Disney Cruise Line Removing Dining Rotations from Key to the World Cards

Disney Cruise Line announced they are dropping the dining rotation details on guests printed on Key To The World cards beginning on Friday, October 1, 2021 – effectively placing additional dependence on the Navigator App.

Disney states, onboard the ship, guests will be encouraged to check the My Plans section of the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App for all dinner details, including their restaurant rotation, arrival time, table number, menus and recommended attire.

When guests arrive for dinner, servers will recommend guests have their app open so they are able to quickly and easily take the guests to their table. Guests with questions or those who are unable to access the app may visit Guest Services or any dining location to speak with a Crew Member for assistance.

The reason for this change is due to the cards now being printed onboard and placed in envelopes at each stateroom versus individually per group in the terminal. The new process cuts into the time of onboard Guest Service Crew Members who are also helping guests onboard the current sailing.

How do you feel about the removal of the dining rotations from the Key to the World cards and the continued push to use the app and technology on a cruise?

51 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line Removing Dining Rotations from Key to the World Cards”

  1. Rob Sammons

    I’d guess this is to avoid having to constantly reprint cards for any dining changes which I think happened quite a lot on the UK summer cruises, we had 3 re-prints in one cruise.

    I’d prefer they focus on getting rid of the card entirely, if Walt Disney World tickets can be on the phone then these could be too.

    1. Christopher Fisher

      Eliminating the card may seem a good idea on the surface, but how does one open their stateroom and keep lights on in the stateroom? Currently the stateroom and lights require the card and who knows what it would take to convert? Also, it’s easier to carry the card than it is to carry the phone. I rather carry the card an loss it and get a reprint than loss my phone. With that said, you still ahve a good idea.

      1. Ron Lockwood

        easy… either use app on phone or “magic band” to open door. then once inside you can use motion sensors to keep lights/ac on or they can use bluetooth beacons with the app.

      2. jlf03:6

        If I understand it correctly they aren’t eliminating the key card, just the dinner information that is printed on the card.

      3. jlf0326

        They aren’t doing away with the key cards itself. They are doing away with printing your dining information on the cards. Like table number, time, and the rotation of your restaurants

    1. Christopher Fisher

      Good point Ruth. I go on vacation to relax and get away from the hussle and bustle, especially living on the phone.

  2. David

    I enjoy them on my KTTW card.. if all of it is going to be on the phones via the app, then DCL needs a serious network capabilities OVERHAUL..

  3. CATHY

    I never relied on the card for that purpose. I am sure that it will be somewhere so I don’t think it’s a big deal to remember a restaurant and table number..

  4. William

    This is crazy. How do the guests who do not have smart phones determine which venue they will eat? I think this places an additional load on guest services desk. I agree with Ruth. I didn’t carry my phone while I was cruising because I cannot use it at sea anyway. Now they are forcing us to carry them?

  5. Beth

    I refuse to carry my phone when I’m on a cruise.
    I lock it in the safe except for port excursions.
    Disney better have a way to know where my table is without me bringing my phone to the dining room.

  6. E King

    I agree with the other comments – I want to disconnect on vacation and stop carrying my phone, and when I do use the app onboard, the network is often inadequate.
    I don’t want to put more work on the wonderful servers, but I’m not going to go out of my way to bring my phone to dinner. Hopefully, they are empowered to speak up to their supervisors and say that guests like me want that info back on the KTTW card.

  7. Chris

    IF they are still printing all the other information on the card, WHY just remove the convenient information. I am with Ruth and David (see above) on this. When I go on board I turn my phone off and do not turn it back on until I am in a port. I DO NOT want to carry it around on board!! SINCE I am forced to do so the WI-FI should be more than capable of having everyone on it on a regular basis.

  8. CATHY

    @Ana you still need to know where you are going so a magic band won’t tell you anything. We cruise lots and we have never showed our card at any restaurant. We go to the restaurant and tell them our name and table number and they bring you to your table. You just need to know your restaurant and you can check that any time during the day without having to carry your phone. I just don’t see what the big deal is.

  9. Bob

    Probably will work about as well as the on site mobile check out. Even the cast member at the World of Disney couldn’t[t get it to work. Maybe will be OK in 6 months or so.

  10. Trader Scott

    This makes no sense whatsoever. It’s like someone at Corporate just said, “Hey, how can we make things just a *touch* more inconvenient and confusing?”

    Next thing you know they’ll take away rotational dining because it requires crew members to have more than one uniform, which costs more money.

  11. L

    this is garbage. vast majority of comments i see from people are those who do NOT want to rely on their phone and the app for everything while cruising. people want to lock their phones away and be free. and what happens when inevitably, because it’s disney IT, the app crashes and no one can access anything they’ve moved exclusively digital? they are creating problems, not solving them. people will show up at the wrong restaurant, not know their table number, and staff will just have more to deal with. why doesn’t disney hear their guests anymore?

