Dining with Disney Cruise LineKim Inman
written by Carrielyn Louie, Travel Specialist
Dining with Disney Cruise Line
On one of our first sailings with Disney Cruise Line cruise director Christian Abbott told us the mantra for the week was “if you see it, eat it”. He wasn’t joking.
All of your food and beverage when sailing with Disney is included in your cruise fare. There are some exceptions which I will cover a bit later, but you can stuff yourself silly at no extra cost.
The first meal you’re likely to consume on your Disney cruise is probably lunch in the pool-deck buffet restaurant. On the Fantasy, Dream, and Magic this restaurant is called Cabanas and on the Wonder it’s Beach Blanket Buffet. You’ll find a wide range of foods and beverages and of course its all you can eat (ALL of the dining on a Disney cruise is all you can eat). This same restaurant is open every day for breakfast and lunch. There will also be a sit-down dining room available for breakfast each day.
After your first lunch you’ll likely spend time at the pools or exploring the ship. If you find yourself thirsty there are drink stations at your disposal on the pool deck. You’ll also find counter service eateries on the pool deck serving pizza, burgers, chicken fingers, hot dogs, sandwiches, wraps, and more. All included. There is also self-serve soft-serve ice cream.
Afternoons on the ships you’ll find hot appetizers in the adult entertainment areas. Chicken wings to enjoy alongside a beverage.
From your stateroom you have 24/7 room service available to you. Most all of the room service menu is again included with a handful of exceptions. Don’t order soda from room service as it will incur a charge. DO ORDER MICKEY BARS from room service. They aren’t on the room service menu so consider this an insider tip. All the mickey bars you can manage. You will want to have a few dollar bills on hand to tip the room service attendants.
Dinner will be in one of 3 dining rooms. When you first enter your stateroom you will find tickets on the desk that tell you which restaurant to go to and which table you’ll be sitting at. Take that ticket with you to the dining room and present it to one of the many servers that will be waiting and ready to take you to your table.
Disney Cruise Line dining is unique in the cruise industry. Dinner is “rotational dining”, which means you, your table mates, and your server will dine together every night, simply moving from restaurant to restaurant each night, keeping that same table number. Rotational dining allows your wait staff to get to know you and anticipate your needs. You’ll find your beverage of choice waiting and ready for you when you arrive to dinner.
Each ship has 3 main dining rooms and depending on the length of your cruise you will rotate through all three and then repeat one or more of the dining rooms. Each dining room has a unique theme and atmosphere, as well as unique menu (though there’s one exception to this if you’re on a Bahamian or Caribbean cruise – the Pirate Night menu, which I’ll cover later on).
Here’s another insider tip for you. Order as many appetizers, entrees, and desserts as you want. You are not limited to one of each. Kids can also order off the adult menus if there’s nothing on the kid’s menu that strikes their fancy. Grown-ups can order off the kid’s menu too if you like. Get a Mickey bar with sprinkles. My husband does most nights. All beverages are again included, with the exception of alcoholic beverages. Now’s your chance to get your kids to try escargot.
Pirate night on a Bahamian or Caribbean cruise is a special night on a Disney cruise. Every one from kids to adults to the crew don their best pirate duds. Of course not a requirement but if you don’t you might actually feel a tad left out.
In addition to the ship being overtaken by pirates of the friendly sort, a pirate show and fireworks, you get a late night buffet! Savory and sweet foods abound, including giant turkey legs! My family likes to pile up plates and head back to our stateroom to gorge ourselves in private.
If your cruise takes you to Castaway Cay you’ll be able to enjoy Cookies BBQ and Cookies 2, which provide lunch buffets, beverages, fruits, chips, and again, self-serve soft-serve ice cream. All included. Castaway Cay features several specialty cocktail beverages which are an additional cost.
There are (depending on the ship) two restaurants that are for those 18 years of age and older and come at an extra cost. You’ll find Palo, a premium restaurant that serves mediterranean fare on all 4 ships, and Remy, a french restaurant, can be found on the Dream and the Fantasy. Each offers a brunch and dinner at additional costs. Palo brunch at just $20 per person is a fantastic experience, and it doesn’t take you away from the main dining room experiences. Palo dinner is $25 per person and the chocolate souffle is to die for.
Remy’s brunch is $50 per person with the option to add on a different champagne paring with each course. Remy’s dinner is $75 per person.
While you’ll find coffee in the restaurants and at the drink stations you might want something fancier. There are cafe’s onboard for an additional cost. Get a punch card if you think you’ll make a habit of visiting one of these cafes.
There are many, many places all over the ships to get alcoholic beverages. Disney cruise line allows you to bring on alcohol of your own. You would need to carry it onto the ship (no packing it in your suitcases). Feel free to mix up your own beverages. You can also bring on wine but bringing your own wine to dinner will incur a $20 corking fee.
There are also candies and other types of treats for purchase in the shops and at the concession stands outside of the Walt Disney Theater.
And if you’re concerned about the calories you’re about to take on, you can burn some of them on the running track, swimming in a pool, jumping hoops, dancing, or in the gym.