Your Walt Disney World trip is booked! You stressed over the best dates to travel and then spent some time deciding on the best Walt Disney World resort. Now that your trip is booked, it’s time to begin planning your days and nights at Disney. Yes, you can just show up and hope for the best, but I’ve found that planning is the best approach to any Disney vacation. Why should you plan for a vacation?? Well, planning can help you avoid crowds, get into the restaurants you want and yes, possibly, relax a bit.
My suggestion is to first choose your touring schedule for your vacation. For me, this means filling out a planning calendar with park hours, parades and any special events. I stop by a site like www.easywdw.com and look at Josh’s planning calendars and add his suggestions to the spreadsheet. From there I can decide which parks to visit on which days. (We always park hop, so I choose one park for each morning and one for the evening, and we always take a break midday when the crowds are at their peak.)
Once your parks are decided, then it’s time to choose restaurants. Disney lets you book ADRs (Advanced Dining Reservations) 180 days before your vacation and the most popular restaurants book up very quickly. To get your top choice, I recommend making as many reservations as you can on that day. Here are 5 things to consider when making reservations:
- Theme – it’s Disney World, so you should eat somewhere fun! If your child loves the ocean, then head over to the Coral Reef Restaurant.
- Characters – we always like to have at least one character meal booked for our vacation. You can’t beat the character interaction at these meals.
- Location – Obviously you’ll want to choose a location that is convenient to your plans. But keep in mind, that if you’re in a park in the evening, you can choose a restaurant at a nearby resort as well. How about spending the afternoon at the Magic Kingdom and hopping on the Monorail for dinner at the Grand Floridian for a change of scenery?
- Menu – the theme and location may be fantastic, but if you’re children don’t eat Mexican food, then you should skip restaurants in the Mexican pavilion.
- Past vacations – we always try to eat someplace we have never tried at Walt Disney World. This gets tough after many trips, but it’s always worth searching out a new venue for a meal.
There are so many wonderful restaurants at Walt Disney World. It really helps to do some research on your options. Look at menus on the Disney World site and read reviews on Disney fan sites before randomly deciding on your meal choices. Once you’ve filled in your planning calendar with your top choices, be prepared 180 days before your trip to make your reservations. You may not know what you’re having for dinner tonight, but you’ll be all set with dinners in 6 months!
What is your favorite hint for getting the best dining reservations at Walt Disney World?