Reserving Independent Restaurants Directly
Not all restaurants on Disney property are actually run by Disney. All the table-service restaurants at Disney Springs and the Swan & Dolphin are independent, and there are a handful of others scattered around the parks. While all of them can take reservations via the Disney Dining system, many of them also accept reservations directly . They may actually have availability even when Disney says theyre sold out, because they allocate a portion of their reservation slots to Disney and keep the rest for themselves. This is especially true for large parties many of these restaurants can easily handle a group of 12 or more, but may not bother to make those tables available through Disney you have to call to make a group reservation of that size.
One other advantage to booking directly or via OpenTable is that there is usually no credit-card guarantee or no-show fee to worry about. We dont advocate making reservations you dont intend to use, but its one less thing to worry about if something happens and you cant make your reservation. Keep in mind that while OpenTable typically allows you to cancel with no fee, if you no-show, they will send you a warning, and if you no-show repeatedly they may deactivate your account. And occasionally restaurants will have special cancel policies or will add them during popular times like Valentines Day or Christmas, but special policies, if any, will be explained when you book.
Do You Have To Make Reservations For Disney World Restaurants
Yes and no. If you want to eat in the full-service restaurants, youll almost always need Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations. A walk-up booking can be unlikely for the most popular locations. If you dont want to commit to reservations, then its totally okay to eat at only quick-service dining locations for your entire trip. I did this when I traveled to Disney World alone with my infant. And the meals I had were great!
So, yes if you want to eat in the full-service restaurants, youll need ADR. No, you dont have to make reservations if youre okay with eating all quick-service. And of course if you want to dine with the popular characters at Topolinos Terrace, youre going to need a reservation!
Chances Are Better Toward The End Of Your Trip
This tip is handy for guests staying on-site because on-site guests can make dining reservations for the entire length of their vacation .
That is different from how it works for people staying off-site.
Off-site guests that want to maximize their chances of getting everything they want will book 1 day at a time, exactly 60 days out from each day they want to make a dining reservation.
If you are staying off-site, there is no option to book for the entire length of your vacation at exactly 60 days out. That is a perk reserved for guests staying on-site only.
You could wait until you are 60 days out from the last day of your vacation and then book all of your dining reservations at once, but we do not recommend that.
Youll likely find if you wait to book that your dining options and times will be limited, and some of the most popular meals will have no availability at all.
So, if you are staying off-site and you have your heart set on on specific times or restaurants, youll need to plan on waking up and making reservations at 6 a.m. EST, exactly 60 days out from each day you need a reservation.
On-site guests have it a lot easier. Unless your vacation is longer than 10 days, you will only have to set aside 1 day to make your Disney World dining reservations.
If theres a place you really want more than any other, stay flexible and have a couple of date options.
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Getting Through On The Phone Quickly
The fastest way to make your dining reservations is to use Disneys online booking system or the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone.
If for some reason you need or want to use the phone, be aware that hold times can be long when calling Disneys Dining Reservations department at , particularly first thing in the morning and 60 days before any major holiday. Youll usually get through more quickly on weekday evenings after about 8:00 pm ET. The reservations department is open 7:00 am to 11:00 pm ET.
The Benefit Of Making Advance Dining Reservations
It can be a challenge just to walk into a full-service restaurant and expect to get seated, even during the low season. So if fine dining and character dining is a top priority on your Disney vacation wish list, plan on making your ADRs as soon as you are eligible to do so.
To start with, consider booking Advance Dining Reservations for a few hard-to-get table service restaurants and maybe one character dining experience when your 180-day window opens. Dont worry if you are unable or unwilling to book all your dining at 180 days .
Unless you are going to Disney World during the busiest times of the year, you should still be able to book at least a few table-service restaurants as your departure nears.
Also, keep in mind that Disney World has plenty of quick-service dining options that dont require reservations. One thing is for sure you will never go hungry at Disney!
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What If You Dont Show Up For An Advance Reservation Time
If you dont cancel 24 hours before your reservation time, your credit card will be charged $10/person.
Cancellations will be accepted by calling 407-WDW-CNCL, through the My Disney Experience website or app, and at Guest Relations in the Parks and Resorts.
The pre-paid policy for certain special dining experiences, such as character meals at Cinderellas Royal Table, remains unchanged. Guests who have booked those meals have one day to cancel for a full refund.
Best Restaurants For Disney Reservations
Our favorite WDW restaurants include:
California Grill, Disneys Contemporary Resort Contemporary Resorts premier restaurant is a great spot to watch the fireworks and offers breathtaking views of the park.
