Advance Reservations

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This FAQ is maintained by Scott Thomas, the creator of the Planning Strategy Calculator for Disney Reservations and is here with his permission. Give his Planning Strategy Calculator a try.

What is an Advance Reservation (formerly known as Priority Seating)?

Advance Reservations is a system Walt Disney World uses to manage their restaurant seating flow. In essence, unlike a true reservation where a table is saved for your party at a particular time, the advance reservation guarantees your party the next available table. It's recommended that you check in about 15 minutes before your time. Wait times vary depending on the time of day and restaurant but usually averages between 15 and 30 minutes.

NOTE: As of December 2013, ALL reservations require a credit card deposit of at least $10/person (some require full payment) in advance.

Who can make Advance Reservations?

Anyone can make an Advance Reservation. At one time, it was for Disney Resort guests only, but that is no longer the case.

Who do you call to make Advance Reservations?

Central Reservations Office (CRO) can handle all your reservation requests. CRO can be reached at 407-WDISNEY (407-934-7639). However, you can call WDW Dining directly at 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). Dining reservations can be made from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, except for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, when they close at 8 p.m.

You can also make an Advance Reservation at any WDW Resort Lobby Concierge desk, by dialing 55 from your room phone or press *88 from any WDW pay phone to be directly connected with WDW Dining.

You can also make Advance Reservations online by visiting:

The online system opens at 6 a.m. ET.

NOTE: You will be given a Confirmation Number. Make sure you write it down and bring it with you on your trip for each Advance Reservation you make.

Should I bring my Advance Reservation confirmation number with me to the parks?

YES! It doesn't happen often but the confirmation number can clear up any problems. It has done so for me on a couple of occasions.

NOTE: If you are using My Disney Experience, any dining reservations you make should be linked to your account automatically, and will be encoded in your Magic Bands wristbands.

When can you make Advance Reservations?

Most dining reservations are now made 180 days in advance. Guests staying at Disney-owned resorts may make reservations for their whole vacation (up to 10 days) on the 180th day. This latter privilege is not extended to guests of the Swan, Dolphin, Shades of Green or any of the Plaza resorts. The Planning Strategy Calculator can help you determine on what exact dates you need to reserve.

The online system opens at 6 a.m. ET and 407-WDW-DINE begins at 7 a.m. ET.

What if my Advance Reservation is before the park is open?

Just go up to the park turnstiles and tell the Cast Member (CM) that you have an Advance Reservation for whatever meal. They may ask for the confirmation number so be sure to to have that with you. Follow any directions given by the Cast Member.

Does WDW have Bus Transportation for Early Character Breakfasts?

Buses for the Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom Resort Area will start running at 6:30 a.m. DAILY.

Buses for Animal Kingdom/Animal Kingdom Lodge will start running at 7-7:15 a.m.DAILY.

Buses for the Disney's Hollywood Studios (covering the Epcot Resort Area) will start running at 7-7:15 a.m. DAILY.

Buses for Epcot (Princess Breakfast at Norway) will start running at 7-7:15 a.m. DAILY.

This information is valid EVERY DAY, and for ALL DISNEY RESORTS serviced by Bus transportation.

These buses are for Breakfasts only, and should not be used for general park access. Always let the driver know where you are going upon boarding the bus. Most times, the driver will be able to take you directly (ie: Contemporary, for Chef Mickey's) but sometimes this is not possible. As such, you should always allow time for a connection when going Resort to Resort. Actual arrival times will vary by location.

What if you don't show up for an Advance Reservation time?

Now that a credit card is required to hold all dining reservations, you must cancel 24 hours before your reservation time. If you don't cancel your reservation, your credit card will be charged $10/person.

Cancellations will be accepted by calling 407-WDW-CNCL, through the My Disney Experience website or app, and at Guest Relations in the parks and hotels.

The pre-paid policy for certain special dining experiences, such as character meals at Cinderella's Royal Table, remains unchanged. Guests who have booked those meals have one day to cancel for a full refund.

What if you don't get the Advance Reservation you want?

If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again. Cancellations occur all the time so call back periodically or check online before you leave for vacation and even once you arrive.

You may also try different times and days. Just ask the CM what's available.

What about restaurants at the Swan or Dolphin Resorts?

WDW Dining can book all restaurants at both the Swan and Dolphin. Call WDW Dining at 1-407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) to make reservations at these resorts or book online.

If staying on a concierge floor, can the concierge make an Advance Reservation for you?

Yes, a member of the Concierge Staff can make Advance Reservations for you. In fact, once you have your resort confirmation number, ask for Itinerary Planning to contact you. They will make your Advance Reservations for you.

Should you reconfirm your Advance Reservation before leaving for WDW?

This is a good idea just in case a mistake was made during the initial call. WDW does not send you printed confirmation of any of your Advance Reservation events or dining arrangements so it's best to check before finding there is a problem at the restaurant's podium.

Can you get a listing of your Advance Reservation arrangements from WDW?

At anytime during your stay at a WDW resort, you can request an Advance Reservation listing from the Lobby Concierge desk. Get it once you check in so you can have it with you throughout your stay. Check the list carefully and, if there is anything you want changed, see if the Cast Member on duty can help you.

