No dining reservations

Discussion in 'Disney Restaurants' started by nickieblu, Jun 13, 2009.

  1. nickieblu

    nickieblu Earning My Ears

    Oct 9, 2007
    Has anyone been successful in getting dinner at the park or resorts without making reservations in advance? The last trip we did, we found ourselves running around to make our reservations- eating when we were not hungry and leaving WDW to make the boat to Fort Wilderness for lunch. My DH said not again.
  2. parkers*momma

    parkers*momma **This spot reserved for something witty that I ma

    Jul 21, 2008
    We tried that two years ago with free dining and never again! DH was like yours, and didn't like going here or there at a certain time. BUt he hated not eating at some of his favorite restaurants more!

    Now I plan early breakfasts and late late dinners. Lunch can be where ever whenever and it seems to work well for us.
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  4. PrincessBelle39

    PrincessBelle39 DIS Veteran

    Mar 6, 2007
    I see your going in September during free dining. You'll be really lucky getting walkups at that time I would imagine. I don't think I'd be game to try. I would imagine you would spend a lot of time trying to find a sit down restaurant with availability.
  5. VegasMike21

    VegasMike21 <font color=blue>I couldn't stop laughing when the

    Apr 16, 2007
    some restaurants you will be able to get in with a minimum wait, others you won't be able to get into at all or you'll be waiting for hours.
  6. kathiewe

    kathiewe Mouseketeer

    May 24, 2009
    Since we often go on spur of the minute, we cannot always get ADRs. Still, we are able to get into some of our favorite restaurants without reservations on a regular basis -- even during free dining periods. Here's some tips on getting in without ADRs:

    1) Lunch is usually easier to get into than dinner.
    2) In between meal times -- Late breakfast, late lunch, late dinner.
    3) The less popular it is the better change you will have -- the very popular places we do not even bother trying.
    4) The more seats the resturant has the better chance you will have.
    5) Have patience and be willing to wait.

    Here's a few we often get into without and ADR even during free dining or busy times:

    MK --
    Liberty Tree
    Plaza Restaurant

    Epcot --
    Tokyo Dining
    Restaurant Marrakesh
    Nine Dragons
    Chefs de France

    Hollywood and Vine

    AK --
    Tusker House
    Brown Derby

    Resort Locations
    -- Almost anywhere at lunch.

    -- Maya Grill (CS)
    -- Boatwrights (POR)
    -- Turf Grill (SSR)
    -- Olivia's (OKW)
    -- Captain's Grill (YC)
    -- Kona Cafe (PR - this one is harder)
    -- Grand Floridian Cafe (GF -- this one is also harder)

    When you try to eat without ADRs you have to go with a free spirit attitude. That is to say if you can get in -- Great! If you cannot get in, oh well no the end of the world.

    Good Luck!

    Happy Eating!
  7. fla4fun

    fla4fun DIS Veteran

    Nov 12, 2006
    You've had a lot of good advice. All I would add is that if you are using the dining plan, I would plan ahead so you don't end up with leftover credits because you couldn't get in a restaurant.

    I don't buy the dining plan, or even go for the free dining when it's offered. I've visited during free dining on an AP discount, and I have been able to get some walk-in meals. But I always have a backup plan of a CS in mind in case I can't. So long as you don't mind being very flexible on dining times or your choice of restaurants, you should be able to find something. If you can try calling a day or two before, you increase your odds quite a bit. I like to be spontaneous, so I often don't know what park I'm going to until the night before or sometimes the morning of. It's never too late to try and call - I've even made ADR's for lunch via phone less than an hour before dining.
  8. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    During free dining, you really do need adrs. I saw so many people turned away at restaurants and told they were taking NO walk ups. Both Epcot, and MK had HUGE signs up at the park entrance telling you that all restaurants are fully booked, no walkups.If your DH was annoyed about running around to get to adrs, he will be a lot more annoyed running from place to place looking to get in anywhere at anytime.The few places that were taking walk ups all had long long waits for tables.If you have the DP you will want to utilize your credits, and if there is nowhere to eat, you will be stuck with them.I actually saw a gentleman at guest services screaming he wanted his dining plan refunded because he could not get in to ANY place he wanted during Free dining..make adrs, you can always change or cancel
  9. LilGMom

