Disney Restaurant Reservations
Advanced Dining Reservation Tips
Disney offers a variety of dining options ranging from snack carts and counter service locations to fine dining experiences. The “table service” restaurants can be very popular and a table can be difficult to find during peak times.
During the planning of your Disney vacation, we suggest that you take a look at the restaurants offered and make an “advanced dining reservation” (or ADR) for the restaurants of your choice.
We have assembled a list of tips that might help you in getting the reservation you want.
- Be flexible in your dining time. The most popular times will certainly book first. For lunch, that will be 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm and for dinner it will be 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm. The less popular dining times will be easier to secure.
- Be aware of special events surrounding the restaurant of your choice. Getting a window seat at the California Grill (at the Contemporary Resort) during the Wishes fireworks show might take some advanced planning.
- Be practical in booking your family's reservation. Generally breakfast is less expensive than lunch and lunch is less expensive than dinner. Booking a late reservation at one of the breakfast buffets might serve as your mid-day meal allowing you to beat the lunch rush and pay the less expensive amount. The same is true for a late lunch. Booking the last lunch seating might allow you to dine at the restaurant of your choice and pay the lower lunch prices. The other benefit to this is that you might find shorter wait times at the popular attractions during the popular dining times.
- Be prepared to split large parties. Many Disney restaurants have a limited number of tables accommodating large parties. It might be necessary to book two tables for 4 rather than one table for 8. Disney restaurants are usually very accommodating when seating large parties. Just let them know that you booked two tables and they will usually do their best to seat your party at the same table or near one another.
- Be aware that Disney’s dining reservation system is flawed. You might find difficulty in booking a table for two, but have no trouble finding a table for three. The reservation system will attempt to find a table appropriate for your party size and when it doesn’t, it will let the person you are talking to know that there are no available tables. This is often not the case. There may be plenty of space available, but no tables for two. There isn’t a restaurant anywhere that would deny a party of two a table for four if it is available.
Keep in mind that certain times of the year are much more crowded than others. Getting a table during the 2nd week of January will be much easier than getting the same table the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. Reservations are available 180 days out and 180 days + 10 for guests staying at a Disney Resort. (This extra 10 days allows Disney Resort guests to book all of their ADRs on the same phone call as opposed to calling back each day as the 180 day mark passes) Be aware of the 180 mark and make your ADRs.
- Be persistent. If you are faced with your chosen location being booked, call back at a later time. Plans change and people cancel. Also…keep in mind that most Disney reservations need to be paid in full 45 days prior to arrival. Many reservations are canceled at the last minute. Try calling 45 days prior to your chosen date.
- Be polite. Please cancel unwanted reservations. There is a family just like yours waiting for the reservation that you will not be using. Along the same line…making duplicate reservations for the same time frame so you having dining options rather than a single reservation is frowned upon and bad form.
- Don’t assume that you won’t get what you want. It is often possible to get a last minute reservation at the restaurant of your choice. It is not unheard of to get a table for 8 during peak lunch hours at a popular restaurant. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
- The last tip…..if all else has failed and a reservation just doesn’t happen…try walking up to the podium and ask about being seated. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask and you never know how many “no shows” have occurred. This is especially true when it is raining. Many guests leave the parks when it begins to rain and restaurants find themselves with empty tables.
We hope these tips and tricks help you get the Disney dining reservation you want.
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