WDW Planning Strategy – How To Tackle Those ADR’s

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There are a lot of things to consider when planning your WDW vacation, like what to bring, where to stay, when to go, how to get there, and where to eat! For those of you who don’t know, ADR’s can be made 180 days before your WDW vacation, and for those staying on WDW Property, they can be made 180 days in advance plus 10 days (so you can essentially make all your ADR’s at once for you whole trip at that 180 day mark) – just one of the perks of staying at a WDW Resort hotel.

What is an ADR? It stands for Advanced Dining Reservation, and it’s used at Disney Table Service dining locations. How it works is you pick a dining time, and when you arrive at the restaurant at that appointed time, you will be marked as next in line for an available table. So an ADR doesn’t technically eliminate all waiting time, but it does ensure that you will get to eat at your favorite Disney spots, and that your wait time will be minimal (usually less than 15 minutes in my experience)

So now that you know what an ADR is, you’re ready to plan them out. The way I do this is that I do some browsing through the available restaurant options and make a list of the places I want to eat at (it’s ok if it’s a long list, just keep in mind you probably won’t have time to eat at ALL your choices during your trip!)

Next step is to make a rough itenerary, and while there are many ways to do this, I like to keep it simple but just listing which Parks I want to visit on which days – usually our strategy is to hit one Park early in the morning, and then another late in the afternoon/evening after we have had time to go back to our Resort to relax and recharge.

Then I combine the itinerary and restaurant list as best I can, kind of like a puzzle, fitting together the restaurants that are in the Parks I will be visiting etc – taking into consideration which Resorts are located near which Parks so that if I am leaving a Park to eat, I make sure it’s to a nearby Resort. Not sure where things are situated in the World? Check out some maps to help with this step.

One important thing to note – make sure you have backups! You may think you don’t need them, but trust me, spots fill up fast, especially at these super popular family friendly spots:Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tusker House, Be Our Guest, Chef Mickey’s, Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue, and ‘Ohana

Once you’ve got your restaurant itenerary ready, you are ready for that magical ADR day (if you aren’t sure exactly what date your 180 day mark falls on, you can call Disney Dining at 407-WDW-DINE and they will be happy to tell you!). On that morning, you can either go online or call Disney Dining to make your ADR’s, and make sure you have that list with backups ready and waiting!

Making those ADR’s 180 days from your vacation may seem weird, like “our vacation is still 6 months away, so why are we doing this now?” but trust me, it’s a great way to get excited for your trip, and it definitely makes it feel more “real” that you will soon be traveling to Walt Disney World (and getting to enjoy some amazing food while you’re there!)

WDW Planning Strategy - How To Tackle Those ADR's


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Catie Hiltz is an avid Walt Disney World lover who has been vacationing there since she was tall enough to ride Space Mountain. She believes there is something for everyone at WDW-and especially writing about the benefits of vacationing there as an adult
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3 thoughts on “WDW Planning Strategy – How To Tackle Those ADR’s

  1. My best piece of advice, get online as soon as possible to make those ADRs. Online reservations open one hour before the phone does!!!!

  2. Not sure what I did wrong… But when I went online to make ADRs at my 180 day mark, I was only able to make a reservation for the date that was exactly 180 days out. (not 10 days, like your article mentions, which is what I was hoping it would be!….as in, 180 day from my ARRIVAL date, it would allow me to make all of my dining reservations for my 10 day vacation). So each day, I had to log on to the website as each day’s reservations become available to be accessed. So, I did one day at a time. So some restaurants were all booked up already, even at 8:20am in the morning! Doh! Oh, well – got a nice week of fun restaurants planned. I just wish I know what I did wrong to not be able to access my full 10 days up front (I might be misunderstanding something!)

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