STEP 5: AT 7:00AM SPEAK TO A PERSON / EVENTS
I understand that not everyone can/wants to make reservations online, and I respect that. But making online reservations does give you an advantage. I’ve seen for myself reservations that were available at 6:00 online are no longer available by 7:00 when the phone lines open up. I try to get everything I possibly can within the 6:00-7:00 window, and then at 7:00 I’ll call up the phone lines and get those last tricky reservations and the Events reservations.
When calling at 7:00, the advice I’ve read is that you should start calling at 6:55 and keep hitting redial until it goes through because they might actually open at 6:59. (IMO, this just means your clock was slow, because I’ve never gotten through before 7:00 on the button). A good tip that’s worked for me, however, is that when you reach the recording and it asks whether you are in the Orlando area, go ahead and say that you are. This doesn’t put you into a different queue, but it does let you bypass some scripted marketing stuff and gets you into the queue that much faster. Remember what I said about seconds? Try WHOLE MINUTES! This tip could make the difference between getting right into a rep or waiting a long, long time on hold.
Events (like the Pirates League and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique) can’t be booked online and so these have to wait until 7:00 when the phone lines open up. Something to keep in mind: if you call Disney Dining they can only help you with making Dining reservations, but if you call the Event number they can do BOTH events and dining, so you should call them if you need to make both types of reservation, otherwise you’re going to have to sit on hold twice (once for Events then, at the conclusion that that call, you’d have to call Dining and start the whole process over).
Booking the Events at 7:00 after making the dining reservations at 6:00 online worked well for me since several of the experiences we want are tied to meals: for example, we wanted to time the BBBoutique makeover for only a few hours before dinner, and certainly if we hadn’t been able to book the dinner at the castle we wouldn’t have wanted to book the Boutique. Same story with the Pirate League appointment and the Pirate and Pals Fireworks Voyage reservation.
The experiences tend to take longer to book because the representative has to read through all the details and gather payment and attendee ages, etc. for each event, so be sure that your dining is all done first before you start booking these.
I’m happy to report that for the second trip in a row we were able to get everything on our wish list at the times that we wanted by following the above steps. The entire process took about three hours, however— I was up at 5:30 and wrapped up with the experiences cast member at around 8:30! When ADR day falls on a weekday, I usually schedule to take the morning off and get into work late.
I wait until AFTER the 180 day mark, once the reservations are set, to add up how many Table Services we need and to make a decision about which dining plan we’ll get (if any). You can add the Dining plan to your trip up until 48hrs before check-in so I prefer to know exactly what I’ll be spending based on the reservations we got before I commit to the Deluxe or Standard plans.
But what if you aren’t able to get everything you wanted on ADR Day? There are a few reservations that we had to keep calling about— they’re not making reservations for Cinderella’s Castle yet because of the refurbishment, and they don’t have the schedule for the Pirate and Pals Fireworks Cruise, so this is where persistence comes in. If you have one or two important reservations that you weren’t able to get (either because of refurbishment or because they filled up) you should keep calling, at least weekly if not daily. You don’t need to call at 6am, but make sure you are calling regularly (even and especially right up to the day before and the day of your desired ADR) because people do cancel reservations all the time! I’ve had two experiences booking ADRs for restaurants that are closed for refurbishment, which I’ve written about over on my blog, in case you need some tips on what to do if the restaurant you want is closed (but will reopen during your trip).
I tried to be as thorough in describing my process as I could be, but it’s definitely possible I might have missed something or been unclear. If you have questions, feel free to ask! I wish you all the best of luck in scheduling your Disney Dining! :-)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Melissa has a new blog called PrincessRants that covers all things princessy—- from Disney Trip Tips to Costume Reviews, Crafts Projects, Frozen-themed Parties, App Reviews and more! If it’s got a tiara attached to it, chances are she’s seen it / done it / and has thoughts to share!
She has written here on my blog previously about her experience attending the My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party.