The term Advance Dining Reservation refers to the system that Disney uses to control the seating times at the Disney World restaurants. If you are staying at one of the Disney Resorts, you can make all of your dining reservations for your entire trip starting 90 days prior to your arrival. Some special events can even be booked earlier.
Even though Disney calls it a “reservation”, it is somewhat of a misnomer. It is not actually a true reservation. Do not expect a table to be set and waiting for your party at the particular time that you requested. However, your ADR does guarantee you the next available table.
Disney recommends that you arrive at the check-in podium 15 minutes before your ADR time. But, be prepared to wait, especially during crowded times and at the more popular restaurants.
If you do not have an Advance Dining Reservation, do not expect to walk right up to a Table Service restaurant and be seated. Many of the restaurants book up months ahead of time. Believe me - they really do!
If you are staying at a Disney resort, you can take advantage of the 90 plus 10 feature. This means that you can call 90 days in advance of your check-in date and make up to 10 days worth of ADRs! (Note that this special does not apply to Cinderella's Royal Table – you should book that one exactly 180 days before).
As soon as your 90 day window opens, I suggest making a table service reservation for each day of your vacation. As your trip nears, you can always try to switch times or restaurants. You may even be able to arrange same-day seating while you are at Disney. But don’t count on it. Those “in-the-know” utilize the 90 day starting point and make all of their ADRs early. That way, you know you have the restaurant you want and the seating time that you want.
Certain restaurants or dining experiences require a credit card number to hold the reservation. A few even require full payment upfront. Don’t worry – there is a cancellation period. As long as you cancel - and notify Disney – within the cancellation period, you will not be charged.
Anytime you make an ADR over the phone, be sure to write down the confirmation number that the Cast Member gives you. Keep all of your ADRs together and organized. Enter these confirmation numbers directly onto your Disney Vacation Planning Spreadsheet. Again, this spreadsheet is vital! Carry it with you at all times during your trip – it really does help.
If for some reason you lose track of your Advance Dining Reservation numbers, you can call the Disney Dining numbers and the Cast Member should be able to go through them with you. I have had success in doing this but it is a pain! Do your best to keep the numbers in a safe place. You can also obtain a printout at the Concierge desk in the lobby of your resort.
One more thing, if you know that you will not be showing up for your ADR, pleasebe courteous and call ahead to cancel your seating time. That way, you won’t clog up the system for people who may be trying to get a reservation.
That’s it in a nutshell. Just remember to plan ahead!
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