A few weeks ago on Twitter I tweeted that I was planning my upcoming Disney vacation around the food. I have to say I was a little surprised at all the responses I got. All but one person said they too plan their Disney World vacation around their meals. The one person who said they didn’t plan their vacation around their meals has little ones, so that is perfectly understandable.

When you think about it if you make advanced dining reservations (ADRs) then you are to some degree planning your trip around your meals. Since an ADR requires you to be in a certain place at a certain time it can easily become the focal point of your plans for that day. Even if it’s not the most important part of your day you still have to show up at the restaurant around the time of your reservation. To some this can take the spontaneity out of the day. However, if you are like me then your ADR isn’t just a time to have a meal, it’s an experience.

Anyone wishing to make ADRs can do so 180 days in advance. With the popularity of the Disney dining plan it has become necessary to make reservations at many of the restaurants well in advance of your trip. Another factor to consider are people who make multiple ADRs for the same day and time at different locations and parks to allow themselves more flexibility at the expense of others. I know Disney is doing what it can to discourage this practice and it’s too bad there are some guests who can be so inconsiderate of others. They’re probably the same people that go into an attraction and stop to sit in the middle of the row instead of moving all the way to the end of the aisle…but, I digress.

Can you imagine what would happen if Disney decided they would no longer accept ADRs? What chaos this would cause? I can just envision the lines and frustration that would occur not only among the guests but also with the cast members. Let’s say you happen to be in Epcot’s World Showcase and you’ve been drooling all day over the thought of taking a bite into the New York strip steak at Le Cellier. The only problem is you get to Le Cellier and you’re informed there is a four hour wait. You could stay and hope you get seated earlier but that’s four hours of park time you’re giving up. The alternative is not waiting and trying to get into another restaurant but now you’re disappointed, frustrated, and angry. How about the cast members having to deal with people like that all day and night? So much for your magical vacation!

So, if you’re planning a vacation that includes dining at the wonderful Disney World restaurants it is a requirement to make ADRs. Sure you can take your chances and not make any ADRs but, unless you’re traveling to Disney World during its low season then I suggest you be prepared to settle on a restaurant that may not be your first, second, or even third choice.

Adding ADRs to your vacation plan involves some strategy because as I stated earlier you have to avail yourself to a specific time and location. I have often joked that I plan my meals around the attractions but that’s what you wind up doing.

I would recommend to anyone making ADRs that you first decide on where you are planning to spend the day and then pick the restaurant where you wish to dine. If spending time in the parks is important to you then pick a restaurant in the park where you plan to be or at a nearby resort.

If you’ve ever had to make ADRs then you know just how important the food is to your vacation. At Disney World it’s your choice to get to the parks early or late. If you want to ride an attraction you can go when you want. If you miss a show there will be other times for you to catch it. The only schedule you have to stick to is the time of your ADR. Miss it and you miss out!

Of further note, in my blog contribution last week I listed a number of online sources to help in planning your Walt Disney World vacation. I was remiss in not including Mousesavers.com and I apologize to the good people who run the site for my omission.

Contributed by: Stuart S. (NDD #47).  Stuart is our resident Disney geek and creator of Disney Geek Dad.


  1. We have a vacation coming up in May, and for the most part we picked parks for each day then made reservations around that. Though last year I know my husband made a reservation for Le Cellier, then changed which day we planned to go to Epcot. Last time we had a few reservations and we didn't have such a hard time getting to them on time. And we made our reservations for times that we think we'll be wanting to eat. This time around we have reservations for almost every meal since we have the dinning plan.
    We've been using allears.net too to look at menus so we know all of us will be able to find something we like. Especially since both my daughter and I are a bit picky.

  2. Riceballmommy, both allears and the disboards have fantastic information about each restaurant along with their menus. As a family with special dietary needs, I'd be lying if I said I didn't pour over these menus before making ADRs and other vacation plans.

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