    LilGMom <font color=red>It makes me want to Kiss on the li

    Feb 6, 2006
    Has it happened to us? Yes, but not since around 2003 or so. :) On our last trip, March '09, we had ADR's but wanted to fit in a dinner at WCC on a spur of the moment decision. We got there around 6pm and were told that they had zero availability and weren't taking walk-ups. Going during Free Dining I would definitely have ADRs. You have to plan them around where you want to be each day. If you know that you want to enjoy PM EMH at DHS, I'd try getting an ADR for a DHS restaurant for dinner. If you don't want to lose any "park time" avoid making ADRs at the resorts. With a little planning you can make ADRs and not let if feel like the ADRs are dictating your trip.
  10. MickeyNicki

    MickeyNicki It is pretty darn sad when a valet picks you out a

    Sep 22, 2005
    Its possible but I would not chance it...we have tried a few times with a party of 2 and have not been able to get in, even though the restaurant is not full at all.

    Last week I was solo for 2 days and walked into Tutto and Chefs de France for lunch right at noon.
  11. Minnie1156

    Minnie1156 <font color=red>No apology needed, just wanted you

    May 30, 2003
    Make reservations. If you do not you will be dissapointed. You will not get the places and/or times you want.
  12. OurDogCisco

    OurDogCisco DIS Veteran

    May 30, 2002
    We make reservations and if we aren't hungry, we just cancel. You don't have to keep every reservation you make. Plans change all the time and if something doesn't work into your schedule just cancel. Obviously, you can't just cancel the ones with credit card holds but the rest you could. But we rather have the reservation in place than try without a reservation. Otherwise, you'll have to be very flexible in where you want to eat on that day which might mean park hopping which I think is the source of your problems. I never make reservations in a park we are not visiting that day. For resorts, I only make breakfast or dinner reservations when we are in a nearby park. So, we begin or end our day at that particular restaurant. We do not leave a park to eat (just not our style). Otherwise, if I make lunch reservations it is on a non-park day. Good luck!
  13. *KeepMovingForward*

    *KeepMovingForward* <a href="" targ DIS Lifetime Sponsor

    Mar 30, 2007
    ITA! If you plan your days right, you shouldn't be running around to ADR's all the time. I would never leave my meals to chance, especially during free dining. It also depends on how you eat and if you'll be happy eating at whatever you can scrounge up-that can eat up just as much time as running to an ill planned ADR. My family would be terribly upset having to miss certain places. I'd make some ressies and you can always cancel if the day is going in another direction and you secure something else.
  14. a1tinkfans

    a1tinkfans Spreading Some Pixie Dust Today!

    Aug 12, 2006
    Been there DONE that during free dine, it was a NIGHTMARE for us (3)...Could not get in anywhere and was stuck with Counter service burger and fries and chicken fingers for the whole week, just AWFUL!
    When on ANY vacation we like to be "guests" and not grab and go people, so we usually have a simple/nice breakfast OOP then CS for lunch and a SD for dinner . We try for our favorites...Kona, LeCellier, Ohana,Boatwrights, Whisp, LTT and got them and more for our 10 nites this year, YUMMY, can't wait!!!
    I have heard very few others say they walked up and got in, but IF you are not going to be happy with being denied a sit down then I'd say, get ADR's and you can always cancel them if it does not work that day for you...
    By the way, we usually eat at about same times we eat at home, which is generally like 5ish for dinner (we're early risers) and that tends to be easier for dinner reservations...
    Good Luck and have a GREAT trip whatever you decide.
  15. Disney Hot Mama

