Dining is as much a part of the Disney experience as attractions and resorts. Most sit-down establishments on Disney property do take reservations. Some are easy to get, and others are crazy difficult. If you have your heart set on an experience like eating breakfast with Mickey, then you should know the following about Disney’s Dining Reservation system.
#1 Get The My Disney Experience App
The minute after you book a Disney vacation, set up a My Disney Experience account and download the app. You’ll need an account to make reservations online.
#2 Start Early
It’s a good idea to research where you would be interested in eating about 7 months before your trip. Disney takes dining reservations 180 days in advance. For the majority of restaurants, it’s not necessary to book this far in advance, however, if you want to eat at a place like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest, you really DO need to book as soon as your reservation window opens.
Other restaurants that book up quickly include Chef Mickey’s, California Grill, Hoop Dee Doo Review, Ohana, Victoria and Albert’s, Beaches & Cream, Sci-Fi Dine In, 50s Prime Time Café, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Rose & Crown Pub, and Teppan Edo.
Don’t give up hope if you don’t get the reservation you want right away. Keep trying and be willing to eat at an odd time. People cancel reservations all the time. Persistence and flexibility usually pay off.
#3 Do You Need A Reservation?
Some of the hottest and most popular Disney dining locations don’t take reservations. If you find the restaurant you’re eyeing doesn’t take reservations, check to see if a mobile ordering option is available. It will make your visit much more efficient. Mobile ordering allows guests to order online in advance, skip the register, and go directly to a pickup location.
#4 Book Online or By Phone
When you know what dining reservations you want, and your 180-day window opens, you can get online as early at 6 a.m. and start booking. Booking online is definitely easier than booking over the phone, but if you prefer that method the number to call is (407) WDW-DINE and phone lines open 7 a.m.
A perfect time to book by phone rather than online is when you can’t get the reservation you want or you can’t find a table for a large party. When talking with a live person, I’ve been able to grab an odd reservation time (6:35 p.m. instead of 6:30 p.m., for example) or I’ve been able to get two reservations for 4, rather than one reservation for 8. In cases where two reservations are made, Cast Members at the restaurant will do their best to sit your two tables together.
#5 Don’t Make Too Many Reservations
Just because you can book breakfast, lunch, and dinner, doesn’t mean you should. It is really difficult to eat three sit-down meals in one day if you also want to visit attractions, shows, and shop. There just isn’t enough time (or room in your stomach). One reservation a day is a good rule of thumb. Plan to use quick service options for the rest of your meals. If you really want to book two reservations in one day, book breakfast and dinner. Most likely you will be full enough to skip lunch that day.
I hope this gives you the basics for booking a Dining Reservation at Disney. We have more information about dining reservations in our blog entitled, Dining Hack: Avoid Cancellation Charges.
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