Making Magic: Advanced Dining Reservations

It’s that time of year again – when I FINALLY get to book my reservations for all things Disney (and I’m not talking about the room)!

This past weekend, I got to book my Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) for the Princess Half Marathon weekend.

Princess Weekend holds a special place in my heart – not only was it my first half marathon but it also falls around my birthday. In 2017, my birthday actually falls on the Friday of race weekend.

I decided before I even registered for the race that I wanted to spend the day at Magic Kingdom and since it’s a solo trip, I was going to do things I wanted to do. I started looking into events and activities that might not be awkward for a party of one to partake in. The game plan: Keys to the Kingdom Tour (loved the Epcot tour I did in April) and the Wishes Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace (it is my birthday and I need to carb load…and I love the Wishes fireworks!). I also plan on riding the Dumbo ride at least twice (I love that elephant).

But back to the reservations…

Disney advises guests to book most dining/events/tours 180 days (yes – 6 months in advance) from your arrival date. Not only does this ensure you have a shot at doing or eating what you want, you also get a better shot at the time frame you would like to do it.

My mother always said when she planned our Disney trips, she planned where we would eat and when first. From there, the plan for the rest of the day followed. Eating dinner kind of late – well, we would either sleep in or come back to the room mid day to rest up for our late night. Eating at a certain park – guess where we were a few hours before our reservation. I’ve applied this same logic to each trip I have planned for myself as an adult when going to Disney.

It may sound crazy to plan where and when you are going to eat 6 months in advance but trust me – it will make your trip that much easier and more enjoyable.

I planned a trip with my extended family this past year and they really liked knowing they needed to be at x at y for z to happen. There wasn’t any figuring out the game plan for the day on the day – it was done ahead of time and everyone could just enjoy the vacation.

ADRs are especially important if you want to eat somewhere really popular (Cinderella’s Royal Table) or exclusive (Victoria and Albert’s Chef’s Table) or limited (Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian).

Can’t get your reservation the first time you call? Keep trying – plans change and spots will open up closer to your arrival date.

Saturday marked the 180 day mark from my arrival for Princess Weekend. I was able to book my tour no problem; my dining reservation – my date hasn’t been loaded yet so I can’t book. I am bummed but I will keep calling until I get my Wishes and dessert (it will be my birthday after all!)

Some things I have booked in advance for past trips and for near future trips: a carriage ride, spa/salon appointments, dining, tours, special event seminars, birthday cakes, special surprises for friend’s celebrating a birthday, and I am sure there is more I can’t think of…

Plan for the necessities (like dining) and allow the vacation to build itself around those plans 🙂


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