Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Breakfast at Cindy's

To date, our one and only character dining experience was for lunch last October at Ariel’s Grotto in Disney’s California Adventure. Our trip in October was our very first trip with just the two of us and our first time with an annual pass. We made a point to try some new and different things. Unfortunately, our experience was less than stellar. The room was very crowded with noisy, excited kids, which we should have expected. In addition, we spent the entire meal at the same time worried that we would be ignored by the characters, and fearful that they actually would stop at our table. It was an extremely awkward meal and we ate as quickly as possible. Only one character stopped for just the briefest of visits before moving on to the next table. We vowed never to subject ourselves to this embarrassment again.

So even with that experience still fresh in mind, we decide to book a breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom. The selling point of this eating establishment is that we get to eat in the actual castle. In attendance at this meal are Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother, Snow White, Belle, Sleeping Beauty, and Mary Poppins. Unfortunately, ADR’s for this breakfast are extremely hard to get, filling up within minutes after the call center opens at 7:00 AM. In fact, the more I read about how difficult it was to get ADR’s, the more it became my mission in life to eat there.

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World offers some great advice on how to get those coveted ADR’s for Cinderella’s Royal Table. Bob Sehlinger, the author, offers the following advice:

Verify that your clock is set correctly by visiting the atomic time website and adjusting your clock if necessary. He says the Disney Dining center is about 1 to 3 seconds off from this time.

Call Disney Dining in the afternoon (when it’s the least busy) a few days before your 90-day window begins to make a note of the options on the automated call system in order to speed your way through it when you call back for real, and to verify with the dining representative the actual date that your 90-day window begins.

On the morning that you call, begin dialing a few minutes before 7:00 AM eastern. If you start to hear the recording telling you that the office is closed, hang up immediately and hit the redial button. Continue doing this until the recording changes to the one indicating the office is now open. Quickly work your way through the automated system without listening to the entire recorded message. Once reach the point where you are on hold and listening to Disney music, do not hang up. If you hang up and redial you will just place yourself at the end of the line.

Once the representative gets on the line, do not engage in any phone pleasantries. Instead you should blurt out your request as quickly as possible, i.e., “Cindy’s, May 21, 4 people.” You can apologize for your abruptness after you get your ADR. Do not waste time asking which times are available or you’ll find yourself without an ADR.
Even though Friday (our last full day before we leave) was the day we hoped to eat at Cindy’s, I planned to try to get an ADR each morning I called just in case I wasn’t able to get the day I actually wanted. We could always cancel an unneeded reservation and make someone else’s day.


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