Disney World’s Advanced Dining Reservations – Making Sense of the System

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We’ve all heard the acronyms floating around when people talk about planning their Walt Disney World vacation, and one of the big ones is ADRs. What are ADRs and how does it affect your vacation? Is is a discount? Is it a backstage pass? Is some secret password to get into the suite in the top of Cinderella’s Castle? None of the above.

ADR stands for Advance Dining Reservation. Which means if you want to eat at a “good” (or popular) restaurant while at Walt Disney World, you need to be up very early 180 days from your check in date. Years ago, the system was different.  I remember on my very first trip to Walt Disney World for my honeymoon we decided the night before which park we were going to and that designated our eating for the day, sadly not the case anymore.

Since dining has become such a huge part of the vacation and the planning process, deciding your ADRs  well in advance has become a way of life for a lot Disney vacation planners. Most people start with the park for a particular day and then decide which restaurants they want to eat at for the day. If you have the dining plan, then you have count your “credits” and make sure you have enough for the all the meals that you have chosen or you have to pay cash for some of the meals. Once you have your game plan all figured out (whether you use a spread sheet, notebook paper, or life size map of the park with push pins) it’s time to make the call.

How do you make the ADRs?

If you are a resort guest you can make the 180 +10 days out from your check in date. So you can make them at 190 days? No, you have to be 180 days away from your check in day, but you can book up to 10 days after that, which is 180 +10. This allows you to make the reservations for your whole vacation at one time, instead of having to call back every day and add another restaurant.

There are two ways to make them, phone or website. Which is better, that depends. Most of the time you have to get up when the dining phone lines open at 7 am Eastern and call them in if you are trying to hit that 180 day mark. As of right now, you can not do the 180 +10 online, but we are hoping that will change with all the new changes coming to MDE. If you are going in the middle of summer or on a holiday weekend and want to eat a very popular restaurant, then I suggest setting the alarm and getting a cup of coffee, because you need to be on the phone when those phone lines open.

If you made a last minute decision to visit Walt Disney World and you are within that 180 day mark, you can book them online through the MDE website. Which, does make it a little easier than calling on the phone. Once you set up your MDE account, you can create itineraries by the day and add the dining all right there. You can choose your dining by restaurant, the park, the day or the time. I think it makes planning a little easier, but if you want to get in Chef Mickey on 4th of July, the phone is the best option.

Are you an uber planner, been up and on the phone at the 180 day mark? How do you prefer to make your dining reservations internet or phone?

Let me plan help your next trip and I will be the one getting up and making the ADRs for you. At DIF we offer personalized travel planning, lots of extras and fun just for you! Call me at 832-233-4468, check out my page, here, or email me at erinbenge@destinationsinflorida.com and we can get started on making me your personal travel assistant for free! 


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2 thoughts on “Disney World’s Advanced Dining Reservations – Making Sense of the System

  1. We always make our online. On our last trip, we adjusted our ADRs about a month out from our arrival date without any issues. I like being able to peruse the available times and adjust our itinerary according to what’s available.

  2. You can make ADR at 180+10 online. My 180 day mark was October 1st, and I made all my ADRs that morning online.

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