Disney Cruise Tips – Food & Drink

Disney Cruise Tips - Food & Drink

When you think about a cruising vacation, one of the first things you think of (besides the beach) is food! And DCL certainly does not disappoint.

Dining Basics

Table Service – each ship has 3 restaurants that offer your evening meal. As with other cruise lines you are seated at the “same” table with your nightly wait staff. The Disney difference is rotational dining! Instead of being in the same dining space every evening there are three restaurants that will rotate throughout your cruise. For the purposes of this post we will focus on the Disney Magic dining rooms.

  • Animator’s Palate (All 4 Ships) – Is a not to be missed spot to dine. This interactive dining will be a huge hit for both adults and children. If you are lucky you will be within these walls twice during your cruise and you will be able to experience the addition of color to the space and seeing you own character come to life on the screens.
Animators Palate

Animators Palate Dining Room

  • Lumiere’s (Magic) – Is a beautiful spot to enjoy an upscale meal with a French flare. To enter you ascend the stairs off the atrium and you feel like royalty, Belle and her Beast to be specific.
  • Carioca’s (Magic) – offers South American inspired cuisine in a setting that is reminiscent of The Three Caballeros.
Carioca's Dining Room

Carioca’s Dining Room

*To my knowledge at the present you cannot request a certain dining rotation. However, you may get lucky and be able to do so on embarkation day at check in. To find out what your rotation is, you can look at your key to the world card and it will be noted in an acronym on the front.

Buffet Dining – If you are looking for all you can eat as far as the eye can see then Cabanas is the place to be. We frequented for both breakfast, late night fare and the occasional lunch.

Cabana's Breakfast

Cabana’s Breakfast

Counter Service – If you aren’t full yet, each ship has quick service meals around the pool. Featuring, burgers, tacos, hot dogs, pizza and more you are sure to find something to please. Grab a bite and head to the pool deck to enjoy fun in the sun.  Or grab a sandwich and fruit to pack in your bag for a lunch off the ship.

Adult Only Dining – Palo (All 4 Ships) and Remy (Fantasy & Dream) are adult only spots that while are an extra charge are worth the splurge. **Tip** if only scheduling one adult exclusive go with brunch. It’s a great way to experience the restaurant but not miss out on the rotational dining.

Palo Bruch

Palo Bruch

Room Service – This is free….for the most part. Soda and bottle water is not free and will be charged to your account. You will also be expected to tip accordingly. The room service staff is not tipped at the end of the cruise like your other hosts.

Things to Know

Mix and Match!  You can mix and match menu items. At dinner, try two appetizers. Have a soup and salad, then two desserts. Go wild and try something you have never had before. Don’t be shy!

Early vs Late Dining – there is a very large debate about which dining time is the most preferable. I have found that the late dining crowd is very vocal about the pro’s of late dining and how terrible early dining is. I am hear to tell you I DISAGREE!

  • Late Dining – Does have less children and does allow for more time on shore. BUT you are more apt to skip the entertainment, you are more apt to not dress up and you are more apt to miss out on the photo opportunities. Plus I don’t know about you but 8:15 is very LATE and a 2 hour dinner means you don’t finish up until after 10!
  • Early Dining – Does have more children and does mean that you need to get back on board at a reasonable hour in order to get changed. BUT you are wide awake and not starving (or full because you had a huge snack), your children are in better shape to get the most out of the meal, you are prepared for pictures before and after, and you are ready and waiting to get a great seat for the nightly entertainment (which is a must)!

I also have strong feeling on this subject, and I will probably forever be an early dining sort. I do not like to eat at 9:00pm, with or without my child. And I am a creature of habit. I like entertainment after dinner. I see you late diners, and I hear your objections. But for me early dining it is.

As we cruise we will update with our reviews of each dining location…stay tuned!

Click here for more Disney Cruise Line information.


4 thoughts on “Disney Cruise Tips – Food & Drink

  1. I’d say early vs late dining is definitely personal preference – I agree with you on that. My husband and I like to cruise and don’t have kids, we usually go for the later dinner option because we’re more hungry after the show (due to lunch/snacking too much in the afternoon). The only time it didn’t seem late was in Alaska because it stayed light out for so long. But the early dinner could work well if you are used to eating earlier then you can enjoy the show without worrying about getting hungry or buying snacks since you’re stuffed with dinner/dessert.

    • Agreed. I find it very interesting that almost 100% of the advice I have read says to go with late dining. There are definite pros to the late like you talked about. And maybe, just maybe if we cruise without the little one we will try it. But for now early dining it is!

  2. Thanks for all the great information!! It’s extremely helpful! What would be expected as a reasonable tip for room service?

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