How to Make Disney Dining Reservations
The My Disney Experience website allows guests to book restaurants online for themselves and for all other people in their Friends & Family list.
There are a number of cool benefits in the new system, as it relates to dinner reservations. For one, your daily schedule is right there in your MDE account! If a friend books a dinner reservation for you, it will show up. This is a big benefit, because you now have an itinerary for your entire vacation right at your fingertips! Also, whenever a change is made, it will automatically update your reservation, which is very handy.
In this section we will go over how to make a reservation using My Disney Experience, how to change reservations, and we will also provide a few tips that will keep this process from overwhelming you.
When Can You Make Disney Dining Reservations?
180 days before your trip begins, you will be able to login and make your Disney dining reservations. You will be able to book dining reservations for the entire vacation 180 days before your check-in date. You can use this to your advantage if you decide to check in on Friday. Why? Because Saturday is the most popular check-in date. If you can check-in on Friday, you will be one day ahead of the vast majority of resort guests, and you’ll find it much easier to get the difficult reservations.
You can still call (407) WDW-DINE to make reservations, and their lines open at 7am EST. But there really is no reason to call anymore. You also will be an hour behind if you decide to call AND you’ll have to fight to get an available attendant. The online system rolls over at 6AM EST, a full hour before the phone lines.
So if you are looking to book hard-to-get dining reservations, you need to get online at 6AM EST 180 days before your check-in date begins. If you do this, you will likely get the majority of the reservations that you want.
How to Make Dining Reservations with My Disney Experience
When you first login to your Disney account, you’ll see the “Make Dining Reservations” tab. Once you click that, you will find a list of all the restaurants and many options to sort them. You can sort them by Parks & Resorts, you can search for restaurants, and you can scroll down and look at all the restaurants.
We highly recommend that you familiarize yourself with this process BEFORE the 180 day mark.
Searching for Available Reservations
There are two ways to search for available reservations. On the first screen, you can put in the date, time and party size, and click “Find a Table”. This will show you the availabilities for all restaurants in Disney World. If you have an opening for a specific night, and aren’t sure where you want to go, this could be a good option to use. However, if you are trying to get a difficult reservation, you’ll need to take an alternative route to search for openings.
The second way to search is to click on the restaurant that you want a reservation at. You will them come to a screen that gives you details about that restaurant. On the right side, you’ll see a “Check Availability” Tab. In this tab you can choose the time you’d like to pick.
We highly recommend putting in a specific time, rather than just putting in the generic “Lunch, Dinner or Breakfast” choices. Once you find a time that suits your needs, click on the appropriate time.
Choosing Your Dining Party
At this point, it’s pretty self-explanatory. You choose the avatars of the family and friends that will be eating with you. At this point, you will want to have your Family & Friends list complete. However, what if you know that others will be joining you, but they haven’t purchased their vacation? At this point, you can create a guest, and add a generic user account for those individuals. While this is necessary to fill out the reservation, you’ll want to adjust your reservation later on when your friends create their accounts, and add their “real accounts”.
Please note that doing this will create double accounts for people, and could be a bit confusing. So we recommend getting your friends & family list in order in advance of 180 days. But as we know, at times this isn’t possible.
One Note of Caution: If you are online at 5AM in the morning to book reservations, you don’t want to waste time creating dummy accounts for all of your friends. Create the dummy accounts the day before so that you can quickly book reservations in as little time as possible.
Completing Your Reservation
Finalizing your reservation is a straight-forward process, and usually requires a credit card. The CC usually doesn’t pre-charge, but there are a couple restaurants that require full payment, such as Cinderella’s Royal Table. For other reservations, you’ll need to give your CC info, and this will only be charged if you miss your reservation or cancel within 24 hours.
Hopefully these tips can help you quickly and easily arrange your dining reservations using the new My Disney Experience website! In Part 3, we will go over the next stage of planning, as we show you How to Make Fastpass Plus Reservations.
By: Ryan Shade