PDA

View Full Version : DDP TS restaurants being full problems?


Meredith
09-08-2007, 09:51 PM
Has anyone, at WDW or just back, had any problems with long waits or restaurants being too crowded even with ADR's. I've read so much about free dining plan making things difficult. Just curious...

storzo
09-08-2007, 09:56 PM
I came home from WDW on 8/27, the day after free dining started, and there was a definate difference in the ability to get into a TS restaurant for those two days.

Most days, we could call in the morning after deciding what we would be doing, and get a reservation at our first or second choice. On the 26th, we couldn't even get into Shutters at CBR until 10:15 pm.

I did make some ADRs before arriving and I had no problem with those. I actually expected to wait at least 30 minutes after my scheduled time, but we were either seated immediately or within 10 minutes at every one.

ESPN Zone was pretty easy to get into without an ADR or advance calling, if you don't mind sitting at the high tables by the bar.

Meredith
09-08-2007, 10:04 PM
Thank you so much for your quick reply. I've been kind of worried about it with all I've been reading. I was glad to see that they've offered to trade TS for CS+goodies. I have older children and we don't really care what or when we eat... just so long as we get to eat!! :)

AnnetteF
09-08-2007, 11:42 PM
We ate at Coral Reef on 9/4 which was the last night of our vacation. We had been on the fence about canceling this since it was our last night and there were many things we wanted to do, but we were in the Seas pavillion earlier in the day and my DD, who is 3, was enjoying the fish so much, so we decided to go. I did call and see if we could get a later reservation, since we wanted to get in some extra pool time, but was told that nothing else was available. So we cut our pool time short and raced back to get there for our 6:00 reservation.
When we walked in at 5:50, the place was mobbed with people even sitting on the floor waiting. Upon check in, I was told that they were running 25-35 minutes behind reservation times. We were told to wait in the lobby (which was so crowded you could barely move) or just outside the door. We went outside to wait but we couldn't go far and it was crowded out there too. (This was a big difference from when we waited at Rose and Crown a few nights before. There, we were given a pager, and were told that we could go anywhere in the UK pavillion while waiting to be seated. That wait only turned out to be about 15 minutes and once we were seated we had excellent service.)
Finally it was about 40 minutes after our reservation time and I went up to the desk to find out how much longer. A lot of people around me were irate and a lot of complaining could be heard. While I was waiting to check, DH and DD came in and got me - our name had been called.
We were seated at a table in the back of the restaurant, which my now very cranky and tired of waiting DD was not happy about, but DH and I were just happy to be seated finally. We had hoped to have a little more Epcot time after dinner and the longer we waited, the more that was dwindling. We sat at our table for more than 15 minutes before our waitress approached our table.
When she finally came over to take our drink order, I knew that the window of opportunity for us to have a sit down meal with a 3 year old was fading fast so, I asked her if we could give her our whole order then. Her reply was no, I can only take drink orders now. At this point, my DH jumped up and said that's it, we're leaving! We fully intended to leave and go find a CS meal but she convinced us to stay at that point, took our whole order, and asked the manager to come speak to us. We complained that the restaurant was obviously overbooked and I also told him how I had wanted to come later and was told 6:00 or nothing. He told us that he tells TPTB about this situation every night but they still overbook the restaurants and there is nothing he can do about it. He comped us for the wine we had already ordered and told us he would keep an eye on our meals, which were actually wonderful, but our mood was spoiled by that time. We wound up finishing our dinners and skipping dessert there. We then walked over to France and got wonderful pastry - but that was around 8:30 and there really wasn't time to do much more. We watched Illuminations and then went back to our hotel, but the whole thing at Coral Reef really put a damper on our last night. We were on the dining plan but our feeling now is that we will not do the dining plan again and will eat mostly counter service meals on our next trip, with the exception of a couple of character meals for DD.
This trip we felt like our meals were dictating everything else that we did or didn't do on our vacation. I did try to plan the TS meals according to where I thought we would be on a particular day, but especailly with a 3 year old in tow, sometimes your plans change, and we feel that planning all these TS meals 6 months in advance left us very little flexibility, during what is supposed to be a time for relaxation and fun. Sadly, the restaurants there are one of the things we have always enjoyed on our WDW vacations, but it's just not the same anymore with the necessity of these reservations. I remember when DH and I used to go , long before the dining plan, and just walk up to whatever restaurant we wanted and be seated. I guess those days are gone for good.:sad1:
Sorry this is so long, but I was waiting for someone to ask this question and I guess I just needed to vent. Please have a wonderful vacation and try not to let this happen to you!

