Advanced Dining Reservations are one key to your magical Disney World vacation.

So, have you booked your Disney vacation and you are wondering what the next step is? Are you considering a Disney vacation and trying to figure out how to make the most of it? Or maybe you are researching Disney and wondering “what is an ADR?”

Advanced Dining Reservations can be what make or break your magical Walt Disney World vacation. A well-planned meal strategy can give you a chance to meet your favorite characters, see the inside of Cinderella’s castle, get great seats for a fireworks show, or just get off your feet and out of the sun for a while. Dining reservations are in high demand and some restaurants fill up six months in advance, so you will need to plan your Advance Dining Reservations carefully.

What is a Disney World Advanced Dining Reservation?
Guide to Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs)
The entrance to Chef Mickey’s on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. ADRs are a must to get a table.

ADR is Disney speak for an Advanced Dining Reservation. An ADR is simply a reservation at one of Walt Disney World’s many restaurants. Disney has wonderful dining options in each of its parks as well as all of its uniquely-themed resorts. But to get in, you will need a reservation well in advance of your visit to secure a table – an ADR.

Table Service vs. Quick/Counter Service

Disney’s restaurants fall into two categories – table service and quick (or counter) service. Only table service restaurants require an ADR. You do not need an Advanced Dining Reservation for quick service restaurants, with the notable exception of Be Our Guest restaurant in Magic Kingdom for lunch.

For quick service restaurants, you just walk in, wait in line at the counter, and order. These are great if you want to spend more time in the parks and less time eating. On the other hand, table service restaurants serve a sit-down meal.

Be Our Guest Restaurant
Be Our Guest Restaurant

The table service restaurants allow (read: require) you to make reservations 180 days in advance. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort, you can make reservations 180 days in advance of the first day of your trip, up to 190 days out. This can be the advantage you need to get into coveted spots during prime hours, like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Chef Mickeys. Be sure to mark your calendar for when dining opens for your vacation (i.e. 180 days from your check-in date) and be prepared to make your reservations.

How do I make an Advanced Dining Reservation?

Reservations can be made online at disneyworld.disney.go.com, using the My Disney Experience app on your smart phone, or by calling Disney Dining. I recommend using their online reservation service because some restaurants book up before you can complete the call process.

Guide to Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations
Cinderella’s Royal Table is in Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom. It’s one of the hardest-to-get ADRs.

To use the online booking option, you will need to set up a Disney account. Do this well in advance of the time you need to make your reservations. Be prepared to enter your credit card information. You will only be charged if you cancel the reservation within 24 hours of the time of the reservation, with the exception of a reservation at Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is paid in full upon booking.

There are profiles and menus of every Disney restaurant on disneyworld.disney.go.com, and we have also reviewed many of them here. I like to peruse the options and plan a few I want to check out well in advance of the date that the dining reservations open for your trip. That way I have a plan, and I can prioritize booking that the most popular spots first.

All of this can be a bit overwhelming, so remember to have fun! The anticipation can be a huge part of the enjoyment of a Walt Disney World vacation! And, even if you don’t get all of your first choices, you will probably be just as happy wherever you end up.

Now that you know the basics of ADRS, let’s talk about how to get the most in demand ADRs like Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table in Cinderella’s Castle at Magic Kingdom.  Our maybe you’re ready to book an ADR for the best breakfast at Disney World.  And soon it’ll be time to book FastPasses.

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