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View Full Version : I hate Free Dining!!!!


disneyfan2kids
09-06-2009, 09:44 AM
:mad::mad::mad:
Called first thing in am on my 90 days out and didn't get a single reservation I wanted?!?! How is that even possible?????

Not a happy camper!
:mad:

fla4fun
09-06-2009, 10:04 AM
Did you try online?

MinnieGirl33
09-06-2009, 10:05 AM
Couldn't agree with you more! :goodvibes

ShannonMB
09-06-2009, 10:06 AM
Just curious when you are going and what you were looking for?

disneyfan2kids
09-06-2009, 10:23 AM
Did you try online?
Yes... tried that while I was on hold for 30 minutes!
Just curious when you are going and what you were looking for?

2nd week in December.... looking for multiple ressies including HDDR (NOTHING available all week?!?!) 50's PT, Ohana, CP, Chef Mickeys.... UGH!!!

gemmybear83
09-06-2009, 10:26 AM
How were you on hold for 30 mins online?

You need to keep checking :thumbsup2

missy2217
09-06-2009, 10:28 AM
I would be steaming!:headache:

mickeysaver
09-06-2009, 10:31 AM
This is just the sort of post that is making me have even more knots in my stomach than I already had yesterday and found to have returned a little bit ago when I woke up and found no communication yet from YC IPO with my ADR's. OMG! :mad:

I should have just gotten up and done it myself. I am freakin' out because I let someone else do my work. I better get the Afternoon Tea and the Yachtsman or else this is gonna suck.

missy2217
09-06-2009, 10:37 AM
I would be steaming! :mad:

pjm-guy
09-06-2009, 10:45 AM
Had similar problems for our 12/5-12/12 trip......

Woke up at 5:30am to get ready for the onslaught. At 6:01AM today, the online system wouldn't recognize my confirmation number (still won't as of 11:30AM EST). Had to wait until 7:01AM for the phone. At 7:00 and 50 seconds, the lines were still 'closed' according to the message. But at 7:01 and 2 seconds, there was suddenly a 30+ minute wait (I used the online Atomic Clock to judge the time). Managed to get a few of the locations we had wanted (and we only sit down to eat for LUNCH anytime between 12:30 & 2pm), but had to move the days around. The phone rep could call my confirmation number up with no problems. Thankfully something went right this morning.

littlelulu33
09-06-2009, 10:47 AM
Keep trying call again, We are going Dec 2-8 we have a pin code and not doing the free dinning, but are paying for the dinning plan. The first time I called I only got two places and they were not our first choices either. We were thinking of not doing the dinning plan. I called back about 30 minutes later and got most of our first choices. I am still checking for Mama Melrose which is the one I thought was going to be the easy one to get.

princessmom29
09-06-2009, 11:01 AM
I have to wonder how flexable you are with times. We are arriving the day before thanksgiving and didn't have a lot of problems getting adrs. The only problem was le Cellier and I had to take a late lunch rather than dinner. Were you willing to compromise at all on your times?? It is just unbelievable that you couldn't get anything at any time at any of those paces!

tinksgilrs251520
09-06-2009, 11:06 AM
you know your going to disney on free dinning and the key word is "flexiable" i never plan my days around my dinning. My dinning is planned around my days ... Just keep trying and thats bugs me when people make multiple reservations that takes away from everyone else trying ..... I know I will get flamed but its just my opionion.....

francie57
09-06-2009, 11:24 AM
Don't forget you are going during free dining and pop warner week so you may have to be very flexible. I would keep calling and trying on-line since some people may cancel as the time for their 45 days gets closer.

VegasMike21
09-06-2009, 11:30 AM
How were you on hold for 30 mins online?

You need to keep checking :thumbsup2

I believe she stated that she tried online while she was on hold for 30 minutes on the PHONE.:thumbsup2

VegasMike21
09-06-2009, 11:33 AM
2nd week in December.... looking for multiple ressies including HDDR (NOTHING available all week?!?!) 50's PT, Ohana, CP, Chef Mickeys.... UGH!!!

That's odd, especially in the 2nd week of December which is not really SUPER BUSY. 50's Prime Time should of been real easy to get and the easiest out of your list.

missy2217
09-06-2009, 11:49 AM
my post keep not showing up then duplicating...I think my computer is on the fritz!

copperbrick
09-06-2009, 11:59 AM
Whenever I've hit a glitch in any part of the Disney Reservation system -- resorts or dining, I've called Disney and discussed it with them personally.

In this case, I'd:

1- call the WDW Dining Line: 1-407-939-3463 (hope this is the right number).

2- be in a happy mood with a smile in my voice, even if I'm steaming

3- make sure I'm talking to a super-friendly, helpful cast member. If the cast member isn't the best, I'd say I have to answer another call and then try the number again

4- In you most friendly voice, say something like, "I really hope you can help me, I'm so confused and frustrated . . ."

5- then tell the story in your most heartfelt voice. They want you to be happy when you're done, and it probably doesn't hurt that there is an option to leave feedback at the end of each call. I know if I were a cast member, I would want to score high.

If you've already tried this, try again. Sometimes getting the right cast member can make all the difference.

They are powerless to create reservations that do not exsist, but some are so gifted at dining options they come up with some resourceful ways to help.

Good luck. I'd be frustrated, too. :headache:

DisneyNDecember
09-06-2009, 12:00 PM
I just went online & "played" a bit with Disney Dining Online Reservations page & I could only get to 12/05 (a Saturday) & plugged in my choices (even though we will not be at DW until 12/10, so 5 more days to go until I can make my ADRs) & I was able to get everything I wanted for me & my son just by playing with the 12/05 Saturday date. There is only 2 of us, so that could have a lot to do with it. Maybe the larger groups will have more of a difficult time, I don't know. I am hoping some pixie dust comes your way & you get what you are looking for. :santa::santa::santa:

copperbrick
09-06-2009, 12:02 PM
Just wanted to add: I've used both the online system and the Disney Dining line, and to date, I've had MUCH BETTER LUCK with the Disney Dining line.

dahall
09-06-2009, 12:04 PM
Very similar thing happened for our September trip. We are eating at CM at 9:00 for my sons birthday, that is all they had.