bicker
09-09-2007, 07:00 AM
Folks should keep in mind that there is more than enough availability, if you're flexible. Shutters, Olivia's, and Boatwrights typically are available for reservations up until the start of the meal service itself.

smartestnumber5
09-09-2007, 09:06 AM
We were there 8/25-9/4 and did not have any problems. We had ADRs for all meals except lunch at Planet Hollywood and dessert at Rainforest Cafe (at the bar). We had no wait at all for those two restaurants, and for our dinner ADRs we usually waited about 5-10 minutes. We usually arrived about 15-20 minutes before our ADR and usually we were seated before our ADR time.

So we had no problems.

*Emily*
09-09-2007, 09:22 AM
our 6:00 reservation.

6:00 is right around peak dinner hour, of course it's going to be packed, especially during free dining! But I'm glad you enjoyed your food.

We're leaving in a few days and the majority of our ADR's were made off peak hours in anticipation of your exact situation.

Mcbruns
09-09-2007, 10:44 AM
We're had problems getting in restuarants without an ADR during 'Non' free dining periods (different times of the year too). It's not only due to free dining.

StrollPatrolMom
09-09-2007, 11:36 AM
We're leaving in a few days and the majority of our ADR's were made off peak hours in anticipation of your exact situation.


Us too. we leave in 11 days, and with 4 little kids amongst our GG, we have ressies all earlier than 6pm except for 1...I'm hoping that the off peak hours of our TS ADR's will make things run more smoothly!!

This is exactly why I'm scared though. 3 year olds can get very cranky when they are hungry and have to wait :scared:

septbaby
09-09-2007, 01:03 PM
We enoyed "Free Dining" Aug 30th-Sep 4th. We didn't have a bad service or wait experience anywhere we went. In fact at Coral Reef I think we were 30 minutes early and could barely get our hands washed before our name was called. Meal and service were good there too.

We were late getting to our Hollywood and Vine ADR (not as easy getting from MK to MGM as I thought). We may have waited 20-30 there, but we were late and others were there ahead of us. We asked for and received a cup of ice water while we waited outside. We saw them turning away walk ups too.There was a funny street show that kept our little one entertained so no worries.

We did not make any more ADRs while we were there. We canceled one, but kept our other pre trip meals. Had H&V not been Fantasmic I would have canceled that as we were having a good time in MK for the 4th day in row!

I think one thing that helped us was daily park plans. I had a good idea of where we would be each day and the meal was kind of convenient to get to. I have been called Commando, but we saw, we ate, we rode and the gang is on board on 2008 so it worked! ;)

Day 1: MK first thing, then took monorails to Epcot for lunch. I thought we'd have time to do a couple of things in Epcot, but we did more in MK and we were starved when we got to Epcot, so we ate early and left in a drizzle. A nap in the room was really, really nice afterwords.

Day 2: Had a late night at the Pirate and Princess Party so planned a late breakfast ADR, no problems here

Day 3: AK day so logical day to do Boma, ADR was for right after park closing, so no chance of issue there

Day4: Hollywood and Vine Fantasmic at 4:40 was way to early for us, now that I've seen the show I won't bother with a show ADR again

We used Disney Transportation, we did not have a rental car.

Meredith
09-09-2007, 01:16 PM
WoW! These are just the things I needed to hear. Like I said, we have a 15 year old and a 10 year old. Eating at odd hours is no biggie for us. We have ADR's at some strage times, but who cares with older kids. So it sounds like we'll be just fine. We're all actually looking forward to a 9:00 ADR at Cap'n Jacks!

Thank you all for making me feel way better about the free dining time!

