By Soarin’ Diva
You have spent numerous hours mapping out and planning every minute detail of your Disney vacation. You have chosen which Fast Passes to snag and which dining reservations to make. All you have to do now is wait for that 180 day mark so you jump out of bed at the crack of dawn, grab a huge Disney designed mug full of the caffeinated beverage of your choice and lie in wait at your computer screen so you can book all those dining reservations you have been so excited about. Then the snag hits…you click on the button that says “search times” and your devastation is complete when the message pops up that tells you there are no reservations available for the time you selected. It has happened to all of us at some point, the newbies and the seasoned pro’s. But what do you do when you have planned everything the way you want, and you can’t seem to get that reservation at the one restaurant your family has insisted they want to dine at?
My first piece of advice is to ALWAYS have a second option ready for those moments. There are certain restaurants at Walt Disney World that have a reputation for booking incredibly quickly and it’s hard to score a good reservation, ‘Ohana, Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest to name a few. The one establishment my family MUST visit when we go to Walt Disney World is ‘Ohana. It’s very difficult to grab that perfect time for ‘Ohana, so when I’m able to get exactly what I want, I’m pretty much jumping for joy. There are times, however, that I can’t get the exact time I want. When that happens, I obviously go for the next best time that pops up and grab it quickly before it’s gone. If there is nothing available and you can’t go on a different day of your trip, I would to go to a second option restaurant and grab a reservation for that establishment.
I don’t stop there, however. I’m pretty stubborn, and when I have a plan already made, I DON’T like to alter my plan. So what do I do then? I head for a website that specializes in finding that one reservation you want. I head to Touring Plans and find their Reservation Finder page. That’s right, they have a page at TouringPlans.com that does the hard work for me. I mean, I could sit around all day every day refreshing my computer screen trying to find my specific available time, but why should I when Touring Plans is willing to do it for me?
Let me tell you up front, I am NOT a paid ambassador for Touring Plans, I was not asked to spread the word of this by them in any way, I simply want to let you know about this amazing, time-saving service they provide. Now let’s delve into how we use their reservation finder service.
TouringPlans.com does offer a subscription service, but you do NOT need to have a subscription to use the reservation finder. You do, however, need to have an account, but it can be the basic free account. I think that’s a great deal, you get to utilize a service that will save you hours of time for free! Once you have created your account, the tricky part comes. I’ve explored the Touring Plans site, and honestly, I have a difficult time finding the reservation finder under their site. For me, the easiest thing to do is to just Google the term “Touring Plans Reservation Finder” and the link will pop up quickly. Another easy way to get to it is by clicking one of the many links I have posted in this article and save the page to your favorites, trust me, I’ve used it enough to keep it in my favorites.
Now that you have the page pulled up and you are logged into your newly created account, it’s time to put them to work finding your reservation. You will see a box that asks you for the specific restaurant you are searching for, as well as the number of people in your party, the date and time you are requesting. You will also need to make sure you have your correct email and cell phone number in so when they find the time you are searching for, they can send you an email and a text message to let you know that it’s available. Make sure to fill those out with exactly what you are looking for, then make sure you click the green save file image to the right of the request. Do not click the big red ‘X’ unless you have made a mistake, that will cancel your request. The site will allow you to place two requests at a time, so if you need more than two reservations, you will have to either wait until one or both of the first times are found and request more, or search for the other reservations on your own. Once you have clicked the save file image, you are set. Go plug your favorite Disney movie in the DVD/Blu-Ray player, grab a bowl of snacks & lounge on the couch while Touring Plans does all that hard work for your. It’s as simple as that.
Now, you’re probably asking what happens once the reservation time is found. Touring Plans will send you both a text and an email alerting you to the fact that they have found a time within an hour of the time you requested for the restaurant you have requested. YOU are responsible for either logging onto the My Disney Experience app or jumping on your computer and trying to snag that reservation before someone else does. Touring Plans does NOT make the reservation for you, they only search for the reservation and alert you when it becomes available. Got it? YOU HAVE TO RESERVE IT YOURSELF!! Trust me, if you aren’t quick, it will be snatched up right under your nose.
It’s important to let you know that I have gotten texts in the middle of the night. I’m not one who likes my sleep disrupted, but when it’s for an ‘Ohana reservation, I’ll make an exception. If you don’t want those middle of the night texts, this may not work out for you. No, not all of them come in the middle of the night, I just got one at about 5:00pm the other day. This is a system that is constantly checking though, so when something is available, the system doesn’t consider the hour of day it comes through, it’s only job is to alert you to let you know. Another important note to make is that once Touring Plans Reservation Finder has found a time as close to what you want or the exact time you wanted, the search will automatically stop. So if you requested a 7:00pm time and they found a 6:15pm, they will notify you and then stop searching. That means that if the 6:15pm time does not work in your plans, you need to go back and resubmit the time on Touring Plans Reservation Finder so they can immediately start searching again.
So there you have it, the easiest and FREE way to have a continuous search going for that very hard to get dining reservation, with someone else doing the work for you. I honestly can’t say enough good things about my experience with Touring Plans Reservation Finder. I have been able to get exactly what I want using their service when I couldn’t find it on my own. If you haven’t heard of this service, I highly recommend it, and if you have heard of it but haven’t used it yet….why not?
Are you ready to start planning your magical vacation and enjoy everything that Disney has to offer, but you aren’t sure where to start? Contact our recommended travel agent, Patricia at All Dreams for Travel, and she can do all the work for you. Best of all, all of her services are FREE, all you have to do is click here to request a quote!
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