Advanced Dining Reservation Tips for Toy Story Land
Are you visiting Walt Disney World for the opening of Toy Story Land next year? If so, you’re almost in your window for Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs)! It’s true! Walt Disney World opens the ADR window 180 days prior to your visit plus a bit, depending on where you stay.
With Toy Story Land expected to open on Memorial Day weekend (not confirmed), which begins on May 25, 2018, vacationers arriving for the holiday are already in the booking window! Everyone visiting in June or July is only a month or two away. For this reason, it’s a good time to brush up on booking tips for ADRs. Here are a few pro tips for getting the reservations that you want at Walt Disney World.
Understand How the Window Works
Have you made up your mind on where to stay yet? Guests who stay onsite at official Disney resorts receive additional benefits. One of the most important benefits is the ability to book ADRs slightly differently. You receive extra days in your booking window. When you stay for seven nights, you get to book up to 186 days in advance. That’s your check-in date, the same as any other guest, plus the additional six nights that you have booked a room at a Disney resort.
These extra dates may not seem like much on the surface, but they’re crucial to booking the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World. Many of these establishments book at 180 days, meaning that you’ll have to roll the dice to get an ADR somewhere like Be Our Guest. You’re leaving your meal in the hands of fate that way.
By staying onsite, you can book a later date such as day 185. For that ADR, you’re only competing against other guests staying at Disney resorts. As such, you are exponentially more likely to get all the reservations that you want for your trip, thereby assuring your family of the dream vacation you desire.
You’ll want to maximize the booking window by always staying onsite at Walt Disney World. You’ll also want to schedule your ADRs for the most popular restaurants on the later dates of your trip. You won’t face as much competition. Plus, you can stretch out your best meals to enjoy the Disney experience more. I previously noted several other aspects of booking ADRs if you need a refresher course.
Planning for the Battle
Let’s take a look at the ADRs that are hardest to get. Some restaurants have a common sense element, while others may surprise you. Then again, if you’re new to Walt Disney World, all of this is probably extremely confusing to you. Here’s what you should remember. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the Walt Disney World campus on a daily basis. That’s not hyperbole, but it is simple math.
All of those people have to eat, and many Disney fanatics know which establishments have the best reputations. MickeyBlog has actually chronicled several of them here. Akershus is popular due to its Princess character meetings. ‘Ohana has some of the most scrumptious food in Orlando. And Be Our Guest is THE hardest ADR to get at Walt Disney World right now.
Disney has many other restaurants that book at the 180-day window. Cinderella’s Royal Table is a great example. Many of the eateries that have special fireworks viewing sections such as Rose & Crown and La Hacienda de San Angel book quickly. Even places in the World Showcase that are close to the fireworks such as Teppan Edo book quickly, although that restaurant’s reputation for having some of the best food on the Disney campus also helps. Similarly, Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios have package deals for great fireworks viewing. Their ADRs go fast, also.
Other locations book up simply because they’re wonderful. A lot of places that fall into this category are also character meals. Chef Mickey’s is the most famous and popular of them, but Garden Grill, Cape May Café breakfast, 1900 Park Fare, The Crystal Palace and the Bon Voyage breakfast at Trattoria al Forno all sell out quickly.
Others have unusual dining experiences. 1950’s Prime Time Café and Sci-Fi Dine-In at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are both beloved for their throwback themes. Coral Reef Restaurant at Epcot has a division of opinion about the quality of the food, but it’s generally booked anyway. People love being able to eat beside a giant aquarium. California Grill at the top of Disney’s Contemporary Resort books due to the overwhelming love people feel for the food and the dining experience. All of the restaurants listed here are ones that you’ll need to book at 180+ days to guarantee a meal.
Other Things to Know
You want to reserve your ADRs the moment your booking window opens. What you need to do is calculate your 180-day window. A few sites like WDWInfo have apps for this. You simply enter your arrival date, and the system will tell you the first day that you can make ADRs.
Remember that you’re going to add another factor, though. You’ll get those extra days added to your booking window by staying onsite. Keep that in mind when you see the 180-day notification.
How do you calculate the extra days? In layperson’s terms, you’ll add five days from the date that the WDWInfo app tells you. The terms can get confusing, so let me give you a specific example. Let’s say that your booking window as a regular Walt Disney World guest begins on December 8th for arrival on June 6th, 2018. As a guest arriving at a Disney resort, you can book ADRs through June 11th.
If you are staying for six nights, you should plan for those dates, too. After all, that’s one of the benefits of staying onsite. Those extra dates are when you should try to get reservations at Chef Mickey’s Be Our Guest, and so forth. So, when you call Walt Disney World (note: you can only book the extra days by phone according to current Disney rules), you should start on your last night and then work your way backward.
In other words, try to book Be Our Guest for June 11th, Chef Mickey’s for June 10th, ‘Ohana for June 9th, and so on. Obviously, you must decide how many ADRs you want to make, and that choice depends on how many Table Service meals that you prefer during a standard vacation. You cannot book ADRs for Quick Service restaurants at Walt Disney World, although you can use the new Mobile Order option.
The important tip to remember is that you should aim for the toughest ADRs at the end of your trip. As long as you follow this suggestion, you can book even the most difficult ADRs at Walt Disney World most of the time. To give yourself a better chance, you’ll want to call first thing in the morning.
The phone number for ADRs is (407) WDW-DINE aka (407) 939-3463. Customer service agents start responding to phone calls at 7 a.m. EST. You should have your plans in front of you and be ready to call starting at 6:55 a.m. Sometimes, the phone lines open up a bit early, giving you a head start on your reservations.
Booking ADRs is a process that has a learning curve. Once you’ve done it a couple of times, however, you’ll understand just how easily you can book even the most popular restaurants at Walt Disney World. And all of these eateries live up to the hype, meaning that you’ll have even more fun on your trip by booking these ADRs. Good luck!
David Mumpower is the author of the Disney Demystified series. For only $4.99 each, you can read book one about Disneyland or book two about Walt Disney World. The softcover books also make amazing stocking stuffers this holiday season!