Do I really need Disney World Dining reservations?

Do I really need Disney World Dining reservations?

by Trish

Hey Dad,

I like to read online Disney question and answer sites to gather WDW travel information. I get a little frustrated reading the "panic" people get in about having Disney World Dining Reservations (ADR's). My husband and I do have the luxury of traveling at low attendance times, so maybe that is the reason we have never had any problem sitting down to dinner while at WDW.

In our last two trips, last May and September 09, we have eaten at Boma, Rose and Crown, Tonys, and Biergarten as well as other Downtown Disney restaurants with no reservations and very little wait. When we had breakfast at Boma and dinner at Rose and Crown, we were one of only 4 or 5 tables of people eating in the entire restaurant. I realize that these may not be the top restaurants that are hard to get in to and they are not character dining. When I called T-Rex to make reservations for last September, the young lady on the phone acted like she didn't know what I was asking for.

I just read an answer on Moms Panel and the "Mom" suggested that without ADRs, you might end up eating from food carts. Do you think Disney, sort of... manufactures this ADR panic to get people more interested in the restaurants, or have we just lucked out, or do ADRs apply more to busy times. We will be heading to WDW again November 28-December 2. I have no plans for dining but expect to eat at table service while there. Should I be concerned about sitting down to eat. We are even going to try and get in to LeCellier for and early dinner. Am I over confident to think we will get in?

Thanks for your opinion,
P.S. Even if you decided to apply and are chosen for Moms Panel, I hope you keep up this site. I enjoy reading every day.

Dad's I'm not going anywhere Answer


Thanks for the kind words. Let me announce right here that Disney will no longer have Dad to kick around each year when they are selecting Disney "Moms". They missed their chance. I'm staying right here.

Now back to the question at hand about Disney World Dining Reservations.

I must say that on this one Disney has it somewhat right, but is exaggerating just a bit. (ya think?)

If you go during a slow time, and eat at the less popular restaurants, you don't need reservations. Sometimes during the slow periods you can even get in to some of the more popular restaurants.

But I will say there are some restaurants that you will absolutely need an ADR to get into and, sorry Trish, Le Cellier is one of them. You might get lucky and get in if someone doesn't show up, but that's not very likely, and in Dad's opinion, not a very good way to plan a trip.
Trish, I did check Le Cellier for the time frame you are going to be there and there aren't any ADRs available. Le Cellier is usually about the 3rd restaurant to fill up every day. One reason is Le Cellier is a small restaurant, it can only seat about 150 diners.
Here's a quick list of restaurants where you will need reservations.

  • Cinderella's Royal Table
  • Akershus
  • Coral Reef
  • Teppan Edo
  • Sci Fi Dine-In
  • 'Ohana

  • You might get in to a couple of these without an ADR, but I'd have a backup plan.

    Dad's Bottom Line

    I will say that Disney's Mom that said you'd be eating out of a food cart without a Disney World dining reservation is going just a little too far. There are always the quick service restaurants that you can eat at. Besides, some of the food carts have pretty good food. (Love those crepes.)

    Yep, Dad should have been chosen as a Disney World Mom years ago. He would have straightened those gals out.

    Comments for Do I really need Disney World Dining reservations?

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    Jul 06, 2011
    Reservation for T-Rex restaurant
    by: Erica

    Hi Dad,

    We are going to Disney world for the very first time in the beginning of September. My kids are so excited! We want to go to T-Rex restaurant in Downtown Disney, but there is no reservation available for that week.(Sept 1 to 5). We are very disappointed :( Do you recommend to walk in to the restaurant in case they have seat available? I have another question for you. I have a ten years old girl and eleven year old boy. How many days do you think I need to plan for each theme park? Please Advise. Thank you.

    Dad's Answer

    I would absolutely go to T-Rex and see if you can get in. I know a family that walked up to Cinderella's Royal Table this year and got in without a reservation and that's the hardest place in all of Disney World to get in to.

    About the days in the parks ...

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