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View Full Version : Hypothetical dining experience.


MikeSF
10-15-2011, 01:21 AM
All this talk of $10 cancellation fee got me thinking (not another topic on that though).

Lets say I go to a place for dinner, however it's all booked, every table, at every time.

Now imagine there are no-shows (as opposed to nicer people who take the time to cancel), I believe I would still be out of luck because the restaurant doesn't know that they're no-shows they could be running late, and since the place is booked they can't "squeeze" me in after ANY amount of time because there are reservations for a particular table a bit later in the evening which you would be taking (unless you eat super quick) or if the no-show ends up showing they have someone who had a reservation who now doesn't have a table and can't be squeezed in.

Do I have this right?

Or are they ever not filled to capacity for "just in case" scenarios like this? Or does a party lose their reservation if they're not there at the appropriate time (+5 minutes or whatever "leeway" that's given)?

Cafeen
10-15-2011, 03:01 AM
Typically, after 15 minutes or so past the ADR time (this number is up to the discretion of the restaurant at the time, but this is the more common one I've heard), they are flagged as a no show and the next person in line (either ADR line, or Walk Up if the ADR line for that table/party size is empty) will get the go ahead.

They do not save spaces for any walkups or "just in case" scenarios.

So, it's possible that you can get the go ahead, but a lot depends on those with ADRs already waiting.

cluvsdisney
10-15-2011, 09:09 AM
ADRs are not the same as reservations. An ADR just allows the CM to put your name on a wait list for a table kind of like calling ahead to places like Chili's. They don't hold tables, they seat the next appropriately sized party as tables become available. Since guests are advised to arrive early, there is almost always a list of people that have checked in waiting for a table and the CMs just move down the list.

I am not sure how they handle the arrival time vs the ADR time. If a guest has a 6pm ADR for 2 people checks in at 5:45 than a guest with a 5:50 ADR for 2 people checks in at 5:55 - I am not sure who would get the next available table. The person that checked in first or the person with the earlier ADR?

MikeSF
10-15-2011, 10:10 AM
They do not save spaces for any walkups or "just in case" scenarios.

No I meant in the case of the no-show, eventually showing up after a walk-up is given a table, after say 15 minutes or so. I also guess it depends upon the time of the season and how many staff a particular place has, as they may have empty tables, just not enough staff to wait them.


ADRs are not the same as reservations. An ADR just allows the CM to put your name on a wait list for a table kind of like calling ahead to places like Chili's. They don't hold tables, they seat the next appropriately sized party as tables become available. Since guests are advised to arrive early, there is almost always a list of people that have checked in waiting for a table and the CMs just move down the list.

Ok, that sounds reasonable, since they're not going to kick someone out if another ADR is coming up.

What I was mainly getting at, is if there are no ADRs available at a particular place all night, would it be possible for a walk-up to actually get a table even if it's "here's a pager there's a 60 minute wait". Or would all possible seats even when they free up be reserved for ADRs whether or not they show up.

larryz
10-15-2011, 11:26 AM
ADRs are not the same as reservations. An ADR just allows the CM to put your name on a wait list for a table kind of like calling ahead to places like Chili's. They don't hold tables, they seat the next appropriately sized party as tables become available.

I get why they're doing it, but how then on earth can they charge a no-show fee for a non-reservation?

Maybe they should just charge it as an ADR fee, to be refunded if you actually show up (and pay for) for the meal.

cluvsdisney
10-15-2011, 01:10 PM
I get why they're doing it, but how then on earth can they charge a no-show fee for a non-reservation?

Maybe they should just charge it as an ADR fee, to be refunded if you actually show up (and pay for) for the meal.

Beats me but that's what they are doing. Kind of makes it even more ludicrous they are charging a cancel/no show fee when they are under no obligation to seat you at your ADR time, doesn't it?

Colleen27
10-15-2011, 01:38 PM
What I was mainly getting at, is if there are no ADRs available at a particular place all night, would it be possible for a walk-up to actually get a table even if it's "here's a pager there's a 60 minute wait". Or would all possible seats even when they free up be reserved for ADRs whether or not they show up.

