Tips To Help You Get The Most Popular Dining Reservations At Disney World!
With over 200 restaurants to choose from at Disney World there are so many amazing dining options to enjoy! But getting a dining reservation for some of these Disney World restaurants can be difficult!
Now with limited capacity in the restaurants at Disney World it can be harder than ever to score the best dining reservations.
Here are some top tips to help you try to get those hard-to-get dining reservations!
Set Up Your My Disney Experience Account Ahead Of Time
Your My Disney Experience account is where you can manage all of your Disney World reservations, including for your Disney World Resort, your Park Pass reservations and your Disney dining reservations.
If you haven't already got a My Disney Experience account be sure to set one up before you start trying to book your dining reservations. It only takes a few minutes and is simple to do.
Add a credit card to your account to speed things up when booking your dining reservations. A credit card is needed as a guarantee for the reservation.
If you are unable to attend your reservation please cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the $10 cancellation fee. You can cancel via the My Disney Experience website and app or by phoning Disney.
Plan An Itinerary In Advance So You Know What To Book
Plan an itinerary for your trip in advance of booking your dining reservation so you can easily know where you will be eating each day to make booking reservations easier.
Try to book restaurants close to where you will be visiting that day. Oftentimes people will book to eat at a restaurant in the park they are visiting that day but don't forget there are also amazing restaurants at the Disney resorts, with many being very close to the parks! You can easily grab breakfast before your park day, pop out of the parks for a break at lunchtime or dine at the end of your day in a Disney Resort restaurant.
Some of the closest Disney Resorts to each of the Disney World Parks are:
Contemporary Resort - Monorail or Walk
Grand Floridian Resort - Monorail or Walk
Polynesian Village Resort - Monorail
Wilderness Lodge - Boat
Fort Wilderness - Boat
EPCOT and Hollywood Studios
Caribbean Beach Resort - Skyliner
Riviera Resort - Skyliner
Pop Century Resort - Skyliner
Art of Animation Resort - Skyliner
BoardWalk Inn - Boat or Walk
Beach Club Resort - Boat or Walk
Yacht Club Resort - Boat or Walk
Animal Kingdom Lodge - bus from Animal Kingdom Park
Planning your itinerary can often be the most difficult part of planning your Orlando trip. Take the stress out of this by using my handy Itinerary Planner to help you easily create your own! This planner contains 3 different templates for you to fill in to create the itinerary for your entire trip, a daily itinerary planner and an hourly planner. Also included is an example sheet so you can see just how to create your own!
Use A Computer Rather Than A Mobile Device
You are able to book dining reservations using the Disney World website on a computer or by using the My Disney Experience app on a mobile device. It is easier to book using a computer or laptop, so this is always the method I recommend to get the best chance of getting the most sought after reservations.
Booking using the Disney World website enables you to open up separate tabs in your browser for each of the restaurants you wish to book. This will really speed things up. You can also fill in the details for your reservation before they open. Then all you need to do is refresh. These precious seconds really make a difference!
The My Disney Experience app works slightly differently than the website. In the app the usual way to book a dining reservation is by clicking 'Check Dining Availability'. You then add how many people, the date and the time of day you wish to dine. It then comes up with a list of all the available restaurants. This can waste a lot of time and make it difficult to find the reservations you are looking for.
Due to this whilst scrolling to find the restaurant you want to dine in you may miss out on the difficult to get reservations to people using a computer who already had the exact restaurant they wanted to dine in open and all the details pre-filled out.
The app is super handy when you are already at Disney World for finding last-minute reservations. As people's plans change reservations for hard to get restaurants can open up as they cancel. Looking at the app to try to score these last-minute reservations is a great option if you couldn't get a reservation for the restaurant you wish to dine in before your trip.
Start Booking Exactly At The 60 Day Mark
You can start booking your Disney World dining reservations 60 days in advance. This used to be 180 days in advance but with the operational changes, Disney put in place since reopening last July this is now 60 days.
Reservations open at 6am EST so set an alarm clock to be ready!
If you are staying on-site:
If you are staying at a Disney World Resort you can book up to 10 days of your trip at a time. If you are staying longer than 10 days you will need to log in on subsequent days to book your final dining reservations.
One of the biggest benefits to staying at a Disney World Resort is that at the 60-day mark you can book up to 10 days of your trip at once! This is a massive advantage and gives you the best chance of getting the hard to get reservations.
