Dining Reservations As A Solo Traveler

Discussion in 'Disney for Adults and Solo Travelers' started by Shaun C., Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Shaun C.

    Shaun C. Earning My Ears

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    Question! How important are dining reservations when you're traveling solo? I tend to be a very impulsive person when it comes to eating; I'll usually decide the day of where I want to eat, and I'm often not even all that hungry (especially if I'm really in the vacation mindset, food tends to become an afterthought until I realize my stomach is trying to gnaw its way out of myself.)

    So I'm not sure I would want to make reservations, because I may just end up deciding "Actually, I'm going to go to this other park on that day instead" and eat somewhere there. I'm not great with scheduling or planning itineraries.

    Would it be a terrible plan to just 'wing it' the entire trip and see where I end up and when?
     
  2. Emtgirljen

    Emtgirljen Mouseketeer

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    I always do reservations for one of the reasons you posted: if I don't, I'll wander around and second guess what I want until I'm hangry and frustrated. :)
     
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  4. MikeNamez

    MikeNamez Mouseketeer

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    Not at all, I'm doing a Solo in Sept and have decided not to do any reservations. I'll just sit down at a bar when I'm ready to eat, most likely at Cali Grill or STK.
     
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  5. BrianL

    BrianL Doom Buggy Driver

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    Some restaurants practically require an ADR or you will not get in. Some don't though. If you're flexible, then it won't be a big deal, but if you have your heart set on something specific, try to decide on a time and make the reservation.
     
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  6. bryanb

    bryanb DIS Veteran

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    On a solo trip, I'll usually make one or two reservations for specific places I want to try, but most of the time I'll just wing it. I can completely relate to the idea of being impulsive when it comes to meals. Aside from a few initial FP reservations, I like to be at WDW without an overly structured itinerary, and eating whenever I feel like it and even hopping parks on a whim. Unfortunately, in one of my earlier trips, I didn't even realize how late it was until midnight had passed, and by then only hot dogs were available at Casey's Corner, and most of Disney Springs stopped serving meals.

    I don't think you have to make reservations. But even if you do all counter service, it is helpful to identify a few places you want to enjoy ahead of time. You can still enjoy the impulse style of touring, but at least you'll have planted a rough outline of what you want to eat before you end up overly hungry.
     
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  7. georgina

    georgina DIS Veteran

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    I have eaten at the bar at 50's Prime Time and Yak & Yeti, and the Wave at the Contemporary
     
  8. wisteria1019

    wisteria1019 A dream is a wish your heart makes

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    I'm with you. I have two ADRs for my 10 day solo trip - my mom and sister are meeting me for dinner one night, hence the reservation. I am not emotionally attached to any particular dining experience, therefore won't be disappointed if I can't get in somewhere. Tons of options.
     
  9. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

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    I will mostly eat quick service if i'm solo. The only ADR i have is Akershus and Be Our Guest (lunch). I will probably eat one more table service but one that does not require ADR
     
  10. raddisneyfan

    raddisneyfan DIS Veteran

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    When I go to WDW I almost always do lunch ADRs and wing it the rest of the day. Lunch gives me a breather in the middle of the day, especially if it's in the warmer months. However, there are two restaurants I love at Disney and almost always have ADRs--I have one ADR breakfast a week at BOMA at AKL and I always do lunch at Hollywood Brown Derby. I do ADRs without thinking since they are easy to cancel, especially with the app. If I'm going to Food & Wine or Flower & Garden, then I'm less likely to make ADRs since I want to try nibbles at all of the kiosks. Basically, I would only make ADRs if there is a restaurant you really, really, really want to go to--if not, it doesn't really matter because you can always get something at a QS.
     
  11. Wild4Walt

    Wild4Walt DIS Veteran

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    There are some restaurants that are just plain hard to get ADRs to even at 180 days. If you avoid places like O'Hana and BoG, are flexible with timing and have a back up plan just in case then you should be fine.

    Once, ( ok-several years ago ) I was able to do a walk up for Le Cellier for a late lunch. Not sure if it's still possible there but that's just an example.
     
  12. Shaun C.

    Shaun C. Earning My Ears

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    I actually was thinking I want to do O'Hana and BoG at some point on this trip, so I guess I may have to do some pre-planning.
     
  13. indoshakespeare

    indoshakespeare Reach out and find your Happily Ever After

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    book several slots and cancel the ones you don't want later
     
  14. kwdw

    kwdw DIS Veteran

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    Yep - for those two - you need to pre-plan if you want to be sure to get them.

