ADRs. You read the term in all the Disney literature and hear the word all over the parks and resorts. What are they, and why are they vital to your Walt Disney World vacation?
What are ADRs?
If you plan to eat something on property other than counter service meals during your Disney vacation, then you will want to make an ADR. ADRs are “Advance Dining Reservations” that can be made via your Disney Vacation Planner, disneyparks.com, or 407-WDW-DINE.
How far in advance can you make them? ADRs can be made up to 180 days in advance. If you have a Disney Resort reservation, you can make all your dining reservations for your entire stay starting at 180 days prior to arrival. This is why ADRs are vital, because they will almost guarantee you prime reservations at some of the hottest reservation spots.
Exculsive Photo Opportunities
Would you like to take a photo of just your family in front of Cinderella’s Castle with no one else behind you? Or does the Tree of Life photographed with just your family make a better holiday card?
Prior to making your reservation, you will need to look at the Park Operating Schedule. You will want to make an 8am or earlier reservation when the parks open at 9am. If you make a reservation for when the park opens at 9am or during Extra Magic Hours, you might be a few people in your picture.
Need help understanding Extra Magic Hours? Here’s our guide.
There are a few places that take advance dining reservations (ADR’s) that can help make exclusive photo dreams a reality.
Disney’s Magic Kingdom
- The Crystal Palace
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Tusker House
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Hollywood & Vine
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – Norway
- Garden Grill- in the Land
Ok! You have an 8:15am reservation at The Crystal Palace. Arrive at the Magic Kingdom gates by 7:45am. You will see a turn stile that is dedicated just for early entry for ADRs.
Cast Members will start to let you in about 8 a.m. You will be free to explore Main Street, U.S.A. The shops will be closed, but the magic will still be happening. Usually guests will take pictures for one another, and most people don’t mind moving out of the way for your perfect holiday card picture. Sometimes Photo Pass photographers will also be available to take your pictures.
Need info on Disney Character dining? Here’s two reviews.
Why bother making an ARD?
Why not just show up at a Disney restaurant on the spur of the moment? Especially during peak seasons, ARDs will guarantee your dining time. If you show up, you a subject to a waiting list or to be turned away. The normal ADR wait time, assuming you made it on time, is 1 to 15 minutes. Wait times usually begin around 45 minutes for walk ups.
What happens if you skip your ADR? Is there a fee?
The more popular restaurants do require a credit card guarantee. If you don’t show up at your scheduled time, you will be charged $10 per person on the reservation. Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Spirit of Aloha, The Hoop De Doo Review and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ do require payment in full upon reservation. If you are on the Disney Plus Dining Plan, you will be required to give a credit card guarantee at time of reservation.
With all the Free Dining opportunities that Disney offers now, restaurants will be more even full than usual. If you want to have access to quiet streets before the parks open and character photos without witing in line, then ARDs are really vital to your Disney vacation experience.
Thanks for stopping by for a photographical Disney ride, and have a magical day!
You can save money on your resort stay to Disney by planning ahead. With great summer rates at Disney Resort hotels, now’s the perfect time to plan a spectacular summer vacation that your family will cherish forever. Save up to 25% at select Disney Resort hotels when you book by June 14, 2012 for stays most nights June 15, 2012 through August 14, 2012.
Free Dining is also available for select dates in August and September.
Frances Hedrick is a Disney Vacation Planner for Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys.. She has stayed more than 150 days at the Walt Disney World Resort and at 14 of the resorts with her own family and friends. She loves sharing Disney magic 365 days a year.
You can follow her magical vacations on her Facebook page: Disney Vacations by Distinctive Journeys.