Keep checking online, on the phone and join the December 2009 ADR Wanted/Trade/Exchange/Canceled thread and check often and post what you want and need.

I wish you luck. It is a bit frustrating trying to get reservations because you can't just walk in anywhere so reservations are key. GOOD LUCK!:goodvibes

Kathy Z
09-06-2009, 12:13 PM
Copperbrick gave good advise.

Dec. 6 - 10 or 12 have been black-out dates for special room rate codes at least since our trip in May. I understood that to mean that WDW was already expecting heavy booking during that time. Then they added free dining! (We don't qualify for free dining because we have a great rate for most of our stay. That is fine because I want to order some appetizers and fewer desserts.) This may partly explain why you are having so much trouble with your ADRs. Those who are arriving prior to the 5th have been getting ADRs with their 90 + 10 before your window opened. I only booked ADRs we plan to keep. I would keep checking because, as mentioned above, many people have probably not been so nice and have double booked until they are more sure of their schedules. I sure hope they cancel those double bookings for the sake of people like you.

Sending some pixie dust your way. pixiedust:

mickeysaver
09-06-2009, 01:03 PM
Personal update: I got everything that I wanted except Mama Melrose for dinner on 12/07/09. Gabby is melting down about wanting to have dinner there, since their lunch menu leaves a bit to be desired when you consider that she has a seafood allergy and is a bit of a picky eater. So, I have tried to access the online ADR system and it won't let me book past 12/05/09 ADR's even after retrieving my current YC ressie that should allow me to book the 90+10. There is an error code that pops up E02020305001.

I am happy with the stuff that I got that was perfect, but this is one pesky little thorn in my side at this point.

ETA: I called to check for myself. The only "dinner" ADR available at DHS on 12/07/09 at any restaurant is a 4:15pm seating at 50's Primetime. So, we altered our plans and are going to take a break from DHS and have lunch at Big River Grille and then return to DHS later in the evening for the Osborne Lights. This works well enough and gets my dear wife her pasta fix. ADR's accomplished. :thumbsup2

lizzytizzy
09-06-2009, 03:41 PM
That's odd, especially in the 2nd week of December which is not really SUPER BUSY. 50's Prime Time should of been real easy to get and the easiest out of your list.

I was thinking that too. I called this morning at 7 and was on hold for 1 hour only to find out that 50s prime time for a table of 3 for the 2nd week of December was not available. They were willing to give me 2 separate tables. So, I cancelled. Didn't want to go crazy over that. But, I called a few times and got Kouzzina and was very happy!

Pooh&OurHunny
09-06-2009, 04:11 PM
I couldn't sleep b/c I still didn't know where or what I wanted to for my ADR. I was up early and tried to go on line but my computer was freezing up so I waited this morning at 7 (they message says 30 mins wait) but I was actually on hold for 40 and then my cell phone was had static (thank goodness the CM I got was patient for me to read all the ADR # over). I got almost all of the ADR I wanted but of course I do rearrange things as I get closer for my trip. We are going Dec 5-11 and I have not told my husband I booked at CR and upgraded to Deluxe dinning and booked all the ADR.:lmao: Of course my husband was wondering why I was up so early b/c I usually sleep late and don't talk to anyone until I had coffee:rotfl2:

MarkinNM
09-06-2009, 04:27 PM
I have to wonder how flexable you are with times...............

THAT is the key!!!!...........;)

And have backups just in case...........

With that in mind I got EVERYTHING we wanted...............

Keep trying online and good luck

Mustangdi
09-06-2009, 04:38 PM
Don't get too frustrated with trying to make
ADR's that you really want. We are going
Sept 27 -Oct 2 and it has been hard to get
good res. On my 90 day mark I didn't get a
single res that I wanted. I have been online
every day checking. I have been able to
get good ADR's from canceled ones. Just
today I got CP for dinner. I also got CM a
few days ago. You can get what you want
with a lot of patience . Good luck

NOLA_Tink
09-06-2009, 04:49 PM
Other DISsers have posted that the online reservation system was running at 3 a.m. I wonder if this is part of the reason why your ADRs & ADR times are scarce. Best of luck getting them in the near future. Just keep trying.

DptyDogg
09-06-2009, 05:20 PM
Other DISsers have posted that the online reservation system was running at 3 a.m. I wonder if this is part of the reason why your ADRs & ADR times are scarce. Best of luck getting them in the near future. Just keep trying.

Yep, I got a nasty surprise when I got up early and was just setting up muliple windows and retrieving reservations with 15 minutes to spare to find out the dining system was already open for the day and I was wasting time screwing around when I should've been making reservations.

I've never had this hard of a time getting reservations, and we weren't even trying for the really hard to get places. I haven't been during free dining for a while, and this is a good reason to try and avoid it in the future (especially as I'm DVC and don't have free dining).

I got most of what we wanted but had to adjust on some days and times and settle for second choice for the CP, not perfect but obviously it could've been worse.

mollygirl13
09-06-2009, 05:26 PM
Seriously, keep trying.
You still have plenty of time to call back and look online for what you want.

The same thing happened to me in June. I couldn't really get anything that I wanted at 90 days at 7 am! BUT, I had backups and made those ressies so I had something.

Them I called back or checked online and its all good. I now have everything I want. It seems people make all of their ressies and then tweak their plans closer to their vacation and cancel things.

Just breathe. You're going to Disney World and that's a great place to be!!!!!