SmallWorld71
09-09-2007, 06:17 PM
We got back Sept. 1st from a week of free dining. The longest we waited with our ADR's was 15 min. at Sci-Fi (where incidentally they were turning people away left and right and this was at lunch time). All other waits were less than 10 minutes. We ate at Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace, 'Ohana, Biergarten, and Cinderella's Gala Feast at the GFC. All these were for dinner. All our servers were wonderful!

lustergirl
09-09-2007, 07:10 PM
Has anyone, at WDW or just back, had any problems with long waits or restaurants being too crowded even with ADR's. I've read so much about free dining plan making things difficult. Just curious...


here we go again :rolleyes1 :rolleyes1 Free dining has no impact on being able to get an adr or long waits to get into restaurants. Free dining isn't making things difficult it is the people who refuse to make the dinner ressies at the appropriate when they are supposed to be doing so. Just because you are paying out of pocket for your meals doesn't give you the right to just being able to walk up and get into a certain restaurant. These free dining making life difficult for disney vacations threads are like a disease. When one poster reads another thread that pertains to the same thing they run with this ridiculous idea when it really boils down to people not planning out their vacations well enough and have to blame it on something, especially free dining.

Meredith
09-09-2007, 07:14 PM
Um... My family will be on the free dining plan and we have made ADR's... I didn't start this to be a problem. I was just curious as to whether or not it "was a problem"... So sorry if I was misunderstood...

septbaby
09-09-2007, 07:47 PM
here we go again :rolleyes1 :rolleyes1 Free dining has no impact on being able to get an adr or long waits to get into restaurants. Free dining isn't making things difficult it is the people who refuse to make the dinner ressies at the appropriate when they are supposed to be doing so. Just because you are paying out of pocket for your meals doesn't give you the right to just being able to walk up and get into a certain restaurant. These free dining making life difficult for disney vacations threads are like a disease. When one poster reads another thread that pertains to the same thing they run with this ridiculous idea when it really boils down to people not planning out their vacations well enough and have to blame it on something, especially free dining.

This is an observation from a DIS Veteran, not a personal attack so apology isn't required. Eat Free, Eat Often, Eat Well. We sure did!

Vacation Lover
09-09-2007, 08:46 PM
Um... My family will be on the free dining plan and we have made ADR's... I didn't start this to be a problem. I was just curious as to whether or not it "was a problem"... So sorry if I was misunderstood...

Don't worry about it--you asked a legitimate question. I didn't interpret as you trying to start a problem, I read it the way I think you intended it to be: How crowded can we expect it to be at the restaurants this month. I've been wondering this too and appreciate the information that's been posted.

TSWJan78
09-09-2007, 10:44 PM
I can tell nyou we are here now.. Have been here since 9/2 and have had not problem with dining reservations. We had everything booked ahead and the longest we have had to wait was at Ohana's last night and that was at 7 and that was only for 20 min. We walked up to breakfast at Kona and Concourse steak house and they sat us right away with no ADR's. we have found the resturants to be at about 75% and we have not been cramped at all. We have eaten at Chef mickeys', Ohana's, Yachtsman, Marakesh, Wispering canyon, Crystal Place, Kona & Concourse. Our biggest issue is we have 2 days to go and 11 CS's left.

You will be fine.. Have a great trip!!

my2sweetboys
09-09-2007, 11:05 PM
We just returned from a 9/3 - 9/8 trip with free dining. There were 2 adults and 2 children in our party. Some observations/wait times:

9/4 - Ohana - 6:50 pm ADR - given a pager and seated after 15 minutes when restaurant was packed

9/5 - Crystal Palace - 11:30 am ADR - seated within 10 minutes

9/6 - Raglan Road - 5:30 pm ADR - seated immediately and restaurant was empty (might have been able to walk in)

9/7 - Boma - 5:40 pm ADR - given a pager and seated after 10 minutes when restaurant was packed

9/8 - missed 10:40 am ADR for Whispering Canyon Cafe because 3 year-old was having a fit in the hotel room but was able to walk in to Wolfgang Puck Cafe at 11:30 am (best meal of the trip and great service at WPC, by the way)