I don't think this will effect the "no walk ups" policy at all. If Disney was willing to turn away walk-ups in half-empty restaurants I see no reason why they'd start accepting them with a policy now in place that will drastically cut the no-show rate.

If you think of ADRs like a "virtual" list it sort of makes sense - think of the FP system and then imagine it with no seats reserved for standby guests. The FP machines would distribute passes for 100% of the ride's daily capacity, and if all of the people who received those passes used them there would be no standby capacity at all. That's essentially what they've done with ADRs - created a virtual list that, in theory at least, results in a constant flow of people with that "restaurant FP" and they've chosen not to hold back any "standby" capacity for walk-ups. What Disney has done is essentially closing the "standby line" on the grounds that 100% of the restaurant's capacity has been distributed via ADRs. Even when a significant share of that 100% doesn't show up, they don't open the standby line to make up the difference.

With ADRs being what they are rather than true reservations I don't think walk-ups are practical anyway. Let's say you check in at Le Cellier at 5pm as a walk up. Since people with ADRs are supposed to get the next available table for their party size, you would continually be bumped down the list every time someone needing the same size table arrived, with no assurance that an appropriate table would ever be empty long enough for you to be seated.

MikeSF
10-15-2011, 02:00 PM
I don't think this will effect the "no walk ups" policy at all. If Disney was willing to turn away walk-ups in half-empty restaurants I see no reason why they'd start accepting them with a policy now in place that will drastically cut the no-show rate.

I'm sorry, since I'm really new to WDW and have been spending the past couple weeks on these boards trying to absorb as much info as possible. But restaurants have a "no walk up" policy? I know they recommend getting ADRs but don't say anything about walk up policy. Do they have signs up that say "no walk ups" or something to that effect?


If you think of ADRs like a "virtual" list it sort of makes sense - think of the FP system and then imagine it with no seats reserved for standby guests. The FP machines would distribute passes for 100% of the ride's daily capacity, and if all of the people who received those passes used them there would be no standby capacity at all. That's essentially what they've done with ADRs - created a virtual list that, in theory at least, results in a constant flow of people with that "restaurant FP" and they've chosen not to hold back any "standby" capacity for walk-ups. What Disney has done is essentially closing the "standby line" on the grounds that 100% of the restaurant's capacity has been distributed via ADRs. Even when a significant share of that 100% doesn't show up, they don't open the standby line to make up the difference.

Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking that's the way it works when I made this thread. It is a shame that happens to be what they did. And considering this whole "free dining" promotion to fill up hotels, lots of people are going to take advantage of sit down restaurants more so than they probably would


With ADRs being what they are rather than true reservations I don't think walk-ups are practical anyway. Let's say you check in at Le Cellier at 5pm as a walk up. Since people with ADRs are supposed to get the next available table for their party size, you would continually be bumped down the list every time someone needing the same size table arrived, with no assurance that an appropriate table would ever be empty long enough for you to be seated.
Thanks for this info. This really is frustrating, because I'm supposed to be on vacation, I don't know what park I'm going to be in at any given time, I mean I can plan 4 parks, but then after that I won't know which ones I want to go back to. Honestly I don't want to have to micromanage every time slot at these parks, heck I'm going during the slow season just because I don't want to deal with huge crowds. Unfortunately it looks like I'll be regretting taking the free dining over the room rate, because while I have made one ADR, that was for a place outside of a park, that's accessible by monorail. I mean I can even understand the most popular places get filled to capacity, but by looking 3 months out, seems like most every place is a "popular place" in every park, I can only imagine when I'm a week away, there probably will only be counter service meals available. There's a good chance I'm going to go to WDW exactly once in my life, so I really don't want it to be a cruddy experience, I guess some hope is that non-disney owned restaurants won't be published until December, although people can still make reservations there :frown:

Man they don't show the videos of the people planning these trips when Disney has the commercials of the happy families "making memories"

Colleen27
10-15-2011, 02:23 PM
I'm sorry, since I'm really new to WDW and have been spending the past couple weeks on these boards trying to absorb as much info as possible. But restaurants have a "no walk up" policy? I know they recommend getting ADRs but don't say anything about walk up policy. Do they have signs up that say "no walk ups" or something to that effect?

