Category Archives: Disney World Dining Tips

How to Get Every Advanced Dining Reservation ADR you want at Walt Disney World!

Guest post by Melissa from

How to Get Every Advanced Dining Reservation ADR you want at Walt Disney World!

When I share with my friends my strategy for making Advance Dining Reservations, they always look at me like I’m crazy. But inevitably when their own trips to Disney World come around they wind up lamenting to me about how when they called for reservations to Cinderella’s Castle or Hoop De Doo Review they were told that the restaurants were booked up.

If you’re wondering to yourself  “who is this person and why should I listen to her about making dining reservations at Walt Disney World?” I don’t blame you. But on our 2013 trip we were able to book not one, but two reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant (which is still really hard to book), Cinderella’s Castle, California Grill (in the first week post-refurbishment), and many, many more. In 2013 we had over 25 Table Service ADRs for our trip, and in 2015 we had the same success, booking over 30, including Cinderella’s Castle for the week it opens after refurbishment!

For those of you unfamiliar, ADRs are “Advanced Dining Reservations”. Disney World restaurants begin taking ADRs 180 days in advance. I wrote a bit about the different steps in trip planning earlier in my Trip Planning 101 post. The big disclaimer from that post that is worth repeating here is that I’m not saying this strategy is right for everyone— I’m definitely a type A over planner, and my level of obsessive pre-planning would probably drive some folks bananas. I know there are lots of families that like to be very flexible and un-scheduled on their vacations. I’m just not one of those people. I like to know what I’m doing, when I’m doing it, and ensure that everyone gets to do as much of their “wish list” as possible. Dining is a big part of our Disney experiences, I’m a big believer in family meal time and many of our favorite memories were made at a character or castle meal. Scheduled meals make a great break from the park, and an opportunity to relax in AC while still technically participating in the Disney experience (especially when we’re talking Character meals). I know that table-service restaurants aren’t as important to everyone, but if experiencing a particular venue is critical to you, I’ve got some tricks that might help you out.

So, with that caveat, I’d like to share with you my “secrets” for getting every dining reservations on our wish list:


You need to make your trip itinerary in advance. I start this months in advance and have the “ideal” schedule buttoned up at least a week in advance of the ADR date. Our plan goes through several revisions as I get feedback from the rest of the family going on the trip. Together, we try to imagine how the days will go, and what risks there are (i.e., the nuts and bolts of getting from place-to-place, meals timed too far apart or too close, etc.). We research travel options between parks to make sure that our expectations are reasonable when making reservations for the same day at two different locations. Continue reading How to Get Every Advanced Dining Reservation ADR you want at Walt Disney World!

My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party


Guest Review by Melissa at 

If you have a little one obsessed with Princesses and/or Fancy Tea Parties, the My Disney Girls’ Perfectly Princess Tea Party is absolutely a must-do. Little girls will enjoy singing, dancing, live piano music, and lots of quality time with Princess Aurora all in the beautiful Garden View Tea Room at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. And gifts! Did I mention gifts? Each child receives the following:

  • A special 18-inch My Disney Girl doll dressed in a Princess Aurora gown plus accessories (little ones can opt for a Duffy Bear instead).
  • A plastic tiara
  • Silver Princess link bracelet
  • Fresh rose
  • Special princess scrapbook page “Best Friend” certificate for their new My Disney Girl doll

Continue reading My Disney Girl’s Perfectly Princess Tea Party

The Garden Grill in the Land Pavilion at Epcot

One of our favorite character meals at Walt Disney World is enjoying dinner at the Garden Grill in Epcot. We have been each of the last two years, and both visits were wonderful. The Garden Grill is in Future World, and the restaurant revolves around scenes from the Living with the Land attraction. The restaurant slowly rotates as you enjoy your meal, and by the time you finish you will have made one full revolution of Living with the Land. The food is served family style and is all you care to eat. Family style means they place all the food on a large platter and you serve yourself from that platter. As you eat your meal, Chip, Dale, Mickey and Pluto will make their rounds and always give plenty of attention to the guests. Prices range from $30 to $59, and most Disney Dining plans are accepted. As with any Disney restaurant, reservations are recommended.

The food at the Garden Grill is delicious, and you can eat until you are stuffed! Chip and Dale’s Harvest starts with a basket of warm bread with maple butter and a harvest inspired farmer’s salad (grown in Epcot!). I had never had maple butter before our trip, and it was amazing! The main entrees include char-grilled filet of beef with red wine butter, roasted turkey breast with lemon caper sauce, and sustainable fish of the day with roasted tomato and pepper compote. The sides are garden fresh vegetables and caramelized onion mashed potatoes and dessert is harvest skillet cake with vanilla bean whipped cream. If you love something on the menu, all you do is ask for more, and believe me, we asked for more! The filet of beef and mashed potatoes were my favorites because they were so flavorful, but my husband was a huge fan of the fish. I think he even had thirds. It was perfectly cooked and flaky, and seasoned to perfection. Our kids really enjoyed the kid’s meal that included oven baked drumsticks, sweet potato fries, broccoli and macaroni and cheese. We all left full and happy!

What stands out in my mind about the Garden Grill was that, while it isn’t the most updated and trendy restaurant, it was the most relaxed character dining experiences we had at Walt Disney World. The restaurant wasn’t very crowded during our last visit, so the characters came around to see us several times during our meal, signed autographs and took pictures with our family.  After Mickey’s third trip around to visit us, he started getting very silly and even took “selfies” with us. Those stand out as my favorite pictures from last year’s trip because they are so unique and just summed up a wonderful character meal. The staff was wonderful in taking care of us, the characters were so funny and attentive, and the food was delicious. It was such a great restaurant that I recommend it to all my friends who are visiting Walt Disney World. If you are heading to Epcot, I hope you will give the Garden Grill a chance, and that you love it as much as we did!

°o° Amy

About the author: Amy lives in Alabama, and is a wife, mom to two boys, Auburn alumnus and card carrying Disney fanatic. She blogs about all things Disney at Memory Makin’ Moms.

If you are interested in submitting restaurant guest reviews, contact me at kennythepirate(at)gmail(dot)com