    I've seen times at BoG come up as available "day of" a couple of times.

    I'm a sucker for the bread service at Sanaa - and you can get that in the lounge. The lounge does fill up, though.

    Your luck with getting seated at a TS restaurant depends on whether free dining is going on, the time of year in general, the weather outside, the park you are in (Epcot is easiest), and the times you are willing to eat.

    I tend to book some in advance based on my FP's for the day. As long as you cancel the day before - no harm/no foul.

    And the nice part about being solo - you can just sit and browse the app and decide if an available ADR is going to dictate your next location based on what's available at the time. I've done that. Canceled one at LTT at MK the night before. While at MK that day - I really wanted a decent meal - I was tired and grumpy. Nothing available in park. Mad at myself for canceling. Rode the monorail to chill out at the Contemporary (great sofas in the one spot) - thinking I might hit the The Wave for an early dinner. Browsing the app on the coach - ended up claiming an ADR at Boma in about an hour instead of going to The Wave. I was pushing it on time to get there - but it was the right call for the evening. Ate way too much food, chilled out watching the animals on the savanna afterwards - and turned in early at my own resort (All Star Music that trip).
     
  15. StageTek

    StageTek It's kind of fun to do the impossible.

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    No way! If there is a specific place you want to eat and will be disappointed if you don't then make a reservation.

    I've had pretty good luck getting into popular TS restaurants as a solo by going on off times. For me, if I don't get in I find somewhere else to eat. Not a terrible plan for me.
     
  16. Minniefan2296

    Minniefan2296 Mouseketeer

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    I plan on winging it while I'm there. Right now, there is nowhere in particular I want to eat during my trip. If I change my mind, I'll see what's available day of. :)
     
  17. adamreisinger

    adamreisinger 10+ Year Castmember

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    There is a way to pre-plan and also leave yourself some freedom to wing it: pick a couple restaurants you think you're pretty sure you want to eat at, and make reservations for those. If, on the day those reservations happen, you decide you'd rather do something else (a different park, a different restaurant, etc.), you can modify the reservation to a different day -- any day in the next 180 days -- then cancel it later with no penalty. Obviously it's preferred that you cancel the reservation the day before, and if you know the day before that you're not going to use it, you should definitely do that, but if you decide on a last-minute change of plans, the modify/cancel method is the way to go to avoid the $10 no-show penalty.

    Also, if you wanted to limit the amount of pre-planning you did for the trip overall, then you could do reservations for 'Ohana and BOG on the same day. Just remember that 'Ohana is a character meal at breakfast, and BOG is a character meal (sort of, just The Beast) with a prix fixe menu at dinner.
     
  18. AdamsMum

    AdamsMum Mouseketeer

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    I find ADRs too hard to keep if I book too many. On my 8 night trip in December I've booked Chefs De France, I always dine there once, and Cali Grill because I've always wanted to dine there and I feel like treating myself. The rest will be quick service or as others have said, the lounges (bars). I'm looking forward to trying Base Line Tap House.
     
  19. Princess_Nikki

    Princess_Nikki DIS Veteran

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    No, it wouldn’t be terrible. I’m a local and if I ever find myself on a solo day, I can often find some pretty great dining selections on the my Disney experience app for 1 person. May not always be your #1, waiting last minute, but I do it all the time.
     
  20. Kimrlav

    Kimrlav Earning My Ears

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    My rule of thumb for ADRs as a solo guest: if I have the dining plan I make reservations for the restaurants that I really want to experience during the visit. Most of the time as a solo, I tend to get the quick service dining plan, and if I want to experience more of a table service dining try for the day of reservations or frequent the numerous lounges in the resorts or parks. My favorite resort lounge is near the Yachtsman Steakhouse at the Yacht Club. My favorite park lounges are Nomad's in AK and Hollywood Brown Derby in HS. Have a magical solo vacation!
     
  21. Oneanne

    Oneanne DIS Veteran

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    I'm in the same camp as many of the others: I don't like being committed to a meal schedule so I only book a few ADRs ahead of time, for the places that I really, really want. Then if I want a TS sit-down meal I check what's available the day-of - I've tried some new places this way that I might not have chosen other wise. I do CS for the other meals, but for my upcoming trip I'm going to try lite bites at some of the lounges.
     

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