It is nothing that official or consistent, but people frequently report walk-ups being turned away at the podium even when the restaurant is far from full. If you have a smartphone to check the website or are willing to call Disney dining on the spot you can sometimes find last-minute openings.

Thanks for this info. This really is frustrating, because I'm supposed to be on vacation, I don't know what park I'm going to be in at any given time, I mean I can plan 4 parks, but then after that I won't know which ones I want to go back to. Honestly I don't want to have to micromanage every time slot at these parks, heck I'm going during the slow season just because I don't want to deal with huge crowds. Unfortunately it looks like I'll be regretting taking the free dining over the room rate, because while I have made one ADR, that was for a place outside of a park, that's accessible by monorail. I mean I can even understand the most popular places get filled to capacity, but by looking 3 months out, seems like most every place is a "popular place" in every park, I can only imagine when I'm a week away, there probably will only be counter service meals available. There's a good chance I'm going to go to WDW exactly once in my life, so I really don't want it to be a cruddy experience, I guess some hope is that non-disney owned restaurants won't be published until December, although people can still make reservations there :frown:

Man they don't show the videos of the people planning these trips when Disney has the commercials of the happy families "making memories"

It can be frustrating to be sure. Tables do open up, though, especially around the 45 day mark when final package payment is due, and there are plenty of good restaurants that don't book up so quickly. There's really only a handful that are ridiculously hard to get - Ohana, character meals, Le Cellier, and California Grill come to mind.

And don't let DIS expectations get you down! I did next to no research for my family's first trip, booked restaurants well known on the DIS as the bottom of the barrel, and enjoyed every one of them. We had free dining for that trip and didn't have a hard time using it at all, though we'd have done better with our snack credits if I'd done a little more homework... We ended up bringing a half-dozen Mickey ears rice crispy treats home for the kids' friends. :laughing:

When are you going? How big is your group? More than anything else those two things will factor into how easy or hard it will be to find the dining reservations you want. ETA: Duh, I just realized I should know the answers to that from talking to you on the Jan planners thread. :laughing:

MikeSF
10-15-2011, 03:19 PM
It is nothing that official or consistent, but people frequently report walk-ups being turned away at the podium even when the restaurant is far from full. If you have a smartphone to check the website or are willing to call Disney dining on the spot you can sometimes find last-minute openings.

Don't have a smart phone, in fact except for my laptop I'm pretty much a technophobe when it comes to electronic devices away from home. Wife does have a cell phone though, so we'll add the phone number to it before we go, and she also has an iPod touch, and I'll try to bring a map of wifi locations to figure it out.


It can be frustrating to be sure. Tables do open up, though, especially around the 45 day mark when final package payment is due, and there are plenty of good restaurants that don't book up so quickly. There's really only a handful that are ridiculously hard to get - Ohana, character meals, Le Cellier, and California Grill come to mind.

Well we got the Ohana reservation, the only one that occurred during our stay, the other two restaurants were "signature" and we decided that while nice looking food, not worth two credits, Character meals are kind of happy but with no kids I feel like they'd pay attention to those with kids more, which I would completely understand as a result not necessary for me.


And don't let DIS expectations get you down! I did next to no research for my family's first trip, booked restaurants well known on the DIS as the bottom of the barrel, and enjoyed every one of them. We had free dining for that trip and didn't have a hard time using it at all, though we'd have done better with our snack credits if I'd done a little more homework... We ended up bringing a half-dozen Mickey ears rice crispy treats home for the kids' friends. :laughing:

Lots more research for me as well, trying to figure out how to best use my "free" voucher points, I'm really trying to see if there is a sticky or FAQ about some of these things before asking questions about them though, however these boards have so many messages unfortunately I'm stuck there. While these boards have been invaluable for information, sometimes I wish I never looked on them because of these boards I'm getting worried now :rotfl:

When are you going? How big is your group? More than anything else those two things will factor into how easy or hard it will be to find the dining reservations you want. ETA: Duh, I just realized I should know the answers to that from talking to you on the Jan planners thread. :laughing:
Yup, January mid-week, during the first value season before MLK. Just 2 people my wife and I, so we're quite a bit more lenient on food issues, yeah we might be hungry but won't be screaming kid I gotta eat now meltdown hungry :)

