Hardest Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) at Disney World
Several Walt Disney World restaurants are hotly in demand, with some reservations being incredibly difficult to book if you aren’t up early 180 days in advance. In this post, we’ll cover the ADRs that are the toughest to score and offer alternatives if you can’t get them.
Before we get to our list, we should probably offer some basics on Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World, since our coverage on this topic to date has otherwise just been “make them.” Conventional wisdom is that you should book ADRs as early as possible, either online (via the My Disney Experience app or DisneyWorld.com) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. I haven’t used the phone line in years; when it comes to ADRs (but probably not much else), the internet is definitely the way of the future.
Anyone can make ADRs 180 days in advance. If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World on-site resort hotel, you can book 180 + 10 days in advance. In practice, this means you can book 180 days before your arrival date and book ADRs for up to the first 10 days of your trip. For some of the restaurants on this list, that +10 is essential, as options like Be Our Guest Restaurant are often fully booked at the 180 day mark.
Most people don’t know where they want to eat 180 days in advance, and this problem is confounded by the fact that Walt Disney World almost never releases park hours and Extra Magic Hours schedules 6 months in advance. If you find yourself faced with this problem, our advice is to book ‘spare’ ADRs and cancel the ones you don’t need when Walt Disney World releases its schedules.
We should note that this is a controversial practice, and the moral authority of the internet is sure to wag its finger at you, branding you with the scarlet A(DR hoarder) if you engage in this reprehensible practice. My take is that this is a problem of Disney’s own creation, and if they have such an issue with it, there’s an easy solution: release park hours earlier.
As for other fans admonishing the practice? I envy those with lives are so uncomplicated that they’ve taken it upon themselves to fight the good fight of ADR hoarding. In any case, so long as people are canceling these reservations in advance of their trip, it’s a ‘no harm, no foul’ situation, as the table is not going unfilled. (This is probably why Disney doesn’t have an issue with ADR hoarding in the first place–it’s only an issue for people who like to bicker on the internet, where literally everything is an issue to someone.)
Despite that diatribe and the existence of this post, we’re at a point where we rarely make more than 2 ADRs in advance of each trip. In part this is because we tend to travel more at the last minute now, and in part this is because booking same-day ADRs or scoring walk-up availability is easier than ever.
For us, it’s a more pleasant experience to roll with the punches and be flexible in where we are willing to dine than determine our entire schedule months in advance and have our day be beholden to those plans. There are a lot of restaurants we really enjoy in each park, and usually a few of them have same-day options.
Your mileage may vary on that, though. If you’re a first-timer to Walt Disney World and are doing a once-in-a-lifetime trip, your circumstances are certainly different than ours. We share this simply because there are multiple perspectives on planning your dining at Walt Disney World.
The vast majority of other sites out there certain a sense of urgency about scoring the most coveted ADRs and stress the importance of planning in advance. As a Walt Disney World planning resource, it behooves websites like this one to encourage people to plan. Us telling you to sometimes ‘wing it’ might be a bit self-defeating, but it’s honest. We feel planning is essential in some circumstances, but mixing planning with spontaneity makes for a healthy and balanced approach.
Anyway, we’ve digressed from the point, so let’s cut to the chase–the tough ADRs that you will want to book as far in advance as possible, plus alternatives if those are fully booked…
Be Our Guest Restaurant – As of last year, Be Our Guest Restaurant moved to a Signature prix fixe three-course dinner menu, which requires 2 credits on the Disney Dining Plan. While this made the restaurant slightly easier to book, it’s still far from simple.
Dinner remains by far the most difficult restaurant to book in all of Walt Disney World, and ‘forcing’ guests to use 2-credits from the Disney Dining Plan or pay for an expensive meal out of pocket is certainly going to discourage some guests from doing dinner. Even if it discourages 25% of the ADRs currently made, dinner at Be Our Guest will still be the toughest ADR at Walt Disney World.