Chef Mickeys, Disneys Contemporary Resort- Popular breakfast & dinner buffet restaurant with special visits from Mickey and friends.
Cinderellas Royal Table, Magic Kingdom This Cinderella-themed eatery is set in a room that resembles a medieval castles banquet hall.
Flame Tree Barbeque, Animal Kingdom Relaxing BBQ featuring an outdoor pavilion with amazing views of Animal Kingdom.
Hollywood Brown Derby, Disneys Hollywood Studios Retro dining establishment with fantastic caricatures of old-time celebrities on the wall.
Le Cellier, Canada Pavilion at World Showcase, Epcot Steaks are a specialty at this top-notch table service dining establishment
Ohana, Polynesian Village Resort All-you-can-eat, American-style buffet for breakfast and dinner.
Teppan Edo, Japan Pavilion at World Showcase, Epcot Guests are seated around the teppanyaki grills as skilled chefs prepare your meal in front of you.
The Boathouse, The Landing, Disney Springs Upscale waterfront dining experience featuring steaks and seafood, Amphicar tours, Italian water taxi tours, and live music.
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Disney World Advance Dining Reservations
Due to the increased popularity of Disneys Dining Plan, it is frequently impossible to just walk up and eat at a full-service restaurant, even in low season! If you are planning to try some of Disneys excellent table-service restaurants and/or dinner shows while you are vacationing at Walt Disney World, it is important to make Disney World Advance Dining Reservations online, using the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone or by calling . Recently Disney has been emphasizing making bookings online or using the app, and wait times are getting longer for calling in for reservations. Using the app or website you can only make reservations for up to 8 guests. If you have a party of 9 or more, you have to make reservations over the phone.
Not sure where you want to eat? Wondering how far in advance you can make a reservation? If you are new to using Disney World Advance Dining Reservations, weve got lots of information and advice here, including lists of the hard-to-get and easier-to-get locations.
Best Strategy For Getting Advance Dining Reservations For Cinderellas Royal Table Character Breakfast Arguably The Hardest Adr To Get
You must log in exactly 60 days before the date you want to dine at the Castle for breakfast.
Start checking reservations a couple of minutes before ADRs open .
NOTE: Payment in full with a credit card is required at the time of booking for all meals at Cinderellas Royal Table. If you do not have a credit card, the reservation cannot be made. Have that ready to go!
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Restaurants You Really Must Book In Advance
If you want to attend the Cinderellas Royal Table Character Breakfast, it is critical to either book online or with the MyDisneyExperience app at 6:00 am ET or via at 7:00 am ET, 60 days in advance. It sells out within minutes each day when reservations open. Full prepayment in advance is required for Cinderellas Royal Table.
The Chefs Table at Victoria and Alberts in the Grand Floridian Resort also sells out every morning, exactly 60 days in advance. There is only one Chefs Table seating each night and it is not available Wednesdays and Fridays. We recommend you book online or with the MyDisneyExperience app, but you can also call at 7:00 am ET, 60 days in advance.
Reservations are required for these locations you will never get a walk-up table :
- Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom
- California Grill in the Contemporary Resort
- Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and Mickeys Backyard BBQ dinner shows at Ft. Wilderness
- Ogas Cantina in Hollywood Studios. Also note that guests are limited to 45 minutes per party
- Spirit of Aloha Luau dinner show at the Polynesian Resort
- Victoria and Alberts in the Grand Floridian Resort
Also, during the Free Dining promotion, most table service dining locations will be fully booked up during regular meal times. It is critical to have reservations during that time period! Disney does usually add some extra hours to certain restaurants , so if you find yourself without a reservation, that might be worth a try.
But Firstsame Day Reservations
Before we got to how early you can book Walt Disney World dining reservations, lets talk about how late you can do the same. We regularly make same-day dining reservations. While you should nevercount on this, we want to remind people that it can happen and to highlight one thing
Oftentimes you can get same-day reservations for restaurants even when their standby wait is long. This is especially true around lunch time. Groups who walk up to a restaurant will be told to wait an hour or more for a text when sometimes they could just go online and book the same timeor even an earlier timeas a reservation.
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What If You Dont Get The Advance Reservation You Want
If at first you dont succeed, try, try, again. Cancellations occur all the time, so check online before you leave for vacation and even once you arrive. The My Disney Experience app is a great way to scour the system for Advance Dining Reservations right up to the last minute.
You can always walk up to the restaurant to inquire about walk-in availability, too. Just dont get your hopes up.