Cafeen
10-15-2011, 05:43 PM
Don't have a smart phone, in fact except for my laptop I'm pretty much a technophobe when it comes to electronic devices away from home. Wife does have a cell phone though, so we'll add the phone number to it before we go, and she also has an iPod touch, and I'll try to bring a map of wifi locations to figure it out.
The cellphone will work just fine. Also Guest Relations and I believe any TS podium can also do the same. WiFi is a scarcity around Disney though (although they are testing a free WiFi network at several resorts right now), so I wouldn't count on that. I believe that Disney also has a mobile version of their ADR system that may work on the wife's phone. (Even if not a smartphone). Of course, if she has to pay for any data, that's not going to be ideal.

Well we got the Ohana reservation, the only one that occurred during our stay, the other two restaurants were "signature" and we decided that while nice looking food, not worth two credits, Character meals are kind of happy but with no kids I feel like they'd pay attention to those with kids more, which I would completely understand as a result not necessary for me.
The sigs are good, though you are right, not worth 2 TS credits on the DDP (typically, the total cost of a signature with covered items is less than the cost of those two credits). The character meals are fun, even for adults, and the interaction is absolutely fine. Essentially, they interact with you as much as you'd interact with them. I even went to Crystal Palace solo this past trip, and all 4 of them were great! (And Piglet really made my day that day).

However, if you don't feel that you'd like to do them, there's certainly no need to do them, just don't accept the "Well, we have no kids so they won't really interact" and not bother.

Lots more research for me as well, trying to figure out how to best use my "free" voucher points, I'm really trying to see if there is a sticky or FAQ about some of these things before asking questions about them though, however these boards have so many messages unfortunately I'm stuck there. While these boards have been invaluable for information, sometimes I wish I never looked on them because of these boards I'm getting worried now :rotfl:
Trust me, I know exactly how you're feeling. It's overwhelming! I'm good at picking stuff up, and I was nowhere near prepared for my first trip (as an adult doing all this planning stuff). You'll learn 100 times more from that trip than you ever will on these boards.

With that said, feel free to ask about credit usage and all that. We have some really smart people around here that enjoy guiding others on that type of thing. A general guideline to go by is to aim to spend at least $33 in covered items for TS, ~$15 in covered for CS, and $3 for snacks. However, realize that it doesn't HAVE to be that at all meals (or snacks) and that what matters most is the average at the end. (And whatever subjective value you place on the DDP construction as it is).

Yup, January mid-week, during the first value season before MLK. Just 2 people my wife and I, so we're quite a bit more lenient on food issues, yeah we might be hungry but won't be screaming kid I gotta eat now meltdown hungry :)
You're already flexible, which is helpful :). You can often find some very good, out of the way places, especially when you have nothing to go by. Experiment. Worst that can happen is you eat at a place you don't enjoy as much as others, which lets you know for next time. Because yes, there WILL be a next time ;).

Colleen27
10-15-2011, 08:33 PM
Yup, January mid-week, during the first value season before MLK. Just 2 people my wife and I, so we're quite a bit more lenient on food issues, yeah we might be hungry but won't be screaming kid I gotta eat now meltdown hungry :)

Flexibility is good. With just two adults, I'd be looking a bit off the beaten path for ADRs - Marrakesh or Tokyo Dining at Epcot, Kona or Grand Floridian Cafe in the MK area, hopping a boat to Kouzzina from Studios, Tusker House dinner at Animal Kingdom... There are a lot of very good restaurants that owing to location, lack of theme/characters, or overly "exotic" menus (by Disney or 12yo child standards) that aren't terribly popular or hard to book.

You're right about the signatures - they're quite enjoyable, but not really worth two credits on the basic dining plan. That's a big part of why we go with the deluxe dining now but that is NOT a good package for first timers... It is way more planning!

You've got a good start on finding the better counter service locations on the January thread. Look over the snack credit sticky on the top of the dining plan board for a lengthy overview of all the ways you can use those. And don't let any of it stress you out. It really isn't as hard as us obsessive planners make it sound to plan a great Disney trip! :lmao: