Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

In relation to Disney Parks but not specific to a single resort

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cy1229
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Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by cy1229 » Jun Wed 08, 2016 12:04 pm

This was in the Trip Planning forum, but I'm excerpting it because I have a non-trip planning point to make with it.
theBIGyowski wrote:Got up bright and early to make ADRs this morning...

Our top 3 choices were all unavailable. HUGE bummer.

1) Lunch at Chef Mickey's
2) Lunch at BOG
3) Dinner at Coral Reef

Day 4 of our trip is our non-park day...so we were planning on doing lunch at Chef Mickey's. At freaking 6:01 AM...completely booked up for breakfast and lunch. Unbelievable. I was able to book breakfast on our very last morning...but we're planning on being at MK that morning for a few hours before leaving for home. So this tentative ADR is only there as a last resort.

Day 2 is our MK day. We'll be there in the morning for rope drop and then leaving around 4:00 PM when the MVMCP folks start showing up. We were hoping to eat lunch at BOG...but of course it was unavailable. That is insane. At 6:00 AM this morning this was the first ADR I tried to get. I am near speechless. So I eventually found a breakfast ADR for 9:45 AM and grabbed that in hopes that a lunch ADR opens up over the next 180 days. The park opens at 9:00 AM that day so we were hoping to get all of our must-do attractions in before lunch at BOG. Not sure that is possible now.

After leaving MK at 4:00 PM, our plan is to head over to Epcot. We're hoping to do a few rides and then eat dinner at Coral Reef. So at 6:03 AM this morning I tried to get an ADR. Either Disney hasn't opened up Coral Reef for ADRs in December yet (haven't been able to find that anywhere online so far) or every single ADR for every hour of the day has already been booked for Coral Reef from Dec 1-10. I am hoping it is the former and not the latter because we really want this ADR for our kids (age 2 & 4). Just to be safe, I booked an ADR for San Angel Inn for dinner that night so we'd have a place to eat that is fun. I booked an ADR for lunch for San Angel Inn for the following day since it is our official Epcot day and we were already planning on eating lunch there. I'm hoping Coral Reef opens up and I can change the ADR to that.

We were able to get all of our other ADRs. I'm going to try out the WDW Reservation Finder on TouringPlans.com to see if they can help me snatch up what we want. Other than that...I'll just be checking the site every day to see if anything opens up and then it's FP+ time at the 60 day mark (10/6/2016).
This REALLY REALLY stinks. It made me think about something...

When I was at DLR in February, I was using a FP to board HyperSpace Mountain. The standby line was pushing 90 minutes. As I cruised on by, a young lady, probably 18 or 19, asked me how much it cost to buy FP's. I explained to her there's no charge, to look for the kiosks, and very briefly how to get them. She said "Oh! I had no idea!"

So BIGyowski's experience combined with my conversation with this young lady makes me wonder what happens to families who decide to go to WDW or DLR and don't know they should plan ahead. There are those people out there. :shock: Imagine the family that saves for awhile, gets a hotel off-site, goes to WDW, and finds they can't really ride half the rides they want, don't know how crowded parks are, and can't find a decent place to eat lunch or dinner. The disappointment and frustration on those parents' part would be overwhelming, I think.

And even when you DO do something right, as in BIGyowski's case, you STILL can't always get the vacation you want. My understanding is there are reservation companies that snag up all the ADR's they can, especially during busy times or special events, and then SELL those reservation times to people. FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS HOLY. THAT irritates me to no end. A family who says "Meh, I'll give up $20 to get the ADR I want" isn't hurt much. But the industry as a whole... the whole thing just makes me angry. It makes me angry that it's come down to having to plan down to the minute what you do in order to have a decent experience when there, and/or fork out even more boatloads of money just to make the vacation go smooth and ensure you get to do the things you want - this after shelling out literally thousands of dollars.

Sorry, this is kind of a ranting frustration, but I know I'm not the only one here who has experienced this frustration, and I'm wondering what, if anything could be done about it, or do we have to start lowering the standards by which we judge our Disney vacations?
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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by theBIGyowski » Jun Wed 08, 2016 2:17 pm

Are there still companies that go and snatch up ADRs? I know there used to be...but I thought Disney put a stop to that. I wouldn't be surprised if it still happens though.

I was able to resolve the first two ADRs, but we still don't have anything for Coral Reef. I was able to find out from the CM on the phone that Coral Reef is just booked solid. To me that is just crazy.

I know a couple in their 50s that went to WDW for the first time as a married couple and they stayed offsite and didn't do any planning at all beforehand. We told them to contact us to get tips...but they never did. They ended up having a rough trip and the only food they consumed on Disney property was a Mickey ice cream bar. How sad is that? All of the amazing dining and food options...and they didn't experience anything. Most of that is their fault for not planning at all, but it's also sad that they will probably never go to WDW again unless with someone else because they had such a poor experience. They don't have any kids either, which makes them the perfect demographic for Disney to go after...because they have money and nothing tying them down.

We're going to break the bank just to go this December and we're only going so our kids can experience WDW and so we can build those family memories. But if Disney is going to make it any harder to create those memories...all while charging a super premium...it's going to be hard to justify going back anytime soon.
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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Wed 08, 2016 2:30 pm

I assume they are saying they checked in at the exact first moment they could book tables, right? It is one of WDW's bigger problems, high demand places that book up the moment the tables are available.

I am wondering if making online reservations available made it worse? I know they charge a fee for cancellations (theoretically you could use a bank of refillable gift/credit cards), but if someone has figured out a way to transfer reservations then there would be a way to sell them. This was a major issue for places in the bay area, startups were specializing in selling reservations for high demand places, which meant unsold tables would be vacant. I've been trying to find a site but it seems to be too low key for a 30 second search.

What is the experience for someone staying off site at WDW if they book tickets in advance? Do they not get access to any of the reservation/FP services? They have been really big on having guests plan out more.

One thing to keep in mind though, since we are talking about Disney parks. You get the level experience you are willing to pay for. Which makes sense when you realize that they immortalized Ayn Rand in the American Experience (one of her quotes apparently grace the walls). :D

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by cy1229 » Jun Wed 08, 2016 3:04 pm

Well I just did a super quick Google search for "Disney ADR" and "Disney ADR purchase" and "Where can I purchase Disney ADR" and got nothing. So theBIGyowski you might be right. I had read a blog some time back (less than a year) that people were snatching up and then selling ADR's but Disney might have shut that nonsense down, in which case, GOOD.
Wizzard419 wrote:...
One thing to keep in mind though, since we are talking about Disney parks. You get the level experience you are willing to pay for. Which makes sense when you realize that they immortalized Ayn Rand in the American Experience (one of her quotes apparently grace the walls). :D
Wizz you're going to have to refresh my memory on this quote. The mind is blank. I blame my kids. :)
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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Wed 08, 2016 3:27 pm

It is from "The Fountainhead", which also has some pretty raunchy sex scenes.

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Pretty much the only way that the places will ever be able to stop filling up so early, while still being able to have somewhat reliable data for staffing and kitchen orders, would be to severely raise prices.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by theBIGyowski » Jun Thu 09, 2016 7:02 am

Anyone can make an ADR at the 180 day out mark...even if you have no intention on ever going to WDW. The only perk that onsite guests get when booking ADRs is you get to book up to 10 days after your start date (the day you are scheduled to check-in at your resort). So, you can make an ADR for a restaurant 185 days from today if your trip starts 180 days from now and you are staying in a Disney resort.

This is the reason I am somewhat perplexed that Coral Reef is booked up for the entirety of my stay (12/5-12/10) because you'd have to be staying on property that week and will be checking in before we do...in order to have access to book an ADR. I know Coral Reef is one of the more popular TS restaurants for families with kids, but I am in shock that it's completely booked up. Of course I am going to keep trying every day to see if someone cancels, but to me it's sad that it's like this right now, 6 months from actually being down there. I honestly think Disney should bring that number back down to 90 or 120 days out because who in the heck wants to pick out what they want to eat 6 months in advance...and to the freaking minute you will eat it?

I remember seeing that Ayn Rand quote the last time we were there in the American Adventure.
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1986: Offsite
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2001: Coronado Springs
2008: Shades of Green / Saratoga Springs (WDW Half Marathon)
2009: Port Orleans French Quarter (WDW Half Marathon)
2010: Port Orleans Riverside (Honeymoon)
2011: Old Key West / Bay Lake Tower
2014: Kidani Village
2015: Old Key West (5th Wedding Anniversary)
2016: Old Key West (Kids' first WDW vacation in December!)

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Thu 09, 2016 2:16 pm

Hmmm, it looks like that time is slightly busier than slowest times (looking at the hours for the parks), which may mean they scaled back the number of seatings they are going to do per night. WDW doesn't officially post any closure/refurb lists do they? I did a check on those and only got 3rd party stuff.

Theoretically, if selling reservations is still a thing but is super underground, a person could book single night at the cheapest location (campground I guess), then get 10 days worth of spaces to book up and later sell. The cost would be about $60. I am trying to recall how the payment system works for WDW, if you would have to be paid in full by 6 months out, then it would be that, if that window is closer to arrival date then you could even get the dining reservations for less. Knowing Disney, the systems probably don't touch, so you could even let the room reservation lapse and it wouldn't cancel out the other one. At the same time, if you were staying off site, $60 for a means of getting a leg up on reservations seems like a reasonable price to pay. Throw in that there may be other groups (vacation bookings/packages, dining packages, etc.) that may take up tables earlier than you can get to them.

I am trying to think if the nicer table service places ever run out of items on the menu. At fine dining establishments it isn't totally unusual to run out of something if people just prefer it that day or the delivery is less than it was supposed to be. The reason I don't count most of the table service places in this is that the ones designed for fast turnover may be utilizing the central plant to produce a large portion of the food so much of it ends up being reheated/finished for service.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Fri 10, 2016 4:39 pm

Did a little deeper check, yep the companies are there. Once Disney is aware of them they change names. But DiS dining agent was one of them, they book up tables and if you pay them $15, they will give their reservation to you. There are also companies that make sniping tools to try and get you tables as soon as they would be free, notify you when spots open up, etc.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by horizons1 » Jun Sat 11, 2016 11:26 am

Seems to me a simple solution would be for Disney to cap ADRs at something less than 100% capacity. They could play with the percentage to ensure they were full but at least some walk-ups wouldn't get turned away.

I feel bad for the couple BIG described because this is what's wrong with Disney parks right now: ADRs and Fast Passes have taken away the magic of discovery. Thinking back to my first trip (solo in 1989) when there wasn't even an Internet forum like this, I was left to my own devices. It allowed me to truly take it all in and be surprised by things around every corner. That's gone now.
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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Sat 11, 2016 4:32 pm

They may already do that, but I am guessing there is no benefit to it. Mainly since they like to be able to plan accordingly and have the correct amount of staff and resources for the day. It is, I suppose, an enviable problem to have, you have places that are literally booked solid for any given timeframe. They try to make more and more alternatives, but they simply cannot keep up with demand. While a vacation like one at WDW requires planning, people used to only take it overboard on their own but now (since it helps Disney so much) it becomes almost mandatory. Presumably it would also add stress since your plans are probably going to slip the moment the day starts.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Amy » Jun Sun 12, 2016 1:43 pm

Did anyone catch this today on the disney food blog? Just a rumor at this point, but I'm guessing they will try it. I wonder if it will help open up a few more table service restaurants if they try this and find they still fill up the dining room without ADRs?
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2016/06/1 ... ilability/

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Wizzard419 » Jun Sun 12, 2016 2:23 pm

I would imagine, if they were to do it, they would only do it for the super popular places. The benefit is that they already knew the place would be at capacity all day, every day. The only problem will be communicating it out to customers. If there is no effective way to tell people that are interested in dining at the places that there are tables open the day of, then the program will probably be ended. I doubt it has much of an impact on income, but it seems like you really can't go to WDW and get the most out of it (in terms of being able to use services, have the largest selection of dining options, etc.) unless you are booking over six months out. I can't imagine someone wanting to book something a few months before they go changing their mind because they can't get dinner at a specific place.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by horizons1 » Jun Wed 15, 2016 3:15 pm

Amy wrote:Did anyone catch this today on the disney food blog? Just a rumor at this point, but I'm guessing they will try it. I wonder if it will help open up a few more table service restaurants if they try this and find they still fill up the dining room without ADRs?
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2016/06/1 ... ilability/
I think The Plaza is one of the restaurants that usually has the most generous walk-up availability. I suspect their location is a factor - they really cannot have all the only walk-up choice in the Plaza be hot dogs at Casey's Corner!
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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by Amy » Jun Wed 15, 2016 5:58 pm

horizons1 wrote:
Amy wrote:Did anyone catch this today on the disney food blog? Just a rumor at this point, but I'm guessing they will try it. I wonder if it will help open up a few more table service restaurants if they try this and find they still fill up the dining room without ADRs?
http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2016/06/1 ... ilability/
I think The Plaza is one of the restaurants that usually has the most generous walk-up availability. I suspect their location is a factor - they really cannot have all the only walk-up choice in the Plaza be hot dogs at Casey's Corner!
So they've had walk-up availability all along then? Guess I kind of glossed over that when I was reading. Yeah, it does seem nice that they would have some same day tables there as an option.

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Re: Two park experiences - forgive me while I gripe a bit

Post by theBIGyowski » Jun Thu 16, 2016 7:15 am

I read the other day that it is extremely likely that WDW is holding back a good portion of tables at the Epcot TS restaurants in November and December because of the Candlelight Processional Dinner Package. So, once those reservations open up, more general tables will open up as well. I don't know that for a fact, but several people who have experienced this before said they believe this to be the case.

It makes sense now why Epcot has so little in terms of ADRs for my travel dates. It also makes sense why I couldn't get any ADRs for Garden Grill either...even when trying to book past 180 days since I got 180+10 for staying onsite.
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1986: Offsite
1997: Offsite
2001: Coronado Springs
2008: Shades of Green / Saratoga Springs (WDW Half Marathon)
2009: Port Orleans French Quarter (WDW Half Marathon)
2010: Port Orleans Riverside (Honeymoon)
2011: Old Key West / Bay Lake Tower
2014: Kidani Village
2015: Old Key West (5th Wedding Anniversary)
2016: Old Key West (Kids' first WDW vacation in December!)

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