We spin you right round, yeah, right round! Yep, we went there. We’re not here to talk about records, though, no we’re here to talk about Disney Cruise rotational dining. After embarking on our cruise ship, the next big thing to understand about a Disney Cruise is how dinner works. Alright, let’s lace up our dress shoes and take a spin around the Disney Magic to learn more about Disney Cruise rotational dining!
Prior To Cruising
You know how we like planning! When booking a Disney Cruise there are only a few items you’ll need to plan. Whether it’s potential excursions in the different ports of call, to onboard activities like champagne tasting, or in this case your Disney Cruise rotational dining. At the time of booking, you’ll be asked what is your preferred dining time and table layout. Dinner times are either early, which is between 5:45 pm to 6:15 pm or late which is between 8:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Table layout is whether or not you want to share a table with other guests or have a private table for your party.
Cruise Insights: We’ve found the later dinner time tends to have more adults compared to the early dining time.
How It Works
Let’s dine! First things first, how does Disney Cruise rotational dining work? On all Disney Cruise ships, you’ll find three different dining rooms. Each night you’ll dine at one of the restaurants, then head to another restaurant the following night and so on. What is unique is your wait staff will follow you from restaurant to restaurant each night. We love this aspect, as the servers really get to know what you enjoy and make recommendations based on your preferences and their experiences!
Your dining time will be the same each night based on which option you selected prior to boarding. If you’re looking to change dining times we recommend heading to guest services once onboard to see if they are able to accommodate.
Cruise Insights: You can find the restaurant you’ll be dining at within the Disney Cruise App under your daily itinerary.
Yes, they’re definitely a magical experience. However, we’re referring to the actual restaurants associated with the Disney Cruise rotational dining on the Disney Magic. Onboard you’ll find five restaurants, with three of the restaurants as part of the rotational dining. The three restaurants are Lumiere’s, Artist Palette, and Rapunzel’s Royal Table. The two not associated with rotational dining are Palo and Cabanas.
On your first trip around the rotation, you’ll find each of the restaurants has a unique menu and potentially a “show”. We’ll keep the spoilers to ourselves. On your next pass through the restaurants, they shift to menus that are the same across all the dining rooms. You’ll continue your Disney Cruise rotational dining with the same staff.
Cruise Insights: We like to book Palo for any night other than the first three, so we can enjoy the uniqueness of each of the restaurants.
It’s one of our favorites aspects of the Disney Cruise. We love to experience new restaurant themes and menus on a regular basis. With the Disney Cruise rotational dining, we’re able to that, while on a ship. Alright, next up on our rotation is Rapunzel’s. We’ll see you there!
Land ho! Our Disney Cruise is pulling into Nassau, Bahamas. After a few fancy docking maneuvres and a rope or two thrown to the deckhand we’re officially docked in our first port of call. The big question is what should we do in Nassau. Let’s get our DVC Duo Disney Cruise Nassau, Bahamas port of call underway. Watch out for those sea legs when stepping ashore!
Put away the spreadsheet, Nate! We’re not talking Walt Disney World level planning, with Fastpassselections and more. On a Disney Cruise, a little planning goes a long way. Prior to boarding the ship, we like to determine whether or not we plan to do a shore excursion or not in every port.
When our plan calls for a shore excursion, you’ll find us booking it as far in advance as possible. It’s one less thing to worry about on your embarkation day. However, once aboard you can always call an audible and add on an excursion at the Guest Services desk.
Cruise Insights:The big advantage of booking your excursions through the ship is the guarantee that you’ll be back in time for boarding.
Our plan for our Disney Cruise Nassau day was to explore. More often than you’ll find us strapping on a backpack and heading out to find the local spots. Disembarking the Disney Magic was a breeze, should we say tropical breeze? All you need is your key to world card and a photo I.D. for guests 18 and older.
Exiting the port you’ll head through the Bahamas port-security at Prince George Wharf, this will be the same port-security you’ll pass through on your way back. Right outside port is an array of shopping options, everything from jewelry to handbags and the oh so delicious rum cake. Additionally, you’ll see the famous bar Carlos and Charlie’s off to the far right.
Cruise Insights: When leaving the ship we like to bring a photocopy of our passport with us in case of an emergency.
Should we go right or left? Our first stop on our walking tour on our Disney Cruise Nassau port day is the Queen’s Staircase. Yes, we said a walking tour. A mighty walking tour it was. There are tons of cabs and tour options when stepping out of Prince George Wharf as well.
Tucked away on the outskirts of downtown Nassau is a 102 ft staircase that was carved out of limestone in 1793. Them some old stairs. The coolest part was the small waterfall adjacent to the staircase. Definitely watch your step heading up, as the stairs can get a little slick from the waterfall.
A top the staircase you’ll find Fort Fincastle. Built-in the same year at the staircase, the fort has historical relevance as it relates to the colony time period of the island. With grand views of the island, you can see Price George Wharf and Paradise Island (home to Atlantis).
