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View Full Version : Have you ever gone to the world without reservations?


imthatgirl
04-15-2010, 09:42 PM
We decided last week to take advantage of the kids play and stay free next month. We will be booking on tuesday for May 17th-22nd. We will be getting the meal plan because we feel it saves money and hassle.

We are planning to not make ressies. We were thinking of either checking with the concierge in the morning for the park we plan to go to or checking guest services in the morning.
Are we crazy? Can this be done?
We have no demands on restaurants and were thinking we may end up at some great places we never would have reserved.

fla4fun
04-15-2010, 10:38 PM
Well, I go to the World many times without ADR's, but I don't have the dining plan. I do occasionally do a walk in at a TS restaurant, but May can be busy so this might be more difficult. Since I'm paying OOP, it's OK if I end up in a CS restaurant instead. With the dining plan, you don't have that option.

If you have a web-enabled cell phone, I would probably try using the Disney online system to book last minute. The online system gives you a list of available alternates if your first choice isn't available. This will save you some time when making your plans for the day. I would do this prior to choosing your park for the day, as sometimes the available alternates are not close to your first choice. For example, you might be trying a restaurant in Epcot, and it will bring up an alternate in MK or at AKL.

If you have an idea of which parks you are going to which day, then I would go ahead and try to book some ADR's now.

jdisnut
04-15-2010, 10:47 PM
I haven't traveled to Disney in years without making reservations, primarily because dining together is one of my family's great pleasures. We look forward to certain restaurants throughout the year. It is something we value.

Nevertheless, I am convinced it is entirely possible to have a wonderful Disney vacation without making any reservations, depending on the time of year. And you can still eat moderately well. You just have to accept eating at off-hours or at less desirable restaurants.

That said, I see you are on the dining plan. You have already committed a lot of money into eating at table service locations. That's why I strongly recommend making reservations. The only way the dining plan will be worth the extra cost is if you eat at restaurants you will enjoy. Otherwise, what was the point? So in your case, if you're committed to using the dining plan, make some reservations.

mjaclyn
04-15-2010, 11:12 PM
Years and years ago before the dining plan we never made a reservation and were always able to find plenty of availability at any restaurant we wanted to go to. That has dramatically changed over the past few years. If I were planning a last minute trip to WDW and was NOT on the Dining Plan, I wouldn't worry about making any ADR's. I agree that you can have a wonderful time at Disney without being tied down to dining reservations...you'd just have to eat at some of the less popular TS locations or do QS dining. Since you are on the dining plan, I recommend making reservations for the table service restaurants. It's very difficult to walk up to ANY TS restaurant now, (except for maybe the restaurants in Germany and Morocco in Epcot). Sometimes you can get into the Plaza restaurant in MK or Yak & Yeti at AK...but your selection is very limited. If there are restaurants you really like or would like to try, I would definitely start now and make reservations. If you don't mind eating at restaurants that are more likely to have availability at the last minute, than you can do without the reservations. There is a chance though, that there might not be something available during a particular day that you're there and may not be able to use all of your TS credits on the dining plan.

Just in case you decide not to make reservations, here are some restaurants that usually have something available:

Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios
Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom
Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom (although I'm not sure if you can use the DDP at this restaurant)
Kona Cafe at Polynesian Resort
Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
The Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom
Biergarten in Germany at Epcot
Nine Dragons in China at Epcot
Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco at Epcot

imthatgirl
04-16-2010, 07:29 AM
eerrr...you all didn't make me feel any better, lol. I thought May was slower? I'm surprised someone said it was busy?

Gaston's Bicep
04-16-2010, 07:58 AM
:scared:

eelkmj01
04-16-2010, 08:03 AM
eerrr...you all didn't make me feel any better, lol. I thought May was slower? I'm surprised someone said it was busy?

We are going May 18 - 27. I can tell you I constantly tinker with our reservations and see what might still be available. Not a lot open right now, especially some of the more popular places. Good luck!