Can You Get A Listing Of Your Advance Reservation Arrangements From Walt Disney World
At anytime during your stay at a Disney World Resort, you can request an Advance Dining Reservation listing from the Lobby Concierge desk. Get it once you check in so you can have it with you throughout your stay if you dont want use the My Disney Experience app to keep track. Check the list carefully and, if there is anything you want changed, see if the Cast Member on duty can help you.
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When Can I Book Advanced Dining Reservations
All guests, including day visitors, can book reservations for Disney restaurants 180 days in advance. Walt Disney World R esort guests can reserve 180 days in advance of their day of arrival and make up to 10 days of Advance Dining Reservations that same day.
The most popular restaurants do book up fast and you should plan to book as soon as your window opens. If you need help to calculate what day you can start making reservations this handy calculator will help.
A Couple Of Days Beforehand Check Again
Disney World has recently adopted a new cancellation policy that requires a credit card to secure any Table Service reservation. If you dont cancel by the day before your scheduled reservation, youll automatically be charged $10/person.
The good thing about this policy is that it keeps people from stockpiling reservations that they arent going to use, and it means that openings come up the day or two beforehand that people can snag for their trip.
Use this to your advantage and try checking again, even up until the day before, to see if you can get what you want.
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Consider Using Disney World’s Advance Planning App
Regardless of what method you use to book a table, you can normally make reservations up to 180 days in advance For more popular spots, you’d be wise to make the plans close to, if not on, 180 days out. That advice is particularly true during high-traffic seasons such as the early summer and the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
You can make restaurant reservations as part of your overall Disney World vacation planning using Disney’s mobile app and/or online tools. First you’ll need to establish a My Disney Experience account. Then, you could either get the My Disney Experience mobile app and use your device to book advance dining reservations or you could go to MyDisneyExperience.com and sign in to your account to make reservations online.
Whether you use the My Disney Experience planning tools or more traditional means to make your dining plans, you should still establish an account and use the service to make advance FastPass+ ride reservations. There are many other resources available as part of the program. If it’s been awhile since you’ve last visited Disney World, and you’re not familiar with My Disney Experience, you might want to learn about the differences between the older FastPass and the newer FastPass+ programs.
Which Restaurants Use Advanced Dining Reservations
The majority of dining reservations are found at table service restaurants and buffets. These are restaurants where you have a waiter for your table.
Occasionally, a quick service restaurant like Be Our Guest or a lounge such as Ogas Cantina will require them too. ADRs are not usually required in restaurants where you have to go up to the counter and order your own food.
Advanced Dining Reservations can be found in almost every area of Walt Disney World including:
- Theme Parks
- Resort Hotels
- Disney Springs
As we are currently writing this post, Walt Disney World has over 440 restaurants including special dining experiences. Over 160 of those restaurants take advanced dining reservations.
The bottom line is if Advanced Dining Reservations are available, its a good idea to get one.
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When Do I Need To Make A Reservation
Not all dining locations in the parks will require a reservation. Some offer mobile ordering while others are still operating using a standard queue. If youd like to learn how to make a mobile order step by step with screenshots, you can read our article: How To Use Mobile Ordering On The My Disney Experience App. However, the specialty and sit down dining locations will offer reservations, and it is best to get them as soon as possible.
If character dining at Disney World is something that interests you, be sure to book as early as possible. Character dining ranks as one of the most magical experiences that can be had for guests visiting Disney theme parks, and it will always require reservations that book up pretty far in advance.
The general rule for reservations that guests should abide by, is that if you are sitting and being served by a waiter, try to make a dining reservation. Guests are able to begin booking reservations 60 days out from their ticket dates and should do so as close to the beginning of this window as they can.
Try Another Reservation System
Sometimes, Disneys Dining Reservation system isnt the only way to book a table at a Walt Disney World restaurant.
The restaurants in Disney Springs and the Swan & Dolphin hotels use other reservation services like Open Table or you can directly to book. Some keep a separate reservation inventory across the different systems, and you might find they have an open table if you speak with them directly.
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Booking Dining In Disneyland
Most Disneyland dining reservations can currently be made 60 days in advance. Just between 7:00 AM and 9:00 PM daily up to 60 days prior to your trip and a cast member will help you book your dining.
You can also book online using the Check Availability tool on each restaurants page located on Disneylands Website or the Disneyland app, taking the same steps as seen above from the Walt Disney World website.
Guests staying at a Disneyland Resort Hotel can also enjoy Preferred Reservation Access for the following dining venues by calling 781-DINE:
- Blue Bayou Restaurant
- Ralph Brennans Jazz Kitchen
- Tortilla Jos
Please Note: Disneyland table service locations also require a . Your card wont be charged at booking, but it will be held and charged a nominal fee if you dont show up for the meal or cancel less than a day in advance.