View Full Version : starting from the beginning.. are reservations really necessary?
05-29-2009, 07:52 PM
Its just me and my sweet 5 year old girl for the most part, my mom will tag along a few days but mainly she wants to sit by the pool ;0) We're staying at Marriotts Grande Vista, so not at a disney property, and I have absolutely ZERO idea what to do as far as dining reservations. Honestly if I hadn't come across this board I wouldnt have thought about making reservations at all! We will have a kitchen in our room, and my mom recently developed a gluten intolerance so dining will be a little tricky for her...
I'm assuming we'll do breakfast every day in our room, but for lunch and dinner do I really need to make a reservation for each meal if we're planning on being in the parks? Are all the restaurants in the parks or are some at hotels? I'm really clueless on where to start with this.. the only one I know we want to do is a meal with the princesses, probably the one at Epcot.. and I'd love to do maybe one more character meal... but as far as just a regular lunch or dinner thats not a character meal do I really need reservations? Do I just call for reservations and let them tell me which places have a gluten free menu? Like I said most days it will just be for the 2 of us, sometimes 3, so its not like I'm booking reservations for a huge party. Thanks for the help! We can't WAIT! :0)
05-29-2009, 08:02 PM
Yes, if you want a sit down meal. I would make reservations especially for character meals especially princesses. With that being stated, you may be able to walk up to some resturants and get in but depending on when you are going that may or may not happen. With the advent of teh dining plan, it is often difficult to just walk up and get a table. My trip is during free dining so the resturants are especially crowded but I called at 7am 90 days out and didn't get three of my top choices. Yes, I would make reservations for three. If it appears your mom won't make it, I would call and change to two.
I think most resturants are pretty accomodating with allergies and such but since I have not traveled with anyone that has a gluten intolerance I can't speak to that specifically.
If you just want a quick counterservice meal, obviously reservations are not necessary.
05-29-2009, 08:05 PM
If you want to eat table service, then yes, you really need reservations.ESPECIALLY for any character or princess meals. Here's a list of all the restaurants at Disney (in hotels and the parks) with menus for each of them:
If you just want to eat at counter service places, you don't need reservations.
DH and I make reservations for each dinner and then we call and cancel (or walk up and cancel) if we decide to eat at counter service instead. That way you at least have a choice.
05-29-2009, 08:09 PM
Yes you need ADRs...to not be disappointed! You don't have to stay on property to make them, you just have to make them 90 days or less from arrival.
If you decide not to use them you lose nothing (except at the BIG Dinner shows ot castle or Fantasmic package) they would just give your table away. Certainly, if you want character meals you should make a reservation.:wizard:
I know it's hard to predict your hunger, but think if there is something fun or special you would want to do.
FYI: Disney is the BEST for accomodating food differences...make sure your reservstionist notes the Gluten-Free needs on your ressies and the chefs will come help your mom find appropriate food!
05-29-2009, 08:13 PM
Yes! You should make them as soon as able (90 days out)! Or, you will probably be disappointed! Especially for any character meal!:scared1:
05-29-2009, 08:19 PM
There is no way i'd go to disney without ADR's. Espeically with a 5 year old who is going to love character meals!
05-30-2009, 05:45 AM
Like everyone else has already said, please make reservations. I go to WDW 4-6 times a year and can't think of a single trip that I haven't seen walk ups turned away from at least a few restaurants. By the way, I usually go during the slow times of the year (Jan, May, Sept, Oct, and Dec).
Also if you get the ADR for three people for Akershus and your mom winds up not going, be sure to cancel at least 48 hours prior. They will require a credit card guarantee and if even one person in your party does not show up you will be charged a fee. We found this out the hard way last Sept when I woke up ill one morning and sent my mom and husband on to Akershus without me. They seated them with no problem, but then charged my credit card for me being a 'no show'.
As a gluten free person, I just wanted to add that it's really worth the time to make dining reservations for the days when your Mom will be with you, as most Disney restaurants really go out of their way to make you feel special- including gluten free bread for starters, and the chef coming out to help you choose a gluten free meal (in some cases syaing "tell me what you want and I will try to make it gluten free", or offering to make something thats not on the menu!). So not only can your Mom eat with peace of mind, but she can feel like a queen for the day! And you all get a nice break from the heat and a break for your feet (there's LOTS of walking at Disney!) Just be sure to note a gluten allergy on your reservation when you call, when you check in at the restaurant, and tell your server. The Brown Derby at MGM and Chefs de France in Epcot treated us especially well. And all restaurants cater to kids, with activity books, crayons, etc. Early dinners (5pm) are great to beat the dinner rush (you still wait for tables with a reservation- you are put to the top of the waiting list, but if it's very busy at 6 pm, you may be waiting 20+ minutes for a table), plus you then get to tour the park in relative peace, while many people are waiting in line for food.
Counter service restaurants will inform you if they have gluten free options, too, and accomodate you as they are able (such as hamburger with no bun) but there's no special service. But I think every counter service restaurant has one or more gluten free options. Be sure to go to allears dot com and look at the menus under their restaurants section- they have counter service and sit-down restaurant menus (for the parks and the resorts), so you can make a list of places that have choices your Mom would like- or let her do this. And as a previous poster said, DO make at least one table service reservation each day, so you have some choices (lines at counter service places can get long during the lunch and dinner rush hours). Call 407-WDW-DINING for reservations ASAP (within the 90 day window), and to cancel what you won't use. And you can call that number even the day of, and ask if there are any openings at a restaurant in the park you are going to that day- sometimes you score, if you are willing to take whatever they have. It's worth doing, because it still puts you at the top of the wait list. In desperation, I once called at noon from the Magic Kingdom for lunch that day, scored a reservation at the Plaza restaurant in the Magic Kingdom at 12:10, walked up to the podium within minutes of my call (past many people waiting as walk-ups), and was seated immediately! I felt a little guilty, but the a/c and foot break were worth it!
Good luck planning, and have a magical trip!
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