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Any success in "winging it"

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#41
This is why we can't have nice things.

All kidding aside, but your idea is part of the current problem with dining at WDW. I am not saying YOU are the problem, or casting blame - this sounds like an innocent question.

Just to summarize history. At first dining at WDW was easy. Maybe make a reservation around noon, or just walk up if you didn't mind a 15 - 20 minute wait - max.

Then "free" dining started, and Disney started pushing the DDP at other times of the year. It got harder and harder to get into a restaurant. People still did not like the idea of having to decide 180 days out where they were going to eat, so people started to make multiple reservations. Restaurants were showing no availability, but people were not showing up. Disney got smart(ish) and started to check the logic and prevent you from making multiple reservations at the same time. People got smarter and started making dummy accounts. Disney got smarter again and started making you use a credit card to hold a reservation, and charging if you canceled with less than 24 hours notice.

So now were are where we are today. Either you make a reservation for what you really want, 180 days out. Or you wing it, and look for openings about 30 hours before you want to eat.

We could talk about the impact DDP has had on food quality as well, but that is a story for a different thread.
I don't think he/she was saying anything about making a dummy account... but for me to make some reservations on the days I didn't have ADRs I really wanted, and cancel them in the specified time.. etc. I'm not going to do that. What I am going to do is keep checking the app for reservations, especially during the busy times and see how it looks... so far, I've been checking every day for the day of and the day after... and this past week we could get reservations every day for some kind of dinner we would enjoy... So I'm thinking winging it will be fine for us, with the exception of the 3 adrs I will book in advance.
 

jaklgreen

Well-Known Member
#42
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I go every year in Sept/Oct and the only reservation that I make is for Boma. All of the other times I just walk up or will check the app. I like to eat dinner as early as possible and have not had many issues getting into places. Some places I will just eat at the bar if that is faster, but will wait for a table if it is not too long. I have walked up to Biergarten, Via Napoli, Teppan Edo, Marrakesh, Yak and Yeti, Skipper Canteen, and plenty of Disney Springs restaurants.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
#43
I don't think he/she was saying anything about making a dummy account... but for me to make some reservations on the days I didn't have ADRs I really wanted, and cancel them in the specified time.. etc. I'm not going to do that. What I am going to do is keep checking the app for reservations, especially during the busy times and see how it looks... so far, I've been checking every day for the day of and the day after... and this past week we could get reservations every day for some kind of dinner we would enjoy... So I'm thinking winging it will be fine for us, with the exception of the 3 adrs I will book in advance.

I know he didn't mention a dummy account. He seemed like he was pretty new to the whole ADR subject. I was trying to give him some back story on how we got to the unfortunate situation that dining at WDW has become.

I think he was innocently asking if you could make a reservation at two places, and then cancel one. While that is never a nice thing to do to a restaurant, in a place like old school WDW where there was availability and a good chance of walk up traffic it was not horrendous. I would have never advocated it, but the point is now moot, as you cannot do so anyway.
 

aliceismad

Well-Known Member
#44
This is why we can't have nice things.

All kidding aside, but your idea is part of the current problem with dining at WDW. I am not saying YOU are the problem, or casting blame - this sounds like an innocent question.

Just to summarize history. At first dining at WDW was easy. Maybe make a reservation around noon, or just walk up if you didn't mind a 15 - 20 minute wait - max.

Then "free" dining started, and Disney started pushing the DDP at other times of the year. It got harder and harder to get into a restaurant. People still did not like the idea of having to decide 180 days out where they were going to eat, so people started to make multiple reservations. Restaurants were showing no availability, but people were not showing up. Disney got smart(ish) and started to check the logic and prevent you from making multiple reservations at the same time. People got smarter and started making dummy accounts. Disney got smarter again and started making you use a credit card to hold a reservation, and charging if you canceled with less than 24 hours notice.

So now were are where we are today. Either you make a reservation for what you really want, 180 days out. Or you wing it, and look for openings about 30 hours before you want to eat.

We could talk about the impact DDP has had on food quality as well, but that is a story for a different thread.
No dummy accounts here. I was more concerned about the fact that someone said they staff based on ADRs. So if there aren't ADRs, staffing is less (which makes sense). I guess I'd just rather make reservations for what I think I would like and then cancel later rather than try to wing it. I'm not a good winger.

