Disney World Quick Tips – Advanced Dining Reservation Tips

Most Disney visitors plan on dining at some table service restaurants while they are on vacation. I thought most everyone was aware of the Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) system and used it as designed. In reading some of the many Disney forums on the web it is a bit disconcerting to see that there are still a lot of folks out there (particularly first time visitors) who believe that you can just walk up to one of the Walt Disney World restaurants and get a table. Check out this article Disney World Quick Tip: Dining without Reservations for more.

Please make your ADR’s or you will be eating at counter service locations throughout your visit. Just making your reservations will work if you are planning on eating at the normal table service restaurants but if you are planning on hitting the really “popular” or “in” places there are some strategies you should employ. By “popular” or “in” restaurants I mean places like Le Cellier, Cinderella’s Royal Table, OHana, Chef Mickey’s etc. etc. Here are a few tactics you might employ as ADR day approaches and arrives:

  • Have A Plan - Know where you want to dine, what day you want, and an approximate time and write them down!!!
  • Credit Card At The Ready – There are some venues that require either pre payment (Dinner Shows) or a deposit of some type (Fantasmic! Dining Package) so whether you use the on line system or call 407-WDW-DINE have your card available. Policies are thoroughly explained as you make each and every reservation so be patient.
  • Prioritize Your ADR’s – This is key whether you use the on line system or call. Always make the most difficult reservations first. You can make your ADR’s in any date order so if you want to have breakfast in Cinderella Castle that should always be your first reservation.
  • Use 180+10 Wisely – One of the major benefits of staying on site is that you can make reservations for the first 10 days of your vacation at the 180 day from check in mark. If you are planning on making ADR’s at some of the wildly popular venues you may want to consider scheduling them later in your vacation. Doing that will somewhat reduce the competition from those folks who check in 4 or 5 days earlier than you and are scheduling their ADR’s for the first few days of your vacation before you get a chance to start. It sounds a bit strange but it works.
  • Be Flexible On Times - Don’t depend on eating lunch at 12:00 or dinner at 5:00. Lots of other folks are trying to do exactly that so be a bit flexible in your times so you won’t be disappointed.

There is no sure fire way to get the exact ADR’s at the exact time you want but if you utilize these suggestions you will likely have some success. I know these things work because that’s what I do. As always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!



Ken

  • Disney World Quick Tips: Count ALL of your family for ADRs (chipandco.com)
  • Top 10 Table Service Meals at the WDW Resorts (chipandco.com)

Ken

Ken is just an old guy who loves all things Disney. He loves to share his experiences and advice with anyone who wants them. He focuses on Disney for seniors, quick tips, Best of..., and Top 5/10.
Disney World Quick Tips – Advanced Dining Reservation Tips was last modified: December 24th, 2013 by Ken

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  • Rhonda

    Just got home from Disney today. At two different restaurants while checking in for our reservations, I heard the hostess turn away three different groups who didn’t have reservations. We booked early and got everything we wanted except for O’Hana…and we could have gotten reservations there at 9:30 p.m. Too late for us!

  • Fwjackie

    My family has been to WDW so many times we don’t plan every minute of every day any more. As a matter of fact we will go out to the bus stop and maybe take the first bus that comes or the one with the shortest line. We have the best experience and we don’t care if we don’t do everything at a particular park in a single day. We used to eat a quite a few sit down restaurants but we rarely do now because of the ADRS, we loved the walk-ins. We usually book Chef Mickey’s for our last day because that has been a huge tradition for us but that’s it. I don’t like having to plan my day around where I eat. Sometimes we are having so much fun or the lines are short at a park and we don’t want to leave and I wouldn’t want to leave just to go eat. I have had very good luck with making reservations the same day right at the hotel. No we can’t get Cinderella’s castle, didn’t like it the one time we did. No we can’t get the very expensive restaurants, the kids don’t like them. Because so many people are booking ADRs in advance there are lots of cancellations while you are at WDW. We even got into Chef Mickey’s at the last minute. I no longer try walking up, not worth the hassle unless it is the middle of the afternoon.

  • Anissa

    Adding to this, I used the same strategy for our last trip (Dec 29, 2010- Jan 7,2011) and also got everything we wanted within an hour of our desired time, despite the high attendance rate! Definitely call! It also assures less annoyance when the online system is down.

  • Anissa

    For our June 2012 trip, I called at the 180 mark, got Le Cellier for a 12:00 lunch on our first day, and chef mickeys for any time I wanted on our last day (it’s a tradition). In fact I got every lunch we wanted, on the day we wanted at 12:00 or 12:05 for each one. I got our 3 dinners between 5:30 and 6:00 and all three breakfasts at 8:00. I don’t exactly know how I managed such a perfect ADR booking, but I’m pretty pleased! I do find it is better to call than go online. I’ve done both, but when you cal they get them all done quickly, they’re very friendly, and can answer all your questions. This is coming from a gal who would prefer to avoid the phone on any other day and gets irritated when there is not an online option!