BridetobeDisney
09-06-2009, 05:45 PM
I had the same problem this morning. The only day I could get Le Cellier for dinner was the day we were coming home. So I tried lunch and there was one day available. I noticed online that if you put in a range of dates it does not bring up everything. I did the range then did it day by day for the same time and location and there was availability that way. I used online booking at 6:30 this morning.

For some reason, I couldn't get Sanaa for dinner at all that week. Sanaa should not be that hard to get. I mean I got CRT at 6:35 pm on a party night..I should be able to get Sanaa.

I had to switch my days to get Ohana dinner but I got the day I wanted for Ohana breakfast. I was able to get CM for breakfast instead of dinner.

I had to compromise on my time at CG. I wanted to have enough time to sit before wishes started at 8. Our ADR is at 7:35 pm on a non party night.

So overall, I freaked and then just compromised and played with times and days. The only thing I didn't get was Sanaa and I compromised with Boma even though I like Sanaa better. I'll keep trying for it until we leave.

j-ariel
09-06-2009, 06:33 PM
I feel all of your pain to all, I have been shut out of many places but this year i did rather well, I thought you couldn't call until 9:00am? I did start calling right away. The woman i spoke to was super nice, Her computer gave her trouble and she needed to get a supervisor. I got a Le Cellier, wanted 2pm but got 12:15 beggers can't be choosy. I'll take it. Her trouble was with Garden Grille I eventually got it but it took 30 of the 45 minutes i was on the phone to get it. I gave up on the booking online fairly quickly, it would not go past my check in date. But i got what i wanted so I'm happy now.

Canyon girl
09-06-2009, 06:58 PM
Yes... tried that while I was on hold for 30 minutes!

2nd week in December.... looking for multiple ressies including HDDR (NOTHING available all week?!?!) 50's PT, Ohana, CP, Chef Mickeys.... UGH!!!

This sounds as if you didn't start as early as you could have; since, the online reservations starts an hour before the phone line opens. I made my ADRs for the week before and was on the computer right as the day opened. I had no problems.
Seems like your week is probably crowded because of Pop Warner among other things. I understand that it is a very busy week. I don't believe your problems are just because of "Free Dining." I am going during "Free Dining" time and have had no problems getting what I want. As far as people double booking, there have been threads about those who have double booked having both of their reservations canceled by the system. As you go through the online dining system, you can see that when a person gets a time offer that is added to their cart, it will stay in the cart for 20 min to 2 hours until they remove it or "check out." There may be some ADR times that end up in carts and are released to the system when the person decides not to keep them.

I understand that some times "Free Dining" makes things hard, but I think that your problem is with other things that are going on that week!

keishashadow
09-06-2009, 06:59 PM
That's odd, especially in the 2nd week of December which is not really SUPER BUSY. 50's Prime Time should of been real easy to get and the easiest out of your list.

i was online shortly before 6 am & got everything we wanted, only issue was all the Keys to Kingdom tours were sold out for Sunday, 12/5:confused3so we booked one later in the week

i even snagged lecellier for 6:30 pm one night (no CP pkg) & a H&V fantasmic one for 4:05 pm, guess i'll consider myself very lucky.

OP, as other have indicated, keep trying...i was able to get dining a week before a last minute trip in July

Perhaps im looking @ it :upsidedow but, imo, Dec's calendar seems to be falling rather oddly this year The week beginning Sunday, 12/6 is really the 1st 'full' week of December & im thinking many people who normally take the 2nd week of Dec are moving vacations up to the 1st full week so as not to be away from home too close to Xmas/airline blackout dates, etc.

wdwlovin'family
09-06-2009, 07:22 PM
I called at 6:02 this morning (7:02 EST), waited on hold for an hour (the recording said the wait time was over 30 min. -- they weren't kidding!) and pretty much got every reservation that I wanted, with the exception of 50's Prime Time. I'm most excited about getting California Grill at 7:30pm our last evening so that we can watch the fireworks from the CR. We even got Chef Mickey's at the time that we wanted in the evening and a wishes fireworks cruise. The only other place I was sort of disappointed about was our CP restaurant, but we still got a seating, so that's good. It took me an hour on the phone this morning with the CM. She was so nice to hunt around and work things out for me if my 1st choice wasn't available.

skater
09-06-2009, 08:48 PM
I was a little frustrated when I called at our 90 day mark for our upcoming Sept. trip. For at least 3 of my choices they wanted to split up our party of 7 at two tables. Even at Teppan Edo which makes absolutely no sense to me. I called back a couple weeks later and was able to fix everything no problem :confused3. Even last week I was able to go online and change a few things around and nab a Prime Time adr for our trip this week! Don't give up - our adrs are perfect now and it gave me something to do over those last 90 long days :goodvibes.

ccigliano
09-06-2009, 09:02 PM
Oh the stress:scared1: Should I stay up and try at midnight:confused3 - should I set the alarm for 3:00:confused3 or 4:00 and then call at 7:00 for Fantasmic - Why oh why did they have to offer free dining.:sad2:

MickeyMomTo2
09-06-2009, 09:06 PM
Oh the stress:scared1: Should I stay up and try at midnight:confused3 - should I set the alarm for 3:00:confused3 or 4:00 and then call at 7:00 for Fantasmic - Why oh why did they have to offer free dining.:sad2:

My thoughts exactly. I make my ADRs next Saturday. I hope there is a clear starting time by then so I don't have to get up and check every few hours!

mom2taylorandemily
09-06-2009, 09:24 PM
My 90+10 days began on Thursday. So, I was up at 5:30 am est., logged in and began lining up what I wanted at 5:45, and I got everything I wanted. I am going during Free Dining and I feel very blessed! I got Ohana, Tutto Italia, 50s PT, Tusker House Breakfast, and Cape May Clam Bake. I'm sorry to those who didn't get their wish, but I am now a firm believer in the on-line system. It was much easier than being on hold!

kar0066
09-06-2009, 09:51 PM
I am so sorry that some of you had problems getting what you wanted. I am going to Disney 12/4-12/12. I made all my reservations on-line and got everything I wanted. I strongly suggest going on-line before the date you can make your reservations. I was able to enter my reservation number (I booked thru AAA) to verify that my number was valid.

