Disney Advance Dining Reservations are probably one of the more stressful aspects of Disney vacation planning. Due to the high popularity of some restaurants, booking a table there may seem just as likely as winning the lottery. However, take it from someone who has booked dining reservations at Disney numerous times – it is actually VERY easy to get the restaurants you want! True, it takes some planning – and getting up at awfully early hours of the morning – but anyone can do it. Yes, literally ANYONE. That means your dreams of eating at Cinderella’s Table can definitely come true!
It does require planning, but it’s easy for anyone to do. Follow these tips below and you’ll be scoring all the dining reservations you want on your next trip!
Plan in Advance
You’re able to make dining reservations 180 days before your check in date if you’re staying at a Disney resort. You can make up to 10 days worth of reservations at once if you’re staying on property (one of the many perks of on site reservations!) meaning you will more than likely be able to book your whole vacation’s worth of reservations at once! If you are staying longer than 10 days you will need to come back each day to book additional reservations for the later days of your trip.
If you’re NOT staying on property, you can still make reservations 180 days in advance, but ONLY 180 days. Meaning if you are staying at one of the Hilton or Marriott hotels, or the other non-Disney operated resorts on site, you will have to log in each day to make reservations for each day of your trip as you hit the 180 day mark.
Make a List – And Backups Too
You should make a list of all the restaurants you want, while keeping in mind the following:
- How many dining credits you have per person per day
- What parks you intend on visiting and when
- How much time you’ll need to get to your reservation
Some restaurants require 2 dining credits, so trying to use those on your last day after you’ve already had all your credits used will not work. Additionally, if you’re going to be at the Magic Kingdom for one restaurant, trying to transport yourself to the Animal Kingdom for your next reservation 3 hours later may not be realistic. I recommend the following tips:
- Keep a tally of how many credits you use per meal as you’re planning them out. This way you will not overbook your dining credits
- Don’t forget your quick service meals! If you plan on having lunch at a quick service restaurant, and then book a sit down restaurant at 4 PM for dinner, you may not be hungry enough for a whole large meal. Be sure you spread them out accordingly!
- Come up with a rough plan for your day for each day of your trip. If you start at the Magic Kingdom and then intend on spending the night at Disney Springs, use that to plan out which restaurants you want and what time.
- Be flexible! If there isn’t an opening for one restaurant the day you wanted, but it’s available another day on your trip, switch some things around!
Additionally, you need to select back ups for some of your restaurants. If you want to get breakfast at Be Our Guest, make sure you have something set it if doesn’t work. Perhaps Crystal Palace? This way if you find the restaurant is already booked, you’ll at least have something reserved! You should NOT just give up and not book ANYTHING, because then you may find yourself unable to get in ANYWHERE closer to your travel date.
Set Your Alarm!
I do NOT recommend calling the Dining Reservation telephone number*. Instead, I prefer to do my reservations online. Not only is this easier than waiting in line on the phone for a representative, but they open an hour EARLIER online. This gives you the best chance to score your dream reservations!
The website opens at 6 PM EST for reservations. That means that, unfortunately, if you’re in one of the earlier time zones, you’ll be waking up in the wee hours of the morning. Set an alarm at least 15 minutes before the website opens to give yourself time to log in to the site and make sure your connection is working! Log in to your My Disney Experience account to pull up your reservation so you do not have to waste time entering it later. Once the clock hits the top of the hour, refresh the page and start making your reservations!
*If you DO prefer to do your reservations over the phone, the phone line does not open until 7 AM EST. The number for them is (407) WDW-DINE.
Make reservations for your MUST DO restaurants first. Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Table – these are just a few of the restaurants that will be GUARANTEED to be booked within a few hours of the reservations opening! Don’t waste your time on the other restaurants until you have them secure. Then you can go back and do the less popular restaurants.
The whole process should take less than half an hour, and then you can head back to bed!
Didn’t get that coveted dinner reservation at Be Our Guest? Don’t worry! Keep checking as you get closer to your date. Plans change, people will cancel reservations – and when they do, that table could be yours! Some people are even lucky enough to get reservations DAY OF in the parks using the My Disney Experience app. WE were one of those lucky parties who got a last minute Be Our Guest lunch reservation on our last day!
However, keep in mind – if you have an existing reservation that you need to cancel, you WILL be charged a cancellation fee if you do not cancel in time. The cut off time is 11:59 PM EST the EVENING before. Anything cancelled after that time will be charged a fee to the card you provided when booking. Additionally if you no-show, you’ll be charged a no-show fee.
Good luck with those Disney Dining reservations! If you follow these tips, you should be able to score all those restaurants you’ve been dreaming about, and maybe discover some new favorites too!
Which Disney reservation was your biggest WIN? Mine was that last minute Be Our Guest score! Leave it in the comments below!
If you love Disney and want notifications when I post new content, subscribe to my blog!