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Old 04-18-2009, 09:37 AM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 1

Freaking out over ADR! (POFQ, week of Apr. 27)

Hello from Toronto,

Most of our adult family (myself 46 / DH 52 / DD 29 / DeW - DH's ex-wife 50-ish) will spend a dream week at Port Orleans French Quarter, arriving Monday April 27. We'll do all 4 parks, plus the water parks. (We have PH.) We're on the Deluxe Dining Plan, so sit-down meals will rule our trip. While visiting the parks, we'll obviously eat there, but I want us to enjoy some of the better offerings at resort restaurants, too.

I did most of the planning (based on the Unofficial Guide's touring plans) this winter for the trip. However, when I made advance dinner reservations, we hadn't decided on many restaurants. I was able to secure ADRs for:
  • Tusker House - Nemo show package
  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • 50's Prime-Time Diner
And that's it! (The only other thing on my list was the Fantasmic! Dinner Package, which was unavailable any day we might've used for DHS.) What a deplorably-short list.

Panic left me paralyzed and I find us 9 days away, with 11 full-service meals to plan, in a resort deemed as suffering from insufficient on-site dining and no easily-accessible off-site dining.

*gulp* Help!

DH and I will pick out some good restaurants today, and he'll get on the phone to WDW-DINE, but there are several more planning days left. That's where you come in, with your friendly attitude and tons of experience. Here are a couple of questions to get things rolling:

Should I freak out?

Reading up on Disney comes replete with ominous warnings about some restaurants refusing any walk-ins whatsoever, ADRs absolutely having to be made 90 days in advance, and on and on.

Is it as bad as I fear? The TouringPlans crowd calendar lists our days as 5, 5, 5, 6, 8, 9, 8 -- so do the first 4 days offer any hope to dodge the bullet? What's a "5" day like at Disney, at the end of April?

What about transportation?

Given POR's relative isolation form other resorts, it seems like 40-60 minute commutes -- each way -- to eat at other resorts are the norm. Is this exaggerated? Will taxis save my hide? (DH is fine with paying for cabs.) Will we break the bank getting to AKL for Jiko?

All comments are more than welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:16 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 941

I would def. keep trying. Also, try in two more days. I have always had luck within that 7 day window. Also when you are there call. Many times I have called in the afternoon for an evening ARD at a resort rest. Esp on the boardwalk including Spoodles, Flying Fish, Cape May. Maybe I was just lucky but this has always been in mid June so not an unbusy time. I don't think the park rest. will be that easy though. Have the resort check as soon as you arrive, 1st day.

BUT you need to keep trying. It would be horrible to pay deluxe and not get to use it. You are lucky though that you can be more flexible since you don't have little ones in tow.

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Old 04-18-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
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Location: Canada, Eh!
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We stayed at POR in January and LOVED the Port Orleans resorts. You will have a wonderful time there!!!

We did not find it took that much time to get from resort to resort for dining. For any of the restaurants at the resorts on the monorail, it was as easy as hopping the bus to the Magic Kingdom, then on to the monorail to either the GF, Poly or Contemporary. We had great experiences with the Port Orleans busses.......though from some of the DISboards posts, many do not.

Don't rule out the TS restaurants in Downtown Disney. Fultons Crab House, Wolfgang Puck Cafe, Captain Jacks....they are all just a short boat ride from the resort . The water taxi is a great way to travel and should be done at least a couple of times (once during the daylight hours and once at night).

Also, if you're flexible and can handle some last-minute reservations, then call each night before Disney Dining closes to see if anything opens up "last minute". We called at 9:50 p.m. one night on our trip and secured a Mama Melrose reservation for 12:10 the following day. No problems at all. Or call first thing in the morning (as soon as the dining line opens) for any early-morning cancellations.

Best of luck and enjoy your trip!!!
Gina and her two guys ...conquering awesome Orlando, one offsite attraction at a time!

Jan. 2009....onsite at POR: all 4 Disney Parks
Jan. 2012....offsite on I-Drive: Universal Studios, IOA, SeaWorld, & Discovery Cove
Aug. 2012...Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa: Aquatica, Discovery Cove, and more
Dec. 2012...onsite at SW! Christmas week at SeaWorld, Aquatica, Gatorland, airboats, & holiday fun
**Christmas 2012 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3041415
Aug. 2013....Sheraton Vistana Resort: Blizzard Beach, Typhoon Lagoon, Cocoa Beach & more! **August 2013 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=3167818

Aug. 2014.....SVR, SW, DC, AQ, TL, Daytona & MORE! **August 2014 Trip Report: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=51863899

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Old 04-18-2009, 10:38 AM   #4
If she hates to be wet, then how does the survive bathing?
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Chicago
Posts: 8,845

First, let me say: You are going to WDW with your husband's ex wife and you are calling it a dream week! You are a better woman than I am.

