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Old 07-17-2013, 02:10 PM   #1
Jennafoo
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ADRs really a must have?

I'm going to WDW for the first time in September, by myself. I'm going during Free Dining, and have upgraded to DxDDP.

I've been kind of obsessing over my ADRs, having read these boards and gotten the feeling I won't have any choices if I don't book every meal. I have a handful of "must have" restaurants that I have ADRs for already.

But I find myself wanting a little more freedom of which parks to go to on what day. I had a whole plan, and then checked out the crowd calendars and discovered I had booked parks on crowded days. I also decided I didn't want to go to AK at all, and had planned to just to eat at the restaurants there.

So, I'm wondering if, as a singleton, I'll have better shots of getting ADRs while I'm there. I get the impression that I still will have lots of choices. I just looked at tomorrow's ADRs (in the middle of July) and there was still availability for one at many of the restaurants I'm interested in.

Obviously, I won't give up my Le Cellier, CRT or BOG reservations. (I also got Dessert Party and Tea reservations.) But on everything else, do you think I'll be able to fly by the seat of my pants? Will it be easier because I'm alone and not with a family? Or does Free Dining, even at a very low level crowd time, really suck up all the ADRs?
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:17 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennafoo View Post
I'm going to WDW for the first time in September, by myself. I'm going during Free Dining, and have upgraded to DxDDP.

I've been kind of obsessing over my ADRs, having read these boards and gotten the feeling I won't have any choices if I don't book every meal. I have a handful of "must have" restaurants that I have ADRs for already.

But I find myself wanting a little more freedom of which parks to go to on what day. I had a whole plan, and then checked out the crowd calendars and discovered I had booked parks on crowded days. I also decided I didn't want to go to AK at all, and had planned to just to eat at the restaurants there.

So, I'm wondering if, as a singleton, I'll have better shots of getting ADRs while I'm there. I get the impression that I still will have lots of choices. I just looked at tomorrow's ADRs (in the middle of July) and there was still availability for one at many of the restaurants I'm interested in.

Obviously, I won't give up my Le Cellier, CRT or BOG reservations. (I also got Dessert Party and Tea reservations.) But on everything else, do you think I'll be able to fly by the seat of my pants? Will it be easier because I'm alone and not with a family? Or does Free Dining, even at a very low level crowd time, really suck up all the ADRs?
Yes, and no.

Free Dining does pack the restaurants very full, however, there will always be TS places to eat, they just may not be convenient. While the park crowds are far lower than peak months, the dining crowds are far higher (not even relatively, but there are more people going to more TS meals during the Free Dining promotion than busier times of the year).

With that said, since you paid the upcharge to DxDDP, I'd plan to ADR at least enough meals so that you're not losing money by the upgrade. It would kinda stink to pay all that extra money, and then end up figuring out it would have been far cheaper to stick with the normal plan (or take the room discount) and pay OOP for the extras. (Since it's an upgrade from DDP to Dx on the Free Dining Promotion, sticking tightly to the plan isn't as necessary as it otherwise would be).

For a solo, there may be a few extra options since you're the smallest table size, but there will be several places "sold out" even for 1.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:27 PM   #3
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I agree with Cafeen's advice. Book enough TS ADR's to cover the upgrade expense at least.
There are over 100 TS restaurants in WDW. You will always be able to sit somewhere every day. The problem is it may not be where you want to eat when you want to eat.
I don't know if being a party of one will help, but based on posts here on the boards, it often seems like the smaller parties have greater trouble getting ADR's i.e. there are more large tables than small ones.
Have you looked at resort restaurants and Signature Restaurants? If you have an ADR at a resort restaurant it matters way less which park you were in that day.
Good Luck with your decision.
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Old 07-17-2013, 02:28 PM   #4
Jennafoo
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Thanks. I have been considering covering my upgrade cost, but I'm not that concerned with the money. I have a lot of signature/steakhouse places on my "must have" list (Yachtsman, HBD, Le Cellier), as well as CRT. So, I think I cover my cost about halfway through the trip.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:07 PM   #5
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Firm believer in ADR's

I have always booked my ADRs as soon as possible. I am a planner, and there are just some restaurants that you must book. So my advice is to do an ADR for every meal. Enjoy!!
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:12 PM   #6
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If you are on DDP and you want to use the credits the best way possible, keep the reservations. If you don't care whether you use the credits to the best of their value or not, and it won't matter to you if you leave some unused or use them for counter service, then cancel whatever you'd like to cancel and try winging it. But don't be surprised if you have to be inconvenienced by leaving a park (especially MK) or having to find a different restaurant than the one you wanted.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:18 PM   #7
Jennafoo
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I don't intend to let go of the reservations I have. I just only have about half my meals booked, and wondered how much of a necessity it is to book the rest since I'm there during FD. These boards make it sound like I won't be able to eat if I don't sometimes, but I want a little more flexibility. I'm NOT a planner, so that advice doesn't really help much. I don't intend to book every meal.

As I said, it looks from July's ADRs, that it may be okay, as long as I have ADRs for my "must haves", then I can fill in the rest with what's available that day (I'll have my iPad to make on the go ADRs).

