If you are planning your first cruise on a Disney boat then hopefully these pointers will come in handy for you. Know that all food while onboard and at Castaway Cay is included in the price of your cruise (even seconds), with the exception of Palo/Remy, where there is a small cover charge per person.
Dress Code – Most other cruise lines have formal nights but Disney really does not do this and just another reason why I love the Disney ships. You can dress up if you want but I am on vacation and one less “thing” for me, as a mom, to worry about! However, be expected to have “cruise casual” which is casual pants and polo style shirts for men/boys and a sundress or casual pants and top for the women/girls. It is always fun to dress up in pirate garb for that fun themed evening and fireworks after. Also, a nicer more dress up night makes a really nice photo opportunity for the family with Mickey! Lastly, if the adults are planning a special meal at Palo or Remy then prepare for a nice jacket for men, dress or pantsuit for women.
Dining Rotations – most don’t realize but Disney was the first to start the dining rotation concept which allows you to experience a different restaurant each night for dinner while your servers remain the same – they follow you to each evening! I loved the fact that after the first night our servers knew which drink to have waiting for each of us before we even sat down. And they even had a birthday cupcake celebration for my daughter on her big day.
There are two dinner seatings each evening, an early seating and a late seating. Early seating times are either 5:30pm, 5:45pm or 6:00pm and late seating times are either 8:00pm, 8:15pm or 8:30pm. Ours on the Disney Dream, had our dining times as 5:45pm and 8:15pm. The first seating is the most popular but I have learned to enjoy the later one now in my older years – it is easier with the older children – just a tip. You can request which seating you prefer when you first book the cruise, or change it once you board which is subject to availability, of course. Please note that the dining rotation only applies to dinner, and to breakfast on debarkation day. You are free to have breakfast and lunch wherever you wish through out your trip.
Once on board, you will receive a “dining ticket” which will list your restaurant location for each night, and your seating time. There are three restaurants onboard each ship so on a three night cruise you will dine in each of the three restaurants over the three nights once. If you are on the four night cruise you will dine in each of the three restaurants, plus one will be repeated. Usually, on the repeat night you will have the Pirates Themed dinner. Then if you are lucky enough to be on a seven night or longer cruise then you will keep rotating through each of the three restaurants for the duration of your cruise. Your table number will also be printed on your dining ticket, and will be the same each night, regardless of which restaurant you will be in. I always carried my ticket to dinner and handed to the host/hostess to be seated.
The process of booking a Disney cruise can be VERY confusing, so let a professional help you! Please contact me at any time for a free quote.The benefits to using an authorized Disney vacation planner include saving time before and during your vacation! Plus you won’t have to watch for any possible rate drops, research everything there is to offer, or keep track of milestone dates for any “extras” you want during your voyage. The best part about using a travel planner instead of planning yourself? It’s totally FREE! Plus I’ll take away some of the stress and confusion of planning a Disney vacation (especially if it’s your first one!) If you already have your cruise planned and are interested in transferring your vacation, ask me how!