I then went on-line at 5:45 on the "big day" and opened the first window with my reservation number. I then opened 7 more windows and entered the restaurants I wanted. I was able to finish booking all the restaurants in 30 minutes. :thumbsup2

jerlove
09-06-2009, 10:35 PM
I must be one of the lucky ones. I was up at 5:30am this morning logged in and noticed right away that I was able to make reservations (before 6am) I was able to get everything I wanted confirmed by 5:50am. I waited up until 7then called for Fanatasmic was on hold for 48 minutes only to be told there were no fanatsmic packages left. Oh well cant be greedy.

I was able to score;

50's prime time
Ohana
Le Celier
Wispering Canyon
Kona
Tusker Breakfast (at the perfect time)
1900 park fare

ScottishMickeyFan
09-07-2009, 09:43 AM
I would try each day as i got what & when i wanted (mainly), somehow managed all of my 13 ADRs but theres just the two of us (even harder i believe) but when i was reading the Swap/Wanted/Cancelled November thread yeasterday as i have one H&V ADR i dont need as i phoned for the Fantasmic package instead which turned out to be a differant time i seen one person offer at least 2-3 breakfast & dinner ADRs over a few days were they blatently went online & booked every characture breaky & dinner every day multiple times then went to the family to see what they wanted to keep,, i was fuming reading it,, why cant they decide before they call or go online,, so unfair to others needing those,,, but what if they cant be bothered cancelling,, GGRRRRRR

Hope you get what you want

mdurette
09-07-2009, 09:53 AM
Well......try making reservations for a party of 20ish. I only really want to reservations - CM and Candelight - but think they will be impossible.

Don Disney
09-07-2009, 09:59 AM
We LOVE "free-dining"!!! Could'nt afford the vacation without it!!!!;)

Epcot4Me
09-07-2009, 10:08 AM
I'm really sorry that happened. It is so frustrating to go through all that and not get what you want. That said, my 90 day mark was yesterday as well and even with a party of 6, I got everything we wanted, including Le Cellier, Coral Reef, Crystal Palace, and CP for Biergarten.

I really would not be surprised if they block tables for free dining and once you enter your package conf #, they limit what you see. I only say this because we are not on the dining plan and I did some checking on line last night because I'm already second guessing, and I could have booked CRT for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on multiple days. I was even able to change my Le Cellier dinner from 7 pm to 6 pm at about noon EST yesterday. Something doesn't seem right with that.

rlahsin
09-07-2009, 10:22 AM
As many others have said, you really need to keep trying...right up to when you leave for your trip. We leave on October 4th, and I didn't even begin booking ADRs until one month ago. With the exception of O'Hana, I've gotten ever ADR that I wanted. BUT, I was persistent, and keep trying (both online and via the phone) a couple of times a day. I also watched these boards closely to see who was canceling......that worked well too. Just keep at it....

ShellyLynn3630
09-07-2009, 10:25 AM
Even though I did get all my ADRs, I still haven't gotten my resort I wanted. I will keep checking back every day until POR comes open for my entire stay. Hopefully it will. I guess if you do keep checking, whether it be a resort or a resturant, maybe you will get just what you want.

irunnoft
09-07-2009, 10:35 AM
:mad::mad::mad:
Called first thing in am on my 90 days out and didn't get a single reservation I wanted?!?! How is that even possible?????

Not a happy camper!
:mad:

I had the same problem with making ADRs for our Thanksgiving trip. IMO, free dining is also ruining WDW dining in other ways. I think that the quality of food is dropping due to bean counters trying to save money while other people are simply trying to order the most expensive item on the menu in an attempt to maximize the value of the plan. I can't fault somebody for trying to get the most out of their money, but I'm afraid that Disney's reaction will be to purchase perhaps lesser qualities of beef, etc. in an attempt to maximize profits. If they took the backs off of the chairs at Pecos Bill's, buying cheaper beef isn't far off the mark!

starwarsdisney
09-07-2009, 11:51 AM
When we first booked our Dec. vacation we were going to pay for our dining until I found the free dining offer here on the Dis. My 90 day mark was Friday and I did our reservations online. I fully expected to have some disappoinments, but was able to get everything we wanted. I even got CP on the night I wanted, for the restaurant we wanted. I have to say I like the online system.

What is starting to concern me is the talk of how busy that first full week of December is going to be (12/06 - 12/12). We come in on the night of the 3rd. My wife and I research our vacations to levels some would call crazy. Everything we could find told us that the week of Thanksgiving and Christmas would be insane, but the weeks in between tend to be some of the least crowded. So we figured that we would come in late on the week after Thanksgiving and stay until the end of the 2nd week in December. Now all of this talk about crowds is making me concerned. We've been there in August (never again because of the heat and crowds). We went in late May last year and it was perfect. We are hopeing for crowds like that again. Sorry to get off topic.

Karlzmom
09-07-2009, 12:12 PM
:mad::mad::mad:
Called first thing in am on my 90 days out and didn't get a single reservation I wanted?!?! How is that even possible?????

Not a happy camper!
:mad:

did you book something? I'd hate to think that you won't have any TS because you waited for your "ideal"....book something, then work from there to catch cancellations, especially at the 45 day mark when people cancel their packages. Good Luck!

Canyon girl
09-07-2009, 02:28 PM
I really would not be surprised if they block tables for free dining and once you enter your package conf #, they limit what you see. I only say this because we are not on the dining plan and I did some checking on line last night because I'm already second guessing, and I could have booked CRT for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on multiple days. I was even able to change my Le Cellier dinner from 7 pm to 6 pm at about noon EST yesterday. Something doesn't seem right with that.

I'm not sure that this is true. It may be, but I'm on free dining coming in on 11/29 and was able to book CRT for 12/5 last night on a whim. I also found some really good ones for 12/5 still open. I think that it just takes persistence. I also noticed last night when I was looking around that more options seemed to come up if you put in at the :15 mark instead of the :00 mark. Good luck to those that are still searching!!!

For free dining 11/29-12/6, I was able to get...
CM dinner
CP dinner
Ohana Lilo/Stitch
Sci-Fi dinner
BBB in the castle
Afternoon Tea
1900 Park Fare dinner
Tutto Italia for CP
CRT dinner
Akershus pre opening breakfast

While these may not be what everyone is trying for, they are exactly what I wanted for within 15 minutes of my target time. I'm happy!!! The key is to be online when it opens (even if you have to stay up all night as I did) and be on the phone at 7 am eastern. If you can't get them this way, try online multiple times a day; especially at the 45 day mark when some may need to cancel.

keishashadow
09-07-2009, 02:41 PM
I had the same problem with making ADRs for our Thanksgiving trip. IMO, free dining is also ruining WDW dining in other ways. I think that the quality of food is dropping due to bean counters trying to save money while other people are simply trying to order the most expensive item on the menu in an attempt to maximize the value of the plan. I can't fault somebody for trying to get the most out of their money, but I'm afraid that Disney's reaction will be to purchase perhaps lesser qualities of beef, etc. in an attempt to maximize profits. If they took the backs off of the chairs at Pecos Bill's, buying cheaper beef isn't far off the mark!

imo, menu offerings def became 'streamlined' during the 1st year the DP was offered:rolleyes1back in '05...not sure if u can pin the blame on the increasing 'dumb-downed' menus to free DP though:confused3. Disney is in it to make a $ & u really cannot blame them for cutting corners as long as guests are still filling the restaurants.

MichaelColey
09-07-2009, 04:01 PM
We were able to get EVERYTHING we wanted, at 90+10 days out. Most were exactly at the times we wanted (usually early - our kids are 6 and 3 and they go to bed early). Most of the rest were with 5 or 10 minutes, and I think one of them might have been 20-30 minutes from our desired time. I did have to switch which park we went to for three days to work around one option (the Fantasmic Package) that wasn't available on the day we wanted it.

One big key: Make sure the popular ones are 6-14 days into your trip and the really popular ones are 10-14 days into your trip. If you're at 90+10, there's tons of availability. If you're only at 90, all those who booked at 90+10, 90+9, ... 90+2, and 90+1 had an earlier shot at it.

Here are the ones we booked this year (20 credits on a 14 night plan, so we'll pay for 6):

* Day 1: (4:50pm) 1900 Park Fare
* Day 2: (6:10pm) Cat Cora's Kouzzina (was booked in Spoodles)
* Day 3: (6pm) Yachtsman Steakhouse
* Day 4: (6pm) Whispering Canyon Café
* Day 5: (12:35pm) Akershus Princess Storybook (Lunch)
* Day 5: (7pm) Tutto Italia
* Day 7: (5:05pm) Chef Mickey’s
* Day 8: (8:05am) Donald's Safari Breakfast
* Day 8: (7pm) Boma
* Day 9: (5pm) Ohana
* Day 10: (5pm) Chefs de France
* Day 11: (12:55pm) Cinderella’s Royal Table (Lunch)
* Day 11: (7:15pm) California Grill
* Day 12: (4:30pm) Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic Package
* Day 14: (5:30pm) 50’s Prime Time Café
* Day 15: (6pm) Le Cellier

Sammie
09-07-2009, 04:10 PM
We were able to get EVERYTHING we wanted, at 90+10 days out. Most were exactly at the times we wanted (usually early - our kids are 6 and 3 and they go to bed early). Most of the rest were with 5 or 10 minutes, and I think one of them might have been 20-30 minutes from our desired time. I did have to switch which park we went to for three days to work around one option (the Fantasmic Package) that wasn't available on the day we wanted it.

One big key: Make sure the popular ones are 6-14 days into your trip and the really popular ones are 10-14 days into your trip. If you're at 90+10, there's tons of availability. If you're only at 90, all those who booked at 90+10, 90+9, ... 90+2, and 90+1 had an earlier shot at it.

Here are the ones we booked this year (20 credits on a 14 night plan, so we'll pay for 6):

* Day 1: (4:50pm) 1900 Park Fare
* Day 2: (6:10pm) Cat Cora's Kouzzina (was booked in Spoodles)
* Day 3: (6pm) Yachtsman Steakhouse
* Day 4: (6pm) Whispering Canyon Café
* Day 5: (12:35pm) Akershus Princess Storybook (Lunch)
* Day 5: (7pm) Tutto Italia
* Day 7: (5:05pm) Chef Mickey’s
* Day 8: (8:05am) Donald's Safari Breakfast
* Day 8: (7pm) Boma
* Day 9: (5pm) Ohana
* Day 10: (5pm) Chefs de France
* Day 11: (12:55pm) Cinderella’s Royal Table (Lunch)
* Day 11: (7:15pm) California Grill
* Day 12: (4:30pm) Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic Package
* Day 14: (5:30pm) 50’s Prime Time Café
* Day 15: (6pm) Le Cellier

That is well and good for guests staying that long but considering the average Disney world Vacation is less than a week, the system does not work them. :sad2:

How were you able to book past 10 days, did you have to call back and book again for the days after 10?

