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View Full Version : Going Crazy. How Important are ADRs?


MinnieMomMe
11-07-2011, 02:57 PM
Hello! We are staying for three nights at the WL club level Jan 7-10, following an 8 night cruise on the Magic. We just booked this last week and I am already making myself crazy with the planning. We're doing DDP too.
I just can't decide where to eat. We are keeping this a surprise for our kids DS (11) and DS(9), so I can't ask their input. We spent 10 glorious days at the AKL and YC in August, so I don't think we're going to go commando at the parks, but you never know what the kids will want to do.
How important are ADRs? If we don't have them will we be out of luck? I'm worried we'll completely change our minds once we get there. How difficult is it to get a reservation same day?
For now, here is my (tentative) plan. Arrive at WL around noon. Option 1, hang out there and eat at Whispering Canyon that night. Option 2, head to Epcot, eat at Via Napoli (have a 7:45 ADR...for now), and watch the fireworks show (we missed seeing it last Aug. Will we make it in time for a 9pm show with a 7:45 ADR?). Day 2: Dinner at Whispering Canyon or Artist's Point (is it worth 2 DDP points?) or Epcot (if we don't do it the day before) or MK (we haven't seen Wishes either and it's extra Magic hours at MK that night). Day 3: Dinner at Boma (we LOVE this place, and this is the only reservation I'm definitely keeping). I keep checking for dinner reservations at 'Ohana too, but nothing available for my dates so far.
I usually plan things WAY in advance, so between last minute cruise planning, ADRs, and keeping this a secret, I'm going a little loopy.
Any inputs really appreciated!!

danielephant
11-07-2011, 03:02 PM
pending on where you want to eat pretty important...a lot of the popular ones are already booked for the week we are going to be there and that is the last week of January.

IhrkeFamily
11-07-2011, 03:17 PM
It all depends on your family. You may have to wait quite a bit or try another restaurant before getting seated. This could take an hour or more. If the family is hungry everyone may start to get cranky.

I suggest scanning to DIS boards to find the restaurants that you think you would like. Remember, this will probably not be your last trip to Disney and you can try something else next time. With most Disney restaurants you can't go wrong.

Missyrose
11-07-2011, 05:55 PM
Hello! We are staying for three nights at the WL club level Jan 7-10, following an 8 night cruise on the Magic. We just booked this last week and I am already making myself crazy with the planning. We're doing DDP too.
I just can't decide where to eat. We are keeping this a surprise for our kids DS (11) and DS(9), so I can't ask their input. We spent 10 glorious days at the AKL and YC in August, so I don't think we're going to go commando at the parks, but you never know what the kids will want to do.
How important are ADRs? If we don't have them will we be out of luck? I'm worried we'll completely change our minds once we get there. How difficult is it to get a reservation same day?

ADRs are needed if there are restaurants you absolutely want to eat at or want to guarantee you'll eat your meals at specific times of the day. If you go the no-ADR route be prepared to be very, very flexible when it comes to what restaurants you eat at and the times that will be available (think off-peak hours -- 3 p.m. dinner or a 9:45 p.m. dinner).

You're going at a not-so-busy time of year so there may be more flexibility. But increasingly, even the so-called "slow" times of year at Disney are no longer slow because of discounts and free dining.

If you're worried about being committed to specific parks on specific days because of ADRs, consider making many of your ADRs at the resort restaurants, that way you can get to them no matter which park you're in that day.


For now, here is my (tentative) plan. Arrive at WL around noon. Option 1, hang out there and eat at Whispering Canyon that night.
With the new credit card guarantee in place (where you are charged $10 per person for missing ADRs or canceling less than a day before), this may be a good day to wing it. When you check in, walk over to Whispering Canyon and see if they have anything available that night. If they don't, call Disney dining or have the CL CM see what's available for that night for TS dinner. I just stayed at the Contemporary on the Club Level and the CMs were super-helpful with dining.


Option 2, head to Epcot, eat at Via Napoli (have a 7:45 ADR...for now), and watch the fireworks show (we missed seeing it last Aug. Will we make it in time for a 9pm show with a 7:45 ADR?).

No, with a 7:45 ADR you will likely not be out in time for Illuminations. Dinner will probably take close to an hour and half and that puts you done with dinner at 9:30 (IF IF IF you are seated close to your ADR time, there may be a wait).


Day 2: Dinner at Whispering Canyon or Artist's Point (is it worth 2 DDP points?) or Epcot (if we don't do it the day before) or MK (we haven't seen Wishes either and it's extra Magic hours at MK that night).
The other advantage to making ADRs on the DDP is you'll know if you can work a Signature restaurant into your credits. I wouldn't plan on repeating dinner at WC, it's good but not good enough to do twice in two nights.


Day 3: Dinner at Boma (we LOVE this place, and this is the only reservation I'm definitely keeping). I keep checking for dinner reservations at 'Ohana too, but nothing available for my dates so far.
I usually plan things WAY in advance, so between last minute cruise planning, ADRs, and keeping this a secret, I'm going a little loopy.
Any inputs really appreciated!!
Keep checking for 'Ohana, you may find an opening. I planned my last trip two months out and nabbed an 'Ohana ADR. It was for 9:50 p.m. though, which was perfect for us two adults. We could watch the fireworks from our hotel and then go to the Poly for dinner! But with a kid in tow, that time may not work as well for you.