The best alternative here is simply going to be breakfast or lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant, which are arguably better options since they’re less expensive, anyway. Dinner alternatives include Skipper Canteen if you want a fun themed environment, or Akershus and Cinderella’s Royal Table if you want a dining in a royal environment experience. The latter two restaurants are also difficult to book and are pricey, so that may not be much help.
‘Ohana – As the world’s first Irish-Hawaiian fusion concept, it’s understandable that ‘Ohana is so popular (their Boiled Cabbage and Pineapple Upside Down Cake is to die for!). Joking aside, Walt Disney World fans have come to love ‘Ohana thanks to its good fun, jovial atmosphere, and tasty Polynesian cuisine. This is especially true for dinner, but breakfast is also popular.
Alternatives include Liberty Tree Tavern, Boma, Garden Grill, or Kona Cafe. Each of these offer a slice of the ‘Ohana experience, but none is a direct analogue. ‘Ohana is something of a lightning in a bottle experience, and it’s impossible for other restaurants to replicate that completely. If you’re unable to get dinner, you might consider “settling” for breakfast at ‘Ohana. We think dinner has by far the best food, but breakfast has characters and a decent slate of food (by Walt Disney World breakfast standards).
Victoria & Albert’s – Chef’s Table goes very quickly, in large part because of limited supply: it’s an intimate experience with only one seating per night. The main dining room is easier since there are more tables, but it still can be a big challenge because of scarcity.
Victoria & Albert’s winning accolade after accolade probably doesn’t hurt with demand, either. This is one of the few Walt Disney World restaurants that is elite by real world standards, likely making it appealing to Four Seasons, Golden Oak, etc. guests looking for a sophisticated dining experience.
Unfortunately, there is no suitable alternative to Victoria & Albert’s; if it were eligible, it’d have a Michelin star…or three. The closest you’ll probably get is Capa or Ravello at Four Seasons Orlando or Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Orlando.
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast – Admittedly, character meals are a bit of a blind spot for us since we don’t do them a ton. Normally, unless we’re booking a pre-park opening breakfast for strategic purposes, we just take whatever time we can get for review purposes. That tends to work pretty well, although it has meant some 10 a.m. breakfasts.
Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast is an exception to this, as we’ve yet to find availability for it. (In case you were wondering why we’ve yet to review it!) In part, we suspect this is because it’s still the hot new ticket, in part we think it’s because the character selection is strong, and in part we think it’s because the restaurant has garnered some positive reviews (especially for a character breakfast).
Alternatives would be Cape May Cafe across the way, Akershus (although…see below), or 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.
Akershus – This princess meal in the Norway pavilion at Epcot has become increasingly popular, especially for pre-park opening breakfasts that enable guests to be among the first to ride Frozen Ever After. We aren’t huge fans of breakfast at Akershus, but quality isn’t a requirement for popularity.
While we’re on the topic of character dining, we should note that Storybook Dining at Artist Point has been very popular in its first couple months of operation. However, it’s still too early to tell whether this will be a highly coveted ADR, or if it will settle into more modest popularity.
Alternatives include Garden Grill if you want an Epcot character fix (with better food, in my estimation) or Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom. Even though the latter is more expensive, we think it’s the better character meal. Plus, who can exist dining inside Cinderella Castle?!
California Grill – Thanks to a resurgence in menu quality over the last few years, plus a convenient location near Magic Kingdom, plus a pretty fly location with great fireworks views, California Grill has become one of the hottest ADRs among Signature Restaurants. This is for good reason, and we think California Grill is one of the best and most iconic choices for a sophisticated yet “Disney” date night meal.
Alternatives to California Grill would be pretty much any other Signature Restaurant. In terms of location, Citricos, Narcoosee’s, and Artist Point are logical choices. In terms of cuisine and quality, I think Jiko or Flying Fish are the best fits.
Restaurants that didn’t make the cut but that can be fairly difficult include Beaches & Cream, Via Napoli, Rose & Crown (during IllumiNations), Minnie’s Seasonal Dining (especially during Free Dining), Cinderella’s Royal Table (albeit not to the degree it once was), and special options like Dining with an Imagineer and the Fantasmic Dining Package.