SmallWorld71
09-07-2009, 04:14 PM
I don't really think this is a free dining problem per se. I went the last 2 years during the 1st week of free dining when most resorts were booked to capacity and it was pretty easy to get ADR's as long as you didn't wait too long. You certainly didn't need to call right when your window opened and we ate at plenty of popular places (Sci-Fi, 'Ohana, CRT, Chef Mickey's etc...)
I think the real problem is that when you put free dining together with 90 day ADR's plus the new online booking system which I'm sure plenty of people are abusing by booking multiple places you have a recipe for disaster.
:teacher: free dining+90 day window+ online system =:scared1:

Hopefully, this will be somewhat alleviated by Disney's return to the 180 day window.

Good luck to everyone who is struggling with this. :wizard:

disney queen
09-07-2009, 04:19 PM
okay.....y'all are scaring me w/these wait times on the phone......:yay:

BurghFan111
09-07-2009, 04:51 PM
Just piling on with my hatred of free dining as well. Not only do i hate free dining but i also hate the 90 day rule that was in effect at the time. We have no problems planning 180 days out and feel like we were punished for it. We are getting married on the Disney Magic on the 9/12 sailing and honeymooning in WDW the week we come of the ship. I had my request all written down, my wif to be and i had even come up with a couple backups just in case, when i called the morning of the 90th day i was not able to get most of the ADR's we wanted or the backups. We try online everyday since the 90 day mark and call 1-2 times a week. Not very happy. Maybe I'll get lucky and one of the places will take a last minute seating for last name "Grant". ;)

chrisgeraci
09-07-2009, 04:59 PM
I agree try the online reservation system, it suggests times if your first choice isn't available. We just did our 90 day out reservations a week ago and got all our choices. We had to choose a different day for Le Cellier but we got an ADR.

I agree, I hate free dining and the dining plan. I am all for the convenience that it offers to families, but since there are two of us and my son is a teen, it's never worked. We just buy snacks at the grocery store. However, it doesn't make sense to me that so many ADRs are used for both of those dining options. When the six of us go to Le Cellier we are paying full price for all six meals; I thought Disney made their money off of food sales?? There have been years when we can't get a Le Cellier ADR. There needs to be a better balance.

Keep calling, people will cancel as it gets closer. Try online. Be persistent!

Pirates life for me
09-07-2009, 05:13 PM
It has all been said but I will say it once more keep trying online and get up and start calling if you are calling on your 90day mark about 5 minutes before it opens.

I had to tweak some plans and when I started learning different things on the boards I did some moving around. Well most recently I picked up Ohana dinner, Coral Reef lunch and Hollywood & Vine Fantasmic even with having a party of 4 adults 2 kids.

Moral of the story when you have a free minute hop on line and keep trying:thumbsup2

sarcasticfiesta
09-07-2009, 05:13 PM
As far as these long wait times go, I'm always surprised to hear people saying they waited on the phone for an hour. Maybe I've just gotten lucky, but I've never waited more than five minutes on hold. I called yesterday morning at 6:00 am on the dot and waited less than a minute for someone to pick up and got everything I wanted, with the exception of having to move my CP breakfast back an hour. I'm really greatful I've never had to wait an hour. I don't think I would have the patience, so to all of those who have :worship:

maddmike
09-07-2009, 05:56 PM
I too absolutle hate free dining. Its not because we are not included because we are dvc members either. Restuarants are crowded and reservations are hard to get. There is hardly any chance at all for a last minute res. You have to go with what you got at the 90 day mark if you were even able to get what you wanted then. I think in the long run disney will lose many customers with free dining. We are looking to eat off site more and more and I don't see us coming back to disney restuarants in the future. I doubt we are the only ones.

MyTwoPrincesses
09-07-2009, 06:04 PM
I too absolutle hate free dining. Its not because we are not included because we are dvc members either. Restuarants are crowded and reservations are hard to get. There is hardly any chance at all for a last minute res. You have to go with what you got at the 90 day mark if you were even able to get what you wanted then. I think in the long run disney will lose many customers with free dining. We are looking to eat off site more and more and I don't see us coming back to disney restuarants in the future. I doubt we are the only ones.

I wonder if I'm an exception. I booked my Free Dining vacation less than 100 days out. Called in the AM of my 90 day mark (at about 8:30) and I got everything I wanted at the time I wanted. Only issue I had was that I wanted Ohana at 6:30 and I ended up with 5:30. Then, I started reading DIS and changed my reservations about a million times and I've been able to get most of what I want on the day I want and everything I want if I am flexible with time. I really think people need to lighten up. It's *just* food.

chrisgeraci
09-07-2009, 06:11 PM
It is "just" food, but if you have annual celebrations it takes on a new meaning. We only made three ADRs but they all mattered to us in some way. Most of the time we eat what we get at the store. Different strokes for different folks.

I do think persistency is the key with ADRs.

keishashadow
09-07-2009, 06:12 PM
I too absolutle hate free dining. Its not because we are not included because we are dvc members either. Restuarants are crowded and reservations are hard to get. There is hardly any chance at all for a last minute res. You have to go with what you got at the 90 day mark if you were even able to get what you wanted then. I think in the long run disney will lose many customers with free dining. We are looking to eat off site more and more and I don't see us coming back to disney restuarants in the future. I doubt we are the only ones.

probably not, know many DVC members do lots of cooking in the villas or eat offsite to save a few $s, not me...im on vacation:rolleyes1

i cancelled a cruise to book free dining offer:confused3many DVC members do both types of trips (DVC & resort stays - especially when such a great deal is rolled out:goodvibes).

imo once the ADR window is rolled back, many DVCers (along with those who book their resort ressies far in advance) will be the ones with the advantage over those who wait for promos to book.

copperbrick
09-07-2009, 06:17 PM
I wonder if I'm an exception. I booked my Free Dining vacation less than 100 days out. Called in the AM of my 90 day mark (at about 8:30) and I got everything I wanted at the time I wanted. Only issue I had was that I wanted Ohana at 6:30 and I ended up with 5:30. Then, I started reading DIS and changed my reservations about a million times and I've been able to get most of what I want on the day I want and everything I want if I am flexible with time. I really think people need to lighten up. It's *just* food.

