As for Illuminations, after reading your book I was not very eager to plan and find a spot 60 or 90 minutes in advance with my large group of 10 people (6 of them kids), so was looking for an alternative among the ones you suggest. It turned out I found a table at La Hacienda at 7.45pm for my party of 10 (the show that day starts at 9pm) so as suggested in the book I booked it for 1h and 15 minutes before the show starts.
My question is the following: I am not guaranteed a table by the window. I was told I would have to request that at the restaurant. So in case I were provided a table with no direct views of the show, do you think we would be able to walk up from our tables and stand up somewhere at the restaurant with direct views to see the show?
Any experiences or suggestions?