January - do you think I need to make reservations?

Discussion in 'Disney Dining Plan' started by brobrosmom, May 13, 2009.

  1. brobrosmom

    brobrosmom DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2008
    We are planning a trip in January and are considering the table service dining plan. The issue is that I will have two little boys - ages 4 and almost 3. I am not sure I want to make a bunch of dinner and lunch reservations when I am not sure how they will behave on any given day/moment.

    Has anyone gone in January or another slower season and not made reservations? Did you have problems getting into restaurants? How long were the waits?
  2. snykymom

    snykymom Still tagless after all these years

    Jul 2, 2008
    We were in January this year. We wanted to eat dinner at Epcot without an ADR. Couldn't get in anywhere except Bistro de Paris, and that's because it doesn't take the DDP. No place would even let us wait. Even with an ADR, we had to wait 30 minutes at Le Cellier.

    I didn't try it at any other park, but it seemed like every table service restaurant was full. The only ones that weren't required 2 TS credits (I think only Brown Derby at DHS requires 2; the other 2 credit restaurants are in the resorts.)

    I wouldn't risk it.
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  4. KatMark

    KatMark DIS Veteran

    Aug 5, 2007
    I wouldn't risk it. I'd at least make the ADR's and then if you are having child issues (been there, done that), then you can always cancel. But I feel it is better to have something than not have anything at all.
  5. arielmomma

    arielmomma DIS Veteran

    Jan 4, 2009
    We went for 8 days in January and had no ADR's and had absolutely no trouble getting into the restaurants we wanted. We didn't try for Cinderella's table or Chef Mickeys', but we only had a 10 minute wait to get into Akershus Princess lunch and Crystal Palace. We also walked right up to the non-character meals. I can't make any promises, but it was fine for us.
  6. brobrosmom

    brobrosmom DIS Veteran

    Jul 28, 2008
    Yeah, I was kinda afraid that people would say that. I just don't like the idea of having everything planned out. It wouldn't be a problem if it was just me and my DH but with the kids its different.

    I like the idea of doing the dining plan but I think I'm just being too optomistic.

    So there's no penalties if you cancel a reservation?
  7. MHSweb79

    MHSweb79 DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 2008
    If they don't take your credit card at the time of the reservation, then you can either cancel or just not show up (which I don't recommend) without penalty.
    One other option is to book more than one ADR for the same day; for example, a character breakfast in one park and a dinner in another park. You could do both of them or one of them or neither of them, as your schedule allows. If you did two table service meals in one day, you could eat counter service for the next day and it wouldn't matter which park you ended up in.
  8. sharadoc

    sharadoc Visit WDW since '86, driving since '94.

    May 6, 2008
    Hi. We weren't on the Dining Plan, but we had a couple of reservations this past January (we were there 1/18 - 1/30). We made a couple on the fly (I called dining and then walked up to Tony's Town Square for a reservation 15 minutes later), and we scheduled a few with our concierge the night before with no problem. Our only restricted reservation was at WCC - the only time they had available was 8:30 when we called around 4:00 the same day. It was raining that day, so folks probably decided to go to a restaurant just like we did.

    Everything else looked pretty empty for our first week. By the second week it was busier, so that may have impacted other's experience. Ours was fine.

    It's making it difficult for me to plan our next trip since we're going during free dining. I don't know how to plan to that detail, so here's our philosophy. We're picking a couple reservations and making them in advance - the things we REALLY want to do. Then we're just going to do counter service the rest of the time, rather than stress about table service meals every day. We don't like to eat out that much, so those types of meals every day will be uncomfortable for us anyway.

    Good luck. January is a wonderful time to go. Hopefully we'll see you there!
  9. winterman

    winterman DIS Veteran

    Dec 22, 2002
    With the DDP you are paying up front for your meals and without ADRs you are taking a risk of not being able to use what you have already paid for. If you don't want to make ADRs then just don't get a DDP. You can still eat at any restaurant you like, as long as they have room.

    We are doing Free Dining this year (for the third time). But on our trip last year we did not buy the DDP. The biggest reason for not buying it was the freedom. For instance, I would usually prefer to order an appetizer and a salad, rather than an entree. On the DDP you do not usually have the freedom to do that.

  10. Mom2JPL

    Mom2JPL Love me some Disney!!!

    Sep 11, 2007
    We've gone twice with our 3 little ones (3, 2 and 1 first trip and 4, 3 and 2 second trip). I made our ADR's in respect to our normal eating times. I made only one ADR per day (except one day, because I had an extra one on dining plan because I paid OOP for CRT), sometimes breakfast, sometimes dinner...you get it, lol! Oh, and we didn't use the hopper option and went back to our room every afternoon to rest/nap/swim. Here's an idea of how we did it this past November:

    arrival day - 6:00 pm dinner at 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
    1st park day - 4:00 pm dinner at Liberty Tree Tavern (MK)
    2nd park day - 8:30 am breakfast at Tusker House (AK)
    3rd park day - 10:10 am breakfast at Akershus (Epcot)
    4th park day - 4:35 pm dinner at Mama Melrose (HS, fantasmic package)
    5th park day - 8:05 am breakfast at Crystal Palace (MK) and 5:05 pm dinner at 'Ohana (Polynesian)
    6th park day - 10:05 am dinner at CRT (MK)
    7th park day - 8:50 am breakfast at 'Ohana (Polynesian)

    It worked out well for us. Good luck in your planning and have a great trip!
  11. catne

    catne DIS Veteran

    Mar 1, 2008
    think it really depends on what part of January you're going, and if you're looking to get into the more popular places. I'd say if your time will include New Years, or Martin Luther King, Jr weekend then you're better off getting ADRs at a few places anyway.

    We were there the day after MLK Jr. day for 3 days/2 nights...most of the restaurants were empty to 1/2 full. But waitresses told us over & over that the previous holiday weekend had been a madhouse in the restaurants.

    If you want places like Chef Mickey's or Le Cellier, get the ressies...if you get early dinner reservations you'll limit your wait time, and probably be easier on your little ones, too.
  12. DCDisney

    DCDisney On my way...

    Nov 2, 2005
    It depends on where you want to go and when. If you want to eat in the 5-7 range you really need ADRs even in Jan. If you want to go places like Sci Fi, Chef Mickeys, etc you also need reservations. If you are fine about calling and seeing what's open that day and are willing to eat at resort locations or off times you'll find something. We have gone a number of times in Jan and dinners are pretty booked but lunches are pretty easy to get.

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