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Old 03-07-2013, 06:40 AM   #1
Figg
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Question How do you eat?

When visiting, do you have a table service reservation for every night you are there? I hate that I have to make reservations for meals and not be able to depend on what our moods/situations are. Any tips or strategies for this?
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:51 AM   #2
goofyintoronto
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Yes i pretty much have an ADR for each day of our trip. I plan my park days around that....but then again not really cause we do get park hoppers. So we can go to whichever park we want.

I have a tip...You can make a few of your fave adrs and wing it with the rest. i've done a few walk-ups and was successful at getting a table. The other thing is, when you know which park you'll be at for the day, go to your resort concierge OR at guest services in the park and ask them to search for reservations for you. As long as your not picky with the time or food, there'll always be a few choices for you.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:52 AM   #3
Hopefully
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We have a dinner together every evening as a family at home, and we do the same on vacation. I like planning in advance.
We first choose which park, which day based on our knowledge of crowd patterns and the web sites with crowd estimates. Once we have decided which park we will be in we choose a restaurant in or near that park and make an ADR for our desired time.
That is the extent of the "planning" we do. We go with the flow for that day, but are happy to know that we have a dinner reservation at the restuarant fo our choice.
If you don't like planning in advance or if you like to go with the flow, I would not get the regular DDP. To maximize the value, you need to have ADR's up to 180 days in advance to insure you can use your TS credits. Maybe the QS plan which is 2 QS meals a day would work for you. YOu don't need any reservations for the QS places, you stand in line and wait for your food.
Good Luck
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:02 AM   #4
AlohaAnnie
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We do make reservations for our trip. We switch it up between breakfast, lunch, & dinner. So we are not eating a dinner every night.

I like the tip of switching to the QS plan if you do not want to be locked into reservations. That may be a good option. There are plenty of good CS locations to eat. Wolfgang puck express, Cookes of Dublin, Earl of sandwich, Be our Guest lunch, flame tree, just check out the menus at allears.net

There are also restaurants that do not take reservations that are walk ups like ESPN, beaches & cream, big river, and DTD restaurants keep a portion of their Reservations open for customers.

As previously mentioned, you may be able to score walk ups or make reservations through concierge or park guest relations.

There are many options for dining at Disney and you will still have a wonderful stay. You do not have to feel locked into reservations if that is not your style.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:14 AM   #5
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I usually have a dinner ADR each night of my trip. I've only made reservations at the 180 day mark once, though. There's really a lot of places you can get into on short notice.

I have an AP and I hop parks often anyway so my dining doesn't really dictate what else I do on any given day.
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:14 AM   #6
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We only have 1 ADR per trip. Other than that we just do a walk up and wait. I've never had anything more than a 30min wait. I've gotten into every place we went to with 1 exception......O'Hana. Worse part was that I let a couple go infront of me(walk up) while waiting for my wife and daughter to catch up. When I asked for a time/wait they said they just gave it to the person who checked in before me. Damn me being courteous!!! :P
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figg View Post
When visiting, do you have a table service reservation for every night you are there? I hate that I have to make reservations for meals and not be able to depend on what our moods/situations are. Any tips or strategies for this?
We visit several times a year ane we no longer make ADRs for every day of the trip. We do fine finding a place the day of and have never been turned away (top wait has been around 25 minutes on a walk-in). One of the big myths is that people absolutely have to making dining reservations 180 days in advance -- which is simply not true. Two things have helped - the credit card hold reservation system and the cut back on free dining. Hopefully, free dining is gone forever..
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:17 AM   #8
Blessedwithboys
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I make an ADR for every night. Due to my husbands work schedule and my kids bed time we only get to eat dinner together at home a night or two a week so it is really nice to carve that time out. Plus one of my sons highlights of our first trip was the character dining. I do not look at it as a waste of time at all.... it is a fun expereince (at most restaurants), nourishment, and a time to relax in the air conditioning and just 'be' for an hour or so. We needed our ADR's last trip for a break!!!
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:19 AM   #9
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On our last trip, we scheduled ADRs for some breakfasts, some lunches, and all dinners. It was too much food and I learned my lesson. Next time around, I'll schedule character breakfasts and TS dinners (b/c we found we do really prefer TS), and just do snacks for lunch. That takes the timing pressure off for us b/c we don't have to worry about being hungry enough as long as we don't schedule a lunch.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:39 AM   #10
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I do understand your feeling. I get a little tired of having to be somewhere at a certain time everyday and having to make many of those decisions in advance.