Tara
04-16-2010, 08:08 AM
eerrr...you all didn't make me feel any better, lol. I thought May was slower? I'm surprised someone said it was busy?

I was kind of surprised with how busy it was when we were there that same week last year...and this was the last week of great weather (though unseasonably hot) before the month of daily torrential rains began (was ridiculously rainy late spring).

I went with 0 ADRs in late August in 2007 and it was less crowded than it was in May 2009 and I had a tough time getting in anywhere for TS when I looked each morning.

I agree that if you weren't on the dining plan, you'd have an easier time going with the flow of whatever is available. You're right - you could end up with some new eating experiences. Of course, there could also be some duds. Duds are okay as long as you are comfortable with having spent the DDP money no matter what you eat. At the end of the day, do what you feel comfortable with...

MinnieGirl33
04-16-2010, 08:22 AM
eerrr...you all didn't make me feel any better, lol. I thought May was slower? I'm surprised someone said it was busy?

It is certainly not quiet. May is moderately busy, not Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving/July 4 busy, but summer busy. Many (most) southern schools get out in May & people take advantage of the fact that the rest of the country goes into June.

To answer your original question, we have not gone without any ADR's in I bet 10 years (if not closer to 15).

ROEDISNEY
04-16-2010, 08:40 AM
For me I would never go to Disney without them. To afraid to take a chance of not getting anything at a decent time.

kmv
04-16-2010, 08:48 AM
We went last July 1-8th and only had 2 reservations, but no DDP: CRT and Coral Reef.
We easily sat down at many TS restaurants without reservations: TRex, Spoodles twice, Crystal Palace and Hollywood and Vine. This year, however, we are going on the DDP and have made 5 reservations out of our 7 nights b/c I want to be sure we don't end up not getting seated.

Manda
04-16-2010, 09:40 AM
I've done it several times... but I don't know that I would if I was on a dining plan. Like the PP said, if something isn't available, I'm cool with counter service. But if I'd already paid for dining, I'd probably be less cool with that substitute.

Although, I think it is entirely possible for you to eat well and use all your credits as long as you're flexible. We went last June without reservations and were able to walk into San Angel Inn at lunch time without a res and only a 5 minute wait. In October, we walked into The Wave a couple times without reservations. I typically make at least 1 or 2 "on the fly" reservations from my cell phone as we're walking around Epcot and get the urge to eat somewhere... I just call Disney dining and ask what restaurant in Epcot has availability in the next 30 minutes or so. There's usually something, as long as you aren't overly picky.

imthatgirl
04-16-2010, 09:55 AM
Ok so we booked some ressies. I don't know if we'll keep them and we can still check whats available at the time but you all made me nervous, lol.
so I booked. Whispering Canyon, Prime time, Liberty Tree, Garden Grill and 1900 Park.
They all seem like decent choices...though not ones we would have choosen.
We may end up canceling them when the time comes, lol.

Pumbaa_
04-16-2010, 10:35 AM
If I was paying for the dining plan I would not take a chance on not being able to use my TS credits. I think you did hte right thing making some ADRS

Keep in mind with their new system, they cannot make any ADRs within 2 hours of the reservation (if this has changed, someone please chime in :hippie:)

Good idea to see if you can tweak when you are there, and you may be able to. But nice to know you have something

Let us know how it you did when you get back :cool1:

Have a great time!

christinec68
04-16-2010, 10:54 AM
I am glad you made some ADRs. There's no way I'd prepay my meals and then leave getting ADRs to chance. They look like some good choices. You say they are not your first choice but you would probably have even less options if you waited to get there. I hope you enjoy your vacation! :)

DeniseinNS
04-16-2010, 11:09 AM
You can always try to change some while there if your plans for those day don't work well with your ADR. I would try directly at the restaurant before calling if you are nearby because they can sometimes get you in when the res # says you can't. When we went during March Break there were 2 days that we cancelled our ADR's because we ended up in different parks and when I called to try to get into different places I was told they had nothing, we went to both places (Chef Mickey and Crystal Palace) and they got us in within 15 minutes.

