by Pixie Dusted Diva
When planning a Disney vacation, you may question whether or not you need dining reservations. While dining reservations are not required, they are strongly recommended. If you do not have a reservation, you run the risk of being turned away as the restaurant may not accept walk ups or you may have a significant wait time to be seated. Most table service restaurants will accept dining reservations and at this time the only Quick Service restaurant to accept reservation is Be Our Guest for breakfast and lunch. Personally, I do not travel to Disney without making dining reservations. Dining reservations are a nice way to get away from the Florida heat and take a load off your feet!
When making dining reservations you have the option of calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 or making the reservations online. If you are staying on property and have a resort reservation booked you will be able to make your dining reservations 180 days in advance for 10 days worth of reservations, which is known as 180+10. If you are staying off property or haven’t made your resort reservation yet you can still make dining reservations, however they need to be made 180 days in advance of each day. One advantage to making dining reservations online is the website resets at 6 a.m., but if you are calling the phone lines do not open until 7 a.m. You will be able to make all your reservations online, except for those that require full payment in advance- You will need to call to make those reservations. Restaurants such as Cinderella’s Royal Table require full payment in advance, so I would advise on calling to make those reservations.
How to Make Dining Reservation Online
You’ll want to sign in to your My Disney Experience account at waltdisneyworld.com. Under Things to Do, you will see an option for Dining and Make Reservations. You will enter the date, time and party size you are searching for. A list of all available reservations will be shown and times available. You can also search by just Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner to see available times; however you will only be shown three options at a time, so I prefer to search by the time I would most like to each.
All restaurants that accept reservations will be searched when you perform your search. However, you can narrow this search down even more with options at the top of the screen. Filter your search by dining experience, price, cuisine, guest rating and dining plan accepted. If you click All Parks & Resorts you could narrow your search for a specific park or resort.
DIVA TIP: If you book a dining reservation before the park opens you will have the opportunity to take amazing pictures in front of the castle without many people in the background. If this appeals to you, I would suggest a pre-park opening reservation at Crystal Palace for breakfast.
Once you have performed your search and chosen a dining time, you will click on the time shown in blue. If you did not sign into your My Disney Experience account yet, the website will prompt you to sign in now.
On the next screen you will be asked who is in the dining party. You will be able to choose from family and friends profiles you have set up in My Disney Experience or others you are linked with through My Disney Experience to plan and share. When you are done you will proceed to the next screen. Disney requires a credit card to make dining reservations. Your card will not be charged, but Disney does have a cancellation/no-show policy. This credit card used for holding the reservation does not have to be used to pay for the reservation or the gratuity.
On the next screen you will be given your confirmation number for your reservation. This will be stored in your My Disney Experience account and you will receive an email confirmation. When you check in to your Disney resort you can ask for an itinerary to be printed for your stay, which will include all reservations you have made for the week. My family finds this very helpful to know where we are going and what are plans are.
How to Make Dining Reservation on the My Disney Experience App
Making dining reservation on the My Disney Experience app is very similar to making dining reservations on the Walt Disney World website. You will choose Dining from the sidebar menu and be brought to a screen where you enter your date, time, party size, location and experience. All available reservations will be shown and you will click on the restaurant you would like to dine at. On the next screen you will choose from the available times by clicking on the blue times available. The next screen reviews your information and requests a credit card to hold your reservation. On the app you do not assign the names of the guests from your Friends and Family list. You can however, go back online and do this after.
Disney does allow you to note special dietary requests/restrictions when booking your reservation. This will give the Cast Members notification if you have allergies and alert the Chef.
If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, I recommend making reservations for each of your table service credits. Take note of restaurants which requires two dining credits as well.
Since a credit card is required to make and hold your dining reservations, you should be aware of Disney’s cancellation policy: You must cancel 24 hours before your reservation time or your credit card will be charged $10 per person if you do not show up. Cancellations can be made online, through the app or by calling 407-WDW-CNCL.
If any of your reservations do not show in My Disney Experience you can link the dining reservation by your confirmation number.
Diva Tip: Never give up! If you unable to obtain a dining reservation for the restaurant of your choice, keep checking back! For whatever reason, people may cancel their dining reservation which you may be able to get. I even check for availability while in Disney!
I recommended booking your dining reservations as soon as possible, as the most popular restaurants will become unavailable. If you need assistance booking your dining reservations or your Walt Disney World vacation, feel free to contact Patricia with All for Dreams Travel, the official travel agent at Tips from the Disney Diva.