Restaurant Reservations Newbie

So far, I’ve learned a lot from the forums. :smile:
I’m currently planning for my family’s 3rd trip to Disney. Our first trip, was for the wedding (on the boardwalk), I didn’t know anything about planning for Disney. We were there for the 4th of July weekend. I was walking on a wedding cloud… I don’t remember even waiting in a line. lol
Our 2nd trip was with our daughter. I planned it alone because hubby was deployed. This is when I discovered Cinderella’s Royal Table. I didn’t even know there was anything inside the castle! I managed to get a breakfast reservation, probably because I didn’t know how hard it was to get. But not for Be Our Guest.

So my question is, this will be my first time trying to get dining reservations at the 180 day mark. Last time we didn’t plan everything, and did some walk ups and such. Is it difficult to get all your restaurants booked in one morning? Does BOG reservations fill up fast, like while I’m booking CRT will BOG fill up? Also, am I correct that I’ll be able to book my reservations for my whole trip 180 from the 1st day? Or do I have to get up early each morning? My plans are very flexible so far. I’m not too worried about getting into anywhere except CRT (my daughter is 4). Any other advice for a newbie? Thanks!

If you are staying onsite you’ll be able to make your reservations for the whole trip at 180 days. If offsite you’ll have to do it each morning. Currently BoG is the hardest reservation to get. But it also depends on when your going. Try to book it as late into your stay as you can so you’ll have the most choices avail. CRT does book quickly but not nearly as fast as the other. You should have plenty of time to do both. Just make those your first two.

Most other restaurants won’t book up right on the 180th day so unless your doing something like Victoria and Albert chefs table you shouldn’t have a problem with anything else. If you have any other questions our need recommendations just ask. We’re happy to help.

It’s 180 + 10. So, if your trip is under 10 days long, yes, you can book all you ADRs for the trip. If it’s longer, than you’ll have to book again for those days > 10.

One thing I liked doing, was very helpful. I planned which park we wanted to be in each day, then chose adrs accordingly.

So arrival day-rest/Mon-MK/Tues-EP and so on.

For instance, arrival day- chose to wing it b/c not sure how tired would be. Landed up getting pizza at window on BW, easy b/c stayed at dolphin. MK day got CM adr for 11:20, so a brunch w Mickey and gang. Did that b/c Dgs fave is Mickey, didn’t want to stay in lines to see for just few mins, wanted to have that right in beginning.

That MK night planned for light meal at CHH, which of course didn’t need adr, sat upstairs. Could have also eaten in hotel, which had a few cs choices.

Tues was EP, so got adr for R&C early evening, worked out great for all of fam.

I always have my “which park which day” schedule “set” prior to the 180 day mark (based primarily on EMH and crowd level considerations), and have decided which TSs I want on each day of the trip. If there is a “must have” ADR (for me it was V&A Chef’s Table), go for that one first, and keep trying until you get it (hopefully, it will be on your “first-choice” day; for me it was my “second-choice” day). Quickly shuffle your days around if needed to accomodate your “must have” ADR, then start making the others.

Other than V&A Chef’s Table, BOG, and pre-RD CRT, the rest are not “every second counts”. For the more popular ADRs (any CM, Ohana, CG, and other V&A seating come to mind) you’ll certainly want to get in the first hour or so of your 180 day mark, but many other (very good) ADRs will still be available a few days before your trip.

I did my booking on-line using a PC. As I had my entire “wish list” in front of me (including dates and times), I was able to book 13 ADRs in under an hour. Over the course of the next week I made a few changes (mostly fine-tuning times), but 90% of my original ADRs are the same at 41 days as they were at 180 days.

Hope this helps. If you have any more specific questions, I’ll give you the best answers that I have :smile:

I am so bad at math/dates . . . you’ll be there in April? Early May? What do the crowd levels look like?

My plan was similar to others - I do not park hop, so I chose what parks I’d be in on which days based on the TP crowd calendar, with the caveat that we had to be in MK for our son’s 5th birthday.

The first thing I did was look for BOG on the definite MK day. I actually screwed up calculating when my 180 day was, so I looked at 7PM Central on reservation day (instead of 7AM Eastern). I was staying onsite, and looking for BOG on our 4th day (so it was ~ 183 1/2 days out). I got BOG for 6:10 pm, no problem. Crowd calendars are 4-7 for the parks we’re hitting that week (DHS is 10/10 for a few days, which we’re avoiding). MK is a predicted 5 for our BOG day.