snowdrift7
04-16-2010, 11:12 AM
until late 2007, i'd never made a reservation in all my visits to Disney. That's when I started really reading this board. Mostly cuz we like to keep things fluid. And the only place back then we weren't able to get into was Le Cellier. Once i started really reading this board, I realized a) there's a whole wide world of eating out there beyond the same TS we'd go to each year plus and b) that making ADR's made life so much easier - and made me start anticipating my trip even earlier. :goodvibes

But once we're there, we still make changes, calling and switching things out, because you can't always predict how you'll feel etc. So we're often dialing DINE or going to the desk to rebook etc and it works beautifully. that's just my experience.

We'll be leaving when you arrive - enjoy!!

Dowellfam
04-16-2010, 11:17 AM
The first time I went to WDW (2006), I didn't even know about all these places to make ressies for. We walked up to Sci Fi Cafe and they had an opening for an hour after we checked in. We gave them our name and came back in an hour to be seated....we weren't in a car, but at a normal table which was fine for us! Good luck!

momof1princess
04-16-2010, 11:56 AM
It is certainly not quiet. May is moderately busy, not Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving/July 4 busy, but summer busy. Many (most) southern schools get out in May & people take advantage of the fact that the rest of the country goes into June.

To answer your original question, we have not gone without any ADR's in I bet 10 years (if not closer to 15).

boy, how i wish this was true! we live in alabama and our schools don't get out until may 29th. we went to wdw june 7-14th last year, and it was CRAZY crowded. i would sooooooo love to get out sometime in may, even if it meant going back to school earlier!

to answer the OP's question, i agree with the PPs who said you might do okay not making ressies without the dining plan, but since you're on the DP, you'll likely do better if you make reservations. i'm not saying it can't be done, but ADRs seem to be filling up quickly, and it would really stink if you couldn't find a place in whichever park you're at to use your TS credits. whatever you decide, i hope you have a great time!

imthatgirl
04-16-2010, 12:24 PM
boy, how i wish this was true! we live in alabama and our schools don't get out until may 29th. we went to wdw june 7-14th last year, and it was CRAZY crowded. i would sooooooo love to get out sometime in may, even if it meant going back to school earlier!



There is a thread in the strategy board "when your kids get out of school" and so far I think no one has said as early as may 21st. We will be there may 17-21st. So we're banking on people not being able to leave school at the tail end of it. We knew we didn;t want to get too far into June. would have liked to go the first week of May but my husband's employer couldn't accomodate that....who needs work anyway?

Cptnkirky
04-16-2010, 02:00 PM
I agree...we are going May 15-22 and are constantly looking at the reservations and they are going fast. If you don't really have anywhere specific you want to go and are ok with hoping over to a resort restaurant that is not as popular, you might be okay. I can tell you, I am always seeing openings for the wave, Kouzzina, Kona cafe, Olivias cafe, biergarden. As for going and reserving last minute or no reservations at all, you are probably going to be extremely restricted. Good luck!!

ftwildernessrick
04-16-2010, 02:16 PM
I would definately do the ADR's. Since the DDP started, ressies & seating have become harder. Not too many years ago I used to be able to walk up to Chef Mickey's & many other TS restaurants without a ressie at about 5:30 and be seated. Now when I am in line to check in for my 5:30 ressie, people are walking up to see if seating is available and they are told maybe after 9:00.

ancestry
04-16-2010, 02:24 PM
There is no way that I would purchase the dining plan and NOT make ADRs. In fact if I was booking late or doing a last minute trip I would try to get my ADRs before even trying to book the dining plan.

