TMSM Explains: Disney Cruise Line Rotational Dining

One of the things that sets Disney Cruise Line above other cruise lines is its unique rotational dining program. Regardless of which of the four Disney Cruise Line Ships you sail on, or the length of the cruise you take, you will experience rotational dining. Each of the Disney Cruise Line ships has three main public sit down dinner locations, a buffet location and a walk up counter area on the pool deck and a additional by reservation dining options. Rotational dining only occurs in the three main public dining locations.

The key to rotational dining is you have a set night to visit a sit down dining location, giving you the option to experience it without the worry of “will they be able to sit me?” There are two dining times, early dining which usually starts at about 5:45 pm and late dining which usually starts at about 8:15pm. When booking your cruise you have to option to request early or late dining. For tonight’s article we are going to use the Disney Fantasy’s most recent Star Wars Cruise rotation as our example. Obviously you want to remember that each ship has a slight variation to it’s rotation, there are 3 rotations per dining time frame, and the number of times you visit a dining location is directly effected by the number of nights you are cruising.

There are three formal “general dining” rooms on the Fantasy, each has it’s own amazing theme. The Enchanted Garden (E) which is modeled after the Gardens of Versailles is where the sun sets and flower lights open as you dine.  The Animator’s Palate (A) on the Fantasy has two themes, the first is where you view clips of animation while eating and the night ends with some animation magic that you helped create coming to life, and the second night you see Crush and friends come to life. The Royal Court (R) is a more “glitzy” dining theme and is inspired by the Disney Princesses.

The unique and wonderful part of rotational dining isn’t that you get to see all these dining rooms, and experience what each has to offer, but that your dining staff travels with you each night. They begin to learn your preferences, and in the case of individuals with food allergies are able to be better prepared to help you choose items that will help them enjoy their meal without putting their health at risk. Disney Cruise Line’s dining staff is an amazing group of Cast Members that have in my experience always gone above and beyond to make the ship’s guests feel welcome.

Your party will be assigned to a table before boarding the ship so your dining time and table number and dining rotation will be printed on your Key to the World Card. You will also receive a copy of your dining schedule in your cabin. For our example the rotation is RAERAAE table 43. Meaning at 8:15pm the party will sit at table number 43, sometimes with new friends that were assigned to eat with them, as there are only so many tables in the dining room. Meaning the rotation for this cruise group went Royal Court, Animator’s Palate (Crush), Enchanted Garden, Royal Court, Animator’s Palate (Star Wars Night), Animator’s Palate (Animation), and Enchanted Garden. The last morning of your cruise you will have the option to eat in the buffet location, or at the table service you ate at the last night of you cruise, this will also be handled by your dinner dining staff meaning the people you have come to adore will be the ones wishing you “Bon Voyage” as you leave the ship.

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