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Old 02-23-2013, 11:00 PM   #16
peppymrscaudle
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I don't know about September. But we are going in 3 weeks and I just booked our ADR's today. Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal whatever, Tomorrowland Dessert Party and Victoria and Albert's. I'm very last minute and our trip has been booked since last July. It wasn't until I started reading these boards that I figured I should start booking ADR's. We weren't that concerned about not being able to eat on the property. The dinners are more so for the kids and V&A is for my husband and I. Good luck!
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:04 PM   #17
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I am the OP- we were thinking of doing BOG at lunch since I had read so much about its popularity at dinner. I guess I was wondering more about the Epcot restaurants. I have no idea what's easy to get and what's hard. I have read here that Le Cellier can be a hard one, but maybe we will want Chinese, or Italian, or Mexican? Guess we really just kinda wanted to go for whatever sounded good that day, and to eat it when we were hungry, whether that is 5pm or 8pm. Can't I have the best of both worlds- good food when i want it, and, where i want it?
If you are willing to juggle your eating times you could probably, maybe hope for some you might be able to finagle a walk-up : MAYBE
However, with 11 people in would strongly suggest reservations
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Old 02-23-2013, 11:12 PM   #18
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We don't plan our trips that far out, so I usually make our adrs about 2 months before we go, maybe 3 months on occasion. I can always manage to find good options for us, but maybe not 100% what we wanted, at the time we would wanted. We didn't get BOG for dinner on the last two trips, but went for lunch both times.

I'd at least recommend having something reserved with a party of 11. If it's not a signature or character meal you can most likely cancel it that day with no fee if you change your mind and find something else available that you want.

Also, just because they have empty tables, that does not mean you will be able to sit there. During slow times they may not have the waitstaff and kitchen staff to fill all the open tables.
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:50 AM   #19
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Can't I have the best of both worlds- good food when i want it, and, where i want it?
Not at Disney World

I'd make reservations for anything that is a "must do" restaurant for you and your family. Especially BoG, Le Cellier, Cinderella's Royal Table, Chef Mickey.

Each country in World Showcase does have at least one counter service place. It won't be the same food but it will be close enough if you don't want to make plans that far in advance.

You can also cancel up to 24 hours before each reservation so I would suggest it's better to make the reservation and then cancel.
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Old 02-24-2013, 06:39 AM   #20
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We go mid September and we are a party of 6. My first trip I winged it without ADRs. We could not get into any TS places in the parks. Didn't try in the resorts.
I would highly recommend making at least a habdful- maybe just dinners. Especially if free dining is offered. That makes a huge difference!
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Old 02-24-2013, 08:19 AM   #21
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I stand corrected apparently on booking times. I have never used the online booking yet for 180 days + 10. Just figured with it being online it would be available at 12:01 am. We have always called in our Adr requests which opened for us here at 7am EST. Now maybe that has changed since last May as well. Either way you will want to book early if you are traveling with a family. There are 5 of us and 6 in our friends family so early Adr's are also must.

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Old 02-24-2013, 08:44 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by AAmom View Post
I am the OP- we were thinking of doing BOG at lunch since I had read so much about its popularity at dinner. I guess I was wondering more about the Epcot restaurants. I have no idea what's easy to get and what's hard. I have read here that Le Cellier can be a hard one, but maybe we will want Chinese, or Italian, or Mexican? Guess we really just kinda wanted to go for whatever sounded good that day, and to eat it when we were hungry, whether that is 5pm or 8pm. Can't I have the best of both worlds- good food when i want it, and, where i want it?
While we were there Labor Day week (free dining week, though we are DVC) we wanted to change around a few while we were there, and I was able to get San Angel Inn for lunch with 2 days notice, and Tutto Italia for dinner with 2 days notice. No problem, it seems Nine Dragons always has availability and lunch will be easier than dinner. I think if you are flexible you can get something with a day or two notice, but theres no guarantees, I book 180 days in advance, but I do change things around some, but have to be flexible with times and such.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:31 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by AAmom View Post
I am the OP- we were thinking of doing BOG at lunch since I had read so much about its popularity at dinner. I guess I was wondering more about the Epcot restaurants. I have no idea what's easy to get and what's hard. I have read here that Le Cellier can be a hard one, but maybe we will want Chinese, or Italian, or Mexican? Guess we really just kinda wanted to go for whatever sounded good that day, and to eat it when we were hungry, whether that is 5pm or 8pm. Can't I have the best of both worlds- good food when i want it, and, where i want it?
Probably not, especially if free dining is offered, as others have said. It would be possible to eat at off times, less popular restaurants or resort restaurants. But if you want prime dining hours or character meals, it would be best to make a few ADRs.

BOG lunch is CS, so that shouldn't be a problem.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:38 AM   #24
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September seems to be one of those times that is growing in popularity...hence why a number of the TRs I've seen from this time speak of growing crowds during this time. On top of that, you've got things like MNSSHP and the start of F&W drawing people in.

The big draw...almost guaranteed room only discounts or free dining. While i prefer a room discount, free dining is the bigger draw. You can be assured that the bulk of the people getting free dining (or banking on it) have made ADRs for every single meal...especially those upgrading to DxDP or paying out of pocket for a few extra meals.

