Wednesday, March 30, 2016

{Planning} Disney 2016 Dining

Before you make advanced dining reservations (known as ADRs in Disney-speak), you obviously need to have a plan of which days during your vacation you will visit certain park(s).  You won't want to eat lunch at Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom on Monday if that day is your Epcot day.  Some reservations are easy and won't require a detailed plan, such as the ones for restaurants in your resort.
I typically outline which park we will visit for each day of our trip.  We don't purchase hopper passes because, for us, it's not a good use of funds.  So how do I decide which park and when?  There are websites out there that analyze data and, sometimes for a fee, will tell you which park, on a daily basis, will have the lowest crowds.  After using these sites (the free ones, of course), I've come to the conclusion that the timing of when you are taking your vacation is more important than the expected crowd levels for each specific day.  For example, if you are going to Disney over Thanksgiving weekend, all the parks will be busy.  Will Animal Kingdom be less busy on Saturday than Magic Kingdom?  Well, maybe, but how much of a difference is it?  If you want fewer crowds and shorter waits, plan your vacation for a slower time.
Also some of reasons why a park may be rated more crowded may be the very reason why you want to visit that park on that certain day.  If there are extra magic hours or nighttime parades, parks are usually thrown into the busier category.  But, hey, I want to visit at night during extra magic hours and/or see that parade and fireworks so I don't care that Hollywood Studios is a better bet for crowds because it's mid-September and crowds are lower than mid-July.  Got it?

We are doing a split stay for this trip - 3 nights at the Contemporary and 3 nights at the Yacht Club.  That mainly dictated our park days and restaurant choices. Here's what we have for reservations thus far:


  • Chef Mickey's Fun Time Buffet Breakfast (Contemporary)
  • Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast at Cape May Cafe (Beach Club)


  • Fairytale Dining at Cinderella's Royal Table (castle, Magic Kingdom)
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby (Hollywood Studios)


  • Cinderella's Happily Ever After Dinner at 1900 Park Fare (Grand Floridian)
  • Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria (Epcot)

I actually completely forgot about Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom.  Completely forgot.  I made all of our reservations and a week went by and then I realized that I hadn't even thought about that restaurant.  I did check for open dinner ADRs and there was nothing.  So that's not happening.  Well, I could keep checking but we're pretty settled with what we have right now.

I originally reserved lunch at Crystal Palace for one of our Magic Kingdom days and then, a week later, found that Cinderella's Royal Table had openings.  Like a ton of openings.  That restaurant used to be what Be Our Guest is today.  Allie was at a friend's house so I asked Anna and Emily and their friend who was visiting which restaurant they preferred for lunch - Crystal Palace or Cinderella's Royal Table.  The vote for lunch in the castle was unanimous.  I questioned Allie when I picked her up from her friend's and she voted for Cinderella's Royal Table as well.

Our dinner reservation for Via Napoli is the last lunch reservation at 3:50.  I was a bit surprised that there was nothing for dinner, but not a big deal.  That time will work for us for that day.  I have looked for openings at Beaches & Cream but it's been full, which is not a surprise given how small it is.

FastPass reservations will be next but, ugh, I've never been a fan of trying to plan that portion of the trip.  I usually claim I've reached planning burnout and leave that for Rich to tackle.  Hey, I gladly take on all the other planning, so it's only fair.


Cynthia said...

We had breakfast at the Garden Grill at Epcot and it was delicious. It's a character breakfast with Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto, and I wish I could go back for Chip's sticky bun bake (which is pretty much an oversized cinnamon roll and when Chip was hanging out at our table he started serving up more from the dish onto our plates).

Sarah said...

You can do a quick service breakfast or lunch at be our guest. We were able to make a reservation for this (yes, as a quick service)... I think it was 30 days out though. I would see where it stands. It was yummy, especially for only needing to use quick service credits too!!

Melanie said...

If you already know which parks you are doing on which days then the tough part of the planning is already done. The fast passes will be a piece of cake. One tip, book the earlier time slots in the fast passes because after you use them, you can get more. Also, make sure you have the app on your phone.

I love reading your Disney posts - we go quite a bit and the planning wears me out too! I'm interested to hear your review of the hotels! Love the restaurants you chose. Via Napoli is my husbands favorite and The Beach Club breakfast is always a hit with our daughter.

BreezieGirl said...

I did Be Our Guest for breakfast when I was there in February - the restaurant was beautiful and the food was good, but for some in our party they found that their food was only lukewarm (like it had been sitting under a heat lamp too long). We didn't have a single duplicate order in our party of 8 and everyone seemed pleased. If you do add it (for breakfast or otherwise), I recommend taking advantage of ordering in advance if it is offered for that meal time. The app menu and website menu were different which was confusing (and we really wanted waffles which were only showing on the app), so my party didn't. As it turned out the waffles were gluten-free so they were on the allergy menu so we just weren't seeing it.

Sarah said...

Unfortunately, Be Our Guest for lunch or breakfast doesn't fit into our schedules for our days at Magic Kingdom - mostly because of other meals planned. We did eat lunch there years ago.