Book the harder to get dining reservations later into your trip for the best chance of getting the reservation. This is due to less people being able to book those dates.
If you are staying off-site:
If you are staying off-site at a hotel in Orlando you can book your dining reservations 60 days in advance but will need to do this each day for your trip. If you have a 5 day trip planned you will need to book each day individually over 5 days.
In this case try and book the hardest to get dining reservations early on in your trip. If you don't manage to get the reservation you will then be able to try again for a date later in your trip.
Book your reservations in order of difficulty to get not by date order!
Some of the hardest to get restaurant reservations currently are:
Cinderella's Royal Table
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theatre
Yak & Yeti Restaurant
Kona Cafe (breakfast)
The Wave...Breakfast at California Grill
Log In To Your My Disney Experience Account 10 Minutes Before
This makes sure you are ready ahead of time and can start booking the second reservations open.
Open Up Tabs To The Restaurant Webpages You Want To Book.
Try to avoid the option where you select the date and time and then the Disney website tells you what is available.
The better option is to open up a tab for each restaurant you wish to dine individually. This will allow you to fill in all the details for this specific restaurant which really speeds up the process and helps you get the best chance of booking the hard-to-get reservations.
You can visit all the restaurant pages, plus look at the menus, check out the prices and view opening hours, on the dining section of the Disney World website.
Enter Your Reservation Information Before 6am
A little hack is that the Disney World website lets you add all the details into the 'Make Reservation' page, such as the date you wish to dine, number of diners and the time you'd like to book, before the reservations open up. This is super handy because as soon as the clock strikes 6am you can just press refresh and book!
Select A Specific Time Rather Than A Sitting
Be sure to select a specific time to dine rather than just selecting the breakfast, lunch or dinner option.
Don't worry that you will be limiting your choices this way. The website will give you a range of times closest to your selected time!
Start Refreshing The Page 30 Seconds Before
Your computer time may be out of sync with government time so start refreshing early so you can book the second reservations open!
Be Flexible With Times
To score the hardest to get reservations be flexible with your meal times. An early or late sitting will give you a better chance of getting a reservation. Peak hours for dining will be the hardest to get.
Book The Hardest To Get Reservations First
If you are booking multiple restaurants you don't need to book in chronological date or time order. In fact it is much better to avoid this!
Book the hardest to get reservations first as these time slots will disappear the fastest.
Have A Backup
Have a back up plan! For example if you want to dine at Ohana and the date you wanted wasn't available try and book for another date during your trip. If you can swap days around this gives you the best chance of getting the dining reservations you want.
In the meantime have a backup restaurant ready to book for that day. If a reservation opens up for Ohana at a later date you will be able to delete your backup restaurant if you wish.
It is always better to have a reservation then not and hold out for a hard-to-get reservation. The worst-case scenario would be to end up with no dining reservations so a backup plan is always good to have!
Only Book One Reservation At A Time
When booking you can only do one reservation at a time. If you start to try to book other dining reservations whilst in the process you will lose your slot as it will automatically change to the second restaurant you were trying to book. Make sure you complete one entire booking before moving onto the next to avoid this.
Split Up Booking Between Multiple People
If you have multiple people who are able to book your dining reservations then it can be a good idea to split them up between you and each take some of the hard-to-get reservations so you have the best chance of booking them.
If you were unfortunately unable to get any dining reservations you wanted at the 60-day mark don't panic! There is still plenty of time, and many ways, to get them.
One option is to use the Mouse Dining and Touring Plans websites. Both of these sites can send you notifications when dining reservations become available. They are a brilliant way to see when a reservation becomes free.
Another option is to keep checking the Disney World website or use the My Disney Experience app to see if any reservations have become free. It is a good idea to check at odd times of the day, very early or very late, as not many people will be checking at these times giving you a higher chance of scoring a reservation.
Closer to the date of a trip people's plans change so you find more availability as people start to cancel dining reservations. Typically a week before your trip you will start to see hard-to-get reservations become available.
You can even check on the day of your visit to see if anyone has made a last-minute cancellation!
Disney World has so many amazing restaurants on offer and by using these tips you will have the best chance of getting the dining reservations you want!
Be sure to check out my Reservation Number Planner so you can have all your dining and trip reservation details in one handy document!