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Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

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2rh
Clinton, New Jersey
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82 posts
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Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

I looked into the dining reservation system, and I'm honestly not sure if I should use it. We aren't on a dining plan as sometimes we skip meals, sometimes the kids don't eat, etc.

So - last week of July, any reason to make some reservations? And do all restaurants that take reservations require a credit card and 24 hours notice?

I'm thinking we would do what we did 12 years ago - see where we are when we are hungry, or maybe try for a same-day reservation. Dangerous or hopefully okay?

(also - how many places are "dress up" - anything other than Victoria and Albert's require non-vacation clothing?)

(also also - any of the latest favorites, honestly not Italian/Mexican/Chinese which we get tons of where we live)

Thanks!

Valley Stream, NY
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1. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

We usually do 3 reservations for a 6 night trip and wing the rest. All restaurants now require a credit card and will charge you $10 each if you don't cancel 24 hours ahead. While you're there you can call Disney Dining and see what's available on the day. Big River Grill on the Boardwalk does not take reservations (they do have call ahead seating), so that's a good one to just pop into to (try and get there by 6 p.m.). We've gotten in ESPN there also on the Boardwalk and the Wave in the Contemporary.

Wisconsin
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2. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

I would say its a bit dangerous, especially being that your vacation is during the summer, a quite busy time. I mean, there is food at Disney World without a reservation(lots of quick service places that don't need a reservation), but the many of the sit-down restaurants will be booked up, especially those with character experiences. We often stay off property and don't have the dining plan then, but we still like to do a few character meals. We usually go for breakfast because everyone is hungry about an hour after they get up as long as you don't eat anything. Reservations open up 180 days in advance so certain restaurants are already booked solid even now. You may get lucky and snag a reservation on the day of, but it won't be a "normal" eating time(think lunch at 2:30pm). All reservations do require a credit card and 24 hour cancellation notice. You can cancel within 24 hours, but your card is charged $10 per person in your party. or more(depends on the place). As for your other questions, most of the restaurants, especially in the parks, are fine with vacation clothing. Our favorite restaurants at Disney are Chef Mickey's, Tusker House, Coral Reef, Garden Grill, Hollywood and Vine, and Crystal Palace.

Edited: 10 July 2014, 00:09
Ventnor City, New...
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for Walt Disney World, Orlando
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3. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

If you really don't care whether you get a table-service meal or not, then wing it. Maybe go to Guest Services and se what you can get same day or next day.

If you were using the Disney Dining Plan and had pre-paid for table-service meals, I'd never give this same advice. Same if eating table-service every day was a high priority to you. But since you seem so laid back about it, there's no risk to taking a laid back approach.

Indiana
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4. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

If there are places you'd really like to each, like a character meal, then get a reservation. Other than that, you could probably wing it and be alright. If you are winging it, I wouldn't get my hopes up for walk up at places like Chef Mickey, Cinderella's Royal Table, Ohana, Via Napoli and other places that are popular. It's not going to happen. I did see walk ups at Ragaln Road and T-Rex.

Orlando, FL
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for Orlando, Walt Disney World
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5. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

It is July! You are already winging it. At this point I don't see much of a difference making one now versus the day before. Actually, you may have better luck by waiting as some people will cancel 24 hours as their plans change to avoid the charge. Just be aware that Disney restaurants don't all operate like restaurants in the real world. Trying to walk up may work out at times, but more often means being turned away. If there is somewhere specific you want to eat you should try for a reservation.

2rh
Clinton, New Jersey
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82 posts
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6. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

Thanks for all the advice! We have to go those weeks unfortunately. I think I will try for one reservation on our first day at epcot, so we can make sure to get there on time.

Peachtree City...
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7. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

My Favorite Epcot restaurants

Via Napoli- Italy

Restaurant Marrakesh- Morocco

Chefs De France- France

My favorite Magic Kingdom Restaurants:

Cinderella's Royal Table

Be Our Guest

Crystal Palace

My favorite Hollywood Studios Restaurants:

50's Prime Time Cafe

Sci-fi Dine in Theater

My favorite Resort Restaurants:

1900 Park Fare- Grand Floridian

O'Hana- Polynesian

Chef Mickey's- Contemporary

2rh
Clinton, New Jersey
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82 posts
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8. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

Thank you! We were leaning towards Ohana and Morocco, good to know others like them. Is Ohana a "character" place, and what does that mean?

My daughter is afraid of the characters like Mickey and Donald, but not of people like Cinderella and Aladdin (sigh). My son on the other hand likes Aladdin and they do like Lilo and Stitch.

Horsham, United...
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9. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

Lilo & Stitch are at OHanas for breakfast only, Mickey & Pluto are there too!

Boston...
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for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Antarctic Adventures
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10. Re: Dining in WDW - reserve or on the fly?

If you are "thinking" Ohana, you better get on it. It is one of the most popular restaurants on property. Do not leave that one til last minute.

Morocco is almost always available day of. People tend to go for the "safe" options of Mexican, Chinese, or Italian food when dining at EPCOT. The more exotic options are less popular in my experience.