I get that making a bunch of reservations and hogging the spots isn't such a nice idea. I know Disney doesn't let you book overlapping reservations, but I'm kind of surprised they haven't limited it to 1 per "mealtime." (So 1 reservation between the hours of 6 and 10, one 10-4, one 4-close or whatever.)

Honestly, I wish the ADR window opened AFTER the FP window, because that would be the reason I would tweak things. Really I prefer the DLR system altogether, but that's not going to happen in WDW.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#45
No dummy accounts here. I was more concerned about the fact that someone said they staff based on ADRs. So if there aren't ADRs, staffing is less (which makes sense). I guess I'd just rather make reservations for what I think I would like and then cancel later rather than try to wing it. I'm not a good winger.

I get that making a bunch of reservations and hogging the spots isn't such a nice idea. I know Disney doesn't let you book overlapping reservations, but I'm kind of surprised they haven't limited it to 1 per "mealtime." (So 1 reservation between the hours of 6 and 10, one 10-4, one 4-close or whatever.)

Honestly, I wish the ADR window opened AFTER the FP window, because that would be the reason I would tweak things. Really I prefer the DLR system altogether, but that's not going to happen in WDW.
Even though I'm a planner by nature, I feel like winging it for the days we don't have ADRs (approx 4 days) isn't going to be that big of a deal... given that in May we both felt overplanned... I think it's a necessary adjustment to make for us.
 
#46
I’ve had more luck getting popular restaurants the day before then at 2 or 3 months out. I’ve honestly never tried st 6 months out because I don’t plan vacations that far in advance. I think a lot of people do cancel last minute.
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#47
I’ve had more luck getting popular restaurants the day before then at 2 or 3 months out. I’ve honestly never tried st 6 months out because I don’t plan vacations that far in advance. I think a lot of people do cancel last minute.
We did most things popular last may, so not too concerned about where we eat. Only going to make reservations for Hoop dee doo, homecoming, and storybook dining at WL
 

slappy magoo

Well-Known Member
#48
The only thing I can add here, which you might already know, is that The Wave is a: usually awesome and b: seldom busy.

First 2 times we ate there were spur of the moment, we're all exhausted and don't want to wait on line for Contempo Cafe meals, and they treated us so well. And continue to treat us well when we go. There was in fact a very fast trip I took with some other family members without my wife and kids, it was pretty late to get many reservations (though we wound up doing OK), I took my mom, my sister and her husband and son to The Wave, they put some decorations on the table and a "welcome back Magoo Family" card on the table, were attentive and charming to my mom and to my sister's various allergies and preferences, and to this day they back fondly at that restaurant as one of their favorite moments of any Disney trip.

When in doubt, check out The Wave.

I feel similarly towards Turf Club at Saratoga but it's not as easy to get to if you're not staying at Saratoga. And The Wave wait staff has been better for us.

I'd also add we've been at Jiko once, during our last trip, and really regret not trying it sooner. Both this and Turf Club (and Sanaa, for that matter) don't tend to be terribly busy. Really good last minute choices, especially for an adult couple not traveling with children (but even with children, they all treated our kids extra special, perhaps in part because they're fewer and farther between at those restaurants compared to others on property).
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#49
The only thing I can add here, which you might already know, is that The Wave is a: usually awesome and b: seldom busy.

First 2 times we ate there were spur of the moment, we're all exhausted and don't want to wait on line for Contempo Cafe meals, and they treated us so well. And continue to treat us well when we go. There was in fact a very fast trip I took with some other family members without my wife and kids, it was pretty late to get many reservations (though we wound up doing OK), I took my mom, my sister and her husband and son to The Wave, they put some decorations on the table and a "welcome back Magoo Family" card on the table, were attentive and charming to my mom and to my sister's various allergies and preferences, and to this day they back fondly at that restaurant as one of their favorite moments of any Disney trip.

When in doubt, check out The Wave.

I feel similarly towards Turf Club at Saratoga but it's not as easy to get to if you're not staying at Saratoga. And The Wave wait staff has been better for us.

I'd also add we've been at Jiko once, during our last trip, and really regret not trying it sooner. Both this and Turf Club (and Sanaa, for that matter) don't tend to be terribly busy. Really good last minute choices, especially for an adult couple not traveling with children (but even with children, they all treated our kids extra special, perhaps in part because they're fewer and farther between at those restaurants compared to others on property).
Thanks. I don't think I would care for Jiko as I don't like curries, although my husband would love it. I've heard good things about the wave, and definitely have that one in my pocket!