To help, I try to book several of our dinners convenient to our resort. We stay at BLT, so anything at a monorail resort or WCC. That way we can go to any park during the day and get dinner on our way home. Or if we took an afternoon break, we can get dinner on our way back to the parks. We also schedule one early Chef Mickey's breakfast every trip. It's a quick walk over from BLT and after it's over we can head out to any park for the day. I always enjoy that day when we don't have to be somewhere at a certain time for the rest of the day. For restaurants we like that are in the parks, I generally prefer a late lunch ADR. It does force us to go to that park for the day, but I like lunch because we can leave anytime after that. If we're tired, done with the park, or just want to go back and swim, we don't feel like we have to stay until dinner. On the other hand, if we're having fun and stay at the park late we can always grab QS for dinner. Lunch isn't the best use of the DDP, but if you pay OOP you can save money.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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We are nearing 30 trips and have found our way to dine. We do not do dining plans, they don't fit the way we eat or vacation and are not cost effective.

We usually make around 3 ADRs for a week trip and one of those is a character breakfast. We always visit Publix and get fruit, breakfast foods, sandwich stuff, chips, at least a case of water, beer, wine, etc. so we have whatever we need in the room.

We have dinner offsite probably 3 to 4 times during that week. There are favorites that we visit like Giordanos, Maggianos, Ale House. The food is good and far, FAR less expensive than on property dinners.

I understand that people who visit once or every few years want a different experience and eating all meals in restaurants is what they prefer. We visit at least a couple of times a year and have eaten at many WDW restaurants and have come to the realization that they are not good value. My DH doesn't like to pay as much for a dinner as our room costs per night!
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:19 AM   #12
princessallegra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Figg
When visiting, do you have a table service reservation for every night you are there? I hate that I have to make reservations for meals and not be able to depend on what our moods/situations are. Any tips or strategies for this?
We do usually have TS res for dinner. But we have also been able to make adr's for the same evening or the next evening when we are there. We change things all the time. That would be my biggest tip, is use your smartphone to check and change reservations during the trip. Our last full day was great, we were able to add a boma breakfast that was perfect. This last trip we ate at a lot more cs than usual because we had the dining plan at a discount. We like to sit down and have at least one ts meal a day. It honestly gets hard for me (digestive issues) to eat restaurant food for 3 meals a day, for a week. On our first day we drive to whole foods (we rent a car) and stock up on organic fruits, gf bread and snacks for the room. I usually eat an apple for breakfast and when we get to the parks we'll share a croissant sandwich or something. If we have a big lunch we will eat a lighter dinner. Many times DH and I share meals because the portions are huge!
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:42 AM   #13
jbrest
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The last time we went to WDW, we had dinner reservations for almost every night we were there. We decided never to do that again. We felt so "tied" to these reservations...and we didn't like having to stop what we were doing at a certain time (even when we weren't hungry yet), to get to dinner in time for our reservation. The way our (picky) kids eat, I think we're better off doing the quick service dining plan next time we go. That way we can eat where we want, when we are hungry. One exception: we will probably make a reservation for a character breakfast.
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Old 03-07-2013, 09:53 AM   #14
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One of our favorite things about vacation is looking at the menus and deciding what restaurants we want to dine at. I have learned over our many trips how much time to leave in between our reservations. Most days I make 2 reservations, sometimes for breakfast and then dinner and sometimes for lunch and then a late dinner. Most of those nights are early days at either AK or spending the day at our resort or waterpark. We look forward to having a break from the heat and relaxing in the air conditioning. Some people would reather take it easy and not make so many reservations, which is fine too. It's just something that we prefer to do.
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Old 03-07-2013, 10:21 AM   #15
JimmyV
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hopefully View Post
We have a dinner together every evening as a family at home, and we do the same on vacation. I like planning in advance.
We first choose which park, which day based on our knowledge of crowd patterns and the web sites with crowd estimates. Once we have decided which park we will be in we choose a restaurant in or near that park and make an ADR for our desired time.
That is the extent of the "planning" we do. We go with the flow for that day, but are happy to know that we have a dinner reservation at the restuarant fo our choice.
This is us exactly. With one exception. If we plan to spend the entire day at the MK, we do two CS meals. We simply do not enjoy any TS option at the MK so we don't bother. (Though, next time around, we will try BoG).

One of my pet peeves is is walking in to a restaurant and being told that the wait is 45 minutes to an hour and being handed a light-up UFO, only to have to hang around a crowded, uncomfortable holding pen listening to other people's conversations. Truly, that is my idea of Hades, and I'm not talking about James Woods here. I hate it at WDW and I hate it everywhere else I go. I am an Open Table "super user", and I am an ADR nut as well. Free form travel is great if you can walk in and be seated, or have a modest wait. But free form dining at WDW carries a price tag of about 30-45 minutes at most places, and a cost of being completely shut out at some of the better ones. That cost is simply too high for me. Do I wish that the ADR system could go back to the PS method of 30 or 60 days? Sure. Making ADRs 180 days out is nuts. But I will take that over: "Sorry sir. We have nothing before 9:30 if you care to wait."
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