What I was hoping for was a sense of the flexibility in September...
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennafoo View Post
I don't intend to let go of the reservations I have. I just only have about half my meals booked, and wondered how much of a necessity it is to book the rest since I'm there during FD. These boards make it sound like I won't be able to eat if I don't sometimes, but I want a little more flexibility. I'm NOT a planner, so that advice doesn't really help much. I don't intend to book every meal.

As I said, it looks from July's ADRs, that it may be okay, as long as I have ADRs for my "must haves", then I can fill in the rest with what's available that day (I'll have my iPad to make on the go ADRs).

What I was hoping for was a sense of the flexibility in September...
I think if you're open about where you eat you'll be okay. If you walk up to a restaurant and get turned away and are okay with going somewhere else, then you should be fine. I find in Magic Kingdom if you don't make reservations somewhere you may end up having to eat QS. As long as you're open and not picky you should be fine. But it's good that you made reservations at your must haves!

We made all our ADR's today (at the 180 day mark mind you) and I'm so glad we did! We did get into the restaurants we wanted, but time slots were limited!
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:00 PM   #9
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What week are you going? I just tried for September 20-26 and could get NO ADR's for the places I wanted to eat.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:22 PM   #10
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I've never had a time when I couldn't find *somewhere* to eat when making a reservation the same day. However, you have to be open to trying restaurants you might not have tried. Off the top of my head, same-day reservations is how I tried The Wave, Maya Grill, and the Plaza. However, I have also seen many people turned away while I waited on a table when I had a reservation. I would make your must haves, but leave a few open spots that can be filled in later.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:38 PM   #11
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It'll be different in September because there will be free dining, and there isn't any in July. More restaurants may be fully booked with dining plan guests, especially popular ones. MK has only five table service restaurants (six at dinner) but two of them are extraordinarily popular and probably require reservations to be sure you get in; that leaves three (four at dinner) and they're harder to walk in at free dining. Less popular places won't be full though. Even if you can't get into a restaurant at MK you could probably have a meal at the Wave if you leave the park. Epcot has so many restaurants that you can probably walk into at least one - however, that one is most likely to be Marrakesh or Nine Dragons or Biergarten, and you'd need to decide if you like those.
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Old 07-17-2013, 03:55 PM   #12
Jennafoo
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Thanks. Just to clarify further, I'm not talking about walking up to restaurants with no reservations. I'll make ADRs, but hope to do it closer to the date. I don't want to have to decide I will be at MK one day, AK the next, until it's a little closer to the time...
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:04 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennafoo
Thanks. I have been considering covering my upgrade cost, but I'm not that concerned with the money. I have a lot of signature/steakhouse places on my "must have" list (Yachtsman, HBD, Le Cellier), as well as CRT. So, I think I cover my cost about halfway through the trip.
If you don't mind possibly having to eat CS because you can't get in anywhere else, then you should be fine. Of course, you definitely wouldn't be getting a good value there. I'm doing the upgrade too, and there are two CS that I'm doing (BOG and Flame Tree), so that I could have flexibility...but hubby would kill me if he spent all that money on 5 people and we did a lot of CS.
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:16 PM   #14
Jennafoo
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If you don't mind possibly having to eat CS because you can't get in anywhere else, then you should be fine. Of course, you definitely wouldn't be getting a good value there. I'm doing the upgrade too, and there are two CS that I'm doing (BOG and Flame Tree), so that I could have flexibility...but hubby would kill me if he spent all that money on 5 people and we did a lot of CS.
This just feels alarmist to me. While these boards have been super helpful, I think they're adding to the stress for me. The idea that there will be NO TABLE SERVICE ANYWHERE IN WDW IF YOU DON'T MAKE ADRs RIGHT NOW!!!...that's the EXACT question I have. Is that REALLY true?

Maybe I'm totally off, because I haven't been, but this just doesn't feel right. Again, I'm NOT looking to walk up. But I am looking to get there and decide on a park a few days in advance, and take a look at what's available then. It seems like, if I don't have my heart set anything, I can still eat something other than counter service...no?
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Old 07-17-2013, 04:55 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Jennafoo View Post

This just feels alarmist to me. While these boards have been super helpful, I think they're adding to the stress for me. The idea that there will be NO TABLE SERVICE ANYWHERE IN WDW IF YOU DON'T MAKE ADRs RIGHT NOW!!!...that's the EXACT question I have. Is that REALLY true?

Maybe I'm totally off, because I haven't been, but this just doesn't feel right. Again, I'm NOT looking to walk up. But I am looking to get there and decide on a park a few days in advance, and take a look at what's available then. It seems like, if I don't have my heart set anything, I can still eat something other than counter service...no?
Eating at character meals, BOG dinner, most in park TS restaurants, and "popular" places, and eating at normal times might be more of a problem. There are a lot of people up at 6am on their 180 day making reservations. Free dining adds to restaurants being busy.

If you are flexible with times, don't mind eating at off times (11a or 2p lunch, 9pm dinner for example), and are willing to go to some if the resort restaurants you will have much better luck.
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