Have you ever gone to the world without reservations?

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by imthatgirl, Apr 15, 2010.

  1. imthatgirl

    imthatgirl DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2008
    We decided last week to take advantage of the kids play and stay free next month. We will be booking on tuesday for May 17th-22nd. We will be getting the meal plan because we feel it saves money and hassle.

    We are planning to not make ressies. We were thinking of either checking with the concierge in the morning for the park we plan to go to or checking guest services in the morning.
    Are we crazy? Can this be done?
    We have no demands on restaurants and were thinking we may end up at some great places we never would have reserved.
  2. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 2006
    Well, I go to the World many times without ADR's, but I don't have the dining plan. I do occasionally do a walk in at a TS restaurant, but May can be busy so this might be more difficult. Since I'm paying OOP, it's OK if I end up in a CS restaurant instead. With the dining plan, you don't have that option.

    If you have a web-enabled cell phone, I would probably try using the Disney online system to book last minute. The online system gives you a list of available alternates if your first choice isn't available. This will save you some time when making your plans for the day. I would do this prior to choosing your park for the day, as sometimes the available alternates are not close to your first choice. For example, you might be trying a restaurant in Epcot, and it will bring up an alternate in MK or at AKL.

    If you have an idea of which parks you are going to which day, then I would go ahead and try to book some ADR's now.
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  4. jdisnut

    jdisnut DIS Veteran

    Mar 20, 2009
    I haven't traveled to Disney in years without making reservations, primarily because dining together is one of my family's great pleasures. We look forward to certain restaurants throughout the year. It is something we value.

    Nevertheless, I am convinced it is entirely possible to have a wonderful Disney vacation without making any reservations, depending on the time of year. And you can still eat moderately well. You just have to accept eating at off-hours or at less desirable restaurants.

    That said, I see you are on the dining plan. You have already committed a lot of money into eating at table service locations. That's why I strongly recommend making reservations. The only way the dining plan will be worth the extra cost is if you eat at restaurants you will enjoy. Otherwise, what was the point? So in your case, if you're committed to using the dining plan, make some reservations.
  5. mjaclyn

    mjaclyn Currently in Wonderland

    Dec 2, 2003
    Years and years ago before the dining plan we never made a reservation and were always able to find plenty of availability at any restaurant we wanted to go to. That has dramatically changed over the past few years. If I were planning a last minute trip to WDW and was NOT on the Dining Plan, I wouldn't worry about making any ADR's. I agree that you can have a wonderful time at Disney without being tied down to dining reservations...you'd just have to eat at some of the less popular TS locations or do QS dining. Since you are on the dining plan, I recommend making reservations for the table service restaurants. It's very difficult to walk up to ANY TS restaurant now, (except for maybe the restaurants in Germany and Morocco in Epcot). Sometimes you can get into the Plaza restaurant in MK or Yak & Yeti at AK...but your selection is very limited. If there are restaurants you really like or would like to try, I would definitely start now and make reservations. If you don't mind eating at restaurants that are more likely to have availability at the last minute, than you can do without the reservations. There is a chance though, that there might not be something available during a particular day that you're there and may not be able to use all of your TS credits on the dining plan.

    Just in case you decide not to make reservations, here are some restaurants that usually have something available:

    Brown Derby at Hollywood Studios
    Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom
    Rainforest Cafe at Animal Kingdom (although I'm not sure if you can use the DDP at this restaurant)
    Kona Cafe at Polynesian Resort
    Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
    The Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom
    Biergarten in Germany at Epcot
    Nine Dragons in China at Epcot
    Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco at Epcot
  6. imthatgirl

    imthatgirl DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2008
    eerrr...you all didn't make me feel any better, lol. I thought May was slower? I'm surprised someone said it was busy?
  7. Gaston's Bicep

    Gaston's Bicep For there's no one as burly and brawny, as you see

    Apr 13, 2010
  8. eelkmj01

    eelkmj01 DIS Veteran

    Jul 7, 2008
    We are going May 18 - 27. I can tell you I constantly tinker with our reservations and see what might still be available. Not a lot open right now, especially some of the more popular places. Good luck!
  9. Tara

    Tara Bad Influence

    Aug 18, 1999
    I was kind of surprised with how busy it was when we were there that same week last year...and this was the last week of great weather (though unseasonably hot) before the month of daily torrential rains began (was ridiculously rainy late spring).

    I went with 0 ADRs in late August in 2007 and it was less crowded than it was in May 2009 and I had a tough time getting in anywhere for TS when I looked each morning.

    I agree that if you weren't on the dining plan, you'd have an easier time going with the flow of whatever is available. You're right - you could end up with some new eating experiences. Of course, there could also be some duds. Duds are okay as long as you are comfortable with having spent the DDP money no matter what you eat. At the end of the day, do what you feel comfortable with...
  10. MinnieGirl33

    MinnieGirl33 Hockey Mom

    May 16, 2003
    It is certainly not quiet. May is moderately busy, not Christmas/Easter/Thanksgiving/July 4 busy, but summer busy. Many (most) southern schools get out in May & people take advantage of the fact that the rest of the country goes into June.

    To answer your original question, we have not gone without any ADR's in I bet 10 years (if not closer to 15).

