Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

*This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase via our links, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you*

Updated for 2017!

If you plan your Disney day around food – when-to-eat, what-to-eat, always trying to save $$ on what you pay, then you just might be a Cheapskate Princess. If you are putting thought into making reservations for vacation meals, then you need to make some be sure to make an “ADR,” otherwise known as an Advanced Dining Reservations. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from, and anyone – regardless of where you are staying – can make them in advance.  

Want to Save Money on Food at Disney? Two Words: Kid’s Meals!

What is an Advanced Dining Reservation?

Advanced Dining Reservations are just that; it’s a reservation for a meal you will eat in advance of when you reserve it. ADRs reserve you a space for Disney restaurants and dinner shows that accept reservations. This won’t move you to the front of the line upon your arrival, but it does reserve your party a seat when one becomes available. If you walk up without a reservation, you may not get a seat.

Can you make ADRs at all dining establishments?

No. Select restaurants at the four theme parks, resort hotels and Disney Springs take reservations. Certain dinner shows and special dining events also take reservations. However, lounges and quick-service restaurants do not.

You Need a Credit Card to make ADRs

Disney holds reservations with a credit card guarantee, which is new if you haven’t been to Disney World in several years. If you are calling by phone, have a credit card handy. You can also enter your credit card information in My Disney Experience in advance. If for some reason you do not show up to your reservation or cancel within 24 hours of your reservation, your credit card will be charged $10 a person.

If you are booking a dinner show like Hoop-de-doo Revue Spirit of Aloha) or dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella’s Castle, you will be charged in advance for your meals.

How do I make an ADR?

The Disney Reservation Center is available by phone from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Just call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). Reservation availability for select Walt Disney World restaurants typically begins each day at approximately 5:45 a.m. so set your alarm and get up early.

All newly introduced dining events—such as special dining experiences and dessert parties—can typically be booked beginning at 7:00 a.m. on the day their offers become available.

You can also make dining reservations by phone of computer. Simply long into the My Disney Experience account; under the Things to Do tab, just choose “Make Reservations.”

Read: How to Score Free Drinks at Disney World’s Epcot!

When can I make my ADRs?

On Property Guests:

Guests staying on Disney-owned property can make Advance Dining Reservations 180 days in advance, for up to 10 days of your vacation, which gives you a big advantage over other Disney diners. One phone call, and you can schedule all of your dinner reservations during one call for 10 days length of stay.

When calculating ADR dates, WDW guests should use their check-in dates, as opposed to using your preferred dining date. You should be prepared to give your reservation numbers in order to book your ADRs all at once.

And it’s a good idea NOT to miss that 180 window, because some of the more popular restaurant reservations will fill up fast. 

Off Property Guests:

If you are not staying on Disney property, you can make your dining reservations 180 days in advance of your preferred dining dates.  The bad news is you will need to make your reservations for each day of your vacation individually, and that means one day at a time, starting 180 days out.

All the Downtown Disney Hotels, the Swan and Dolphin, and Shades of Green are not owned by Disney, even if they are on Disney property, so they will not qualify for the “180 day plus 10” perk.

What if I need to cancel my reservation?

Cancel your ADRs as soon as you know you won’t be able to use the reservation. Just call 407-WDW-CNCL, or you can cancel your reservations at Disney Dining and Reservations, or you can talk to someone in person at any resort front desk, restaurant podium, or any guest relations location.

Remember, if you cancel a reservation, your previously scheduled reservation time will immediately be made available to another guest.

Read: To Save Money on Food At Disney, Bring This Bottle With You

Chef Mickey's character meal, ADR for Chef Mickey's character meal, why make ADRs, how to make ADRs at Disney, Disney Advanced Dining Reservations

The BEST Disney World Snacks to Share!


1. It’s a good idea to arrive 15 minutes before your scheduled ADR.

2. If you are using the Disney Dining Plan, free or paid, you should make ADRs for any table service meals, character meals, and restaurants with buffets. You’ll get the most band for your food bucks this way. 

3. Check the WDW park calendar to determine which parks have Extra Magic Hours, in case you want to dine early or late. However, remember that park hours are always subject to change since they are set six months in advance.

4. Because of all the free dining participants, restaurant reservations fill up fast. Be ready with alternate restaurant options available in case your time and place is booked up.

5. If you are using a Travel Agent, they can make your dining reservations for you online or over the phone.

6. You are not permitted to make more than one reservation for each meal, with no two dining reservations within two hours of each other.

Want to Save Money on Food at Disney World? Ziplocs Can Save You Cash!

And there you have some basic information regarding how to use Advanced Dining Reservations to ensure your family enjoys the character meal they have been dreaming of. If you will miss out on the Free Disney Dining offers in the fall, as I do every year, then I feel your $ pain $. If you are one of the lucky Mickey fans that do eat for free, have a Mickey waffle for me!

To see more of our Cheapskating Guidesuse this link.

Amanda Major Cheapskate Princess


Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


Now let our vacation planner help you plan your trip, totally for FREE!

Earn $20 Rewards for Vacation Referrals!

Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from Mike Ellis, our Disney Vacation Planner with Pixie Vacations.

Call Mike at 919-606-6725 or e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.

Amanda Major CheapskatePrincess.comAmanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.

Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast. 

We hope we can help save you some money too. Use this link for a free no obligation vacation quote from our Travel Consultant with Pixie Vacations, Mike Ellis. You can also e-mail him at mike@pixievacations.com.