I've never been in September (yet), but I've been during free dining at other times and from our experiences, even places like the Wave, Kona, GF Cafe, etc. will have very limited options for a person with no ADR. I've had friends get stuck in the WS during free dining and no ADRs and having to settle for quick service meals b/c only 2 or 3 places had any spots left and they were all for several hours later during Illuminations.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:38 AM   #25
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If there's someplace you just HAVE to eat then book early, if you are flexible you should be ok. We are going to Disney this coming Friday and I just booked our last ADRs for a character breakfast at Cape May, lunch at Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney and a dinner at Yachtsmen. Only thing I couldn't get for the time I wanted was an 8AM Tusker House breakfast.
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:50 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by chimilady View Post
Lat year I went Sept 15 - 23 and there were quite a few things I couldn't get and I booked at 180 days out. In fact I'm going end of August/early Sept this year and I'm staying up late to book my ADRs at Midnight.

There will be plenty of places where you don't have to do this for, but if you want any of the popular ones, then you should think about it. I plan where we're going based on the crowd calendar, then I pick which day we're doing which park and the book from there.

You should be fine though waiting for some of these. The kicker will be if free dining is offered for September. If that's the case, then you will need to make ADRs, as everyone else will and you'll be booked out. That was the case for me.
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I would love to get some advice from you experienced folks. The people I talk to around here seem to get a panicked look on their face when talking about ADRs- it comes with fear of starvation if you dont book on the earliest possible day. It's making me feel stressed & annoyed trying to decide what to eat, where to eat, and what time to eat, for a trip over 6 months away!!

We are going in mid september. My understanding is that this is the absolute least crowded time you can go to disney...so why the need to make reservations now? I know that Cinderella's castle and some character meals do need to be booked in advance....but all the other meals? Can I just decide in the morning and call the same day Teppen Edo, Le Cellier, Be Our Guest, or Via Napoli for dinner????

I guess I just can't help but wonder if the whole ADR thing is a bit over hyped during the slow season.

One other issue that could complicate things- some nights we will be a party of 5, other nights a party of 11....not sure if they will even sit a party of 11 (7 adults, 4 kids under age five).

Appreciate thoughts you all have.
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I am the OP- we were thinking of doing BOG at lunch since I had read so much about its popularity at dinner. I guess I was wondering more about the Epcot restaurants. I have no idea what's easy to get and what's hard. I have read here that Le Cellier can be a hard one, but maybe we will want Chinese, or Italian, or Mexican? Guess we really just kinda wanted to go for whatever sounded good that day, and to eat it when we were hungry, whether that is 5pm or 8pm. Can't I have the best of both worlds- good food when i want it, and, where i want it?
No, not at WDW at any time of year anymore.
If there is someplace you really want to eat you need to make an ADR. If you want to eat during prime meal hours, you need an ADR. If you want to eat at the popular IN park restaurants, you need an ADR.
You will not go hungry, but what is available last minute may require long travel time, be in an inconvenient location at an off hour with a cusine that doesn't appeal to you.
In Epcot, Marrakesh and Biergarden are often available last minute. Via Napoli is a long shot, but maybe.
Good Luck
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Old 02-24-2013, 09:55 AM   #27
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We went in December and were able to get same day ADRs (online) at Teppen Edo and Le Cellier. However, we were a party of 2. I think with the size of your group, you would be wise to make plans well in advance. There aren't many decent restaurants here at home that you can get in with a party of 11 without reservations.
As others have said, you can always cancel or change your mind if something else is available.
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Old 02-24-2013, 12:14 PM   #28
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The Biergarten usually has selected times available last minute even during free dining periods. Check back each day for more popular restaurants like Chef Mickey's and CRT. peolpe have to cancel 24 hours in advance so last minute openings often pop up. Good luck!
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Old 02-24-2013, 01:29 PM   #29
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I agree that there really isn't a slow time at WDW anymore. It seems to us that there are times in Jan. & Feb. that are actually lower than late Aug. & Sept. now. We prefer the weather in Aug. & Sept., but we're wimpy Floridians. The parks don't really seem empty any time of year now though.

For Epcot, odds are you can get into Nine Dragons (China), Restaurant Marrakesh (Morroco), & possibly Biergarten (Germany) at some time during the day w/o an ADR. It may not be your preferred time, but you should be able to find an opening somewhere in WS. A party of 5 should be able to find an ADR at a decent restaurant the day before in several locations. A party of 11 could present a bigger challenge. If you're willing to split up, you should be fine. We've been turned away in Hollywood Studios & Magic Kingdom with larger parties.

If you decide you want Be Our Guest for dinner, you definitely need to make an ADR at 180 regardless of table size. BOG has become the new "it" restaurant that is the hardest ADR to book, after the Chef's Table at a very few restaurants.
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Old 02-25-2013, 05:08 AM   #30
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I have been going to WDW in September for more years than I care to admit.

If you have the dining plan, make ADR's in advance. I would make any ADR's for 11 people, and if you show up with less, it's not a problem. If you make them for 5 and show up with 11 - that could be a problem. The only restaurants this will be a problem for are the very few that you have to pay in advance.

If you are paying OOP, you have a lot more flexibility. Make ADR's for the more popular restaurants, but leave some days open for more spontaneous dining. Now that they have wifi everywhere, it's so easy to check the dining site for last minute ADR's. With a party of 11, I would not recommend trying walk ups - whenever possible make that ADR, even if it's a same day ADR.

I don't use the DDP, and I don't make ADR's in advance because I don't like being on a schedule. I can't remember a time when I couldn't dine TS if I wanted to, even as recently as last month's trip. Have a second choice in mind in case your first choice is booked and be flexible with dining times, and you should be OK.
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