Mountain TravelingMom recently took her first family cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy for seven nights. Her kids, ages five and nine, keep asking when they can go on another. Though Disney Cruises gets good dining reviews, Mountain TravelingMom was skeptical. Cooking for that many people has to be a monumental task. However, her entire family was impressed with their Disney Cruise dining experience. Here are their Disney Cruise dining tips to make the most of the experience.
7 Disney Cruise Dining Tips
1. Book the early dinner seating!
2. Make sure to make your seating at Animator’s Palate.
3. Try Cabanas for dinner!
4. One evening at the adults-only Palo or Remy is a must!
5. Visit Meridian, more than once.
6. Purchase the souvenir popcorn at your first show.
7. Bring aboard bottled water, and wine or beer.
While Disney Cruise exceeded Mountain TravelingMom’s dining expectations, in hindsight there are a couple of ways it could have been even better. Have the foresight that she didn’t with these insider tips on managing kids mealtimes on Disney Cruise. Their experience was aboard the Disney Fantasy, but the restaurants are similar on the other ships, as so much of this could be helpful on any Disney Cruise.
Book the early dinner seating!
If you have young kids and you can, book the early seating. Not only were we first time Disney Cruisers but we booked our cruise rather last minute. Our five-year-old wakes up with the sun regardless of what time zone we are on so the 8:15 p.m. seating resulted in melt downs almost every night. And, it wasn’t just us. A family seated near us had an older daughter who literally fell asleep at the table almost every night.
Don’t Miss a seating at Animator’s Palate.
We found Animator’s Palate the most fun of all the Disney Fantasy restaurants. The first-night Crush from Finding Nemo swam around the screens in the restaurant interacting with all of the guests. Our second evening at Animators Cafe we illustrated our own character and then they brought them to life on the screens. This was a highlight, for sure.
Try Cabanas for dinner!
Don’t feel like you need to go to your assigned dinner seating every evening. If we had figured this out earlier we would have had dinner at Cabanas more than once. While for breakfast and lunch Cabanas is buffet style, at night it is made to order from the menu. At the other restaurants our kids tended to order off of the kids menu. But at Cabanas we ordered a Prosciutto platter that our five year old son loved and a seared tuna appetizer and crusted salmon entree that our nine year old laughter loved. It was a nice break from mac and cheese. And, it seemed even more freshly prepared than the assigned dining rotation restaurants.
Adults only Palo or Remy is a must!
While the food is wonderful, the experience was over the top. It is hard to imagine that it is possible to have better service than you receive at your assigned dining rotation. But you will at either of these adult-only restaurants. The atmosphere is the ultimate luxury. Your kids will be fully entertained at the Oceaneers Club while you get some important couples time. The additional charges for either of these restaurants are well worth it in the form of quality time spent with your significant other.
Meridian is the cocktail lounge located between Palo and Remy. While most guests visit before dinner at Palo or Remy, we recommend finding additional times to visit. This is possibly the best place on the ship to enjoy the sunset.
We checked it out one morning after breakfast and experienced the best latte, espresso, and conversation. The bartender from Jamaica was entertaining. Then we took our coffee and espresso out to the beautiful deck that we had all to ourselves. On a ship full of guests and many children, it was a pleasure to have a quiet morning and expansive views to ourselves. We felt as though we were the only people aboard the ship.
Purchase the souvenir popcorn at your first show.
The Disney productions are incredible. Don’t miss any of the original shows! At the welcome show, we spent a bit of money on drinks and popcorn. But then we figured out how to have the perk of food and beverages without much additional cost.
Purchase the souvenir popcorn at the first show, and then you can bring your bucket to the other shows and get a refill for just a couple of dollars. We would also stop at the pool deck on our way and get a lemonade for the kids to bring. Some evenings, we would fill a coffee cup with the wine that we brought on board in our carry-ons.
Bring a case of bottled water and wine or beer onboard.
You can bring a case of water and check it with your luggage upon arrival. It will be brought to your room with your other luggage where you can cool it in your fridge. While we drank plenty of water from the drink fountains, I don’t like drinking water out of bathroom taps. Plus, to cool down there’s nothing better than a cold bottle of water out of the fridge.
Disney also allows either up to two bottles of wine or a six-pack of beer to be brought aboard in your carry on. While your Disney Cruise is mostly all inclusive, you could easily drop a lot of money on bottled water, wine, beer, and cocktails.
So Much More than Dining
Dining is only one small part of a Disney Cruise experience. There is so much more to enjoy. Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is pristine. The shows are incredible. Pirate Night is a special treat. And, some itineraries even have a special Star Wars Day at Sea or Marvel Day at Sea.
Disney Cruise does service like no one else. Our last day on the ship, after visiting the self-serve ice cream station for the umpteenth time, our daughter informed us that she was really going to miss being called princess.
Our son asks almost every day when we can go on another Disney Cruise. When we ask him why he wavers between answering “donuts for breakfast every day” and “seeing the genie from Disney’s Aladdin: A Musical Spectacular.”
Mountain TravelingMom and her family feel grateful to have been able to check this off of their bucket list. If you are thinking about booking, check out remaining 2018 Disney Cruises.