First week of May: do I need dining reservations?

We’ll be visiting the parks the first week of May. If we don’t want to do character dining or parade/WOC dining packages, do we need reservations for dinner? It looks like a fairly light week (level 3-5), so I’m hoping not–because I’m guessing even our best laid plans will end up changing and I don’t want to be out the cancellation fee.

With the exception of Mother’s Day (if you will be there that Sunday) you should be able to pick up ADRs same day, also if you are flexible and willing to eat where there’s an opening. We will usually use our phones to check for any same-day reservations. We like to have a reservation (even if it’s a same day one) just to minimize time waiting to e seated. However, you may have great luck with walk-ins if you go right at opening for restaurants that don’t do breakfast (like Cafe Orleans, Carthay, etc.).

We’ve also had success doing walk-in character dining at Ariel’s Grotto and Goofy’s Kitchen, but I now you mentioned no character dining.

So if there is someplace you want to eat - I would make reservations - or at least continue to monitor to see the general availability. You can cancel the day before without charge. We did this a few times where we moved things the day before. We also cancelled the day of and they waived the fee as a courtesy. I was polite but firm - noting that someone in the party was having a meltdown (didn’t tell them it was my wife). I understand the reasoning - but it also made me NOT want to make reservations. People get tired, you want to go to a different park, you’re running late - I think it is a royal pain.