Cruise Insights: Locals recommend walking up, but not down the staircase. We unknowingly did both. It’s safe to walk down if you take your time.
No, we’re not talking about the new Pixar movie. Next stop on our Disney Cruise Nassau day is Paradise Island and Atlantis. Let the walking tour continue. Looking back we would recommend taking a cab to Paradise Island. It is walkable, but a longer walk than you may expect.
Paradise Island is known for Atlantis. The larger than life resort is a combination of a casino, water park (think Blizzard Beach), and small shopping area. If you’re looking to spend time at the water park, we recommend purchasing tickets on the ship. On our walking tour, we explored the beach, shopping, and resort. In our book, it was a good to see once type of thing. We’ve previously experienced the water park and it’s definitely enjoyable.
Wrapping up our time on Paradise Island we stopped off at Margaritaville. We’ll just leave it at. Next time, we’ll just head back to the ship for a snack.
Passholder Insights: On Paradise Island, there is only one public beach at the far end. Be aware people will say you have to pay, but you do not. It’s public.
It’s good to see once type of location. Our Disney Cruise Nassau day was enjoyable, how can you not enjoy 80+ degrees and sun in December. The island has limited things to do beyond the excursions. If you enjoy snorkeling or fishing definitely check out the options here. For us, the next time we pull into Nassau we may stay on the ship or look at a beach-related excursion. Oh, our ship is pulling away time for us to sail!
We’re so ready! It’s hard not to be excited about your Disney Cruise first day. In the second part of our first Disney Cruise, we’re setting aboard the Disney Magic. Our passports have been checked, our key to the world cards created, all that’s left to do is make our way down the gangway. Ready or not here we come!
The Warm Welcome
On your Disney Cruise first day, the magic starts the moment you set onto the ship. Most cruise ships welcome you aboard with a picture and warm smile. Disney Cruise Line does as well just with a little extra pixie dust. Setting aboard the ship guests are brought into the main lobby where the crew personally welcomes them aboard with the “Disney Cruise welcomes aboard the DVC Duo”. Crew members are spread around the lobby clapping, smiling, and saying hello.
Cruise Insights: When boarding the ship you’ll have the option to take a picture as part of your embarkation or you can bypass the picture.
Let’s eat! Where else would we go, you know how we love our food. Once onboard the Disney Magic you’ll have two options for a late lunch, the buffet at Cabanas or a sitdown lunch at Luminaires. We opted for the buffet.
For us, the buffet is where it’s at. With our port of call being Miami, we were fortunate enough to have stone crab claws for lunch. Yum! Throw in a little outdoor patio dining on the back of the ship and you got a couple of happy cruisers. Beyond the crab, the buffet was filled with delectable options from prime rib to salmon and every you could imagine in between.
Cruise Insights: If you’re planning on enjoying an adult time out your Disney Cruise first day is the only opportunity to pre-purchase any drinks at a lower cost.
Let The Fun Begin!
Right away you’ll be faced with a variety of choices. What do on your Disney Cruise first day? There are tons of activities to enjoy from the word go. After enjoying a fantastic lunch (we’ll elaborate on lunch in an upcoming Foodie Friday article), we were off to our champagne tasting (full review coming soon). We’re kicking off to first Disney Cruise in style. Off to the Afterhours lounge.
Cruise Insights: A lot of activities can be booked prior to boarding the ship through the Disney Cruise website, which is similar to My Disney Experience.
Wave goodbye! After completing your muster drill, or as Nate likes to call it the mustard drill (all that’s missing is a hot dog), you’ll want to head to the top deck for the sail away show. Spots fill up fast, so we recommend heading straight up. For us, we like to go to the top-level to get that bird’s eye view of everything.
By far of the best things on Disney Cruise Line is the entertainment. The shows are fantastic and the tone is definitely set with the Sail-A-Way Party. Who knew Mickey had those types of moves!
Cruise Insights: On the stage level there is an area for kids only. It’s a fantastic location and they also get to dance with the characters.
Wrapping Up The Night
To cap our Disney Cruise first day, we headed off the show, dinner, and a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) welcome party. Depending on what you selected, you’ll either have the show or dinner first, then switch. We chose the later dinner, so we headed to the theatre.
On our Disney Cruise first day, we also had a DVC welcome aboard party. The party included free drinks, DVC updates, and special offers. You had us at free drinks! The special offers are very similar to the offers DVC members receive outside of the cruise around purchasing additional points, with the main difference being an additional onboard ship credit. For our cruise, the onboard credit was $500.
Overall it’s successful Disney Cruise first day, next stop the Bahamas!
Don’t call it a comeback! How about we call it a continuation. We’re back talking about Disney Vacation Club benefits. After our last Disney Vacation Club perks article, we uncovered a few more lesser-known benefits. Let’s unearth more benefits or as Darth Vader would say “You cannot hide forever”!
