Yet Another Rumor: Disney Dining Moving Back To 180 Day Booking Window

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We hear from a source inside Disney that they’ll be moving back to a 180-day booking window for sit-down restaurants, possibly around November, due to guest demand. We could be completely wrong.

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Posted on July 15, 2009

31 Responses to “Yet Another Rumor: Disney Dining Moving Back To 180 Day Booking Window”

  • BOO! I’m definitely not a last minute WDW traveller but I do sympathize with them because there are quite a few of the out there. The 90 day window along with online booking is PERFECT in my opinion. Especially because you’re, generally, not having to guess at park hours, EMH’s, Fantasmic showings, special event dates, etc, etc, etc. This is a step in the wrong direction. How many people do you know have had to change dining reservations due to park hour changes or dates of special events?

  • by [ this is jerry ] on July 15, 2009, at 3:39 pm EDT

    Bummer. I agree with bdtracey.

    • Yep, this is a bad idea unless they’re going to post park hours 180 days out, too. If you know what days you’re going to be in the parks, then you can have more certainty in booking your ADRs at certain places.

      But if they leave posting of park hours at 90 and allow ADRs at 180, you’re going to get a lot of folks booking “just in case” ADRs and it’s going to create a lot of no-shows and other confusion.

      There’s no perfect system given the number of folks chasing ADRs now with the Disney Dining Plan (and the free version that’s offered seasonally). But IMHO leaving the ADR window at the same time that park hours are posted is the better way to go.

  • If it’s true….yippee! I usually book more than 6 months out and it was a big pain competing with everyone else at 5 am cst to get a ADR. I also think they should give those of us who like book early some incentive to book early to continue to do so.

  • I think its great! I’m a planner and like booking 6months in
    advance

  • I personally think that they should reduced the time frame at which to book to 30 days. There is simply no need to have it any greater than that. In addition I think that 40% of the tables should be kept for same day bookings and walkups.

    I had some friends go to WDW for the first time last year and the only comment was they couldn’t get a table to eat at. I have to agree with them. There seem to be far too many people booking in advaced multiple locations ruining it for everyone else. Disney need to find a way to stop this. It’s simply selfish behaviour.

    Sorry rant over, but I feel that Disney dining is getting out of control!

    • bdtracey, that’s an excellent point. I wonder if Disney will start posting park hours six months in advance again, to help people plan their dining options.

      Great thought! Thanks very much.

      • So what if they decided to start posting park hours 6 months in advance. We all know park hours are subject to change based on the crowds. And they don’t really know how many people are really coming to their parks and hotels till 45 days before a date. The date in which all of the money for a trip is due.

        Honestly, 45 (or 44) days for ADRs would probably be perfect. That way, they know how many people exactly will be staying in the hotels for any given date.

        Just a thought.

  • I love the advance booking time. It prevents me from waiting two hours for a table and taking valuable time out of my vacation. I love the 180 days as I am a planner and enjoy having less stress involved in making my dining decisions. I had more stress over booking my upcoming trip ADR’s than I ever had in the past and still had a hard time getting what times I wanted (and I was online at 4:45 CST local time to get ready for the 6:00 EST online booking system. The calendars weren’t up and I still had to make some changes as Disney didn’t post Oct calendars until July 8th. I guess either 180 or 90 is fine, as long as Disney posts calendars to go along with it. Anything less than 90 is crazy though. When you’re going to Disney, it takes planning. Period. If you don’t plan ahead for dining, then you’re asking to not get choices.

  • by Otis Godfrey on July 16, 2009, at 6:49 am EDT

    I to am a person who likes everything in place long before I go to WDW. The 180 days is a must for a person like me. I hate getting everything set, and then having to wait…wait…wait to make ADR.

  • I hope this is true! I like the incentive given to book early. And having just joined DVC, we’re always going to have our dates booked at least 7 (if not 11) months in advance anyway. Not looking forward to making the 90 day call at the end of August for our end of Nov/beginning of Dec trip.

  • When I first heard about the switch from 180 to 90 days, I was not in favor of it, but in booking my most recent trip I actually found it beneficial, less stressful, and I actually haven’t needed to “tweak” any reservations like I did in past trips.

    * First, the park hours and Fantasmic times were not even released until a few days before my 90 day window opened up. If I were to try and book dining dining 6 months out, it would been pure speculation and I’d have been forced to scramble and change reservations at the 90 day mark anyway to try and accommodate special events like these.