I've been checking the app every day for same day and next day reservations, and they all seem plentiful ... I'll be curious to see what it's like at busy times like spring break. Some people say September is busy, other places I read, it's not...
 

Swissmiss

Premium Member
#50
I agree about Turf Club - we had a very good meal there and the service was amazing. We went when my DD was 10 and even though we had an early reservation she fell asleep at the table during dinner (she still jet lagged on top of WDW overload). Not only did the waitress box up what was left of the entree, plus the dessert that had not yet been served, but she also added other items to the bag just in case my daughter woke up in the middle of the night and was really hungry. I recall that she was just as attentive to the other tables out on the terrace that night. It’s definitely on my list of places to go back to.
 

slappy magoo

Well-Known Member
#51
Thanks. I don't think I would care for Jiko as I don't like curries, although my husband would love it. I've heard good things about the wave, and definitely have that one in my pocket!

I've been checking the app every day for same day and next day reservations, and they all seem plentiful ... I'll be curious to see what it's like at busy times like spring break. Some people say September is busy, other places I read, it's not...
Curry Schmurry, Jiko's Oak-Grilled Filet was amazeballs, unless you're a vegetarian or pescatarian.

I think September tends to be busy reservation-wise because even though the parks aren't necessarily AS busy, damn near anyone who IS there is taking advantage of a free dining plan.
 

Phonedave

Well-Known Member
#52
I agree about Turf Club - we had a very good meal there and the service was amazing. We went when my DD was 10 and even though we had an early reservation she fell asleep at the table during dinner (she still jet lagged on top of WDW overload). Not only did the waitress box up what was left of the entree, plus the dessert that had not yet been served, but she also added other items to the bag just in case my daughter woke up in the middle of the night and was really hungry. I recall that she was just as attentive to the other tables out on the terrace that night. It’s definitely on my list of places to go back to.
My only complaint about Turf Club is that it has a fairly small menu that never changes. SSR is our home resort, and many times we don't book ADRs. We have eaten at Turf Club a lot, and I have had just about everything on the menu multiple times.

Turf Club is one of those places that sets ADRs according to the number of people working, regardless of how many tables are open. There have been times when I could not get an ADR, but when I walked up, 80% of the restaurant was empty and I was seated immediately.
 

bunnyman

Well-Known Member
#53
We always wing it unless it's a special occasion and we want a specific restaurant. Doing this we're obviously not getting into Be Our Guest for dinner that often, but we never have problems with many places. It also depends on the time you're eating. If you're willing to have dinner a little earlier (i.e. not prime dining time), we can get into many places at say 5pm, etc. We also will eat in the nearby resorts when we feel like a little break from the parks (i.e. monorail over the the Poly for dinner at Kona Cafe), or the Boardwalk area from Epcot. One of the best meals we ever had was an impromptu dinner at the California Grill when we hopped off the monorail at the Contemporary.
 

danyoung56

Well-Known Member
#54
I just had to reschedule my entire week in March to the week before. Now, I had booked my dining reservations right at the 180 day mark, and got everything I wanted. So now, about 7 weeks out, I had to rebook everything. I was prepared to take some off times or even to miss out on some of my choices, but I was really surprised that I was able to book everything within about 10 minutes of the original bookings. So maybe "winging it" isn't such a bad idea after all . . .
 

Rista1313

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
#55
I just had to reschedule my entire week in March to the week before. Now, I had booked my dining reservations right at the 180 day mark, and got everything I wanted. So now, about 7 weeks out, I had to rebook everything. I was prepared to take some off times or even to miss out on some of my choices, but I was really surprised that I was able to book everything within about 10 minutes of the original bookings. So maybe "winging it" isn't such a bad idea after all . . .
I look ever day for the same day and the next day, and there is always something on the list that I would book... so I'm definitely giving it a whirl in September
 

The Pho

Well-Known Member
#56
We rarely make a dining reservation more than a couple hours in advance. Generally I’ll get our Fastpasses the night before and dining on the way to the restaurant. And have never had an issue getting into somewhere we wanted to eat. But sometimes we do have to shift when we eat to an off hour time. Say dinner at 5 or 9 instead of 7.
 
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