However I would not hesitate to go without ADRs if I didn't have the dining plan and was willing to forego table service restaurants on most nights.

imthatgirl
04-16-2010, 02:35 PM
I'm surprised that no one ever goes without them. In 2006 we went down with the dining plan for the first time. Actually it was free dining and I knew nothing of the disboards nor did I know you needed reservations.
We ended up going to the concierge in the morning to see what was available and we ate at Chef Mickeys, Garden Grill and whatever it was called in the contemporary where The Wave is now.
I guess you can't do that anymore.

FireDancer
04-16-2010, 02:35 PM
More often then not I go with either no reservations or only one dinner reservation for Boma. I go solo, non-peak, eat at non-standard times, and (other then Boma) don't have any restaurants I have to eat at. I also don't purchase the dinning plan and usually eat at only one TS per day.

If I were going at a busier time I may not chance it but I purposely avoid busy times. It really does depend on how you tour and when you go.

Luv4Disney
04-16-2010, 02:45 PM
Nope, never have, never will.

Simba's Mom
04-16-2010, 05:25 PM
We decided last week to take advantage of the kids play and stay free next month. We will be booking on tuesday for May 17th-22nd. We will be getting the meal plan because we feel it saves money and hassle.

We are planning to not make ressies. We were thinking of either checking with the concierge in the morning for the park we plan to go to or checking guest services in the morning.
Are we crazy? Can this be done?
We have no demands on restaurants and were thinking we may end up at some great places we never would have reserved.


We're leaving in 8 days, and we don't have ADRs yet. And we don't plan to make any. DH has such a structured work schedule that he refuses to make plans on vacation, except for his golf tee times. Fortunately, he's very flexible on what/where he eats-"so many great WDW resturaunts, so little time" is the way we always figure it. However, we've never had a problem getting what we want, since we don't have our hearts set on Le Cellier or CRT:rotfl:

crazyfordisney2000
04-17-2010, 10:06 PM
When we went this past Sept we cancelled our Le Cellier ADR on our last day:eek: to eat at Liberty Tree Tavern just because we wanted to be in MK on our last day. We called that morning to make these changes and had no problem doing so. The Cast Member said"maam, is there any reason you want to cancel Le Cellier?" Maybe she thought we were crazy because it's such a popular ADR. We have yet to try Le Cellier and hope to our next trip!!:goodvibes

Dogwithahat
04-18-2010, 12:03 AM
I am going to be there May 16-19 and have made some ADR's. When we go on the DDP we always make them just to be sure. I read on another thread that there is a travel agent convention there at the same time of my visit. Also, a lot of colleges get out mid-may, so families with older children can go then. Its my first trip in May so I am no expert on the crowds, hoping for the best.

sotoalf
04-18-2010, 12:03 AM
During less busy periods you'll generally you'll have less trouble getting into a deluxe hotel's all-purpose restaurants (Kona Cafe, Grand Floridian Cafe, The Wave, Captain's Grille), which almost always have tables available for walk-ups. I wouldn't suggest the "themed" sit-down restaurants (California Grill, Whispering Canyon, 'Ohana).

High-end "signature" restaurants like Citricos, Yachtsman Steakhouse, and Flying Fish usually have tables too.

Planogirl
04-18-2010, 02:48 AM
We usually go without ADR's or just make a few. We always find somewhere to eat.

Disneyelf10
04-18-2010, 05:39 AM
Ok so we booked some ressies. I don't know if we'll keep them and we can still check whats available at the time but you all made me nervous, lol.
so I booked. Whispering Canyon, Prime time, Liberty Tree, Garden Grill and 1900 Park.
They all seem like decent choices...though not ones we would have choosen.
We may end up canceling them when the time comes, lol.

I'm just reading thru and glad you made some ressie's- I'm a planner and need to book them in advance.... but just want to comment on your restaurants...love the Liberty Tree, Prime Time and 1900 Park fare.... dont know if you have B,L or D but they are great! Enjoy. Wispering Canyon is good too- can be loud and I (we) didn't care for the Garden Grill.

Have a great vacation!