I have changed ressies a number of times as well, and I was able to get what I wanted when I called 90+10. My experience with Disney Dining has always been excellent.

However, for me it isn't "just food." :) I admire anyone who can feel that way! Very cool. :cool2:

I saw somewhere the quotation " Food IS a theme park" or something along those lines, and it sums up my feelings perfectly. For me, it's all about the food. I spend at at least three times more doing food planning than lodging, attractions.

Granted, some of that could be because I'm familiar with the attractions at Disney, but it really wouldn't matter . . . it's all about the food!

I have such a heartfelt hope that the original poster here finds the reservations wanted. I can totally relate! I'm saying a prayer that at the end of this post willl be a note that all ended well.

In the meantime, I will say again (see post 18 on this thread for details): CALL AND SPEAK WITH DISNEY PERSONALLY. How can they know there are issues if there aren't voices to give feedback?

If enough people call or write Disney will listen. It is in their best interest to care.

Hoping for a happy ending here. :rainbow:

chrisgeraci
09-07-2009, 06:27 PM
I do hope that they balance it out a little more fairly. We are DVC and do breakfast and sometimes lunch in our room, but for dinner we like to try different restaurants and some dining just an annual thing. If you can call first thing in the AM I think it's less busy. I've had good luck midday. I think it is luck of the draw.

Maybe Disney should let DVC and non-dining plan folks do ADRs 90 days out and dining plan/free dining 60 days out. Or for the fine dining, charge more dining credits to balance it out more. Who knows why they do what they do; obviously they're on to something since we go back every year! :thumbsup2

cwcooper810
09-07-2009, 06:35 PM
I only tried for a couple since were on the quickservice dining plan, but i wanted to do the safari breakfast since Donald is my favorite character and "CRT" because I would love to take my gf to eat inside the castle on her 1st trip. I wanted both before park opening and got both in the 1st week of december at 8:20 am:cool1: the online adr system helps so much

njb1148
09-07-2009, 07:53 PM
For the OP and others having problems, I had problems as well for our upcoming Thanksgiving trip. Up early at my 90 day mark and got many of the ADRs I wanted, but could not get some others, especially 1900 Park Fair. I called twice a day and was on line twice a day and nothing in that restaurant was open all week for any meal.
Finally, I thought well if 1900 is booked maybe CRT would be open. So I went on line and put in the information to see what was open at CRT and one of the options that came up was 1900 for the date and time I wanted. :confused3
Bottom line, be sure to look at the alternatives they list on line, I ended up finding many 1900 dates and times open and have what we wanted in the first place and was told it was completely booked.
By all means, keep calling and going on line to try. Also to the OP, as another post said, make some ADRs. You may not get your first choices, but it would be even worse to not have anything but CS meals when you are there. Hang in there.

Jen_in_NH
09-07-2009, 09:03 PM
I called this morning at my 90 day mark (admittedly, not at 7am. I'm not quite that motivated on a holiday ;)) We did get Chef Mickey's for breakfast on the day we wanted, but it's at 7:25. Good thing we're morning people! Also got the Candlelight Processional package for the day we wanted, at teh restaurant we wanted (Biergarten, so probably not as packed as others), and a decent time. I could not get Le Cellier for my parents any time during the week before 9pm.I also could not get Ohana for many nights before 8:45.

Oh well - not the end of our trip, that's for sure!

Jen

LoraJ
09-07-2009, 10:03 PM
Not only do I hate free dining, but I hate the dining plan period. I hate having to make reservations so far in advance. I get set on something on a menu and then as the date gets closer the menu changes. bah humbug. I feel bad for kids who want to eat a pulled pork sandwich at Flame Tree or ribs but are told since they are on the dining plan they have to eat a hot dog or drumstick. And then that just holds up the line for the rest of us.

bah humbug!

MichaelColey
09-08-2009, 01:49 AM
One big key: Make sure the popular ones are 6-14 days into your trip and the really popular ones are 10-14 days into your trip. If you're at 90+10, there's tons of availability. If you're only at 90, all those who booked at 90+10, 90+9, ... 90+2, and 90+1 had an earlier shot at it.That is well and good for guests staying that long but considering the average Disney world Vacation is less than a week, the system does not work them. :sad2:

How were you able to book past 10 days, did you have to call back and book again for the days after 10?Good point. It does give an advantage to those of us who stay longer. (And we actually already have a huge advantage - after the first 4 days, each additional day costs less than $100, so that second week costs less than half as much as the first!)

I was able to book the first 10 (or 11?) days on the first call (90 days prior) and had to call back the next few days to get the final few. FWIW, I never called at 7am, and never had a wait more than a few minutes.It is "just" foodJUST food? ;) Food makes the trip for us. (Well, that and seeing the look on the kids' faces.)

I'm the type of guy who plans our vacations around food. "Okay, we'll be in Chicago so we have to have Chicago style pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, etc."

carole2233
09-08-2009, 02:31 AM
Sometimes it happens. You'd better check carefully about the details.

CAJUNWDWFAN
09-08-2009, 09:44 AM
Yes... tried that while I was on hold for 30 minutes!


2nd week in December.... looking for multiple ressies including HDDR (NOTHING available all week?!?!) 50's PT, Ohana, CP, Chef Mickeys.... UGH!!!

Try different times and different restaruants. You are picking all the most popular places.

copperbrick
09-08-2009, 09:53 AM
I'm the type of guy who plans our vacations around food. "Okay, we'll be in Chicago so we have to have Chicago style pizza, Chicago style hot dogs, etc."

I'm with you! Food is life.

HeatherBelle614
09-08-2009, 10:00 AM
Didn't have time to read everything..