    * While I’m a big planner, my parents aren’t. Last year they didn’t plan to join us on our trip until 4 months out (well inside the 180 day mark). At this time I had to scramble to change many of the reservations I worked so hard to make during the earlier reservation window.

    To wrap this up, the shorter booking window allows me to have a better picture of whats going on in the parks during the days I’m making my reservations and also allows me to make plans with others who aren’t as “compulsive” as me.

    • The first reason you mentioned, fazdevils, is the main reason why I was frustrated with the 180-day ADRs. I’m obsessive about planning enough that I enjoyed making them early, but with park hours (and, more importantly, shows and other extras) being scheduled much later, making ADRs in advance can really throw a monkeywrench in things for short (< 1 wk) trips if you want to see certain things.

  • I like that idea! Since so many fewer folks were willing to plan their ADRs 180 days in advance, it really helped those of us who are willing to plan in advance to get those hard to get reservations like Le Cellier. With the current 90 day window, it seems like there are many more people all competing for reservations at the same time. I do agree with the previous poster that I hope Disney does go back to releasing park hours 6 months in advance if they do switch back to a 180 day window.

  • I really like 90 day adr window. There isn’t the stress to figure out where I want to eat 6 months in advance or have park hours change so I have to struggle to change adrs. I think going back to the 180 day window might cause people to book more adrs then they need sometimes even for the same time slot. So they know that no matter what they want to eat 6 months from now, they have somewhere to eat.

    • Agreed, my gut tells me that the uncertainty that come with planning so far in advance would lead to more abuse.

      I wonder if the folks here or at Disney have any statistical evidence to say if this is true or not.

      • I just wanted to ask: how would you measure this (that the shortened ADR window leads to less ADR abuse)?

        Could you look at the frequency of missed or canceled ADRs as an accurate barometer of this behavior?

  • by George Turner on July 16, 2009, at 6:34 pm EDT

    While I like planning ahead 180 days is a bit much especially if park hours aren’t posted.

  • Personally, I am usually more interested in the dining aspect of my trip than regimenting park visits. I would be happy to be able to book 6 months out again, since I will likely know what restaurants I want to visit by that point. Even Len & Fred have noted that it is more important to secure the ADRs you want, than to worry about recommended parks, etc.

  • I would really like to see two dates for ADRs. Resort guests should be able to make ADRs before it opens up to the public. I called on my 90 day window, waited on the phone for over an hour and still wasn’t able to get Le Cellier for any day that week at any time! Disappointing!!

    I agree that we do need to have park hours released in order to make ADRs and prevent abuse.

    • Actually, resort guests can make ADRs before the general public. Resort guests can call to make ADRs 90 days from their arrival time and make reservations for 10 additional days.

      For instance, if your 90 day window allows you to make reservations for Sept 1 you can make reservations for dates up to September 11.

      By using this strategy, resort guests have an advantage in getting harder to book reservations for days later in their trip.

  • I think 180 days is a good windows. As DVC members we can book our stay 11 months out and usually do to secure the room we want. Having to wait and battle all the late planners, and free dining recipients feels almost like a punishment, especially when we don’t get those few ADRs that go so fast.

  • I love the 180 day window. I started booking my next trip at the start of the 90 day window and 3 of choices were already sold out! Give me 180 any day of the week!

  • Disney needs to require a credit card to make any ADRs. If the patron does not keep the ADR, a nominal fee needs to be charged to the credit card ($5.00 to $20.00 per person depending on the restaurant and the time of year). Disney will always have the discretion to reverse the charge if there is a legitimate reason why the ADR is not kept.

    If 180 is too far and 90 is not far enough, what about 120?

  • I’ve got two young girls, ages 5 and 3, and I’ve learned that they develop so rapidly that I cannot predict what they will be like 6 months from now. A 180 day booking window for reservations may mean that I’m booking a Winnie the Pooh character meal when they’ve since moved their interests to the princesses. I like the 90 day window better simply because it gives me a better idea of what they are most likely to be interested in when we go on our vacation.

  • I like the 90-day window better than the 180-day window. However, as a timeshare owner (non-DVC, offsite), I find it impossible to compete for ADRs with Disney guests and DVC members because of the extra 10 days that they get before “the rest of us” can make ADRs. 180 days vs. 90 days is not going to make a difference to me since I can never get an ADR to a popular restaurant anyway! We are visiting WDW at the end of September, and my children will just have to hear another “I’m sorry kids, I couldn’t get us into Chef Mickey’s again” from me.

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