You have finally made your decision … and are headed to the Walt Disney World Resort. Congratulations! While the Walt Disney World Resort is home to a multitude of counter service restaurants (no reservations needed), most table service restaurants are highly sought after. Securing Advanced Dining Reservations (sometimes called ADRs) is highly recommended, especially if your family has their collective heart set on checking out at a specific Disney table service restaurant, character meal or dinner show. Here are a few tips to planning your perfect vacation, complete with some tasty dining experiences.
Before you make Advanced Dining Reservations, you need to do a bit of planning.
- Which Disney Park will you be exploring each day? Dining in the Park can save time … which means more rides and attractions!
- Which Walt Disney World Resort hotels do you want to visit? Where are you staying? All Moderate and Deluxe Resort Hotels feature table service restaurants. Consider these for non-park days. You can experience Disney Dining magic without having to use a park admission ticket.
- Will you have a car or rely on Disney transportation? Buses run from resort to theme park and back, not from resort to resort. For example, if you are staying at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and plan to dine at Maya Grill in Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, you will need take the bus from your resort to one of the Disney parks and then hop on the bus to Coronado Springs Resort or you take your personal car or taxi/Uber to get you there and back.
DIStracted Tip: Guests with the Tables in Wonderland card get free valet parking while dining at resort restaurants.
Once you have figured out where you plan to be each day, you’ll want to explore the options for dining. Use your my Disney Experience app or go on-line to the Disney Dining website to see descriptions of restaurants and links to menus. After you choose the restaurants you are eager to experience, you are ready to try and book your ADRs. (Our writers here at Magical DIStractions have written many dining reviews that might help you to make your decisions. Just type the name of the restaurant into the “Looking for Something?” box on our home page.)
I have chosen my restaurants; now what do I do????
Guests are able to make ADRs 180 days prior to their trip. If you are staying in a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, you can book 180+10 days ahead of time. What this means is that on the 180th day before your visit, you will be allowed to book dining for your entire vacation (up to 10 days). Guests staying off-property will have to book each day of their stay separately, as each day hits the 180 day mark. This calculator can help you determine your 180th day so you are ready to book!
- Advanced Dining Reservations can be secured by booking on-line or by calling 407-WDW-DINE beginning at 7:00AM ET 180 days prior to the trip at the most.
DIStracted TIP: Although it is easier (and faster) to book on-line, many people have reported having difficulty booking their 180+10 days on-line at the 180 day mark. If you are unable to book 180+10 days out and have a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel reservation linked in your My Disney Experience account, a simple call can often get you what you need.
- Many popular restaurants fill up quickly, so prioritize you choices and try to secure the most important one first. Be flexible, if possible, with dates, time of day and meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner).
- Have your credit card ready. All ADR’s require a credit card guarantee when booking. If you fail to show for your meal or to cancel the day prior to your ADR, your credit card will be charged a $10.00 per person penalty. Some surcharges may be higher for no-shows, so be sure to read the cancellation policy carefully.
- Some special dining experiences require pre-payment in full. These include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ and Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show. Credits from a pre-purchased Disney Dining Plan can be applied and pre-payment refunded, but you will need to call 407-WDW-DINE for that adjustment.
- Some restaurants do book through the Open Table website as well, mainly those in the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, as well as selected Disney Springs dining establishments. They often have additional inventory, so be sure to try there if you are unsuccessful through Disney directly.
- Can’t grab that coveted table at Chef Mickeys or Be Our Guest? No need to despair … be persistent. Guests change plans every day, so keep checking availability. ADRs often open up. Also, don’t discount the very last-minute option; day-of openings do happen!
- Walk up? If all else fails and you are unable to secure the ADR you really wanted, try walking up and asking if they have availability. While this is not likely during peak times or if you have a large party, it never hurts to inquire. Try to arrive before or after typical dining times. I have seen people walk-up at 10:45 to Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant in Disney’s Hollywood Studios and to Be Our Guest at 4:00 in the Magic Kingdom. Both parties were seated immediately without ADRs. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a bit of pixie dust!
Looking for some additional information on Advanced Dining Reservations? Be sure to check out our informative page here.
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