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Tennant

Early Dining & Table Sharing

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We are thinking of booking a last minute cruise (leaves in 38 days).  Early dinning is full and I just learned that we will likely be seated with another family.  We are traveling with our almost 2 year old.

 

Both of these are somewhat deal breakers for us.  What are your experiences with getting switched to early dining and getting a "private" table? We have cruised 16 times and always take anytime dining and wait for a "private" table if necessary.

 

Thanks!

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2 minutes ago, Tennant said:

We are thinking of booking a last minute cruise (leaves in 38 days).  Early dinning is full and I just learned that we will likely be seated with another family.  We are traveling with our almost 2 year old.

 

Both of these are somewhat deal breakers for us.  What are your experiences with getting switched to early dining and getting a "private" table? We have cruised 16 times and always take anytime dining and wait for a "private" table if necessary.

 

Thanks!

We've almost always started out on late seating, on the wait list.  Everytime, but one, we've been moved to early dining.  Now, we don't mind sharing, so that makes it easier.

 

We much prefer shared tables.  Part of traveling (for us) is meeting new people.

 

"Private" in DCL talk really isn't all that private.  The tables in the dining rooms are pretty close to each other, you might as well be seated with others.

 

 

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Thanks! Seems like maybe our chances of at least getting early seating will be OK from what I am reading. 

 

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Your can call and request, you could get lucky.

I'm not sure how long your cruise it for, but we have done DCL with infant thru elementary school. With an almost 2 year old, I would suggest expediting thier meal and then checking s/he into the nursery, the dinners will take over an hour for the full 3 course meal. The other option is to order free room service dinner while you get dressed or have the kid eat at one of the quick service pool deck options.

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I just wanted to let you know that I've always found that Disney does an amazing job of matching up families to share tables. We've been on DCL 4 times so far and we've always had a great time with our table mates. They've always had something in common with us. I've heard the same from others on another message board. We're looking forward to seeing who our table mates will be on our next cruise in March. So you may want to give having a table with others a chance.

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Booking 38 days out, I think it's doubtful that you will get an early dining time. Keep in mind that the vast majority of DCL cruisers are familys and most prefer the earlier dining time. 

 

Eating with others is the standard with DCL. They seem to be pretty in-depth on matching, so it may not be as dire as you're thinking. Not only were we matched with another 3 person family with a 7yo girl, but they were also older parents like us. There were no problems, but I think all of us were introverts waiting for someone else to start the conversation. FWIW, we requested a private table three or four months from sailing and didn't get one. I've heard it's somewhat easier if you're a straight up 4 top or 6 top (we were 3) and if you have late dining. You won't know if you have a private or shared table until you get to it afaik.

 

You can always do a second request about this when you board, but if this is a "deal breaker" then I'm not sure what to tell you because booking this late, I think you're going to be at a late dining shared table at least until you get on board.

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We were skeptical about being seated with another family also, but like others have said, Disney, somehow, matches pretty well.  We were seated with a family that had a son the same age as ours, and they hung out the whole cruise together, at the club, at the pool on Castaway Cay. The most amazing part about the pairing is that the other parents work with my brother in law. And we hung out with them too. It’s a small world after all.

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Posted (edited)

For what it's worth, we had good luck getting our dining time moved to early seating when we booked close to the sail date. We booked about 50 days before departure.

 

I called a few times to check our status on the waitlist (late dining was not an attractive option since my son was under 2 at the time) and they eventually had good news for me. We did share with another family with a child the same age as ours. Even as someone who is fairly awkward with new people, I found the shared table worked out okay. 

Edited by bcakes

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50 minutes ago, 1st-timer28 said:

Do characters walk around during dinner in the main dining rooms? 

No.  Well, not usually.  Although I've seen Belle in Lumiere's and Ariel in Triton's.  They were part of the "show" in those specific rooms, not actually just walking around, like the characters in the parks.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Shmoo here said:

No.  Well, not usually.  Although I've seen Belle in Lumiere's and Ariel in Triton's.  They were part of the "show" in those specific rooms, not actually just walking around, like the characters in the parks.

 

 

Thank you! Good to know. My kids love Disney characters, but I myself am afraid of them (I know why would I go on a Disney cruise if I'm afraid) but I am doing it for my kids.

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On 4/18/2019 at 6:19 PM, Shmoo here said:

No.  Well, not usually.  Although I've seen Belle in Lumiere's and Ariel in Triton's.  They were part of the "show" in those specific rooms, not actually just walking around, like the characters in the parks.

 

 

 

And Rapunzel in her dining room on the Magic. I would guess Tiana on the Wonder? (I'll find out next March 😀 )

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On 4/18/2019 at 6:42 PM, 1st-timer28 said:

Thank you! Good to know. My kids love Disney characters, but I myself am afraid of them (I know why would I go on a Disney cruise if I'm afraid) but I am doing it for my kids.

 If there are characters at dinner, they will probably be "face" characters such as princesses. It is much less likely to see "costumed" characters at dinner (except at character breakfasts), although some years ago Mickey did show up briefly at dinner at Animator's Palate. It would be difficult for characters with limited visual acuity to walk between the tables.

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Yes, Tiana appears in Tiana's and Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder appear in Rapunzel's. We have had luck in getting a table for just my party size in all my cruises except my third Disney cruise which was my honeymoon. I went to the headwaiter when I first boarded the ship and after the first night at dinner we were switched to a table for two.  We have been successful all the other times with different numbers of people in our party.  Most of my cruises, I book close to the cruise sail date including two cruises that we booked only a couple of weeks out and even then we were able to get a table for just us.  I always make sure I head to wherever the dining people are set up the first day of the cruise to verify that we have our own table. We always have late seating, though. After years of sitting with others at dinner on cruises, I have moved on to just wanting private tables and have never felt like our tables were to close to any other table. 

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