View Full Version : Why do you Plan your holiday meals
08-08-2006, 07:13 AM
first of all, Hello :wave2: , i'm new to this disney stuff so apologies if I ask a question which to you is obvious what the answer is! I've only been to wdw once (my next trip i've started to plan for june/july 2007)
i find it strange why people sort out there entire vacation meals in advance! Is there a reason for this? I can understand character dining planning (I will be sorting reservations out for myself closer to the time), but why plan the whole vacation?
I'm loving this site, so well done to those who create and maintain it. Ive found it VERY useful and the tips section is very helpful
08-08-2006, 07:23 AM
Because if you want to have a meal in a sit down restaurant, you will be hardpressed to find a table after 4:30 and before 8pm without reservations.
As for counter service meals, some of us just have our favorites. My family tries to stay away from burgers and pizza, so we know the 1 or 2 places in each park with healthier choices.
08-08-2006, 08:00 AM
ahhhh ok. Will have to look into arranging this then!
Donald - my hero
08-09-2006, 08:36 AM
:welcome: Hey there! Good to see a "newbie" get up the strenght to ask questions. Don't worry if you feel they have already been asked/answered folks here are great to share info.
As to why I book meals. We can only afford a few sit down meals and I want to make sure they are the ones we want to try out and get them at the time that suits us to eat. This trip is a Dining Plan one but since we are going for only a weekend I NEEDED to call. Just can't risk having to spend time in line!
08-09-2006, 08:47 AM
For us, it is because we are using the Disney Dining Plan and we really look forward to trying restaurants that we have not been to before. We don't often go out to "fancy" type restaurants at home, so we research the menus, the atmosphere etc and each of us pick out a couple we would like to try at Disney. We have learned from the Disboards to book specific times for events that we want to see while dining, like the fireworks at the MK while we ate at the California Grill and Ohana! To say we plan our vacation around food would be stretching it a bit, but we sure love the restaurants and it is fun for us to plan ahead.
08-09-2006, 09:23 AM
I don't actually plan meals that far in advance.
(big space for
those who need
time to absorb
I know, I'm weird for this board! But DH is absolutely against overplanning, thinks it ruins the spontaneity of vacation. So I do a LOT of research, which is definitely my style, and a little less set-in-stone scheduling.
Last May, we waited until the week we went to plan our park days with the weather, and just dealt with the late lunch or early dinner TS's that we could still book at that time. - Maybe it was because we are only a party of 3, or we just lucked out with the time of year, but we got places we wanted - even character meals. (Then again, it might just be that we haven't been much, so there were still LOTS of places we wanted to try! :rotfl: )
All that said, if there is one place you just HAVE to go, do book it in advance. - One appointment will not ruin the free feeling of being on vacation. This is especially true if you want something like Cinderella's Royal table. - I've never tried that (as my only child is a "no princesses please" boy) but I've had friends book that one just as soon as allowed, and it's still tough.
Do what feels right for you. Sending pixie dust for a great time planning and in Disney!
08-12-2006, 07:15 AM
Cheers Donald - my hero. I;ve been a member a very short time, but i certainly dont have the experience like you guys to answer some of the questions which are posted, hence the reason I keep quite!
Gerweniel - think i'll book the one's I specifically want to go to and then do as Pollyanamom does and go with the flow. My b/fried is exactly the same and says it spoils the surprise of where your going to eat. Well, i'm happy as long as i'm at disney world full stop!! he he
08-12-2006, 10:42 AM
If you are on the dining plan, I would definitely try to book some ahead. If you are paying out of pocket, then you don't loose anything by having to counter service for every meal if TS isn't available. Going during peak season, you will probably have a hard time getting TS at "normal" lunch and supper times, but may be able to get right in at an "off" Time. We like to plan ahead so we can eat at our favorites without having to criss-cross the parks all day to get to them. For instance, the 1st day we will do WS at Epcot, so we booked Biergarten for 6:55 dinner. We can start in Canada and work our way around, then after supper finish Norway and Mexico after Illuminations using PM EMH. We aren't totally inflexible, but we like to have an idea of where we are going to be and when. Saves a huge amount of waiting and walking!!! Good Luck!!