A few others that have been historically difficult include Le Cellier, Crystal Palace, and Chef Mickey’s. More recently due to price increases or policy changes, I’d say these restaurants have become much easier to book. That doesn’t mean they’re downright easy, but gone are the days of these being must-book dining options 180 days out.
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Which Walt Disney World restaurants do you think are the most difficult to book? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Any tough ADRs we didn’t mention? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Two things to try if making the 180 day ADR didn’t work out (aside from planning, which is best of all!):
1. Internet stalking: I’ve gotten “lucky” so many times just checking for ADR’s fastpasses randomly through the day. I’ve even spent five minutes every few hours and scored flight of passage FP+ and ‘Ohana reservations. A little luck + persistence.
2a. Call Disney dining. Sometimes things will pop up on their screen that are not showing on yours.
2b. If you are staying on a concierge level floor, they can frequently help get you in.
Are you typically just booking ADRs for the 2 of you? I would think it’s a lot easier to get last minute reservations as a smaller party. As a larger family, I’ve not had much luck scoring last minute reservations!
I just booked my ADRs and noticed that even if park hours are not posted for your whole trip, you could book an in park restaurant and once you do, that park posts with the hours to your mydisneyexperience itinerary. So if you are looking for park hours, you could play around with the reservations until you find which park has magic hours. I was able to get all of the reservations I wanted for our trip, albeit I woke up super early and logged in at 180 days, 6 am est. Thanks to all of Tom’s suggestions, I booked Artist Point, Ohana, 1900 Park Fare, Cape May, Be Our Guest, Tusker House ROL, Hollywood and Vine F! And Boma!! So excited to eat my face off!!!!! Thank you, Tom!
There’s no way to take advantage of the 10 days if you want to wait for the Free dining, is there? Because Disney don’t release free dining more than 180 days in advance.
Hi Cinthia, this would not be true. We have our free dining package booked already for Aug. 19th-28th and actually have to wait until Feb 20th which is the 180 day mark for us. 🙂 Cheers!
Hi, we have the middle of line dinning plan. We have 2 snacks a day, 1 Entree or Nuffet sit down and 1 quick service Meal daily.
If we book a dinner, it’s covered at our restaurant perfect? We Aren’t paying out of pocket for anything?
I need to add, it’s our first visit to Disney.
Veronica, if you’re on the basic dining plan (one table service/day), the gratuity will be out of pocket. Also, one alcoholic beverage is included but if you have more than one, that too will be out of pocket. Hope this information helps, and hope you and your family have a great first visit. Don’t forget to get your First Visit buttons to wear to the parks (they’re free).
Hi Barbara, we are first timers, so would like a button / badge! Where can you get these, please. Thanks!
Dave Todd, you can request First Visit (or any celebratory) pins when you check in to your hotel, or at Guest Relations at the theme parks or Disney Springs. Ask any cast member and they will direct you to the nearest Guest Relations. Have a magical trip.
Hi Veronica, the only thing you will need to watch for are how many dining credits the restaurant you want to eat at takes (some require two credits and may not be worth it) and also will require payment of tips. Parties of 6 or people (including infants) require a mandatory 18% gratuity!.. Cheers! 😉
I would kill (not literally obviously) to be able to secure an Ohana reservation. I’m one of the distance challenged folks who travels to WDW from Australia. I stay on site so I can get all the perks like early bookings but this particular booking is too darn elusive. Oh well, at least I got to go to Be Our Guest for lunch on my last visit in 2017 and, I ordered and paid for my meal prior to arrival which saw me take the ‘short-cut’ straight to my table with no standing in line. I highly recommend doing that.