So, BOG was not an “impossible” get for me, even with my miscalculation, though it closed up pretty quickly and I’ve been looking for an alternate date (we’ve firmed up our park plans and I want to do BOG on our other MK day now). I’ve seen that BOG can open up for others within 45 days of travel, and the week before/week of travel, so keep hope alive.

Other than BOG, I have had no problems at all tinkering with every other dining reservation at dates within less than 180 days. I got a pre-rope drop Crystal Palace for our son’s birthday, well after 180. I didn’t know about the Fantasmic dining package until after 180, but got Mama Melrose for lunch no problem by continuing to check, at about 150 out. I’m at about 82 days out, and still tinkering, with no problems finding character meals like Garden Grill. The only reservation that I’ve kept the same since my 180 day is BOG. Otherwise, I’ve found lots of flexibility to switch things.

My crowd levels are around 4-7, so I’m not going when it’s a ghost town. However, there was no “free dining” or dining package discount promo announced when I booked most of my ADRs. I think this, more than crowd levels, can affect what’s available to you.

Personally, where I don’t have an ADR scheduled, I have in my personal Touring Plan a meal break with notes about what are some good counter service options (e.g., Columbia Harbor House in MK, or Sleepy Hollow chicken waffles, etc.). Don’t forget about resort meal options.

ETA: The MDE app did NOT work for me with ADR booking at 180. This is why I missed the morning of my ADRs, the app (on my iPad and phone) was showing that I could not book yet. I was tinkering on my PC and saw a BOG opening and was allowed to book it, then freaked out and realized that the app was not correct. Do not plan to use the app for your initial bookings, IMO.

Thanks for all the replies! I’m starting to get nervous as the 180 day mark approaches. I actually had a nightmare about it. I’m pretty excited about the trip I guess. I’m driving my husband crazy. I’m not allowed to talk about the trip for a while. lol!

One more question, do the reservations open up at midnight? or 6 am? I’ve read both. Or maybe I’m confused.

Dining reservations open at 6 am eastern online, and 7 am eastern by phone. Sometimes online doesn’t work (that has happened to me twice), and you have to wait and call. I wasn’t happy because I live in central time zone and I got up at 4:45 to be ready.

ADRs become available at 6 am Eastern time online and at 7 am Eastern time over the phone. Good luck! What have you decided to go for?

Haha. Same here albeit w my wife.

Top on my list is Cinderella’s Royal Table. My daughter is 4 and she talks about how we went there last time. (She was 2, I think she only remembers because of the pictures.)
I’d like to do Be Our guest as well since I’ve never been and its my favorite movie.
Cape May is my favorite (love Mickey waffles) and we are staying at Yacht (couldn’t get in to the Beach Club, they are full up end of April, I was surprised).
Also, Hollywood and Vine for the Characters. And Akershus if we have enough credits.
Restaurant Marrakesh (hubby’s pick).
Also want to hit Casey’s Corner and Gaston’s Tavern for QS or snacks.
We talked about trying California Grill but decided our daughter was too little for it to be worth it. I wanted to do Garden Grill for lunch to see Chip n Dale, but they aren’t open for lunch. Also, I’m a little sad to not included Coral Reef this time round. I love the atmosphere in there and we always go. The food wasn’t very good last time though, and we have picked out some new restaurants to try this time. I wish we were staying longer.

I was just looking at the Disney website. What’s the best page for dining reservations? I clicked on my itinerary, then under “reserve dining” I clicked on “explore dining.” From this page I can check availability of many restaurants. Is this the page I should use? Will all the days of my trip become available from here? Or is there a better page to use?

If you are open to restaurants, the global search you suggest is great. If you want something specific, I usually go straight to that restaurant and look for a table. Prioritize w the more popular restaurants first and work from there. Yes, all days up until 10 days past the day you check-in. If you’re staying more than 10 days, you’ll have to revisit the site. Suggest you place your most popular (hard to get) picks toward the end of your trip (same with FPP)

I got everything!!! I didn’t get all the times I wanted, but I got close enough. :slight_smile: Thanks everyone!