If I had the deluxe dining plan and only had 3 ADRs, I would be panicking! I'm sorry that is not what you want to hear, but ...

Try the restaurants at the monorail resorts. Those aren't too bad to get to from MK. I really liked Kona and 'Ohana at the Poly and California Grill (2 credits) at the Contemporary. The Wave at the contemporary has been getting good reviews. And since its relatively new it might not be as hard to get in. Narcoose and Citrico at the Grand Floridian look really good and will burn 2 of your credits each.

Did you try Brown Derby for the Fantasmic package? That is 2 credits and might be easier to get than say Mama Melrose?

Yachtsman Steakhouse at the yacht club and Flying fish at the boardwalk are easy to walk to from EPCOT and are both 2 credit places.

These are my suggestions for restaurants that might be easier to get ADRs for??? I hope you can get some! Otherwise, show up right when restaurants open and hope to get in!

Prince Sakura Hotel TDR * Marriott Residence Inn LBV Dec 2013 * Hotel Cheyenne DLPR May 2013 * Aulani July 2012 * Royal Pacific July 2011 * Pop Century Aug 2010 * Disneyland Oct 2009 * Beach Club July 2009 * AsMo Dec 2007 Mousefest! * Old Key West July 2006 * Pop Century Dec. 2005 Mousefest! * Sheraton Safari July 2005 * Pop Century/Portofino Bay Hotel August 2004 * Coronado Springs Nov 2003 * Dolphin June 2003 * POR Nov/Dec 2002 * AsMu 1999 * AsSp 1997
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Old 04-18-2009, 10:55 AM   #5
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Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Michigan
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I wouldn't freak out, but I would definitely be doing a bit more planning now, before you go. You might have to be flexible about times and restaurant choices, but you should do fine.

As far as travel time goes, remember that often you'll be traveling from the parks rather than your resort. If you're at MK for the day, look at restaurants on the monorail or at Wlderness Lodge (which has boat service from MK). Plan Jiko for the day you're at Animal Kingdom, and you'll only be paying for a cab one way (or not at all if you're willing to bus over to Downtown Disney to transfer - one of our favorite things about POR/FQ was the boat from DTD).

With a party of 4 adults, I would HIGHLY recommend using some of those credits at signature restaurants. They take 2 credits and offer a more upscale, slower-paced dining experience, so they're unattractive to many families with young or picky kids and people on the basic dining plan. That makes them easier ADRs to get, and they're well worth the use of 2 credits on the DxDDP.

Some easier-to-get suggestions in/near each park:

MK - Any of the MK area signatures (California Grill, Narcoosees, Citricos, Artist Point), Kona at the Poly, The Wave at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian Cafe at the GF.

DHS - The worst park for dining IMO, but you've already got the one that seems to get the best reviews, 50s PT. If you need another meal on your day(s) there, try Brown Derby, which is a signature restaurant, or head over to the Boardwalk area to check out Spoodles, Captain's Grill, Yachtsman Steakhouse, Flying Fish, ESPN Club or Beaches & Cream. Those last two don't even accept ADRs, so you're not at any disadvantage by not having booked them.

Epcot - Less Americanized restaurants like Tokyo Dining, Marrakesh, Biergarten are easier to get into. And like DHS, Epcot is just a short walk or boat ride from the Boardwalk/Beach Club options.

Animal Kingdom - You already have Tusker House, and this is the perfect day to do Jiko to minimize travel time.
~~**Colleen & Crew**~~
POR 10/05 ~ BC 08/07 ~ WL 01/08 ~ CBR 12/09 ~ POP 03/11 TR/ DR
POP 1/12 TR ~ ASSp 5/12 ~ CSR 3/13 ~ POP 4/13 ~ ASMu 12/13

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Old 04-18-2009, 11:16 AM   #6
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 278

Congrats on your upcoming trip! I am concerned about the lack of ADRs, especially since you're paying for the DDP. I would definitely try to book something asap for each day, even if it's not a first choice. And then, keep trying as you get closer to the dates to get something preferable. The last 2 times I have been to Disney, there were signs posted in the parks stating that the table service restaurants were full, so I think that trying for a walk-up will be iffy, and stressfull as well...

A restaurant that seems really easy to get in at the last minute is the Grand Floridian Cafe. We had a last-minute change in plans on a trip once, and we wound up there. It turned out to be my family's favorite place to eat; and we always try to get there at least once per trip.

It has been my experience that, with the exception of Le Cellier and California Grill, it does seem like the character meals are the hardest to book at this late date. And since that's not going to be a priority for your group, I think you'll still wind up with some great choices. Good luck...and let us know how things turn out!
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