Advanced Dining Reservations (affectionately known as ADRs) are Disney’s way of keeping the lines short at table-service restaurants.
For guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel, ADRs can be made 180 days in advance and 10 days out. This means that you can start making dining plans 180 days before the first day of your vacation and you can make up to 10 days of reservations at this point.
Guests not staying at a Disney Resort can make ADRs at the 180-day mark but not any further.
Most people make a few ADRs for their Disney vacation, but some people make several. Some people make 30 or more! This task isn’t for everyone. Once you make dining reservations, you may cancel them, but if you want to fulfill them all, it will mean that you have a strict, somewhat inflexible dining schedule to follow.
However, many Disney visitors will tell you that Disney dining is just as important and as impressive as Disney Parks and attractions. With the huge variety including quick-service dining, table-service dining, signature dining, and the coveted character meals, there’s a lot to choose from.
However, some ADRs can be incredibly difficult to secure.
If you’re an obsessive planner and enjoy detailing every aspect of your vacation, this plan might be for you. If you do it right, you can get many ADRs for your vacation, and it doesn’t even take much luck!
Here are five tips for getting the best Advanced Dining Reservations:
1. Have a plan
As with anything in Disney World, or even vacationing in general, having a plan is essential. If you simply show up in Disney and expect to get into a table-service restaurant, you may be seriously disappointed. Although it’s not impossible, it’s improbable.
I don’t like to take that kind of risk.
At least one week before the 180-day mark, you should make a plan detailing exactly where you want to eat and when. Ask your family or whomever you’re traveling with where they want to eat, too. You all should look over the lists, consider menus, and combine all of the information to determine your top choices. You should also have a general idea of which parks you’ll be visiting on which days because you’ll have to consider the logistics of getting from one place to another. If you plan to visit Magic Kingdom on Monday but you want to dine at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Boma in the early evening, you’ll seriously cut your day short and probably have a hard time getting back for Wishes.
What’s more, if you want to schedule two ADRs in one day, make sure you plan them far enough apart. Disney is notorious for serving up good-sized portions. Will you really be hungry again in a few hours?
Finally, determine your goals for your vacation. Do you want to try a little of everything or something new? Do you want to spend all of your time in the parks, more time enjoying your own resort, or more time exploring other resorts? All of these things will influence your planning decisions.
2. Determine difficulty
It should be obvious that signature dining and character dining are the two most popular and hard to get types of ADRs.
Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella Castle, Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland, California Grill and Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Hotel, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, Le Cellier in Epcot‘s World Showcase France pavilion, Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, and anywhere that offers fireworks viewing including Tomorrowland Terrace’s Dessert Party are the hardest to get ADRs.
When you’re making your plan, these restaurants should be tops on your list. If they make your short list, give them a number one.
Any other signature dining like Disney’s Yacht Club Resort‘s Yachtsman Steak House or character dining options like ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Resort will receive a number two, and all other dining options with advanced dining reservations will receive a number three.
Remember: these numbers do not coincide with what you want to do but with how difficult it is to get a reservation at this location.
3. Plan to share responsibility
If you have a couple or few adults in your traveling party or maybe even one who isn’t traveling with you but is willing to help, divide the number ones among yourselves then divide the number twos and threes.
It’s important to note that each person either needs an account to do this or you must be willing to share your login information with the other person. You can log in to one account via two computers, so theoretically you could do this yourself.
Prior to the day of, have everyone log in to check their account. This prevents last minute issues like forgetting your password, plus you can enter your credit card information ahead of time. This will save you crucial seconds when you’re actually making reservations. In addition to saving your card info, you should be sure that you’ve linked your MyDisneyExperience account with your hotel reservations. Without this all-important link, the system won’t be able to tell when you’re visiting and thus determine your 180-day point. As a result, you won’t be able to make your dining reservations.
Another great tip here is to create a wish list. It acts as a bank of quick-links from which you can easily access the restaurants you want.
4. Make your reservations
This is where we really get down to the nitty-gritty.
On the morning of your 180-day mark, you and your fellow adults should log in to your respective MyDisneyExperience accounts around 5:30AM.
You won’t be able to make reservations before 6AM, but you can pre-load your reservations and hit submit as soon as the clock strikes 6. Each reservation takes a couple minutes to complete by the time you find the restaurant, choose your date and time, and finalize your reservation. However, if all goes as planned, you and your friends or family should be able to book your number one ADRs within a few minutes.
After you’ve made your number one reservations, proceed to the number twos and threes. If you don’t get the time you want, don’t stress. Take what you can get and revisit it later once you’ve made the other reservations. It’s no use holding up other important reservations for one unsatisfactory one.
Once a reservation is complete, record the date, time, and confirmation number.
5. Make events reservations
Okay. This may not be an actual part of making ADRs, but they do have a connection, so stick with me.
If you’re having dinner at either Cinderella’s Royal Table or Be Our Guest, you might want to make a reservation for your daughter at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique so she’ll be decked out like a princess for dinner. If you didn’t get the reservations you wanted, you won’t need to make the makeover appointment.
Since Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and other events reservations can only be made with a representative, you’ll have to make a phone call. However, the phone lines don’t open until 7AM. The best thing to do is start calling at 6:55 and keep redialing until you get through. Once the answering service asks if you are already in Orlando, you’ve made it through. Choose “yes” for this question regardless of your location to skip the marketing spiel. This will save you several valuable minutes.
If you couldn’t make any or all of your dining reservations online, the live representative can help you out. You’ll want to call the Events line and not the Dining line since the Events line can make both dining and events reservations but Dining can’t.
What do I do now?
If you weren’t able to get all of the reservations you want or you didn’t get the times you wanted, continue calling at least weekly up to and including the day that you want to dine. People do cancel reservations, and that can be good for you!
Are you able to get the Disney Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) you want?