View Full Version : Advanced Dining Reservations-Is There A Better Way?

09-26-2011, 09:39 AM
My family and I have been planning a late November trip to WDW for more than six months. As a self-described seasoned veteran I would think I have the place figured out. Unfortunately the one area I clearly mis-judged was making our Advanced Dining Reservations. I started looking over 60 days out from our trip (8 days post-Thanksgiving) and I can't find any availability for the duration of our stay at the following:

O'Hana character breakfast @ Polynesian
Tusker House Animal Kingdom Character Breakfast
Chef Mickey's for dinner
Liberty Tree Tavern dinner
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater dinner

I will say that we are a party of six so that may be a factor but even when I search for two smaller tables I seem to find the same thing - nothing available.

Is the Dining Plan driving this situation? Anyone have any suggestions other than plan further ahead next time? I know this might be a sticky question but how many reservations for a particular meal will the average guest make? I have seen situations where people book 2-3 different dinners because they don't know where they want to be on any particular day then they just no-show the ones they don't need. Is this "normal" or an exception? If we have a reservation we can't use, we always try to cancel as a courtesy for other guests.

I know the Princess breakfast has to be booked at the very moment it opens up but I really didn't anticipate a problem sixty plus days out during what I anticipated was a slower time, when most kids are back in school following their Thanksgiving break.

I appreciate the help and direction. Thanks!


09-26-2011, 09:48 AM
I know the computer system usually wont let you book multi meals within a certain window I think so if you have one at Sci fi at 5p and try to book Liberty tree at 6p the system makes you cancel one.But I dont know how large that window is.There is a Nov 2011 adr cancellation thread on here so when people are dropping ressies they will give a heads up or try to co ordinate with someone you may want to try that heres a lnik http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2726908

TDC Nala
09-26-2011, 11:25 AM
You can start booking reservations 180 days out - 60 days is cutting it close for popular reservations, especially since you appear to be traveling during a holiday period or immediately after one. You have specific restaurants you can't get - have you considered choosing different restaurants? Half your reservations are character meals, which are among the first things to fill up, and Sci-Fi is a small restaurant heavy on theming so it is popular for the novelty factor. Not sure why Liberty Tree is full but if it's a Christmas party day, that restaurant is very popular with Christmas party attendees. Check for the Diamond Horseshoe - this operates as an overflow for Liberty Tree at busier times, and serves the same dinner menu.

When it comes to popular restaurants, there really are no slow times anymore, and yes, this is partially driven by the popularity of the dining plan and the frequency of "free dining" offers.

You anticipated that the time you are booking is a "slow time" but it really isn't that slow. That's the most popular time of year for DVC members to book. It includes the Pop Warner football/cheerleading championships and the taping of the Christmas parade at MK. These events draw guests. There's also a free dining offer for at least part of that time - these offers may not fill the parks up, but they do tend to fill the restaurants.

09-26-2011, 02:02 PM
When it comes to popular restaurants, there really are no slow times anymore, and yes, this is partially driven by the popularity of the dining plan and the frequency of "free dining" offers.

You anticipated that the time you are booking is a "slow time" but it really isn't that slow.

Wow, thanks for the insight. We have been DVC members since 1993 but our travel preferences have changed over the years as the kids got older. If my memory serves me, the weeks following Thanksgiving and leading up to Christmas were the slowest time of the year except right after New Years. I just assumed it was still the same.

I know the dining plan was a brilliant idea for Disney but I am not sold . . . I guess I don't like anything (or anyone) to get in the way of my perfect vacation! I will have to adjust accordingly and plan further ahead.

Anyone have success just doing the walk-up thing at dinner time or character breakfasts? I don't want to plan around it and then wait for 2 hours but we do have some favorite meals/restaurants and don't want to skip them completely.



09-27-2011, 05:52 PM
Don't count on walking up! Especially to the restaurants you're looking for. Though it does depend on the restaurant. There are really no slow times anymore that's true. Though if you're less attached to the specific restaurant, then just make ADRs for somewhere else, and keep trying. I find openings generally occur as time gets closer - and then during your stay keep checking.

We're there from Nov 29-Dec7 and have had no problem getting sic-fi and Liberty Tree booked this past week. The others I try to book at least 179 days out : )

09-28-2011, 12:43 AM
What dates are you going post-Thanksgiving? We're going to be there the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and I still have an ADR for O'hana's breakfast for 6 people at 9:20am. I made the ADR by phone when I made my PL ressie, and just haven't canceled it yet. Let me figure out what day it was on (sorry, I have booked and canceled so many ADRs online that I don't remember this one because it was the first one I made and it was by phone) and if you're there we can coordinate!

09-28-2011, 01:18 AM
My O'hana's adr is for 11/28 at 9:20 am for 6 people. Let me know if that works for you and we can try to coordinate.

Also, since I am going right after Thanksgiving, too, I've been booking adrs and Liberty Tree and Sci-fi have been showing up for dinner options on some of the nights we're there (as of today just a few hours ago). I would say look many, many times a day at different times and you'll most likely get some of what you want. After much trying, I only have 1 adr I'd like to tweak a little (but will be happy if it ends up staying the same) so I'll keep looking especially around the 45 day mark (when people have to pay so they might decide not to go and cancel their adrs).