    Disney Hot Mama DIS Veteran<br><font color=coral>Onion haters unit

    Feb 12, 2004
    We are not going during free dining.. we are staying 8 nights and only have two dinner ADR's ... will we get any good places to eat - YES! We have done this before and we are fine with it. We don't like to overplan our trips, don't want to be forced to go to this park or that park and then to have to run to an ADR if a wait line took to long.... We will play it by ear this trip. Usually only eating TS for lunch and then back to the villa for dinners anyway.... Will we eat everywhere we want - no.... are we OK with that.. YES!
  16. tgrundy

    tgrundy Mouseketeer

    Apr 9, 2009
    make reservations!!!! I have been trying to get into Chef Mickey's for 2 1/2 months!!! :scared:We leave in 3 days and I still cannot get in. So, if there is someplace you really want to eat make ADR"s
  17. abh218

    abh218 Mouseketeer

    Jul 1, 2008
    For our first "family" trip in '05, we had ADRs for every meal. We were a party of 8 with "this person needing to eat at a specific time" or "this person not getting out of bed to join us until noon"! We spent more time connecting for meals than we did seeing attractions.

    So we've adopted the rule that if we're there on a heavy/crowded day, we make a reservation. If not, we'll take a chance on what's available.

    With that said, the last trip was for 10 days during Thanksgiving '08. I made ADRs for Thursday, Friday, and Sunday (CP) of Thanksgiving. I took a chance on other days. I kept the Disney Dining number on my cell and would call to see what was available when I knew where we were going to be in the evening. I keep a list of where we might enjoy dining and if any of those locations are available and they have a time slot that doesn't affect something else we want to do, then I take it.

    That's my strategy for my upcoming (end of October) trip. We'll make some ADRs and we'll chance it on other days.

    As previously stated, you just have to be willing to take that chance. I certainly wouldn't attempt it during free dining.

    Best of luck!
  18. 1hero2princesses

    1hero2princesses DIS Veteran

    Jan 20, 2008
    We went last year during free dining. I had all my adrs done - great times, great places. All the big ones - Chef Mickey's, Crystal Palace - lots of character meals. Then we got there. Went to Liberty Tree and discovered DD3 did not like characters. At all. Did not even want to be in the same room with them. And let everyone know it. We tried to go to our Tusker House ADR - we ended up taking turns eating as she sat out side (they were very nice about it - even let us bring her some donuts out). That was the end of all our character meals so off I went to try to cancel adr's and find new restaurants. It was not easy. I probably spent at least 2 or 3 hours of our vacation on the phone with disney dining, with the conceirge or at restaurants trying to get in. We did get into places - we went to the Wave (probably cause it was new) but they were not places that were necessiarily what we wanted or what was easiest to get to from where we were. We were a party of 5 for reference. So yes, from first hand experience it was possible to get into places during free dining but it was not easy and I would not recommend it. I remember the two they kept offering me were Cape May or the Wave. Forget about getting into any of the most popular restaurants and pretty much anything in the parks, the hotel restaurants were easier to get into.

    ROEDISNEY DIS Veteran My name

    May 30, 2004
    I would never chance going with out adr's.
  20. RMulieri

    RMulieri DIS Veteran

    Jul 5, 2001
    We had no luck at Cape May during free dining as a walk up. We had an adr on our first night .Liked it so much we wanted to add it again for later in the week.Disney Dining had nothing available and we tried walk ups every night( we were staying there) with no luck.So I wouldn't count on being able to score that one easily. Marrakesh in Epcot generally has openings though
  21. MHSweb79

    MHSweb79 DIS Veteran

    Aug 18, 2008
    ADR's are free. Unless they take your credit card to hold the reservation, they can be cancelled without penalty. So why not make some before you go? If it's too big a hassle at the time, cancel the ADR and eat counter service instead.
    Last time we went during free dining, EVERY restaurant we ate at had signs posted that they were not taking any walk-ins.
    If you're fine with eating CS every day, then don't bother to make ADR's. If you really want some sit-down meals, then ADR's will be required. It's just the way things are right now with the current dining plan.

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