All four ships have three main poolside restaurants. There's one that serves hamburgers, hot dogs, and fries. This is Duck In Diner on the Magic, Pete's Boiler Bites on the Wonder, and Tow-Mater's Grill on the Dream-class ships. There's also a restaurant serving pizza. This is Pinocchio's Pizzeria on the Magic-class ships and Luigi's Pizza on the Dream-class ships. The remaining restaurant serves food that's a bit more healthy, like sandwiches and salads. This is Daisy's De-Lites on the Magic-class ships and Fillmore's Favorites on the Dream-class ships. I won't be discussing Eye Scream or Frozone Treats and Sulley's Sips in this post, since they're very similar on all four ships.
Since the poolside restaurants on all four ships are very similar, the main difference is how they are laid out around the pool deck.
On the Magic-class ships, the quick-service restaurants are located all around the pools on Deck 9. Having the restaurants in three separate and distinct locations spreads out crowds. Instead of having just one place to get food, there are three. If someone wants pizza, then they go to Pinocchio's, no question about it. If someone wants French fries, then they go to Duck In Diner or Pete's Boiler Bites, nothing confusing about that. It's simple and straightforward.
Even though it's simple, this design does have its disadvantages. What happens when someone wants food from more than one restaurant, like pizza and a sandwich? Assuming it's around lunchtime, they'd likely have to wait in line for their pizza, then walk all the way over to Daisy's and probably wait in another line for the sandwich. This can be a little inconvenient, but the Magic-class ships aren't ridiculously massive, so it's not too big of a deal. Another potential issue is if a guest accidentally goes to one restaurant wanting something from another. This would be somewhat irritating for them, but it could be avoided by looking at the dining section of the DCL Personal Navigator App. The app is free and sometimes reliable, so use it!
Contrary to the layout on the Magic-class ships, the Dream-class has all of the poolside restaurants lined up together in Flo's Café, right outside of the Deck 11 Midship elevator lobby. Next to the three Cars-themed restaurants is a condiment and topping station next to them. There are also tables scattered around Flo's. The biggest advantage to this design is that all of the poolside restaurants are together in one place. It's incredibly convenient, especially if someone wants something from multiple restaurants. Instead of having to walk to a completely different restaurant, they'd just have to walk up to the other counter. It also eliminates the problem of going to the wrong restaurant that I mentioned earlier, because they're all right there!
However, this major advantage is also a major disadvantage. The problem is that it's too convenient. With the three restaurants grouped together, crowds are common, especially around the middle of the day. While the lines for food usually don't take too long, there are just so many people! The crowd makes getting around the area difficult, especially when carrying a plate stacked high with fries. Crowds are also probably annoying for adults just trying to pass through Flo's Café to get to the Quiet Cove. Plus, finding a table can be a challenge. Well, at least the food is good.
So, now that I've discussed both classes of DCL quick service restaurants, we can finally answer the age-old question. Which layout is superior?
I prefer the Magic-class layout. The three different locations usually aren't busy, and getting around them during popular times is much easier than on the Dream-class ships. I don't dislike the Dream-class layout, but the lack of crowds on the older ships are why they win in my book. I think the scattered layout works better on the smaller ships because, well, they're smaller, so all of the points of interest on the pool deck are pretty close to each other. Even if someone wants food from multiple restaurants, they don't have to walk very far to get to each restaurant. I'd be interested to see how this would work on a larger ship.
I'm hoping the Wish has a pool deck design similar to the Magic-class ships, partly because of the restaurant locations. I'm currently working on a post about what I hope the Wish's pool deck will be like, so keep your eye out for that!
Which poolside restaurant design is your favorite? Leave a comment if you'd like!