View Full Version : DDP and ADR question
09-06-2009, 01:58 PM
I am going to WDW in Jan. I keep hearing that the DDP is great but you need to make ADRs way in advance to get into TS resteraunts. Will this be true in Jan. when there are less crowds. We want to get the deluxe DDP so we do not have to pay for food at all while we are there. We want to be flexible and not have to plan our whole trip minute by minute way ahead of time. We are travelling with 3 kids (8,4,1) and my parents and will need to be able to make quick decisions on where we might want to eat on any given day, but if we can't spontanouesly get into TS resteraunts then will it be worth getting the deluxe plan and not be able to use TS credits.
09-06-2009, 02:15 PM
Spontaneity and dining at WDW table service restaurants rarely go together any more. It helps that you are going in January, but you're still going to need to plan well in advance if you want to eat at the harder-to-get restaurants. This is true if you want to eat table-service meals at all, whether you are on a dining plan or not. Of course if they offer Free Dining for that time period that's going to make it even harder for you to get in anywhere.
My advice would be to formulate a basic plan of where you want to go each day and make a few ADRs accordingly. If you want to eat at Le Celler, 'Ohana, the castle or Chef Mickey's you'll need to make those ADRs in advance as they usually operate fully-booked.
09-06-2009, 02:17 PM
I would think that there is a pretty good chance that there will be free dining offered at that time. If so, ADRs will be somewhat hard to come by. If there are any spots you are wishing not to miss, I'd certainly make ADRs in advance. If you can be flexible, you might be ok, but you do have a fairly large dining party. I'd be surprised if you could just walk up to most TS spots without a bit of a wait.
09-07-2009, 07:34 AM
I would caution the DxDDP (that is a lot of food)
We get the Regular DDP (1TS, 1 CS, and 1 Snack). we find that is more than enough food. We bring breakfast bars with us have an early lunch and then our TS sometime between 5 and 6 pm. We have never been hungary on the DDP, in fact I have left food behind because I could not eat it all (and I love to eat!!!)
As far as ADR's I would plan on making them like a the PP stated for the major resturants. I would also consider making them for all of your TS meals(I know it takes away from the spur of the moment fun and can cause problems with planning) but I think you will feel much better having those things planned out inb advance instead of showing up and a trying to get in w/o a ADR.
Last week, I saw people try this and they were turned away. Le Cellier told one person they were booked solid (no openings) for the entire next 10 days. I know it was free dining and all but I have also seen this on trips that did not have free dining.
If WDW does offer free dining in Jan (which they may very well, due to the current economy) Those ADR's will be more important then ever.
With little ones in your group, you may want to plan a mid afternoon break for a swim, nap, or cool down period then head of to dinner and back to a park afterwards,
09-07-2009, 11:07 AM
I had the deluxe plan for my trip at the end of June / beginning of July. I had made all of my ADR's but was able to walk up to a couple of restaurants during my trip (Coral Reef, Nine Dragons, Sanaa).
I'd have a plan but if you're flexible, you'd probably be able to change ADR's while you're there. Even looking for the next few weeks at the online ADR system, there are reservations available.
If you want to eat at Le Cellier, Ohana or somewhere "super popular" you may be out of luck but many of the 2 credit restaurants have availability close to the date.
I don't know where you're staying but room service may also be an option if you don't feel like eating at the restaurant you've booked plus you can use credits for counter service (as long as you use 2/3 of your credits for table service you generally break even).
I like the DxDP for it's flexibility.
09-07-2009, 12:47 PM
Don't forget with the park tickets you may want to get the hopper park option, we usually start out at either MK, AK or HS in the morning then head to the resort at about 2-4 for a swim and break then hop to EPCOT for dinner where most of our favorite restaurants are. Then we either stay at EPCOT or hop back to HS for fantismic or MK for spectromagic. We like to get around but you may prefer to stay at one park for the day, and we also like to plan, plan, plan and do very little in the way of being spontanoues with our TS selections (can't even spell it).
However we usually go during free dining, past 3 years in Sept. this year in Oct. January may be different unless they do offer the free dining.
But anyway have a great time.:hippie::cool1:
09-07-2009, 01:41 PM
I know some people feel that TS meals take up too much time, but I think that when you have an ADR they actually take up less time than trying to be spontaneous. If you are spontaneous and trying to get in as a walk-in, you may find yourself waiting around for an hour or more, IF a table is even available for walk-ins at all. In my experience, when we had an ADR and got there about 15 minutes before, we were either sat BEFORE the ADR time or at the ADR time. This was in July 2008, not during free dining, but definitely more crowded than January will be (provided they do not offer free dining in January, and I have yet to hear reports of free dining extending beyond mid-December).