    ROEDISNEY DIS Veteran My name

    May 30, 2004
    For me I would never go to Disney without them. To afraid to take a chance of not getting anything at a decent time.
  12. kmv

    kmv Mouseketeer

    Jan 7, 2010
    We went last July 1-8th and only had 2 reservations, but no DDP: CRT and Coral Reef.
    We easily sat down at many TS restaurants without reservations: TRex, Spoodles twice, Crystal Palace and Hollywood and Vine. This year, however, we are going on the DDP and have made 5 reservations out of our 7 nights b/c I want to be sure we don't end up not getting seated.
  13. Manda

    Manda DIS Veteran

    Jul 15, 2005
    I've done it several times... but I don't know that I would if I was on a dining plan. Like the PP said, if something isn't available, I'm cool with counter service. But if I'd already paid for dining, I'd probably be less cool with that substitute.

    Although, I think it is entirely possible for you to eat well and use all your credits as long as you're flexible. We went last June without reservations and were able to walk into San Angel Inn at lunch time without a res and only a 5 minute wait. In October, we walked into The Wave a couple times without reservations. I typically make at least 1 or 2 "on the fly" reservations from my cell phone as we're walking around Epcot and get the urge to eat somewhere... I just call Disney dining and ask what restaurant in Epcot has availability in the next 30 minutes or so. There's usually something, as long as you aren't overly picky.
  14. imthatgirl

    imthatgirl DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2008
    Ok so we booked some ressies. I don't know if we'll keep them and we can still check whats available at the time but you all made me nervous, lol.
    so I booked. Whispering Canyon, Prime time, Liberty Tree, Garden Grill and 1900 Park.
    They all seem like decent choices...though not ones we would have choosen.
    We may end up canceling them when the time comes, lol.
  15. Pumbaa_

    Pumbaa_ >Hakuna Matata!< Moderator

    Jan 7, 2001
    If I was paying for the dining plan I would not take a chance on not being able to use my TS credits. I think you did hte right thing making some ADRS

    Keep in mind with their new system, they cannot make any ADRs within 2 hours of the reservation (if this has changed, someone please chime in :hippie:)

    Good idea to see if you can tweak when you are there, and you may be able to. But nice to know you have something

    Let us know how it you did when you get back :cool1:

    Have a great time!
  16. christinec68

    christinec68 Mouseketeer

    Oct 17, 2005
    I am glad you made some ADRs. There's no way I'd prepay my meals and then leave getting ADRs to chance. They look like some good choices. You say they are not your first choice but you would probably have even less options if you waited to get there. I hope you enjoy your vacation! :)
  17. DeniseinNS

    DeniseinNS DIS Veteran

    Dec 12, 2009
    You can always try to change some while there if your plans for those day don't work well with your ADR. I would try directly at the restaurant before calling if you are nearby because they can sometimes get you in when the res # says you can't. When we went during March Break there were 2 days that we cancelled our ADR's because we ended up in different parks and when I called to try to get into different places I was told they had nothing, we went to both places (Chef Mickey and Crystal Palace) and they got us in within 15 minutes.
  18. snowdrift7

    snowdrift7 DIS Veteran

    Jun 8, 2007
    until late 2007, i'd never made a reservation in all my visits to Disney. That's when I started really reading this board. Mostly cuz we like to keep things fluid. And the only place back then we weren't able to get into was Le Cellier. Once i started really reading this board, I realized a) there's a whole wide world of eating out there beyond the same TS we'd go to each year plus and b) that making ADR's made life so much easier - and made me start anticipating my trip even earlier. :goodvibes

    But once we're there, we still make changes, calling and switching things out, because you can't always predict how you'll feel etc. So we're often dialing DINE or going to the desk to rebook etc and it works beautifully. that's just my experience.

    We'll be leaving when you arrive - enjoy!!
  19. Dowellfam

    Dowellfam Mouseketeer

    Apr 12, 2006
    The first time I went to WDW (2006), I didn't even know about all these places to make ressies for. We walked up to Sci Fi Cafe and they had an opening for an hour after we checked in. We gave them our name and came back in an hour to be seated....we weren't in a car, but at a normal table which was fine for us! Good luck!
  20. momof1princess

    momof1princess <font color=darkorchid>i feel like i'm going to ex

    Aug 3, 2005
    boy, how i wish this was true! we live in alabama and our schools don't get out until may 29th. we went to wdw june 7-14th last year, and it was CRAZY crowded. i would sooooooo love to get out sometime in may, even if it meant going back to school earlier!

    to answer the OP's question, i agree with the PPs who said you might do okay not making ressies without the dining plan, but since you're on the DP, you'll likely do better if you make reservations. i'm not saying it can't be done, but ADRs seem to be filling up quickly, and it would really stink if you couldn't find a place in whichever park you're at to use your TS credits. whatever you decide, i hope you have a great time!
  21. imthatgirl

    imthatgirl DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2008
    There is a thread in the strategy board "when your kids get out of school" and so far I think no one has said as early as may 21st. We will be there may 17-21st. So we're banking on people not being able to leave school at the tail end of it. We knew we didn;t want to get too far into June. would have liked to go the first week of May but my husband's employer couldn't accomodate that....who needs work anyway?

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