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  • I am traveling to WDW in September, probably during the free dining. Do I need to make reservations for lunches at resorts or could I just walk up? We want as much flexibility as possible, but I have a 3 yr old so I also don't want to wait for a long time
  • - Asked by Amanda from North Carolina on 12/10/2013
  • Hi, Amanda!

    I completely understand your desire to be a bit more flexible because you'll have a little one with you on your trip to Walt Disney World; great point!

    However, September features the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which is so popular, some Guests schedule a visit just for this event. This often results in many of the most popular dining locations booking up well in advance. In addition, if you do travel to WDW during Free Dining, imagine how many other Guests will be taking advantage of Free Dining as well; many of them will make Advanced Dining Reservations well in advance of their stays, too...up to 180 days prior to check-in.

    Here's what I recommend: at the 180 days to check-in date, book some ADRs, one per day. Decide which park you'd like to visit each day (I look at park hours, crowd-predictions, variety of park per day) and place a convenient ADR in or close to that park. When my guys were little, we'd book a very early lunch or a very early dinner, so that naps could still take place and tummies weren't yet starving for a meal. On a day with a lunch ADR, we'd visit a Quick Service location for dinner; when dinner was an ADR, Quick Service lunch or breakfast is the way to go. This plan will also cut down on the amount of time you spend waiting IF there is an available walk-up ADR. Plus, if you wait until that day to seek a Table Service location, the only times available may be way too late for your little one.

    Send another question if you'd like advice on booking a plan that works for you, Amanda; I'd love to help!
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Panelists have received/will receive a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland Resort or Disney Vacation Club vacation for panelist and up to three family members and/or park tickets for their participation on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. The views expressed in the Panel are those of the panelists, who are independent contractors. These views are not intended to reflect the opinions of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online, its affiliates, its management, its agents or its employees and have not been reviewed or approved by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Online prior to posting.