Are Disney ADR’s really necessary? If you’re wondering what an ADR is; we’re talking Advanced Dining Reservations. These are available 180 days before your check in date, for up to the first ten days of your holiday (if you’re staying in a Disney Resort).
Are ADR’s really necessary?
Disney ADR’s are available for table service restaurants and (currently) just a couple of quick service locations. It might seem a bit bonkers and rigid to plan elements of your holiday dining so far in advance. However, we’d highly recommend making these bookings for your ‘must try’ dining experiences.
The fact is that having the ability to make ADR’s at the 180 day mark means that lots of people do. Maybe even most people? The result being that if you rock up looking for a table for six at Cinderella’s Castle on the last night of your holiday, chances are it ain’t going to happen. That’s not to say it’s impossible, plans change and we’d always recommend asking the question, but the likelihood is slim.
Trying to make ADR’s closer to a holiday
Case in point, we dutifully booked our dining reservations 180 days before our most recent Disney holiday. I meticulously planned our itinerary, and we were lucky to obtain all the reservations that we had hoped for, generally at times that suited us. Then, I had that panic. Should we have also booked Storybook Dining at Artist’s Point?
The niggle set in, and I decided to try and include this dining experience in our plans. By this point, we were four months away from our holiday. Roughly at the 125 day mark. Surely reservations would still be available at this stage?
I dutifully logged on to My Disney Experience. Clicked to make a dining reservation, selected ‘6pm’ and scrolled looking for Artist’s Point. Nothing. Nothing? Changing tac, I headed to the restaurant page online for Artist’s point. I searched availability for each day of our holiday. There was some availability; a number of nights showed an 8.50pm booking. However, it’s fair to say that this isn’t the ideal time for a dinner reservation when our party includes a four year old and a one year old. That left only one 4:35pm slot available (for the entirety of our two week holiday) which I booked.
Moral of the story? ADR’s matter. They are your chance to book the restaurants you want, at the times that suit you. The closer you get to your holiday, the higher the likelihood of you needing to compromise or miss out completely.
Are there any restaurants I can book later?
If you have booked a last minute deal, or just don’t fancy planning, then don’t panic! You won’t go hungry in Walt Disney World. Without any ADR’s you’re going to need to try your luck, and be prepared to wait, or come back later, to get a reservation at some of the table service restaurants.
Remember that reservations can’t be made for the vast majority of quick service restaurants. So you’ve still got nearly 200 dining options at your fingertips. We have had many a family holiday in Walt Disney World dining exclusively at quick Service restaurants with only a character breakfast in the mix. Also plans change, sometimes at the last minute. So there’s no harm in speaking with cast members and seeing if a restaurant has late availability.
What we recommend
If character or signature dining is hot on your to do list, making a Disney ADR is the best way of guaranteeing that you get that coveted reservation. Bear in mind that the most popular restaurants book up quickly, so look to reserve these first.
Popular restaurants include:
- The Chef’s table at Victoria and Albert’s;
- Cinderella’s Royal Table;
- Be Our Guest (This is a Quick Service location for breakfast and lunch but reservations can be made for all times, and booking is recommended);
- Chef Mickey’s Buffet;
- California Grill (particularly during Magic Kingdom Firework times);
- Oga’s Cantina (again, a Quick Service location that takes reservations. Note, however, that this is predominantly a drinks venue);
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue;
- Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall;
- Le Cellier; and
- Special dining for nighttime shows and fireworks.
Why make Disney ADR’s?
So, why make Disney ADR’s? To give yourself the best chance of getting that coveted reservation for restaurant you want at the time that suits you. It’s all about giving yourself choice, so the experience fits in with your plans, rather than having to rearrange your plans to get the experience. So, use our Planning Timeline get that 180 days date in your diary!