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How to Score the Best Disney Dining Reservations

We’ve all been there; we’ve got the perfect Walt Disney World Resort vacation planned out with a Disney Resort room reserved, a to-do list of the best attractions and experiences in the Disney Parks, and a list of characters to meet, but something is missing- a Disney dining reservation.

Throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, there are countless table service restaurants throughout the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and Disney Resort hotels and some have become so incredibly popular that it can seem impossible to score a reservation.

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Restaurants like ‘Ohana, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, California Grill, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, Chef Mickey’s, and Le Cellier Steakhouse book up almost immediately and can be very difficult to dine at. Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to use to help score these coveted dining reservations and avoid the frustration of being so close, yet so far from a delicious meal. If you find yourself struggling to score that elusive Disney dining reservation, try out these tips!

Dining Room

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Book 60 Days Out

In order to enjoy a meal at any table service restaurant throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, Guests need to have an Advanced Dining Reservation, which is essentially just a regular reservation. Advanced Dining Reservations — or ADRs — can be booked sixty days ahead of a Guest’s first vacation day, and signing on to the My Disney Experience App at that time is super important. By being ready to log on and grab coveted reservations at the first chance, Guests give themselves the highest possibility of succeeding. Smart Guests also should note that once they are in the 60-day window of arrival, they can make ADRs for their entire length of stay!

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Try 3rd Party Websites

You didn’t score a Disney dining reservation at the 60-day mark, now what? Well, many table service restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, especially Disney Springs, are actually run by 3rd party companies. Restaurants including The Boathouse, Wine Bar George, and Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant offer the option to make reservations through their own websites using platforms like Open Table. Guests can log on to each restaurant’s website and try their luck booking a dining reservation for their desired time there, and this can sometimes be very successful as the restaurants hold some reservations for their own systems!

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Pay for a Reservation Finding Service

With so many Guests trying to score the perfect Disney dining reservation for their vacation, many third-party businesses have popped up which offer their services — for a price — to help score those reservations. Disney dining reservation finders typically charge per wanted reservation, and they use technology within their system to continually search for a desired time and location and will send a Guest a notification if and when that reservation becomes available. While this kind of service is absolutely helpful in that it takes out most of the work for a Guest, it can get very pricey, with some specific searches nearing almost ten dollars. Guests who don’t mind doing a little extra work themselves definitely don’t need to use these services, but they are a great option for those who don’t want to stress or think about it.

Dining Room

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Keep Trying on My Disney Experience

The key to scoring a great Disney dining reservation the majority of the time is perseverance. Guests are constantly modifying and changing their plans for a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, and this results in previously booked dining reservations being canceled or altered. Guests who weren’t able to score their desired Disney dining reservations should make it a habit to check the My Disney Experience App a few times a day to see if their desired restaurants have available reservations. You never know when you might perfectly time checking the app with another Guest canceling a reservation, and you can get very lucky this way if you keep trying.

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Check for Last Minute Cancelations

In addition to modifying plans leading up to a Walt Disney World Resort vacation, even more Guests make changes to their plans after arriving. Many Advanced Dining Reservations have cancelation fees, so Guests are keenly aware of being sure to cancel any existing reservations within the complimentary window to avoid being charged a rather large fee. This leaves the perfect opportunity for Guests still looking for a reservation to score one close to the last minute. Guests who make it a priority to really keep checking for a Disney dining reservation on the My Disney Experience App within a 48-hour window can often find exactly what they are looking for.

Guests

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Try the Walk-Up List

The final tip for scoring a coveted Disney dining reservation requires flexibility and being able to plan last minute. Walk-Up Waitlists are a new offering for Guests in recent years that allow them the opportunity to try their luck without an Advanced Dining Reservation at most table service restaurants throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. As long as Guests are nearby a wanted table service restaurant, they can log on to the My Disney Experience App and join a Walk-Up Waitlist. If the Walk-Up Waitlist is not at capacity, Guests are provided with an estimated wait time based upon the size of their party and receive a notification once their table is ready. While a Walk-Up Waitlist is a great last-minute option, it does require some flexibility with varying wait times and the chance that a list might be at capacity.

Have you ever tried any of these tips to score a Disney dining reservation?

About Caitlin Kane

Caitlin Kane has been visiting Walt Disney World since she was a child and has developed a deep love and appreciation of the Disney Parks with a particular interest in the small details and history that can be found all around. Visiting every chance she gets, Caitlin loves to enjoy the ambiance of the Disney Parks and try something new every time. She can often be found eating and drinking her way through the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, riding the Haunted Mansion, sipping on a Lapu Lapu, pretending Illuminations: Reflections of Earth was still in existence, and enjoying seeing the magic through the eyes of her children. When not in WDW, Caitlin can be found at home in New York dreaming of a ride on Living with the Land and counting down the days until her next trip.