  12. Sue Powell

    We have various friends who don’t own smart phones and are long time Disney cruisers…..maybe for not much longer!!!! The Disney Cruise app needs much improvement and stabilisation because at times it just cannot cope. Not all ‘improvements’ are good or for the best.

  13. Kate

    We just got home from a Disney cruise and it was amazing. While I agree that it’s great to unplug when at sea, I use my phone to take pictures, so it’s usually with me anyway. It’s quite easy to be unplugged except for the DCL app and photos. They have retooled the app, and we had zero problems with it during our cruise.

  14. Brett Bailey

    This is a bit disconcerting. I am with those that leave the phone behind (in cabin) when on vacation, I want to disconnect totally when on vacation as the reason we go on DCL. At the very least, DCL should print out a slip of paper to carry with you or keep in the cabin. So it doe not have to be on the card but for some reason they want you to carry your phone around. This on top of DCL not having printed Navigators anymore to keep as souvenirs/remembrances.

    1. Jackje

      Hoping we still get that “ticket” that is printed in the cabin with the dining rotation – my husband always tucked that away in His wallet. I’m sad that it won’t be easy for me the kids to meet us in the dining room without being plugged in (part of why we loved cruising was to get away from these darn phones!)

  15. David

    It pretty much already worked this way on our Cruise on the Dream in August 2021

    We knew where we were going for dinner so having the KTTW card didn’t matter. We didn’t have to show it when we walked up for dinner. We just told them our table number and they took us to it.

    No other questions or anything to do. Didn’t matter if we had our phones or not.


    Just got off the Fantasy today. The dining rotation was already removed from our KTTW cards. Didn’t bother me in the least. We are already using our phones to take pictures, join queues (you need to join a queue to leave the ship for Castaway Cay), and scan the QR codes in the dining rooms to access the menus. (I was told they would still bring us a paper menu if we preferred, but that’s not the default. And honestly, I prefer the phones since I can control the font size.) The dining rotation and table number were built into my personal schedule in the app. I found it very convenient. I love how DCL continues to innovate. I found the DCL network to be fast, and I had no problem connecting. (My only issue is when I tried to use extended WiFi to connect to the outside world to check my email. The connection was sluggish, and DCL still hasn’t caught on that making outside wifi connections available without charge would be a huge advantage to their advertising). But as for the dining room rotation on the card, never missed it. Honestly, if you’re tech-adverse, this might not be the cruise for you. As for me and my family, we LOVED it!

  17. Tim

    It’s already been said, but maybe there’s strength in numbers. My wife loves cruising on DCL because I DON’T carry my phone everywhere. I can disconnect and basically use my phone as a paperweight for a few days. Instead of a sharp cutover, why not make both available for a while?

  18. Jessica

    On the Fantasy a couple of weeks ago our Keys did not have the dining information on it and we thought it was a mistake. Now I know its going fleet wide.

  19. Michael Jaski

    I’ve already had to get a new smart phone because the app required a newer operating system. While I understand the desire to cut costs, I disagree with DCL’s way of doing it. I like the daily Navigators. I like leaving my electronics turned off and locked in the safe instead of having to carry them everywhere.

  20. Margot

    I. Do. Not. Want. To. Carry. And/Or. Rely. On. My. Phone.
    I like to be free of carrying anything at parks and cruises. I write tiny notes and put it in my lanyard (and sometimes bring and extra clear pouch to pop on) so I have everything I need. I don’t want to carry a purse and I don’t always have a pocket big enough to hold my phone so I leave it behind or drop it. Additionally, I have an old phone with battery issues. Using the apps constantly drains it.
    Disney is so busy with pushing tech – are they planning on selling cell phones and creating a Disney cell phone service? I wish they’d take some tech and fix the People Mover. Or how about finish Tron. Oh – I digress.
    I will get my rotation and table number and write it down. I’m pretty sure I can remember the time. I am hopeful they will still post menus outside the restaurant. I will be asking for a paper menu if needed.
    To those who felt it all worked on a recent cruise – haven’t most of the cruises been about half full? Wonder how a packed ship will go?
    But Disney isn’t targeting me anymore. They are looking for young families and their kids to turn into the next generation of Disney fans (and Castaway Club and DVC members). At least that’s the message I’ve been getting. Oh and yes, I can look behind me and see a long line of people who love it all and can’t wait for this old curmudgeon to get out of the way!
    Enjoy all those who love it! I will find a workaround.
    Just my $10000. (as opposed to 2 cents – adjusted for Disney).

  21. Enrique Paulo

    Just sailed this weekend and it was not on KTW cards and had to use app to find out where our first night dinner was. Also, you need to use the app to access the menu at all locations, including Palo. Phone out everywhere now on DCL folks.

