Advance Dining Reservations
Get out your checklist and follow along. If you’re a planner like me an advanced dining reservation (ADR) is music to your ears. I know where I’ll be sleeping at night. I know what stand by lines I can leave in my dust with MaxPass or FastPass+. And after booking my ADRs I know exactly where we are eating to fend off Hangry the Husbeast (@suzannemillerwrites). It also ensures that my family and I can eat at some of the most thematic experiences in the parks while relaxing in air conditioning.
During our 2017 trip to Walt Disney World, we booked all of our restaurant choices with a few things in mind: 1) parks had the lowest crowd days, 2) extra magic hours, and 3) where we could get the best FastPass+ selections. We were also on the Disney Dining program and planned quick service meals for lunch and table service meals planned for dinner. ADRs are available at all table service restaurants and we wanted to end our evenings at a more relaxing meal with a guaranteed seat. We locked down reservations for Tony’s Town Square (MK), Brown Derby (HS), and San Angel Inn (Epcot – Mexico Pavilion). Using the Walt Disney World App we went through all the WDW restaurants and could easily see if it was quick services or table service, what meals were available for ADRs, and selected the table service restaurants with the yummiest menus for the best use of our dining credits. We made all of our reservations through the App, but reservations can also be made by phone or online. Our favorite dinner was San Angel Inn surprisingly – the ambiance was great and the food was divine! If you’re interested in how we maximized our dining credits check out our Disney Dining Program post.
ADR between Disneyland and WDW are different. For on-property guests, ADRs are available for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as applicable and open 180 days prior to day of arrival and you can make reservations for up to 10 days from for first arrival day. The most exclusive experiences and restaurants require credit cards to guarantee reservations: Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Spirit of Aloha Luau, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ. Some of these restaurants and others previously mentioned may also require 2 table service credits on the Disney Dining Program which is essential to know when planning ADRs with the DDP. Reservations can go quickly at WDW as people are visiting from all over the world and those with Park Hoppers can visit one park and have a meal in another! In our experience, all the restaurants appeared to have dining reservations open at the beginning of the 180 day window but slots were limited. The more flexible your meal times (brunch and early/late dinner for example) the more likely you can snag the coveted reservations on your list. We found that meal time reservations in March 2015 were not available when we inquired at various restaurants while in Hollywood Studios. Make your ADRs if you want a guaranteed table!
Making ADRs at Disneyland in preparation for Dapper Day has been a completely different experience. Disneyland says that some restaurants have up to a 60 day window for dining reservations from your first park day. When our window was open, I found that only lunch reservations were available at all park and Downtown Disney restaurants. Breakfast and lunch reservations for our trip dates had not been released yet. On top of that, reservations for Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge are still on a 14 day window. Talk about stealing my thunder! I’m on a daily vigil checking my Disneyland App until all the reservations are open. If you notice that there are no reservations available for your trip once your window opens it is probably the same – park hours haven’t been set in stone and breakfast and lunch reservations have been released to the public. Just keep swimming!
Even if you aren’t able to get ADRs such as for a last minute trip, don’t despair! When visiting in 2013 with a friend from physical therapy school, we were able to score a late dinner, same day reservation at the Blue Bayou. Talk about a magical experience! Dining in the swamp of the Pirates of the Caribbean with fireflies blinking, savoring the most delicious salmon I have ever tasted was worth the pricey bill as a grad student. If you’re interested in a restaurant head over at park opening and inquire whether they have any available reservations – cancellations happen, you never know what might be available last minute!
What restaurants have been your favorite at the Disney Parks? Where would you love to dine? Have you heard of Club 33… be on the lookout for a post about *secret* Disney dining soon!