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Wait time for dining reservations

mdcpr

Member
Original Poster
Hi - I've heard that even with a dinner reservation, there could be a wait to get a table. What's the typical wait?
 

CaptainAmerica

Premium Member
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Usually not more than 15 minutes unless you have an unusually large party. You can always check in early.
 

jgj123

Well-Known Member
It really depends on the restaurant, time of the reservation and crowds. Generally, it can be 10 to 15 minutes. But that's prety much the same whether at Disney or anywhere else., sometimes you just need to wait for prior diners to leave.

We've waited 30 to 40 minutes at Ohana many times, but also have been seated on time on other visits. Most locations won't even check you in until 15 minutes prior to your reservation.
 

jgj123

Well-Known Member
That is not accurate. Some locations maybe, but certainly not "most."
All I know is, the one's I've had reservations at generally won't. Just my experience with those restaurants where we've had reservations.

Now thinking back, the Disney Springs Restaurants have been more flexible than the in-park locations or anything with characters.

Regardless, even those we know have told us in the past that we couldn't check-in until 15 minutes prior, we still ask if we arrive earlier.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
Your ADR just gives you a spot among many other dining guests for that evening. It doesnt guarantee you a time. Seating you is really dependent on the guests eating ahead of you. Disney schedules your ADR times on a formula for estimated time diners will eat and leave, opening up more tables. By arriving 15 minutes beforehand you notify them that you are there and they will seat you as quickly as a table opens up. They want the tables to turn over so they might add more diners. The thing that messes with the seating is when guests take forever to order, to finish eating, then linger over coffee and dessert for extreme times and dont move on. Weve had a table open up as quickly as minutes after checking in and have had at other times waited as long as 30 minutes.
 

mdcpr

Member
Original Poster
Your ADR just gives you a spot among many other dining guests for that evening. It doesnt guarantee you a time. Seating you is really dependent on the guests eating ahead of you. Disney schedules your ADR times on a formula for estimated time diners will eat and leave, opening up more tables. By arriving 15 minutes beforehand you notify them that you are there and they will seat you as quickly as a table opens up. They want the tables to turn over so they might add more diners. The thing that messes with the seating is when guests take forever to order, to finish eating, then linger over coffee and dessert for extreme times and dont move on. Weve had a table open up as quickly as minutes after checking in and have had at other times waited as long as 30 minutes.
So making reservations as soon as a restaurant opens might be the best thing to do?
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
So making reservations as soon as a restaurant opens might be the best thing to do?
Earlier or later will get you in with the lesser waits. But we prefer to select the ADR times we want depending on how we structure our park days and what we want to do with our time. As a family when we are at WDW we tend to enjoy eating later than earlier. When we are at WDW, we dont stress over waits for a table as much as when we are at restaurants at home because we are less stressed and go with the flow of the day. I find I'm more patient when Im at WDW.
 

mdcpr

Member
Original Poster
Earlier or later will get you in with the lesser waits. But we prefer to select the ADR times we want depending on how we structure our park days and what we want to do with our time. As a family when we are at WDW we tend to enjoy eating later than earlier. When we are at WDW, we dont stress over waits for a table as much as when we are at restaurants at home because we are less stressed and go with the flow of the day. I find I'm more patient when Im at WDW.
I have a special needs child--Autism--who might wait 5-10 minutes for a table, but could get anxious by waiting more than that. I actually have to plan the rides around the meal times.
 

JillC LI

Well-Known Member
Usually no more than about 10-15 minutes but we recently had to wait over a half hour at Chef Art's Homecomin.
 

Janir

Well-Known Member
I have a special needs child--Autism--who might wait 5-10 minutes for a table, but could get anxious by waiting more than that. I actually have to plan the rides around the meal times.
Might want to have some distraction plans at the ready of your wait goes longer than 15 minutes. Like others I've had waits after check in from immediate to 40 minutes for like Be our Guest. The Play app for your phone might be a good distraction for a autistic child. Play a few quizzes from the Play app with your group while you wait.
 

JIMINYCR

Well-Known Member
I have a special needs child--Autism--who might wait 5-10 minutes for a table, but could get anxious by waiting more than that. I actually have to plan the rides around the meal times.
Unfortunately Dis doesnt make it easier. But you may mention your circumstance to the CM when you check in and they may try to get you in faster.
 

Weather_Lady

Well-Known Member
For shorter waits, earlier ADR times are better, as are a la carte restaurants -- in our experience, character dining is more prone to getting backed up, causing delays, although it can cut both ways.

As others said, have a distraction plan! Also, you might want check ahead of time so you know what the waiting situation is (e.g., will you be crouching on the floor in a small, cramped waiting area, like at Coral Reef in Epcot (where we've never waited less than 20 minutes for our table), or outdoors and able to people-watch or find a quiet nook, as the mood dictates (e.g., at Crystal Palace, where we waited 40+ minutes to be seated for an early dinner reservation)? Historically, we've probably waited an average of 10-15 minutes past our ADR time to be seated at TS restaurants (most of the them ~6pm dinners), but the range is anywhere from 0-45 minutes.

Another alternative would be for you to show up together, find out the estimated wait time (if any) from the CM at the podium, and if your child needs to "stay busy," have your spouse take him/her for a little walk or to browse the nearest gift shop (rest assured, there is always a nearby gift shop!) for a few minutes while you wait. The CM may warn you that "your entire party needs to be present for us to seat you" and urge you to stay together, but if you explain the reason it is necessary, they shouldn't give you any trouble.
 
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JillC LI

Well-Known Member
Holy cow. Did they provide an explanation as to why and offer you anything as compensation?
No and no. The food was delicious when we were finally seated, but our server was terrible - unfriendly and unattentive. We won't be going back there for awhile until they figure our their service issues, which is a shame because the food really was delicious.
 
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