Updated April 5, 2023
Dining is as much a part of the Disney experience as attractions and resorts are. 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 3 months before your trip. Disney takes dining reservations 60 days in advance, starting at 6 a.m. online and 7 a.m. by phone. (If you are staying at a Disney resort, once you are 60 days out from the first day of your vacation, you can book for the length of your stay, up to 10 days. That’s a huge advantage.)
For a lot of restaurants, it may not be necessary to book the minute the clock strikes 6 a.m., however, if you want to eat at a place like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest, you really DO need to set an alarm and book as soon as your reservation window opens.
Other restaurants that book up quickly include the new Roundup Rodeo BBQ, Space 220, Chef Mickey’s, California Grill, Hoop Dee Doo Review, Ohana, Oga’s Cantina, Beaches & Cream, Sci-Fi Dine In, and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall.
#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 60-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 talking to a real human the number to call is (407) WDW-DINE. Be aware that phone lines do not open until 7 a.m.
If you have a credit card already linked to your My Disney Experience app, booking is slightly faster when using your smart phone or tablet. For some reason, when booking via the website using a desktop computer or laptop, Disney asks you to enter your credit card information with each new booking. If you are trying to book a week’s worth of reservations, this can be annoying.
Here’s another tip, try calling the phone number if you’re unable to get the reservation you want online 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 sit-down 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 sit-down meals in one day, book breakfast and dinner. Most likely you will be full enough to skip lunch that day.
#6 Cancel Reservations You Can’t Use
Not only is it nice to free up an unneeded reservation for someone else to nab, canceling a reservation you cannot use will save you from being charged a $10 per person no-show fee. Disney’s current cancellation policy allows you to pull the plug up until two hours before you are set to arrive, which is a pretty generous.
#7 Don’t Stress Out
Don’t give up hope if you don’t get the reservation you want right away. Keep checking. People cancel reservations all the time. Persistence and flexibility usually pay off.facebook