Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservation (ADR) rules have changed again! Ever since the pandemic, Walt Disney World has tweaked dining reservations little by little until no one is really quite sure what the rules are. Even seasoned Disney World vets have trouble navigating all of the rules.
Pre-Pandemic, you could make an ADR for your favorite table service restaurant 180 days in advance, now it’s 60. You also had to cancel your reservation 24 hours in advance or pay a fee (usually $10/guest). Disney has since relaxed that rule and you may cancel up to 2 hours in advance without penalty. Now it seems the rules have been changed again. (Somewhere in the distance we hear Darth Vadar’s voice: “I’m altering the deal, pray I do not alter it further”).
Previously there was a handy loophole to avoid paying a fee for reservations that you needed to cancel within the “penalty window.” You could simply modify your reservation to a different day and then cancel without incurring any fees. Modifications were allowed up to 30 minutes before your reservation which essentially meant the savvy guest could utilize this loophole at any time.
Disney has now closed that loophole. Modifications cannot be made online within two hours of your reservation. Disney’s website was updated today to say:
“Restaurants offering advance reservations do not allow modifications within 2 hours of the reservation time, and most charge a $10 per-person fee to cancel within 2 hours of the reservation time, or if you don’t show up for your reservation. Each restaurant’s policies are provided when you make your reservation. If you’ve already booked, the policies can be found in your email confirmation.”
This change is most likely due to the increased crowds in the theme parks. A higher volume of guests means greater demand for those precious ADRs. Closing the loophole ensures guests will actually show up to their reservation, otherwise, restaurants end up with empty seats that could otherwise be filled (and making money).