When staying into a concierge room, you should get a print out during your check-in process.

Also if you are participating in the new My Disney Experience, your reservations can be linked to your account and will be encoded on your Magic Bands wristbands.

Best strategy for getting Advance Reservations for Cinderella's Royal Table Character Breakfast?

You MUST call exactly 180 days before the date you want to dine at the Castle for breakfast. And, you MUST start calling a couple of minutes before WDW Dining opens (7 AM, on all days including weekends and holidays. All times are US EASTERN).

There are two possible greetings:

a) Thank you for calling the Disney Reservation Center. Our office is closed... (hang up immediately as soon as you hear the words "Our office" and hit redial immediately).
b) Thank you for calling the Disney reservation center (pause). You're in and on hold! Wait! Do NOT hang up or you will lose any chance of a ressie!

Upon speaking to a "live person", interrupt the lucky CM and blurt out "I need Cindy's, for June xx, for x people, any available time". The CRO rep will understand your temporary rudeness, and you'll make up for it later with endless amounts of gratitude... Don't try and pick a specific time. Any delays will seriously hinder your ability to get a reservation.

Use the 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) number to directly call WDW Dining so you don't get caught in a transfer cue from CRO. This can amount to up to a 12 second delay in getting to Dining.

You will also need a credit card and there is now a cancellation policy.

NOTE: Payment in full with a credit card is required at the time of booking for all meals at Cinderella's Royal Table. If you do not have a credit card, the reservation cannot be made.

Magic Your Way Plus Dining Plan WILL be accepted at Cinderella's Royal Table meals, requiring TWO table service credits.

Best strategy for getting the Chef's Table at Victoria & Albert's?

Another difficult to obtain Advance Reservation. Call exactly 180 days before the date you want to sit at the Chef's Table and as early as possible. WDW Dining opens at 7 a.m. (ET), Monday through Friday and on weekends and holidays. There's only one seating for the Chef's Table per evening and it is not available on Wednesdays or Saturdays.

When you call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463), listen for the prompt that will direct you to the Victoria and Albert's line. There is also a separate number to call for V&A's, it's 407-939-7707. That gets you directly to the department that books for V&A's Dining & Entertainment Services.

A credit card is needed at time of the booking and the names of all the people in the party. This is so they can personalize the menus for each person. A dress code is in effect as well. Gentlemen must be in jacket (tie optional) and ladies should be in evening wear.

How to get the restaurant you want?

Call early exactly on the day you can first call for the restaurant's Advance Reservations. Be flexible in the time(s) when you can eat. Sometimes eating an early or late lunch or early dinner is the difference between eating on the day you want or not, especially if it's a busy time of year like Winter/Spring breaks or around any major US holiday.

What's the smoking policy at WDW restaurants?

ALL Walt Disney World restaurants are NONsmoking.

What is this beeper/flasher thing?

Some of the restaurants during very busy times will hand out a Flasher. This is a square box with lights that will "flash" when the restaurant has your table ready. This allows your party to wander around the immediate area instead of just waiting for your table.

We were given one of these at the Rose & Crown so we took in the Off Kilter show near the Canadian pavilion which was a lot more fun than standing around!

Best strategy if you don't have an Advance Reservation.

Plan on showing up at the restaurant either before or after the traditional meal times if it's a busy season. Or, if you don't mind waiting from 15 to 60 minutes for a table, just show up and check in with the CM at the restaurant's podium.

A lot of people report no problems at all just showing up and getting a table with little wait times during slow times of the year. However, if you want to guarantee a table, it is best to make a Advance Reservation for it ahead of time. That way you won't be disappointed.

Best strategy for watching IllumiNations from Rose & Crown Restaurant.

The Rose & Crown Restaurant in the United Kingdom pavilion in Epcot's World Showcase has an outside patio where you can watch Epcot's Illuminations nightly fireworks show without having to battle crowds of other people.

Illuminations is presented nightly at 9 p.m. (except during holidays when it is later). You should make the Advance Reservation time for around 7:15 PM to 7:45 PM to ensure a table during Illuminations. To try and get a patio table, ask the Cast Member to note it when you make your Advance Reservation. REMEMBER -- they can not guarantee you'll get it.

UPDATE: WDW Dining or the CMs at Rose & Crown's podium no longer can take requests for patio seating. It's now first come, first served.

However, even if you have an indoor table, the Cast Members often allow those people to come out and watch. Just be courteous to those who have patio tables.

We have a large group. How do we make a Advance Reservation to keep our group together?

If you have a large group (usually more than 9, but some restaurants have their own group rules), you will need to book through Group Dining:

1) Call 407-WDW-DINE and ask for Group Sales/Dining.
2) Let the coordinator know your requests.
3) The coordinator can make the ressies and, based upon the time-date-restaurant, usually you can be accommodated at one table.
4) You will give a credit card number to guarantee your reservation.
5) There is a cancellation policy within 24 hours of the reservation time.
6) A gratuity is automatically applied.

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