If you are an organized Walt Disney World planner, then you know exactly what date you can start booking advanced dining reservations (ADRs) and have the date highlighted on your calendar. For those who usually don’t book ADRs or for those who are planning a trip, I hope this post will help you plan your dining experience while at Walt Disney World.
After a few hours of walking around in any of the Walt Disney World parks, you will want…correction NEED food for energy. You should be hydrating all day long and snacking is always a good idea too but eventually you will need substantial food to be able to stay fully energized around the parks.
Some WDW guests like to make an ADR for every single meal they will have while in Disney. Others get by with making no ADRs. If it is your first visit to WDW or if you are traveling with children, I would recommend making at least one or two ADRs so you have one or two planned meals.
Advanced Dining Reservations can be made for sit down restaurants aka table service restaurants only. This includes restaurants like Mama Melrose’s in Hollywood Studios (which is very casual and family friendly) but also includes the 5 star Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian (very fancy with a dress code). If you are planning on grabbing a quick bite to eat for every meal at a food court in the hotel, or at quick places around the park, then you won’t need to make ADRs. Sometimes though, the quick service restaurants in the park can get very crowded and by the time you decide to try to find a reservation at a sit down, they are all filled. We ate at the Liberty Tree Tavern for lunch one day last March and the cast member had to tell walk ups that they were full for lunch AND dinner.
Restaurants such as Be Our Guest and Cinderella’s Royal Table usually book up very quickly whereas other restaurants like the ones at resorts, do not fill up as fast. You will not be able to get a reservation for Be Our Guest for dinner (lunch is quick service and uses Fastpass +) unless you book the first day you are able to and even then it is sometimes difficult. However, keep checking the My Disney Experience app during the months before your trip and the website because spots do open up as some people cancel. During non peak seasons, you can usually walk up to most resort restaurants and get a reservation for the next day or even that day. It really depends on the restaurant, the time of the year, and what is going on in WDW.
The easiest way to book Dining Reservations is through the My Disney Experience App. If you prefer to use a computer and not a phone when doing important vacation planning, then the website is a great option too. You can also call the phone number for Disney Dining and you will be directed by an automated voice to help you make the reservation. If you have a large party, you will need to call the phone number to make reservations (the number of people dictating a large party depends on the restaurant). My wonderful, colorful gnocchi from Disney’s California Grill, a restaurant where you should definitely book reservations ahead of time.