If you could all keep your fingers crossed for Ohana for me on our next trip in 2021, that’d be much appreciated 😉
Hi Deb G! My family went to WDW for 2 days on a total whim for New Years. We had no reservations anywhere. We were able to get a breakfast reservation at 7:45am at O’hana for 2 days later on New Year’s Eve for a party of 5!!! When you get to WDW and get all checked in, I would definitely call the Dining number to see if there is any availability! You might get thrown some “pixie dust” your way! Good luck!! 🙂
Not only that but go to your front desk after check in and ask them for help, the Cast Members will literally do ANYTHING to make sure you are having a great time.
How are you able to book dining 10 days before the 180 days. We are staying on property and tried and couldn’t book. Our arrive date is December 1st
It’s not that you can book 190 days…it’s just that you can book for your entire stay at 180 days…the first day being 180 days out:)
I am not sure same day or walk up reservations are realistic for families (we are 6)-maybe it is easier than ever because you are just 2 people-would love to hear your take on this
Was there in November (9 of us). We had made several ADRs but a few we couldn’t get due to fastpass conflicts. We were able to walk up to 50s Prime Time without a reservation and were seated within 15 minutes. It is possible if you try. Also, had made a reservation for Coral Reef and they weren’t able to sit us all together so made two separate reservations, 5 min apart. Once we checked in they saw that we were together and the awesome hostess was able to get us all together at one table. We were all appreciative. BTW we did Ohana breakfast for the first time and absolutely loved it! My daughter got to meet her favorite character, Stitch, and I was able to get a very memorable picture of my parents with Mickey. Food was delicious and there was plenty of it. Atmosphere was nice, not your typical buffet style breakfast–they bring the food to you!! We had made an ADR for this place and will definitely do it again.
What time do reservations open?
We are going to in late November and Memorial day was our 180 mark, so I set my alarm for 5:30am. I got up made coffee and then sat down at the computer. I was able to make reservations at Be our guest, O’hana for dinner, Coral Reef for lunch, Bon Voyage breakfast, Morimoto for lunch, Tusker House, Tiffins and Princess dinner at Akershus hall. But I was most proud of the breakfast at Cinderella’s castle before the park opens!!!!!
That’s amazing! Question, in what order did you book those restaurants?! I’m interested in Tusker, Cinderella’s, Be Our Guest, Ohana or Garden Grill, etc. Thank you!
I would book them in most wanted by you, then most popular with others order… for instance I made a BBB and then CRT table reservation first, then BOG dinner, Trattoria breakfast, California grill, arkeshus. Then booked ‘lesser’ restaurants like tusker house, BOG breakfast, coral reef etc after as they aren’t as popular and I wouldn’t be as disappointed if we missed out on these
I didn’t find Bon Voyage Adventure breakfast hard to book — I was finding reservations for it easily at 3 months out, 2 months, 2 weeks, 1 week, week of, etc. These were all for 2 guests, so you and Sarah should be able to find something if you’re flexible on day and time.
On our last trip we finally kept a reservation and went. The food was competent, but forgettable. It was, for me, the epitome of internet hype + artificial scarcity, as there was nothing objectively special about this character experience other than meeting Flynn/Eric (which we didn’t care about, but recognize they’re supposedly rare characters and that is why people book this). Glad to have tried it to see what the deal was, but imo it was hardly above other character breakfasts.
I agree on all the restaurants !! So difficult to book these. I will be there in October and I was finally able to book a ressie for dinner at BOG.. I believe I got the very last reservation ! Anxious to try out the new prix-fixe meal … I have eaten breakfast there and don’t think I will do that again. Food was cold and we had to find a table,get our silverware, and our drinks. I know it was considered a counter service meal but we wondered around forever before we found a table. I didn’t like that at all. But looking forward to dinner there !
I understand that in the past years guests were able to book 10 days out from their arrival date, but now Disney has me limited to the just the days of my trip, 5 nights – 6 days. So I can book 6 days of dining reservations not 10 as it used to be. this was disappointing, when not leaving Disney right away. I have checked this several days now, to be sure.
