Dining Reservations FAQ
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How does Disney’s reservation system work?
Walt Disney World has a computerized system to manage their restaurant seating flow. In essence, the 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.
Some restaurants are available via OpenTable.com, a fast and easy way to make dining reservations almost anywhere in the United States. Open Table is great because in most cases you can cancel the day of without penalty (unlike Disney reservations).
You’ll find the following places available:
Disney Springs: The Boathouse, Morimoto Asia, STK, Raglan Road Irish Pub, Frontera Cocina, Bongos Cuban Cafe, Planet Hollywood, Paddlefish, and House of Blues.
Disney Resort Dining: Flying Fish, Boatwrights, Sanaa, Olivia’s, Artist Point, Grand Floridian Cafe, the Wave, Kona Cafe, and Big River Grille.
WDW Swan and Dolphin: Shula’s, bluezoo, Garden Grove, and Il Mulino.
Who can make a reservation?
Anyone can make a Disney dining reservation.
How do I make a reservation?
The simplest way is to log in to your My Disney Experience Account: Click on Things to Do and then scroll down to Make Reservations. Select your location, date, time and party size.
You can also 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 the reservation center closes at 8 p.m.
You can also make a reservation at any WDW Resort Lobby Concierge desk, or by dialing 55 from your room phone.
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 reservation confirmation number with me to the parks?
YES! Problems don’t occur often, but the confirmation number can clear up any issues.
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 MagicBand wristbands.
When can you make reservations?
Most dining reservations can be made 180 days in advance. Guests staying at Disney-owned resorts may make reservations for their entire 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 Disney Springs resorts.
The online system opens at 6 a.m. ET and 407-WDW-DINE begins at 7 a.m. ET.
What if my reservation is before the park opens?
Be sure to check with your resort to see when transportation to the park begins.
Once you arrive, go to the park turnstiles (usually on the left) and tell the Cast Member (CM) that you have an reservation for whatever meal. They will scan your MagicBand to confirm your reservation.
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 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 (e.g. to the Contemporary for Chef Mickey’s) but sometimes this is not possible. 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?
If you don’t cancel 24 hours before your reservation time, 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.
The Swan and Dolphin restaurants can also be booked via OpenTable.com
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?
Reconfirming your reservations is not necessary, but you can do it if you want to. Always keep a record of your confirmation numbers and check your My Disney Experience account.
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 in a concierge room, you should get a printout during your check-in process.
Also if you are participating in My Disney Experience, your reservations will be linked to your account and encoded on your MagicBand.
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…” — If you hear this, hang up 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 reservation!
Upon speaking to a “live person”, interrupt the lucky CM and blurt out “I need Cindy’s, for <DATE>, 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 queue from Central Reservations (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 & 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.
A few restaurants will text you once your table is ready.
Best strategy if you don’t have an Advance Reservation?
It has become more and more difficult to just show up at a table service restaurant and hope to be seated. Your best chance is right at opening time with a small party.
We have a large group. How do we make an 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 reservations 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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