Good luck and happy planning! :goodvibes

no capes darling
11-07-2011, 06:49 PM
I think if you are using the dining plan and want that table service meal at a desirable time and a favorite restaurant, then you need to make the reservations. Making them online is super easy and shows restaurant availabilty for the time wanted. No brainer to me, but what do I know.

MinnieMomMe
11-07-2011, 09:32 PM
Thanks for the great tips and information! I wasn't aware of the $10 cancellation fee. We are very good about sticking to our reservations (part of my stress in making decisions so far in advance) or we cancel in advance if we know we won't be making it.
Based on your responses, I think I will cancel our Via Napoli res for our first night, and try for Whispering Canyon so there's no pressure to "get out" on our arrival night. I remember Illuminations being great, but I'm not sure the kids will miss it if we don't make it again this time. I'll see if I can book something at a neighboring resort for day 2. We are staying at Wilderness Lodge. How far is it to Poly? GF? Contemporary? Any suggestions? I think we'll skip Artist's Point. We're only there for three nights, so spending two of our three TS points may not be worth it.
Thanks again!!

Missyrose
11-07-2011, 10:04 PM
We are staying at Wilderness Lodge. How far is it to Poly? GF? Contemporary? Any suggestions?
Thanks again!!

At WL, there's boat service to both MK and Contemporary (both of which will give you direct access to the resort monorail loop). If you're looking for a one-credit dining locations at the resorts, your best bets will be Kona or 'Ohana (at the Poly), 1900 Park Fare (character buffet -- Cinderella characters) or Grand Floridian Cafe at GF. Clearly 'Ohana and 1900PF are the tougher ones to get of that list. But you can always make an ADR at one of the other two and keep trying for the tougher-to-get ones closer to the trip.

Hope this helps!

mickeyluv'r
11-07-2011, 10:35 PM
You are staying club level and going during a fairly slow week. I think you'll be fine. Granted, 'Ohana's and Le Cellier at 6:30pm may be out, but you are likely going to get some pretty decent options via the club level staff. That's part of the key to your situation. It sounds like you are a party of four. I'm betting the club level staff can make a little magic happen. That's what you get on club level. You don't actually want to talk to the hostess at the restaurant at all.

If you have some ideas, then yeah, you could call your IPO now. Otherwise, you could also talk to staff once you are there, and they can likely find you some nice choices - especially if you will do a signature dinner.

Really. Once we tried club level we haven't wanted to go back. You are paying for an extra level of service; use it.

I also think the new policy is going to open up more options. It's big turn off to many of us. SoI think ADR's are going to be less important or at least easier to get. I think LOTS of folks are going to pick offsite dining as long as this policy is in place.

MinnieMomMe
11-07-2011, 11:12 PM
I so love disboards!! You guys are great. I'm set for two of three nights (Whispering Canyon and Boma). I just made a res for Kona Cafe for night two. There actually is a res avail for 1900PF, but Cinderella characters are not exactly my DS' "thang", as great as the menu looks. I'd love to get 'Ohana, but they only have 9:45, and that's a wee bit too late for us. I think it will be a fun adventure taking the boats and monorail to dinner (we've never stayed at any MK resorts). I'll take your advice and try the WL IPO (just received the form today). And I'll keep checking for an earlier 'Ohana. Either way I'm sure it will be awesome, and my blood pressure is way down from this morning!! Thanks!!

sharadoc
11-08-2011, 12:12 PM
You could try Trail's End, too. The buffet there is great for kids - chicken, ribs, pizza, soup, salad and make your own sundaes. There's a boat between WL and FW so easy to get to.

There's also the Grand Floridian Cafe or the Wave. Both are good and not too fancy.

Montegut
11-08-2011, 04:21 PM
We're not going until next October, but do I really have to make reservations to eat at a Disney restaurant?

We're doing the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we have plenty of options, including signature meals, and we'll be there during Food and Wine Festival.

I hate to make a reservation for a specific time, because we just might not be hungry when our reservation comes around, after all the tasting we'll do throughout the day.

Say we get hungry around 8 and want to wait for a table, is that allowed, or are only people who have reservations allowed to eat in certain restaurants?

And is there a certain time of night when they stop seating people for dinner?

Thanks for any info!

mom2rtk
11-08-2011, 04:35 PM
We're not going until next October, but do I really have to make reservations to eat at a Disney restaurant?

We're doing the Deluxe Dining Plan, so we have plenty of options, including signature meals, and we'll be there during Food and Wine Festival.

I hate to make a reservation for a specific time, because we just might not be hungry when our reservation comes around, after all the tasting we'll do throughout the day.

Say we get hungry around 8 and want to wait for a table, is that allowed, or are only people who have reservations allowed to eat in certain restaurants?

And is there a certain time of night when they stop seating people for dinner?

Thanks for any info!

If you want to eat at a specific restaurant, then yes you need to have an ADR. Certain ones need to be reserved 180 days out to even GET a spot, let alone a desirable time.

I would NEVER pay for the deluxe plan and then wing it. It's too likely you'll be paying for meals you don't get to eat. If they are fully booked, they will turn away walk-ups.