Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Online ADR System: Very Efficient and Easy to Use

Today was my first time using the online advanced dining reservation (ADR) system.  Overall, as the title suggests, I found it very efficient and easy to use.  I was trying to make an ADR for 6:30 at the California Grill for exactly 180 days from now.  Now one important thing to know is that the online system opens at 6 am, even though the phone system doesn't start until 7.  I woke up at 5:55, and even in my groggy state, I was able to make the ADR successfully.

First you navigate to the "Make Dining Reservations" page that looks like the image above.  You can search by location, cuisine, dining experience, or specific restaurant.  This is a big improvement over the old system, where you would simply locate a restaurant and cross your fingers.  You can also show only restaurants participating in the Disney Dining Plan, which is interesting.  You then enter the date you want, the time, and the number of people, and click "Search for a Table" when the clock strikes 6.

The system searches a four hour window, and it will show you the times that tables are available.  For me, since a 6:30 reservation was not available, it showed 5:55 and 7:20.  You then click the time you want, and you are taken to the guest information page.  Some restaurants, such as the California Grill, require you to put your credit card information in the system.  If you don't show up for your ADR, your credit card is charged.  This is also where you can indicate if you have special diet needs or food allergies.

Once you submit the guest information, you are asked if you are celebrating anything.  This is what I was most excited about because this ADR was for my birthday!  I simply clicked birthday, put my name in, how old I'm turning, and my actual date of birth, and that was it!  It was super easy.  To make sure it all went through, even though I did get a confirmation email, I went to the "My Reservations" page.  The reservation was already there, which is a huge improvement over the old system.  Clicking "view reservation" pulled up everything, including my celebration.

Overall, I found this system much more efficient than calling.  For one, you can book ADRs at 6 instead of 7.  Also, you don't have to wait on hold, and you don't have to give all of your information until after you've secured the table.  Also, since you can press the search button as soon as it turns 6 am, it goes much faster than calling as soon at it turns 7, then waiting on hold, talking to an agent, and then the agent searching.  I'm really glad that Walt Disney World has this possibility now.  It makes securing ADRs much easier.  For hard-to-get ADRs, keep in mind that if your time isn't available, try searching for more people than you have in your party.  Then, when you arrive, simply say that you're missing two (or however many) people in your party.  The CMs at the restaurant won't bat an eye, and you'll get the ADR time you wanted.

What do you think?  Have you used the new online ADR system?  Do you like it better than the old one?  Do you prefer to call?  Don't make ADRs at all?  Let me know in a comment, a tweet (@discollegeblog), or on Facebook!


  1. Oh good, it shows you your celebration information now. The original online ADR system last year would take it, but wouldn't show it to you when you checked on your reservations later.

  2. The online ADR system is great if you're trying to book at 6am before the phone rush, but beyond that I prefer calling. I used to book dining when I was a cast member, and the system is a little quirky. For instance- you wanted a table at 6:30. You might have asked for a table of 2 at 6:30 and it gave you 5:55 instead; if you had asked for a table of 3 at 6:30 it might have given it to you. Obviously, 2 people can fit at a table for 3. I wouldn't want to put a credit card guarantee down on a table for 3 if you were really a party of 2- this is where a cast member comes in. A helpful cast member knows how to navigate the system to accommodate your needs. This type of issue used to come into play a lot for single diners. Both online and phone are good options for different needs.

  3. Scott, yeah, I was glad that it did. I was worried that something would go wrong, and it wouldn't show up.

    Kerry, I totally didn't think about the credit card guarantee thing. Although today I used the online system and called, and both showed the same info.

  4. I have been trying since the Mickey's Not so Scary parties went on sale to get dining at Tony's during the party. We're going to the last party (Nov 1) & it seemed that there was nothing past 8pm even offered & no availability during the regular dinner hours.

    I knew we had eaten there before during the first parade & couldn't remember we did walk up or not. I had been calling every couple weeks & tried a couple times online. So after reading your article, it made me try again & this time I got it!

    Finally - just got 8:20pm (with a notice saying it is during a special event & separate admission was needed).

    We will request outside when we get there, so should have a nice view of the parade.

  5. YAY, I'm so glad you got it! That's awesome!