Dining Reservations Needed?

Discussion in 'Disneyland (California)' started by cszuber, Oct 19, 2018.

  1. cszuber

    cszuber Earning My Ears

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    This is our first trip to DisneyLand, we’ve been to wdw once. Do I need dining reservations like at wdw? From what I’ve read it seems more laid back? Are there any don’t miss character meals that are worth it? My boys are 6 and 3. And finally, can I reserve before I get my tickets? I have the hotel booked but am watching specials for tickets. Will I need those before I can make a dining reservation? Thanks!
     
  2. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk Invented the term "Characterpalooza"

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    Dining reservations don't fill up as fast as WDW. But you still need them. No need to have tickets in hand at either WDW or DLR to reserve dining.

    Last Minute Travel seems to be the best deal for tickets of late.
     
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  4. Karin1984

    Karin1984 DIS Veteran

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  5. figment_jii

    figment_jii DIS Veteran

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    DLR isn't like WDW, in that you need to be online or the phone right at the 60-day mark, but it still recommended that you make reservations if you know you want to eat a specific place (especially for the in-park locations). The dining packages, dessert parties, Blue Bayou and Lamplight Lounge are the hardest to get ADRs. Usually there are pretty good ADRs available on fairly short notice, but it depends on when you're going. Generally, walk-ups are possible at most places, but it does depend on how busy the restaurants are, your party size, and note that the wait can be long (>1 hour).
     
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  6. Niltiac

    Niltiac DIS Veteran

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    You don't need them in the sense that there are lots of great counter service options available. I've never been to WDW but I've heard that the counter service options at DLR are much better than at WDW. Personally, I probably do 90% of our dining as counter service.

    If you do want to eat at a sit down place, a reservation is best. You might be able to be seated without one, but you'll likely have to wait and on busy days they might not take walk-ups at all. For the most part it's easy to get reservations, especially if you're not picky about the time.

    If you want a specialty dining experience, such as a show package, afternoon tea, etc., then you want to be a bit more on your toes and book as soon as you can.
     
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  7. LizzyS

    LizzyS DIS Veteran

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    Definitely make reservations at places that take them if they're must-dos for you.
     
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  8. Pamela M

    Pamela M Mouseketeer

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    You definitely want to reserve dining 60 days out for things like blue Bayou, Fantasmic Dinning packages, Lamplight lounge, tea time at steak house 55, any other packages like WOC or parade packages. If there is a restaurant you really want to visit that isn't listed above. I'd make the reservation. You can change your mind up to 24 hours before meal without getting charged $10 per personal cancellation fee.
     
  9. smartlabelprint

    smartlabelprint DIS Veteran

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    We generally will go 5 park days with no reservations with our 3&4 yo. We’re happy with counter service.

    But, we have been to blue bayou and plaza inn Minnie breakfast with them on last trips.
     
  10. gottalovepluto

    gottalovepluto DIS Veteran

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    You absolutely need the reservations if you want to eat at the TS places. Recently there was someone trying to get reservations about 5 weeks out for a party of 6 at like Blue Bayou and Lamplight and they got nothing decent so TBH that story completely changed how I advise people to plan for DL. Get your dining reservations the day they open! You can cancel up until 24 hours prior to the dining time for free.

    Yes, you can reserve dining without tickets!
     
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2018
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  11. Winnowill

    Winnowill DIS Veteran

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    You don't need to be online the moment your reservation window opens, but yes, it is definitely best to reserve the things you know you want earlier rather than later, especially is they're special things that have limited availability.
     
  12. dina444444

    dina444444 DIS Veteran

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    Parties of 6 are harder to get tables for at specific restaurants.
     
  13. gottalovepluto

    gottalovepluto DIS Veteran

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    My FYI from that person’s DP a couple weeks ago is that “Hard” became “Impossible”. I’ve been booking trips with 5 for years & never encountered no availability at the 5 week mark. Playing around with BB availability a couple weeks ago the only thing I saw for a party of 5 was a 3pm or 9pm, 6 to 5.5 weeks out. OP even used Disney resort guest dining to call & couldn’t get a decent time- and they weren’t booking a busy time!

    Idk if availability for 5 or 6 has loosened up in the last two weeks at those places but Disney definitely yanked it to almost non existent for those places a couple weeks back.
     
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  14. Malcon10t

    Malcon10t DIS Veteran

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    The following restaurants should be booked as soon as you know you want to dine there:
    Blue Bayou
    Lamplighter
    Teatime At Steakhouse
    Fantasmic! dinner packages

    Other restaurants aren't as hard to get into. And Lamplighter is easier as a walk up during the week. Despite not being able to get a reservation, I walked up on Monday the 15th, and had a table for 4 in under 10 mins.

    Also, Disneyland has a lot of good counter service. Many have mobile service. Works very well.
     
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  15. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Add to the "Book Early!" list:
    WOC Dessert Party -- especially right after it comes back -- those first few weeks will book very quickly
    NR Chef's Counter -- during the week and slower periods, you can sometimes get seats as walk ups (we've done this), but it's less stressful to book this early since there aren't that many seats at the counter to begin with
    Any TS locations where you will have a large party, special occasion, special needs that must be noted and you will need to have someone call you back, etc. -- give yourself more time rather than less for things like this and book early
     
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  16. ktlm

    ktlm DIS Veteran

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    Minnie's Breakfast might be fun for your boys if they like characters. The characters are not always the same which we love and there are usually several there. We almost always have seen Captain Hook, Max, Fairy Godmother, Minnie, a couple of the pooh characters, and either Chip or Dale. We have seen Rafiki most, but not all, times as well. There are usually one or two non-regulars that show up which has made it really fun for us!
     
  17. ccrosner

    ccrosner Mouseketeer

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    My 22 YO daughter and I will be at DL Nov. 30 to Dec. 2. I'm not having much luck reserving TS spots. Do you think we might have luck just walking up since it's just the two of us?
     
  18. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk Invented the term "Characterpalooza"

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    It's a very busy weekend with Candlelight Processional going on. I say try, but definitely have a back up plan..
     
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  19. Malcon10t

    Malcon10t DIS Veteran

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    You can try, but it will be tough. Like was said, it is Candlelight. Where are you wanting to eat.
     
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  20. theluckyrabbit

    theluckyrabbit Moderator Moderator

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    Keep trying and looking for cancellations. Grab one as soon as you see a time and location you like. But I agree that you should have a back up plan, just in case.
     
  21. ccrosner

    ccrosner Mouseketeer

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    I really don't care where we eat...just always think it's nice to get a chance to sit down and be waited on after a full day in the park. I'll keep trying but we can grab counter service somewhere if necessary.

    Does anyone know if it's relatively easy to grab a glass of wine and some appetizers at Alfresco Terrace in DCA? Thought that might be a nice back up.

    And what time will the two CPs be on December 1st? I'm guessing we are better off hopping over to DCA beforehand or just leaving for the day.
     

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