It also depends on your dining preferences and how flexible you are about your restaurant choices. If you have your heart set on Le Cellier, definitely plan to make an ADR as soon as you can! Same goes for the castle, breakfast at Chef Mickey's (dinner is slightly easier to get but still difficult), or Ohana. Easier restaurants to get into (most likely, but of course not set in stone) are Marrakesh, San Angel Inn, Nine Dragons in Epcot; Plaza Restaurant and Tony's at MK; Hollywood & Vine dinner at DHS (though I hear the food is terrible); some of the more low-key resort restaurants (Boatwright's, for example). You may find some luck being a walk-in at these.
There are also a TS few restaurants that do not accept ADRs. They are Beaches and Cream at Beach Club (which has very few tables and usually a long wait), Big River Grill on the Boardwalk, and ESPN Club on the Boardwalk.
You could also make your trip more spontaneous by having lunch at a CS restaurant each day you are in the parks. I have done the math with the deluxe dining plan, and even though we decided against getting it (it's just too much food for us, but others really love it), if we did a CS lunch each day on the deluxe plan, we would still save a lot of money vs. paying OOP for all those meals (even before factoring in the snack credits and the refillable mugs). So if you would like to be more spontaneous at least during the day, you could do it this way, and go to TS dinners and breakfasts, or even try some 2TS credit meals. The castle is great for kids, and all the other signatures that accept the DDP have children's menus as well. If you feel your kids can handle it, you could try some of the 2TS places for a couple of dinners. You could also treat them (and yourself!) to a dinner show one evening for 2TS credits!
09-07-2009, 02:14 PM
If your main objective is to be relaxed and spontaneous, you don't mind trying different places, and you don't have any must do's in mind - I think you'd be better off not doing any dining plan at all. Reason being that if you don't make reservations, you will be at the mercy of Disney Dining, and whatever happens to be open at the time you want to go. If you have not made reservations in advance, even in January, you will not likely be able to get into a decent table service restaurant every day (much less 2 or 3 times a day). Its likely you would not get your money's worth out of the DDP.
However, if what you really want is to experience many great meals, and you have a list of places you want to try - you really need to make reservations (whether you do the dining plan or not). I don't look at it as taking the spontanaeity out of our vacation to make plans ahead of time - just eliminating some of the risk. I've seen what happens when people decide not to do too much planning ahead of time at Disney (in hopes of just having a more relaxing, go-with-the-flow time) - lots of frustration and disappointment.
09-07-2009, 02:23 PM
I say you should make a few ADR...Of the must have reservations...Then you can wing the rest...Dining plan or not I am sure there are places you really want to eat at and you do not want to leave the trip missing those things...I too agree the deluxe plan is a lot of food but works for many families...We like the basic plan the best and we make all of our must have ADR for Jan, July, Nov...I think the dining plan is great if you are planning many ADR or not because of the value and ease of the plan...Most places take it, so why not...Although our kids must eat at RFC and TRex which are not on the plan...That is another reason for us to just get the basic plan...Those few OOP meals we do end up with do not make of the difference in price between the deluxe and basic plans...
Do not matter the time of year...If we want to eat there we make a ADR ;)
09-07-2009, 07:46 PM
You'll probaly have to make most of your adr's unless you want to risk (with 3 kids in tow) being turned down by a lot of restaurants. The last thing you want is to have purchased the DXddp and be searching for a place to eat. I would stick to the basic ddp if you don't want to have to plan so much and just plan on purchasing a few things oop.
I know most people recommend the whole "take a break in the middle of the day and head back out for a dinner adr" theory, but it didn't work that well for us.
I went with ds6 and dd2 and dh and our most successful days were those that we got to the park for RD and had a lunch ADR for about 1pm. This was a perfect time to rest and relax and get out of the sun. We then did the park for 1-2 more hours and then headed back to our resort for swimming, dinner and regular bedtime. Don't underestimate the amount of time it takes to wait for the bus, travel to the park, get into the park, leave the park, wait for the bus, travel to resort, "rest" and then do it all over again.
09-08-2009, 11:23 AM
Thanks for all of your thoughts! I will have to mull everything over and try to see what will work for all of us. I just don't want to waste $$ getting the deluxe plan like my DH wants to if we won't use all the meals in it. My boys can be picky eaters. Now I need to come up with a loose plan I think and make ADRs at the places I think I want to eat at the most.
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