Dining is definitely a highlight of any Disney Cruise vacation. These tips will help you make the most of every delicious meal.
Before You Sail
DO check in online. You can check in online at least four days prior to your sail date, which will save you time when you arrive on embarkation day. This is the best time to reserve special dining experiences, such as dinner at the adults-only restaurants, Palo (every ship) or Remy (Dream, Fantasy).
DO consider which dinner seating is best for your family. Disney's rotational dining system offers two dinner seatings, at 5:45 pm and 8:15 pm. Many families with young kids opt for the early seating because it's closer to their regular dinner time. Yet the later seating allows you to see the shows first, and then enjoy a quieter dinner. Another plus: Parents can check their kids in for evening youth activities without leaving the dinner table. Counselors magically appear partway through the second seating to whisk the kids away to the clubs while adults finish dinner.
This is offered for kids ages 3 to 12 during the second seating in all main dining rooms.
DO pack a few dining outfits. There is no "formal night" on a Disney Cruise, but passengers tend to dress smartly for dinner in the main restaurants. For adults, a typical look is either a suit or shirt and tie for men; dresses/skirts or dress pants for women; polo shirts or button-down shirts for boys; and dresses or coordinated outfits for girls. On "pirate night" many passengers dress the part and on any given night you often see young kids wearing costumes of their favorite Disney characters.
If you plan on dining in either (or maybe both) of the wonderful adults-only specialty restaurants, you'll want to dress up a notch or two: suits for men and semi-formal dresses for women. See our handy Disney Cruise packing list for more information.
On Departure Day
DO book last-minute experiences. Once you've boarded the ship, you can reserve experiences you may have missed during online check in, such as dinner at the adults-only restaurants.
DO enjoy lunch. On embarkation day, you can either head to the top deck for a buffet lunch at Cabanas (Magic, Dream, Fantasy) or Beach Blanket Buffet (Wonder) or you can have lunch in the ship's main dining room that is open for lunch: Carioca's (Magic), Parrot Cay (Wonder), or Enchanted Garden (Dream, Fantasy). Both lunch options include a copious buffet, but the dining room will be quieter and a server will bring you drinks, whereas it's completely self-service at the top-deck buffet.
DO kick off your first evening in style. If you're sailing on the Disney Dream or Disney Fantasy, consider indulging in Petites Assiettes de Remy, a special dining event offered on the first evening of your cruise in Remy, the ship's elegant adults-only French restaurant. Sign up as you board for a tasting tour that includes six dishes paired with the perfect wine. ($50 upcharge per person.)
DO let your servers do their thing. With rotational dining on Disney Cruise Line, your dinner servers follow you throughout the cruise. They provide incredibly personalized service, so be sure to let them know if the kids need their food cut up, absolutely detest broccoli, or have a food allergy—and they'll remember for the rest of your cruise. Do you need a wine-pairing recommendation? Your dining team won't steer you wrong.
On Sea Days
DON'T miss an amazing brunch. If your cruise is long enough to include a day at sea, both Remy and Palo offer a decadent champagne brunch featuring exquisite service for a nominal charge. In Remy, it's a six-course, French-inspired feast. In Palo, brunch on sea days and select port days is a gorgeous spread of small bites, from caviar to croissants, followed by scrumptious made-to-order dishes. Be sure to book in advance.
Throughout Your Cruise
DO order room service. It's included in your fare and lets you enjoy a lazy snack in your stateroom whenever you like.
DO bring your camera to dinner. This is especially true for Animator's Palate, where you may get surprise appearances from Disney pals like Mickey and Crush.
DO have your morning coffee at Cove Cafe. This top-deck hideaway is an exclusive area for adults to enjoy gourmet coffees, specialty drinks and lighter fare cuisine. Muffins, pastries and desserts are offered throughout the day, and a selection of antipasto is served before dinner.
DO take a peek at the dinner menu. If "what's for dinner?" is a refrain in your family, you and the kids can consult menus prior to meals using Disney Cruise Line's Navigator app.
DON'T miss the big game. Every ship has a place where you can watch your favorite teams in comfort. On the Disney Dream, for example, you can skip the dining room and head to Pub 687 on Deck 4 for Wagyu beef sliders, tempura shrimp, or bangers and mash for a nominal charge.
DO save room for delectable desserts. At Palo, skipping the renowned chocolate soufflé is just not acceptable.
DON'T count calories. Just plan to work them off in the fitness room, in an exercise class, or with a few laps around Deck 4.