What is Rotational Dining on a Disney Cruise and How Does It Work?

Animators Palate Use scaled
Animators Palate Use scaled

rotational dining

Whether you’re a regular at the Disney parks and new to cruising or an avid cruiser setting sail with Disney for the first time, when it comes to dining at sea, Disney Cruise Line does things a little bit differently.

Rotational Dining is a fun perk of going on a Disney Cruise.  Each of the cruise ships has at least three table service options included in the rotational dining program.  Under the system, guests eat at a different restaurant every night with each restaurant featuring a different decor and menu. These are as follows:

Disney Dream: Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Palace

Disney Fantasy: Animator’s Palate, Enchanted Garden, and Royal Court

Disney Magic: Animator’s Palate, Lumiere’s, and Rapunzel’s Royal Table

Disney Wonder: Animator’s Palate, Triton’s, and Tiana’s Place

The great thing about Rotational Dining is that not only will guests have their meals at the same time each evening,  but also the same servers will follow you from restaurant to restaurant.  This is a real perk of rotational dining as it allows you to build a relationship with your server and it’s easier for them to keep track of any needs you may have (special seating requests, dietary restrictions etc).

Can I select the time I want to eat each night? Yes. At the time you book your cruise you will have the option to choose from Main Seating or Second Seating for your dining.  Main Seating aboard a Disney Cruise takes place at 5:45 pm and Second seating takes place 8:15 pm.  On your cruise,  this dining assignment also dictates when you will see Broadway-style shows.  For instance, if you are in Main Seating you will see the evening shows at 8:30 each night after you’ve eaten.  If you are in the Second Seating you will see you show at 6.15 before you’ve had your dinner.  Main Seating tends to be the preferred option and will fill up the quickest.  Second Seating may offer a nice option for adults cruising who don’t mind taking their dinners later in the evening.

Main Seating tends to book up really quickly so depending on how close you book to your departure date, you may find that it is already filled up and you have to choose Second Seating.  If this is the case, you do have the option of being waitlisted for Main Seating and will automatically be moved should something come up.

How do I know what restaurant I eat at first? When you get the Key To the World Card for your cruise it will include dining information.  You will find the time that you dinner starts each evening followed by letters indicating your rotation.  For instance, RAE on your card would mean that Royal Palace, Animator’s Palate and Enchanted Garden would be your Rational Dining order aboard the Disney Dream.

What if I’m on a long cruise? If you’re on a 5+ night cruise you will repeat the same restaurants however the menus will have changed from when you dined there previously.

Is there a dress code for the Rotational Dining restaurants? 

For most of the meals the dress code is “Cruise Casual” this means that t-shirts and shorts are permitted though tank tops are not.  Depending on the length of your sailing, there also may be special “dress-up dinners” where jackets and dresses are required or special themed events like Pirate Night.

How do I tip my Rotational Dining server? Suggested gratuities are automatically added to your stateroom bill which you will receive as your cruise is winding down.  If you want to adjust the amount you can go to Guest Services and have it altered.

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Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider booking with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to help you with everything from finding your perfect package to nabbing those hard-to-get dining and Fastpass reservations.  Best of all, my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025, via email at mroden@mickeytravels.com or follow along on Facebook

Image copyright Disney.


What is Rotational Dining on a Disney Cruise and How Does It Work? 1

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