But I did have to say that we love FD; we were up and online when the system opened on our 90 day.

We had to be flexible with times and switch a couple mornings, but we got everything we wanted. You have to go in very open-minded and not dead-set on getting everything perfect. Your vacation isn't going to be perfect anyway; if you expect it to be, you're going to be disappointed when something (and sometime, at least minor, happens on every vacation) goes wrong.

As others have said, be flexible and enjoy your time. You're going to WDW; don't let the little things ruin your vacation.

estherhead
09-08-2009, 10:54 AM
So, I just went on-line to Disney ressies and typed in Garden Grill at 5 pm for tomorrow (just wanted to see during free dining how bad it was.) That wasn't available but my options were: Rose & Crown, Biergarten, Akershus Princess meal, Nine Dragons, Marrakesh. That's not bad. I'd eat at any of those places at 5 pm.

Then I tried DHS for tomorrow, cause I know it's nearly impossible to get in there last minute during free dining. To my surprise, I could get 50's Primetime at two different times, Hollywood & Vine, Sci-Fi, Brown Derby, and Mama Melrose! For tomorrow! During free dining!

What is everyone talking about?

Amboo
09-08-2009, 11:21 AM
I was really worried about making my ADR's during free dining, but I went online this morning at 6am and got everything I wanted. I even got Le Cellier on the day I wanted at the time I wanted (7:00), which was the one I was worried about the most. The first 2 days we are there, I didn't get the exact times I wanted, but they're both within an hour. All the rest are exactly what I wanted. So I don't think it's so bad. :confused3

MyTwoPrincesses
09-08-2009, 11:28 AM
I understand that it isn't "just food" for many people. Heck I like a good meal myself. But there seems to be a sense of entitlement/lack of perspective about this whole free dining thing - like somehow certain people deserve to eat at the exact place they want at the exact date and time they want and those Free Dining people who don't go to Disney regularly don't deserve reservations too. If not for Free Dining we might not even be going to WDW for the first time! I've pored over reviews and I know that my reservations are for some pretty good, sought after places. People are acting like they are stuck eating at the worst places in WDW even though they called 90 days out at the crack of dawn. That's just not true. Again, I haven't been, but based on reviews places like The Wave and Kona serve great food and have a lot of availability. I booked Chef Mickey's and 1900 Park Fare breakfasts last week (not great food from what I gather but a popular character experience), changed my Ohana dinner time and Akershus time, booked Boma (might try and change to Sanaa. The online keeps giving me an error message so I don't know if it is available). I could have booked California Grill, or Jiko, or Narcoosee's and a whole bunch of other places. None of these places sound bad to me! I actually can't decide where to eat because just about everything I want is available at some time on the day I want it. I refuse to believe that my experience is unusual.

Mayhem1976
09-08-2009, 12:24 PM
A lot can change in 90 days...we leave on the 20th and I just got Ohana for dinner on the 23! That's 1 good thing about the online ressies is you can just check every once and a while!

copperbrick
09-08-2009, 12:33 PM
:mad::mad::mad:
Called first thing in am on my 90 days out and didn't get a single reservation I wanted?!?! How is that even possible?????

Not a happy camper!
:mad:

Disneyfan2kids: How's it going? Have you tried any of the suggestions here? Please forgive if you've already posted it -- this has become a VERY popular thread thanks to your post, and I may have missed it.

PrincessTrisha
09-08-2009, 12:38 PM
Maybe Disney should let DVC and non-dining plan folks do ADRs 90 days out and dining plan/free dining 60 days out. Or for the fine dining, charge more dining credits to balance it out more.

So, I buy into the Disney marketing - I commit to buy my hotel room, tickets, and my dining from Disney and they get to treat me like a second class citizen because I am disadvantaged when booking dining because I did what they wanted me to? Doesn't fly.

Disney wants guests to spend their entire vacation fund with them - DVC I can understand providing an incentive - but all non DDPers? Why would Disney give them the advantage? Someone staying off site and buying their ticket from a wholesaler (no hotel $$ for Disney and a decreased amount of ticket revenue) should get to book their dining before someone who is spending a higher ratio of their vacation dollars at Disney?

And fine dining places (i.e. signature restaurants) do charge more dining credits than so called "regular" restaurants. Places like California Grill, Yachtsmen Steakhouse, Jiko and the like cost 2 credits while Ohana, WCC, and the like only cost 1.

disneyfan2kids
09-08-2009, 04:48 PM
Glad to see my rant & rave got some press....ha!

So, verdict is in...
I got Chef Mickeys on a completely different day and a different meal (wanted dinner only had BF.)
I got a CP package but on a different night and restaurant :-(
I got Ohana on a different night and several hours earlier than I wanted.
I still never got 50's PT at all for any day or any meal.
I still never got HDDR for any day at 5:15 or 7:30 (can't do the 9:30...too late for little ones.) So I got 3 of my 5 "wants" and those 3 are also on the completely wrong day/time. Yet I called on the exact 90 day mark first thing in AM.

I'm still not happy. But I'll be in WDW...so it could be worse. However, I still hold true to my belief that things like "free dining" are changing some of what I grew to love about Disney.

KY Derby Girl
09-08-2009, 06:59 PM
This is my first experience with going to WDW when free dining was going on...guess we usually go at more popular times. We are going on the military plan this time, DH qualified for the great free pass and companion passes for DD, DD, me and Darling Grandparents and then we got a great military discount on our room. So, don't get me wrong, I'm glad to pay for the dining plan if we can make enough TS reservations to make it worthwhile. We started planning about a month ago (2 months before our trip) and Chef Mickeys, LeCellier and O'hanas were out of question; but we have had to take truly awful times for CP and CRT lunch just to get in. So, while I'm happy for those folks who were able to get their wish lists, I'm sad for my family of 6 because we won't be able to enjoy a meal at a normal time.