We once planned an entire trip around the first ADR I could find for Ohana, and it was exactly 180 days away on a Sunday at 4 pm. We have a tendency to work backwards from ADRs and fill in hotels and fast passes later! Our first stay at POFQ was because my fella wanted to eat at The Boathouse at Disney Springs, and I saw there was a boat to take us there and thought that sounded nice. Now it’s our favorite resort!
We got a breakfast reservation at Trattoria al Forno for our Spring Break trip. I have a family full of picky eaters so we knew that we were only going to order pancakes. But Flynn Rider wasn’t there that day. I know this is possible but we only booked this reservation to meet him, since we weren’t interested in the food selection. Plus our bill was just over $100 for 2 adult orders and 1 child order of pancake.
We just returned from a rainy week in Disney World. We were totally disappointed by BOG! We had a lunch reservation. Arrived on time and waited in a long, hot, wet line. Once inside, the ordering process is via touch screen. At least two of the screens were out of order! Other patrons were unfamiliar with the technology and had a hard time ordering as they all gather around the terminal. Once inside: ambiance is non-existent, food is awful, the west wing is nothing special, and the server told us our rose “did nuthin’.” A completely disappointing experience. Do not waste your time, energy or money on BOG.
I have been saying just this for ages. A complete disappointment and waste of time and money!
If you are going PRE BOOK YOUR MEAL we were straight in while everyone else had to wait in a long queue. There are 3 rooms to dine so have a look around before seating.
Last trip we did dinner at Akershus and 1900 Park Fare (character meal buffets, huge hit with 5 and 8 years old kids, good food for a buffet). Really worth it (we had the free dining plan). Be our guest for breakfast is a really good idea (we arrived early and did rides with no line up at the opening of Magic Kingdom). We also tried Sanaa (at Animal Kingdom Lodge) where food was excellent. We booked most of the restaurants 4 to 6 months prior to our visit, but ended up changing the time of our reservations when better dinner hours became available (if you look often on Disney reservation site, early in the morning, you will probably be lucky). Food was an important part of the Disney experience for us.
I am confused by the 180 +10 days to make dining. I just booked my trip for dec 2 and they told me I could make my dining in June 5th which is only 180 days prior. And we are staying on the property..
That means at the 180 day mark, you can book your first day and the next 10 days of your trip. If you were staying off-site, you could only book at 180 days. Each day of your trip would open up one day at a time.
Tara, if you are staying on site you could make your dinner reservations for up to 10 days of your vacation on June 5th. If staying off site you could only book one days worth of meals and then next day you would be able to book the second day of your vacation, etc. So basically if you stay offsite you can only make a single days worth of reservations instead of 10 days worth of ADR’s. Does that make sense?
I am not an ARD hoarder per-say, but I do tend to make some that I am a little iffy on, then cancel as soon as I make a definite decision, but only one or two in a week’s trip and usually I cancel within a few weeks of making them. I am a rope drop person, so for breakfast, unless I can get a very early pre-park breakfast I don’t want it – however I have had very good luck modifying my times as I get closer. For example I got an 8:45 reservation at Garden Grill at 170 days out – since I decided after the 180 that I was going – this time is later than I want to go, but then a few weeks later I modified to 8:20. I need it just a little bit earlier so it is possible that I will cancel right before I go unless I change it but I just keep checking. I have managed to go to BOG between 8:05 & 8:15 the last 3 times I have been so I am hopeful I will have good luck this time too. I haven’t tried BOG for dinner, but mainly because we usually go back to the hotel in the afternoon, then eat at the hotel before going back to the park. I was thinking about trying this trip, but the menu will have changed when I go in Sept & the new menu is not anything I am interested in :), so I don’t think that is going to be in the cards for me even if I managed to get the reservation lol
The primary focus of our November 2018 trip is not food, but I did want to try ‘Ohana and BOG…just like everyone else! Nothing available, but I did go ahead and make an account at Touring Plans and set up two reservation finders. Thanks!
Will a dinner reservation will be extra hard to get at BOG during November/December because of the Mickey Christmas thing? Won’t the restaurant closes at 6, along with general admission the park, on the days when the party is held?