No dining reservations

Do people go to WDW without ever making dining reservations. I have spent so so long looking at menu’s etc, that I am starting to worry if I am missing something ‘extra amazing’ by not making these reservations.

We are a family of 4, (Hubby, myself and two teen daughters 15 & 17).
We are at WDW in Sept - Oct.

I like to eat and opt for healthy food options, while my daughters are a mix of healthy vs not-so-healthy, and hubby is a very basic eater and prefers to have chicken/fries, basic sandwiches, will eat a piece of fish or beef etc. He is not into fancy add on’s like sauces and relishes, onions, gourmet salads or exotic food items.
Although most people will probably suggest a buffet, I find the cost of buffet a bit out of our budget for a meal, as Im unsure it will be worth it.

I am thinking that I should do a grocery delivery to our hotel and bring in sandwiches that I have pre-made for lunch, and opt to have dinner at one of the quick service dining restaurants.

We are travelling all the way from Australia, so I want to enjoy the atmosphere and food while there. The reason I’m looking at menus for so long is so that I can add them to my touring plan and not waste any time roaming the parks looking for something that suits all of us.

I feel that you have made a good plan for your own family. Don’t let other people’s preferences make decisions for your family.


I agree, only you know what is best for your family.

1 Like

This year was the first time I made an ADR. We went to Chefs de France because they were reasonable in price and food my family would eat. I was like you… scouring menus to find something everyone would like. One tip - ask them to check out the menus with you. They might surprise you. My family did.

That all said, look at the counter service options. We eat at counter service for all the other meals because it’s quick and decent food. You may not need groceries delivered.

1 Like

We don’t do many dining reservations either…We eat breakfast before arriving and qs/packed lunches. We do 1 character meal per vacation and thats it. Many will disagree but the adr/ts hype is just that. Your trip will not be ruined if you don’t eat in the castle or have dinner with Mickey. The food is not worth a fraction of what they charge in my opinion.


I also think that the ADR hype is something that Disney has created. 10 years ago it was nothing like this, and it isn’t like the restaurants are new! My family has 2 TS restaurants that we truly love both the food and the atmosphere , so we do those when we go. This idea that you have to spend so much money and gorge yourself with trash every single day is absurd. It is also patently American, though!
You know your family best! Have a great trip!


You can do fine with no ADRs, but you also need to realize that if while onsite you want to have a sit down meal, it may be tough to get into a restaurant, particularly in a park last minute. Note it’s certainly not impossible though, but it may involve a long wait or compromise on where to eat. You’ll have better luck away from the parks on just walking in for a TS meal.

Quick Service places in the parks can be swamped at typical meal times as well so you could be facing long waits there, or adjusting your schedule to eat early/late. QS at your hotel is usually relatively easy though w/o long waits.

We typically do a lot of ADRs. For us it’s a forced relaxation where we stop touring for awhile, eat a decent meal and can rest w/o worrying about “if we choke down this turkey leg super fast we can get to Space Mountain quicker” that we found ourselves doing on some of our early visits. If you’re into characters, Character meals are a good way to experience them w/o long lines as well.

ADRs aren’t a must - most of the restaurants are decent, but certainly not inexpensive. For us it’s a useful relaxation time, but YMMV and you need to do what’s best for your family…

1 Like

The first 2 times we visited we did all QS meals, and the 3rd time we had one TS meal because it was my son’s birthday.

We have free dining this time but really we probably wouldn’t want a TS meal every day if we didn’t have the credits to use.

Bottom line - do what works for you. There’s no right or wrong answer.

1 Like

Completely agree that you know what fits your family best and that the quality of the food (while pretty decent) is not worth what you are paying.

That being said, some of our families best memories came during our dining…listening to the band at Biergarten, watching Illuminations from our table at La Hacienda, my normally introverted son hysterical with Tigger at CP, ordering ketchup at Whispering Canyon, walking up an empty Main St. headed to our pre-rope drop breakfast at CP, our DSs being so preoccupied with the fish at Coral Reef that they forget to eat, the boys giggling at their Grandfather getting scolded for not eating his vegetables at 50’'s… I could probably keep going.
The ADR’s we try to make are usually as much for the experience as the food…sometimes more so.

Bottom line - do what works for you, you will have a great time and make memories no matter what you do.

1 Like