Been to Disney many, many times, but this will be the first time actually using TS dining plan. We always stuck with QS because I didn’t want to deal with making the reservations and actually having to be somewhere at an exact time. Free dining works out better for us now because my son is 10. How do you pull together your touring plans, ADRs and fastpass? Do you make your dining reservations first and then plan your whole trip around the meals? My 180 day mark has already passed because I just made reservations for late Sept. I’ve always done my TP based on crowd levels. Any knowledge you could impart for me would be helpful…
You can go either way - make the ADRs based on your touring schedule or build the touring schedule around your ADRs.
A lot of it depends on what you can get and where you can be flexible. If the only time you can get Cinderella’s Royal Table (if you want it) is on a Tuesday morning, then you may want to build your touring schedule to work around that. If you find plenty of ADR availability and are somewhat flexible as to where you want to eat, then you can start with the park plan and add the ADRs to match.
For our upcoming November trip, we went with the latter approach - we had the park days pretty well roughed out, and by getting into the system early on 180 days out, we were able to get ADRs that matched our wish list pretty well.
Our previous trip (way too long ago) was with Deluxe dining, and we started by booking the hard-to-get ADRs (CRT, Chef Mickey’s, etc.) and building our touring schedule around that, filling in the other, lower-demand, ADRs around that schedule.
Since you’re starting after your 180-day mark, I have to assume you’re already in the “I need to be flexible” camp, as the true high-demand ADRs are likely already gone. I’d recommend starting with the park plan and picking ADRs to match in that case.
My basic steps ar:
- Determine which days I want to go to each park (or have a no-park day). Park hours, preficted CL, and EMH schedules all factor into this plan.
- Make ADRs based on my “master schedule”. Very rarely is a specific ADR so important to me that I change my master plan in order to eat at a specific location.
- Make my FPPs based on my master plan, taking into account any in-park ADRs I may have.
- Build a TP around my ADRs and FPPs.
I am generally NOT a “rethinker”; once my master plan is set, I rarely change it. Once I’ve made my ADRs, I rarely change them. And I don’t make a whole bunch of ADRs “to give myself options” that will get cancelled a day or two before. Once I make my FPPs, I rarely change them.
Yes, I will definitely need to be flexible in my dining reservations because the places that I would like to eat are not available. Wish I could have pulled it together a month ago and been prepared. Didn’t think I was headed to WDW this year – so that’s a nice surprise!
I have a rough “master plan” because I can pick up last year’s plan outline and role with it. I appreciate your thoughts.
So, I’d start with the park days, add ADRs to suit, and then build the daily touring plans to work around/with the ADRs. You’ll have to go back and revise once you get the FP+ reservations, of course, but for us compulsive planners, we want to have a basic plan in place WAY before 60 days out.
It really comes down to what your priorities are @Goofygal99! If food is your priority, go ADR first, plan second. If attractions are your thing, go FPP first, then ADRs around that.
Either way, you can’t go wrong.
Have a great time!!!
Thanks everyone for your input!