08-12-2006, 12:53 PM
We NEVER reserved meals until we got the free dining last year. Then, by advice or our travel agent, we booked our table service meals months in advance! And we were sure glad we did! Some others in party did not. They piggybacked on our reservations a few times but when they didn't, they'd call us from a restaurant after 9 o'clock at night! :o And there were some places they couldn't get into at the times they wanted. I guess the reservations fill up fast when so many people get the free dining. There are more people eating table service than usual. We usually only do 3-4 table service meals per trip without the meal plan. But with it, we eat table service all 10 days of our trip! lol
08-12-2006, 01:36 PM
if you wanna do character dining, you will have to book that in advance, like 90 days ahead of time because they fill up pretty quick.
08-12-2006, 02:25 PM
I'm going to move this thread from the "Welcome to the DIS" forum to the "Disney Restaurants" forum, where I'm sure you'll get lots of great advice. :sunny:
08-12-2006, 02:47 PM
I remember when you could go to table service restaurants and just wait to be seated - no adr. But I have 2 kids and they have to eat at a reasonable time. I can honestly say I have been waiting at the podium to check in and seen families BEGGING the cast members for any available tables. These poor people say things like they've walked all the way around the World Showcase and none of the table service restaurants have availability. I know in my heart these people had NO idea that the reservations for these restaurants are being made 180 days out. I'm not a fan of having to plan my every move on a vacation. But I know my family, we like eating at sit down restaurants at home and while we're on vacation. We've been there enough times to know what restaurants have good food and thus are popular. Soooo, I plan 4 to 5 months out. Better to be safe than sorry...It's our family vacation and we're spending alot of money to be there...If the little extra planning gives you a smoother vacation, all the better. :goodvibes
08-12-2006, 03:19 PM
We've been going now for 12 years. When we first started we didn't make ADRs (used to be called Priority Seating). We just played it by "ear" so to say. But, it wasn't as popular then and we didn't have a child.
ADRs are very useful when you go at times when it is very crowded. I have seen many families almost in "despair" because all they could find was counter service, it was crowded, their kids were crying, etc. In slower times it isn't as imperative that you plan this way.
Here is my take on this. Now, with a child, we tend to eat at more traditional times. We also tend to eat at those places that are most popular with those that have children (character buffets). So, if we want to eat within a certain timeframe, we make a priority seating (old habits die hard). Keep in mind, you can always cancel them. Few are required to be guaranteed with a credit card. So, if you are out and about and don't think you are going to make it, you can either call and cancel or just not show up. Trust me they will have someone to put in your slot.
We try to figure out what park we think we will be in and where in those parks we want to eat. Then we make ADRs accordingly. It seems to work for us. If we don't have an ADR and want to eat someplace, if it is crowded we either eat at an off time or walk up and ask how long the wait. Sometimes it isn't too bad, especially during slower times.
Keep in mind, though, popular places to eat fill quickly. You should try to make an ADR for those ... otherwise you can play it loose and just see what is available. In that instance, sometimes you may end up eating at a counter service restaurant or waiting a long time to get in to a sit down restaurant. Now you can make ADRs at 180 days plus 10 days ... so as soon as you can make them, I would make them.
08-12-2006, 06:04 PM
For my family, the food is as important as the parks when we go to WDW. Whenever I start planning a trip, the kids *want* to get the food out of the way before we start discussing park strategies. For this upcoming trip, we knew which restaurants we wanted two years ago! So as soon as I booked the trip, I knew when we'd arrive and which parks would have EMH, so it was an easy thing to plan out our TS meals - and get those ADR's.
The way I see it, the parks/attractions are there every day - if we miss a ride today, we can go back tomorrow. When restaurants are busy, though, we may not have the same opportunity. We can afford to be more spontaneous in the parks, but my kids would be very disappointed if we missed a chosen restaurant, so it makes sense to get that part of our trip taken care of ahead of time.
08-12-2006, 06:54 PM
I do it partly because I would rather have the piece of mind in knowing that my TS meals are set. I've seen so many people being turned away at the restaurants because they didn't have ADRs. And I do it partly because it is so much fun! I love looking at all the menus and reviews. I love to plan anyways!
08-12-2006, 08:16 PM
For me its the food porn thread that does it. :thumbsup2
08-13-2006, 02:28 PM
I plan out my meals, especially when I go during busier times of the year (such as the day after Thanksgiving). This way I know I will be able to dine where and when I want and not be turned away due it being full or have to wait quite some time for a table.
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