Tickets, We’ve Got Tickets
It’s all about the tickets, you cannot enjoy Walt Disney World without them. One of our new favorite Disney Vacation Club benefits is around ticket discounts. Walt Disney World offers Disney Vacation Club members a variety of ticket discounts throughout the year, from a discount on special events like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party to After Hour Events and our favorite is the annual pass discount.
With this Disney Vacation Club benefits, all members have the opportunity to purchase annual passes at the Florida rate.
Passholder Insights: Only one member of your group has to have an annual pass to take advantage of the benefit like Memory Maker.
To the high seas, we go, right Jack? One of the newest Disney Vacation Club benefits is a discount around select Disney Cruise Line (DCL) sailings. Beyond the regular member cruises, DCL offers cruise a great discount on cruises. We’re talking 30% off!
The benefit offers vacation club members 30% off the cost of a cruise for both points and cash. How the promotion works is one guest would have to book the cruise with Disney Vacation points (at 30% off) then the rest of the group can pay 30% off the cash rate. Heading into 2020, Disney Cruise Line is already offering this Disney Vacation Club for 19 different sailings.
Passholder Insights: Disney Cruise Lines tends to have its lowest rates when the cruise schedule is released. You can lock in your price with a fully refundable deposit.
It’s the benefit that keeps on giving! Our all-time favorite of the Disney Vacation Club benefits is Membership Magic. You may know membership from the DVC Moonlight Magicevents in the parks. What is lesser-known is how membership magic extends beyond these events to other special experiences.
For example, in the winter of this year, one of the membership magic experiences is the Seven Seas Tasting Cruise. New this year, members and their special guests will head out on a 3-hour tour (oh no, we know how this ends!) around Seven Seas Lagoon. The tour takes guests to each of the Seven Seas Lagoon resorts where you’ll enjoy a beverage (adult and non-adult) and appetizers.
Passholder Insights: A great spot outside the Magic Kingdom to watch Happily Ever Afteris from the Polynesian Resort beach.
The Disney Vacation Club benefits keep growing every year. It’s the small things that Disney does that keeps us coming back. Becoming a Disney Vacation Club is a big decision and one we look at for a while. Looking back it was a great decision and the little benefits like these are icing on the cake!
To swing or not to swing? Let’s swing into another DVC Duo “What-If” article, this time around George of the Jungle. In the second installment of the series, we’re looking back at what Walt Disney World Imagineering had in the works if the movie was successful. Well, let’s grab that vine and get swinging!
For the DVC Duo “What-If” series, we’re looking back at movies that Walt Disney Imagineering had concepts or plans that would incorporate the movie into the parks, that were later filed away. Nothing at Disney Imagineering is thrown away, it is filed away for future consideration. Oh, how we would like to peek into that file cabinet.
Passholder Insights: Johnny Depp almost had two attractions at the Magic Kingdom if The Lone Ranger was a success.
George Of The Jungle, Huh?
In the summer of 1997, Walt Disney Pictures released their remake of the Tarzan parody, George of the Jungle. Based on the success Universal Studios had with The Flintstones remake, Walt Disney Pictures looked to bring its own version of a 1960’s cartoon to the big screen in the form a live-action remake.
The movie leveraged the comedic talents of Brendan Fraser, Leslie Mann, and Thomas Haden Church. With a solid comedic line-up, Disney believed it would have a summer blockbuster.
What-If George of the Jungle was a homerun of a summer blockbuster? It’s why we are all here. Thanks to a little insight from Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, we have an idea of what Walt Disney Imagineering had in the hopper. Let’s just The Jungle Cruise may look a lot different than it does today.
Over the years, The Jungle Cruise has transformed into the tongue in cheek comedy based attraction that we know and love today. With jokes and comedic styles that would marry very well with the tone of the George of the Jungle movie. Disney Imagineering planned on adding aspects of the movie to the ride that would have included the hippos tearing part George’s luggage, and some of the animals wearing his clothes. The part that would have put the transformation over the top would have been a live-action gorilla (Ape, from the movie) at the end of the ride trying to “joke-scare” you.
A couple of things led to the retheming of The Jungle Cruise to a George of the Jungle ride experience being put on hold. The first was the overall success of the movie. Compared to The Flintstone remake the movie only made half the box office total. Secondly, was the pending release of Disney’s Tarzan. The animated movie was set to release two years later and Disney World did not want to distract from the release of the movie. Based on the projected timeline to change the attraction and the opening date of the ride would have been too close to the release of the movie.
Passholder Insights: During the holiday season at the Magic Kingdom The Jungle Cruise transforms into The Jingle Cruise.
We’re always up for more punny jokes! It would have been great to see additional comedic scenes added to the ride. However, in lieu of not getting a George of the Jungle version of The Jungle Cruise, we may see an updated version of the ride based on the new movie. We’re looking at you, Mr. Johnson. Or, should be less formal, Rock? Either way, we are left again wondering what-if?