. On vacation we prefer late dinners. We haven't cruised before though so have no experience with that. Our TA recommended booking early until we made up our mind. I guess it's easy to switch to late but not so easy to switch the other way, LOL. :D

 

The advice I was given on another forum was to snack before the show. See the show with the kids. Then allow them to eat their dinner and go on to kids clubs whenever they're ready. I was told that it's not all that inconvenient to run DD (only 5 at cruise time) to the club and come back to dinner. Then I can relax and enjoy the rest of my meal at a leisurely pace. DS will be 14 and old enough to do what he prefers.

 

Was the person who told me that on target, do you think? :confused:

 

I really don't want to eat dinner at 5:30. When we go to Disney World, the beach, wherever, we usually eat around 7:30.

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jce mom - If you usually eat at 7:30 then you'll probably be happy. You might want to have your TA request the earliest time of the second seating (such as 8:00 instead of 8:30).

 

We had the early seating. We have a VERY busy 5 yr old boy and I never thought he'd make it through but he did alright and on the nights that he didn't, one of us would just run him to the Kids Club between courses - piece of cake! I did notice that the majority of the kids activities were offered at a time that suited early dining though. The more structured activities kind of tapered off towards the end of the evening and they would pretty much just show movies and offer what they called "free time" around 9:00. You could look at a navigator to see for yourself - that might also help you to decide. Good luck and have a great trip!

 

Kathy

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Thank you.

 

It sounds to me almost as if the kids have to choose... early dining for dinner and then kids club for activities, missing the shows? Or seeing the early show and then kids club for activities, missing late dinner? (To catch the 'best' activities, I mean.) All the 'good stuff' seems to be between 7:00 and 10:00 from the navigators I looked at.

 

So, if we go with early dinner we'll eat beginning between 5:30 and 6:00, and see our shows at 8:30. If we do late dinner we'll see our shows at 6:15 and eat beginning between 8:00 and 8:30.

 

With early dinner we'd be out in time for kids club activities, if the kids missed the shows. Late dinner would give us time to see the shows together, but the kids could only make the activities if they missed dinner.

 

Am I making this tougher than it should be? LOL :D

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