Dining Options When Rotational Dining Does Not Work for You

Rotational Dining is a concept created by Disney Cruise Line that allows guests to experience one of three themed dining venues for dinner each night of the cruise. The order in which you visit each dining room is a bit random, but you do get to select your own dining time (either 5:45 or 8:15 pm) when you book your cruise.

But what happens when you can’t make your dining time or would prefer to eat somewhere else? 

Don’t worry. This is your vacation, and Disney Cruise Line offers several options if Rotational Dining does not work for you.

Reasons Rotational Dining May Not Work

Traveling with your family is fun, but let’s face it, it can be super stressful. Luckily meal time is not something you need to add to your stress list.

You could miss – or not want to go to – your assigned dining time for several reasons:

  • Jet lag
  • Seasickness 
  • Cranky or fidgety kids who are off-schedule
  • Dining times conflict with other activities

Whatever your reason, Disney has alternative dining options in place for you.

Room Service

Disney Cruise Line offers complimentary room service 24/7 which is delivered to you. Though do remember to tip the awesome Crew Member bringing your meal to your room. 

Room service – don’t forget to order the warm cookies.

I enjoy rotational dining – well all dining really – so until our last cruise, I only sparingly ordered from the room service menu. What changed? Maybe I was feeling lazy. Maybe I just couldn’t be around other cruisers until I had coffee in my system. Whatever the reason, I decided to order lots of room service on our last cruise, and I enjoyed every bite.

Must try menu items include the All Hands on Deck Cheese Plate, warm cookies and Premium Mickey Ice Cream Bars.

Note: A few items, like canned soda or candy, do incur an extra fee, but if this is the case, the menu will instruct you to call for pricing.

Poolside Quick Service

All of Disney’s ships offer quick service dining options on the pool deck, and it isn’t all burgers and fries – though you certainly can get them. Fresh paninis, salads, pizza, macaroni, sandwiches and more are available almost instantly at the counter service areas located all around the pool decks.

Flo's V-8 Cafe on the Disney Dream
Flo’s V-8 Cafe on the Disney Dream

My pick – the chicken tenders at Tow Mater Grill on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy. These are no ordinary chicken nuggets. They are definitely a must-try.

Cabanas

Yes, Cabanas.

Many cruisers don’t even know that Cabanas transforms each evening to a table service dining room. Who knew? We discovered it by accident one evening while walking on the pool deck and decided to just give it a try. The hours are actually listed on your Personal Navigator, and you can walk up anytime during the dinner service – no need to wait until your assigned dining time.

Cabanas - Table Service Alternative
Cabanas

The lunch and breakfast buffet is covered. The lights are lowered, and the decor is subdued. The full four-course menu is a sampling of the most popular items from the three main dining rooms, so you will not leave hungry.

Disney Cruise Line Adults Only Dining

Sometimes I like to get fancy, and when my kids were smaller, I tried to dine in a kid-free zone at least once while on vacation. The Italian-themed Palo is available on all of Disney’s ships, and Remy serves French-inspired dishes to guests on the Disney Dream and Fantasy.

Palo - Adults only dining
Palo

A charge is incurred for each guest dining at Palo and Remy, and don’t forget there is a strictly enforced dress code – which my oldest son found out the hard way when he had to go back to the stateroom to change his shoes.

It’s Your Vacation

The bottom line is that this is your vacation. Even if you plan to stick to your Rotational Dining schedule on most nights, it is nice to know you have options for nights when plans go awry or if you simply want a change.

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