  22. Margot

    Yay! Why have to look at people and talk face to face? I’m so in love with my phone that I want to stare at it all day. And see others enjoying the same love affair!
    I am a dinosaur.

  23. Christopher Fisher

    How does DCL save money by eliminating the dinner rotation information? DCL is already printing the stateroom card with information. Just print the dinner rotation information like you already have done in the past! you are already printing information. DAH DCL! Time to vent directly to DCL because just posting here may feel good but it will not get their attention.

  24. Collette Thornton

    I dont carry the phone, my hubby does. So if i am not with him, i look at my key card. Why do you have to take everything away. I bet there is a lot of us, that will not have phones with us all the time, I know i will not. Please put that back on the card

  25. Mike Groberg

    It is all Disney trying to save money they think!
    They are raising the price of everything, eliminating perks.
    They are driving away longtime DVC, Annual Passholders and Disney cruisers

    We’ll see how long it takes for management to realize they are antagonizing us.

  26. Todd Frank

    Over reliance on any technology is not a step forward. Phones can have issues, network can have issues…….the list goes on. It will require everything to work 100% of the time. We all know that never happens. Lost or damaged phones could make things absolutely maddening. I feel for Guest Services when they inevitably have to deal with this. I do not want to carry my phone everywhere on vacation though. Having said all that, the app makes things very convenient. Why fix something that is not broken. Quick glance of the card tells us where and no battery or network is required. I hope they rethink this.

  27. Milke

    Typically don’t carry a phone around on the cruise. Will use it in the room to check plans but then lock it in the safe. I would think you could do the same for meals, check your restaurant and table number and head down to the restaurant without the phone. Don’t want to carry the phone on Castaway Cay or sit by the pool with it either.

  28. Juliet Steiner

    Just want to say thank you to Scott and all the awesome folks who participate here–I love seeing the different perspectives. I couldn’t care less one way or another on this topic and I am happy to carry my phone to take pictures, but I appreciate how people don’t want to rely on technology when on vacation.

  29. John Miech

    I agree with the majority above. I look forward to putting my phone in the safe, and not seeing it for a week. I hate carrying it around, and will probably just write down what I want for dinner in my stateroom and bring that with me – so my phone stays there.

  30. Steven Lokey

    Keep in mind Disney is running at a reduced capacity on the ships so I would love to see how it works out next summer when the ships are fully, kinda funny how it was so much better just a little over 1 year ago…..aaahhh the good ole days!!

  31. Cindy

    For everyone freaking about about having to have the phone to eat dinner … just look at phone on the day you arrive, then write down or remember your rotation and table number.
    DCL is not going to deny meals to people without their phones.
    As others have said, you need the DCL app to disembark the ship, and your phone to read menus. So it’s probably time to just get used to having it. Without Wi-Fi there is little more to look at than the DCL app anyway. You won’t be “on your phone” Theo whole cruise.

  32. Mike Groberg

    Just fyi.
    We are at WDW resort (Copper Creek Resort)
    And they tell you to go Direct to Room and your phone or Magic Band will open the door.

    Guess what? Neither works. So much for Disney Technology.

  33. Shari

    I hate this not only for me because like many of you I do not want to carry my phone around, but for my 86 year old mom and her flip phone. I called disney to ask about an apo upgrade for an old phone and they cant or wont even do that. So no option for her or me for that matter to use an older phone. They did tell us they will print the navigator for her but I wonder how long that will last. As far as dinner, a sharpie will work for this. Just bring a sharpie and write the info on your card yourself.

  34. Chris K

    i would gladly purchase wrist bands to open our door and scan our table at the restaurant. They can always give out cards to just keep our lights on but save the ink to print on them.

  35. Marcus

    We all know where this is going, First, it’s removal of the dining rotation info. Next, it will be something else. Then they will come out and say, Well, we’ve removed so much info from the card we’re going to get rid of them, make you use your phone for everything, and definitely charge you more. Or if you don’t want to use your phone on your very expensive vacation, you can cough up extra money to have them print a card out just for you. The parks have taken away so many perks, it’s not worth it anymore and I’ll bet this is what DCL has in mind too. That’s the new way of doing business.

  36. Walt

    Like most of you, when I am onboard I turn off my phone, leave it off until I get back to the disembarked Port. It is so easy to lose your phones when you are concentrating on having a good time with family and friends. I don’t know what to think about the new rule on rotational dining other than memorizing the foods on the menu for all the restaurants. That has not change. I do have one suggestion. Instead of bringing your phone, why not just ask your server to quote to you what is on the menu since they are familiar with the menus for each restaurant. That is what I am going to do. That way I can leave my phone safely in my cabin.


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