So today is our 180 days-to-go milestone for our next trip to WDW. For those who don't know at 180 days out you can make advancing dining reservations (aka ADRs), and if you are staying on Disney property you can make ADRs for 180 days from your check-in date plus an additional 10 days out. That means if you aren't staying on property if you want to make an ADR you can't go online or call unless it's 180 days out from the DATE you are wanting to book not just from the beginning of your trip. So in our case we're staying for 10 days-9 nights so today I was able to make ADRs for ENTIRE stay since we are staying on property (but with a slight catch but we'll get to that).
Now I know some might ask, "But how the heck do you know what you are going to want to eat 6 months from now?" And that's a valid question, however as a Disney veteran we have certain places we eat every trip out of tradition, and for the other days we know our own tastes in food well enough to know which restaurants we'd like to try and which ones to not even both with making an ADR for. So then comes the fun part, picking your restaurants.
The way we like to tackle dining is we first plan which park(s) we're going to be at one each day of our trip. We tend to pick our parks based on the availability of Extra Magic Hours (EMH) (another perk of being an on-property guest which we like to take advantage of) and in the case of December what days the Magic Kingdom is hosting "Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party." Traditionally we always spend our last day at the Magic Kingdom and it's almost always a MVMCP evening so we know we probably want to make an ADR in our around the Magic Kingdom, this may include inside the park itself or at one of the resorts along the monorail (The Contemporary, The Grand Floridian or the Polynesian). Pretty simple right?
What else, oh right the Disney Dining Plan!
Yet another perk of staying on-property is the choice to purchase the Disney Dining Plan. The DDP allows guests to pre-purchase their meals so to speak. In our case we purchase the PLUS DDP which gives each of us a credit to use at 1 quick service location, 1 table service location and 1 snack per person/per day. I won't into too much more detail about the DDP because there is a LOT of information, but if you want to learn more visit AllEars.net or DisneyWorld.com for more information.
Now remember that slight catch I mentioned earlier, well here's where it comes into play. I made our park schedule weeks ago and was ready to make our ADRs this morning. I logged onto DisneyWorld.com and added our confirmation number from our package reservation so the system knew we are on-property guests so we could make our week's worth of ADRs. I go the day #1 and make the first ADR no problem, I go to work on day #2 and BAM, I'm getting a "Code 500 Server Error".
So I try again, and again, and again. The website worked every time, letting pick my park and then seeing the list of available restaurants and what times they were available. It would even let me pick a time and enter my confirmation information (name, email address so they can sent a confirmation email) but the minute I hit enter to get my confirmation I get the same error message.
Luckily when I switched browsers (I was using Google Chrome and switched to Safari) it seemed to work again until I got to the last two days where it decided to give me the same error message. *Sigh* Luckily I have a fantastic travel agent who has offered to help so between the two of us we should get the rest of them booked. But until then here is our ADR list:
Day 1: 50's Prime Time Cafe @ Disney's Hollywood Studios
Day 2: No ADRs as we are taking the day to go to Universal Studios so we can go see the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter
Day 3: Liberty Tree Tavern @ The Magic Kingdom (new one for us)
Day 4: Hollywood & Vine (breakfast) @ Disney Hollywood Studios (new to us for breakfast, tried it for lunch last trip)
Day 5: (Not booked yet) Hoop-De-Doo Musical Revue @ Fort Wilderness (new one for us) OR Tony's Town Square @ The Magic Kingdom
Day 6: Biergarten @ EPCOT
Day 7: Tusker House (breakfast) @ Disney's Animal Kingdom (new one for us)
Day 8: IF Hoop-De-Doo doesn't pan out, The Hollywood Brown Derby @ Disney's Hollywood Studios OR if we do get HDD then Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre @ Disney's Hollywood Studios *
Day 9: Crystal Palace (breakfast) @ The Magic Kingdom ~A must do every trip
*So why the IF-Then scenario you might ask? Because we are taking the day to go to Universal we won't be using any TS credits that day which means we're going to have to eat a TS location that requires 2 TS credits instead of 1. Both HDD and The Brown Derby are 2 TS locations and while HDD is our first choice we need a back-up just in case we don't get to go to HDD. Clear as mud right?
So overall we're quite happy with the way our ADRs worked out, we've got a nice mix of new places and familiar places, and I'm sure we'll come back full and happy.