Based on a fairly limited sample size, my observation is that - if you do not have an ADR - it may be more effective to attempt to get into the restaurants at resorts or Downtown Disney rather than the theme parks and for lunch rather than dinner.

dsneygirl
09-10-2007, 12:35 PM
We were there 08/30-09/05 and never waited to be seated for our ADR. Twice we were even 10 min late and seated immediately. But we also ate very early 4:30-5 as we have a toddler and did not want to risk having a long wait. We also got a same night ADR for the Biergarten as a last minute decision.

disneyfan55
09-10-2007, 01:56 PM
Don't worry about it--you asked a legitimate question. I didn't interpret as you trying to start a problem, I read it the way I think you intended it to be: How crowded can we expect it to be at the restaurants this month. I've been wondering this too and appreciate the information that's been posted.

Don't worry. Our first day is the 22nd and we were wondering the same thing. Thanks for all the help!!

disneyfan55
09-10-2007, 01:57 PM
We just returned from a 9/3 - 9/8 trip with free dining. There were 2 adults and 2 children in our party. Some observations/wait times:

9/4 - Ohana - 6:50 pm ADR - given a pager and seated after 15 minutes when restaurant was packed

9/5 - Crystal Palace - 11:30 am ADR - seated within 10 minutes

9/6 - Raglan Road - 5:30 pm ADR - seated immediately and restaurant was empty (might have been able to walk in)

9/7 - Boma - 5:40 pm ADR - given a pager and seated after 10 minutes when restaurant was packed

9/8 - missed 10:40 am ADR for Whispering Canyon Cafe because 3 year-old was having a fit in the hotel room but was able to walk in to Wolfgang Puck Cafe at 11:30 am (best meal of the trip and great service at WPC, by the way)

Based on a fairly limited sample size, my observation is that - if you do not have an ADR - it may be more effective to attempt to get into the restaurants at resorts or Downtown Disney rather than the theme parks and for lunch rather than dinner.

HOw was Raglan Road? We have a reservation the last week of Sept and have never been there. Thanks for any info and have a nice day!!

joyjoy
09-10-2007, 05:24 PM
Just returned on 9/8. Here's what we did

Sat 9/1 Marakkesh - 6:30 ADR, walked right in. Food was fab.
Sun 9/2 Artist Point - 6:30 ADR, waited 2 minutes. Food was better than Cali Grill, IMO.
Mon 9/3 Sci Fi - 6:30 ADR, waited 20 mins, food was eh. Service was great.
Tues 9/4 Rose and Crown - 6:30 ADR, waited 30 mins. Yummy food except for one dish, AWESOME desserts and excellent service (Lindsay from Blackpool)
Wed 9/5 Boma - 6:30 ADR, walked up and added two more people to our reservation, no problem. No waiting, food was great as usual.
Thurs 9/6 Had 7:30 ADR for Wolfgang Puck Cafe. Called to switch to Friday, but they said they were only taking walk ups. Had CS at Kringla and Lotus Blossom. (Kringla made me a YUMMY veggie sandwich. The others were okay with LB)
Fri 9/7 Walked up to WPC fully expecting to wait an hour. Got on a waiting list and were buzzed within twenty minutes. Fantastic meal, desserts and service.

In summary.... problems? What problems? We LOVED it.:thumbsup2

HugsForEeyore
09-10-2007, 08:44 PM
I just got back yesterday from my 6 night trip with free dining. What a great value! We had no problems at all, as we made all our ADRs back in May. We ate at the Grand Floridian Cafe, Concourse Steakhouse, Chef Mickeys, Garden Grill, Ohanas, and Coral Reef. All places we were seated very quickly! And we had great service everywhere! :)

I did see some other people having problems though. On our last night (Friday) at Coral Reef, we checked in for an 8:20 dinner. We saw them turning away families, saying they were completely booked for the night. One family was almost in tears, begging for a table, saying they needed to use a table service restaurant for the dining plan. I got the impression they tried other restaurants in Epcot and were turned away, and Coral Reef was their last shot. But Coral Reef turned them away too, and the family was not happy. I almost felt bad when my family was seated a minute later, but we had ADRs.

But overall we had a wonderful time, and I was very glad I made those ADRs in advance. :)