Disney Dining Reservations
The Disney World resort is loaded with world-class dining establishments. All four parks have exceptional dining experiences, and you’ll also find great restaurants at many of the Disney resorts. Due to the success of the Disney Dining Plan, it can be difficult to snag a reservation at the most popular resorts. It can be ESPECIALLY difficult if you are staying during the busiest Disney periods, such as the summer months, Thanksgiving or Christmas. Let’s walk through how to get the best disney dining reservations for your family.
First, you need to get familiar with the process of booking dining reservations, so that you can quickly make them when it’s time. If you are on the computer trying to figure out the My Disney Experience system, while trying to book some great restaurants, you’ll likely get quite confused. Learn the system first, and then you’ll be prepared to book.
You Need to Book 180 days in advance
If you have resort reservations, you will be able to book reservations for restaurants 180 days in advance. Phones open at 7am ET, and for some restaurants, you’ll need to start calling a minute before and continuously pressing re-dial until you get through. The phone number to call is (407) WDW-DINE. Alternatively, you can try to reserve a table online on Disney’s My Disney Experience website. I would recommend trying to book online, as you can book online at 6am ET. That hour headstart is huge during busy times and can get you tickets to the most exclusive restaurants!
Disney Resort Guests get 10 extra days!
Many guests don’t know this, but you can actually call 180 days before Day 1 of your stay, and book for your entire stay, up to a maximum of 10 days.
Disney Dining Tip: Try and book the hard to get reservations towards the end of your stay. For example, if you are staying 7 days, the final day you are there will be booked 187 days in advance. This reduces the number of people trying to get dinner reservations for that day.
Disney Dining Tip: Are you planning on arriving on a Saturday? Most Disney World guests arrive on Saturday. If possible, try to begin your disney stay on a Friday! This will give you a one day advantage over the crowd! Despite that advantage, be on your computer at 6am sharp to make sure you can get a reservation. This trick makes a BIG difference.
Mousehint: When booking, use multiple computers, get your spouse to help, recruit kids, make it “all hands on deck”. Make sure and book the hard to get restaurants first. Organization is key on “restaurant booking” morning, especially during peak periods of the year.
Making Reservations inside the 180 day window
Perhaps you forgot about the 180 days, you miscalculated, or maybe you’ve even decided to take a last-minute trip to Disney and are well inside the 180 days. Is there still a chance of getting a reservation? Of course, although admittedly it could be difficult for exclusive restaurants.
The key is to continue checking. I find calling on the phone all day to be a little bit annoying. For me, online checking is much easier.
You can just keep a browser window open, and check every couple hours, every hour, or even every 15 minutes depending on your level of Disney OCD!
Disney Dining Tip: A great time to pick up reservations is actually while you are on vacation in Disney World. Many people carry multiple reservations, but will cancel them within the last week once they are onsite at Disney. The reason reservations are cancelled is that there is usually not a penalty unless you cancel within 24 hours. Due to this, many people will cancel in the day or two leading up to that 24 hour deadline.
The good thing is, this gives you something to do while waiting in line! Many excellent reservations are cancelled at the last minute, so if there’s a particular restaurant that you don’t have a reservation for, keep trying!
Finally, many people have had success walking up to restaurants without reservations, getting put on a waiting list, and getting in within an hour or so. I would never bank on walking in to the busiest restaurants. But restaurants want to make money and last minute cancellations do happen all the time, so its definitely worth a try if it’s not too out of the way.
One More Thing…
If this is just too much for you, we have some travel agents that can make the whole thing a breeze! Give them a try today!
Hopefully these tips can help your family to enjoy your time at Disney and grab those hard-to-get reservations!
Next, it’s time to get some of our best Disney World tips.
By: Ryan Shade