Our Expert Guide on How to Get That Hard-To-Get Disney Dining Reservation

How do you book those must have Disney dining reservations? Take a look at our inside information on how to snag reservations to Be Our Guest, O’hana and more!

As a Disney fan, I appreciate so many things about Disney – the decorations, the intricate details, the rich storytelling, the magical moments.  I could go on and on!  But one thing near and dear to my heart, and deserves special attention, is Disney food.  I mean, every Disney fan probably has a list of favorites – from the fresh and fruity Dole Whip to the mouth watering ‘Ohana bread pudding to the classic Mickey ice cream bars.

So it’s no surprise that dining is a big part of planning for any Disney vacation.  Some popular Disney restaurants, such as ‘Ohana, Chef Mickey’s, and Be Our Guest, notoriously fill up six months in advance.  If you have your heart set on dining at some not-to-be-missed Disney hot spots, well then we invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair as Orlando Fun & Food proudly presents our expert guide on how you can score that hard-to-get Disney dining reservation!

When should I book my dining reservations?

The short answer: as soon as possible.  The longer version: you can make Advanced Dining Reservations (or ADR’s) 180 days in advance.  For example, if your vacation starts on June 30, you can begin booking your dining reservation as early as January 1.  If you are staying on Disney property for your vacation, that’s even better – 180 days prior to your check-in date, you you can make up to 10 days of ADR’s and/or the entire length of your stay, whichever is shorter, all on the 180-day mark.  Going back to our initial example, if your vacation on Disney property runs from June 30 through July 4, you can book your ADR’s for your entire stay starting January 1.  It’s a huge advantage because a person staying off property would only be able to book ADR’s for June 30 on January 1.  He or she will then have to wait until January 2 to book for July 1 and so on.  Expert tip: you can book your ADR as early as 6:00 am Eastern Time online through My Disney Experience and 7:00 am by phone through 407-WDW-DINE.  If you can book online, do it – that first hour advantage can make a difference!  Bonus tip: if you are having trouble finding availability on the 180-day mark for a restaurant at the beginning of your stay, you might have better luck towards the end of your stay as those dates wouldn’t be available for booking for off-property guests just yet.

Which restaurants book up quickly?

There are restaurants that are well known for filling up quickly, so if these are on your list, it’s best to book as far in advance as possible: Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, ‘Ohana, Le Cellier, Chef Mickey’s and California Grill.  Dining packages that offer special seating for evening shows, such as Fantasmic!, Rivers of Light, and Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, can also fill up quickly.  Some restaurants like Tusker House, Akershus and Crystal Palace can also book quickly if you are looking for a reservation before park opening (if you were thinking about getting that reservation so you can get pictures of a nearly empty park, well, lots of other people have the same idea!)  Expert tip: within this list of restaurants, dinner reservations for Be Our Guest, dinner reservations for ‘Ohana, and early morning reservations for Cinderella’s Royal Table will likely be the most difficult to find.  Get to those first!

My 180-day mark is fast approaching!  Is there anything I should prepare for now?

Yes!  If you are planning on making reservations online, make sure you have a My Disney Experience profile set up and ready to go.  Have your entire party already included in your Friends & Family list so you can pull them in easily into the reservation.  Test booking a reservation for a date that is already open to you so that you know exactly what to do (just don’t forget to immediately cancel it!).  Think of it this way: there are likely hundreds of people doing the very same thing you are doing, so every minute counts.  The less time you spend completing the reservation process, the more time you’ll have to get through your list quickly.  Expert tip: make sure that you have your credit card information already saved in your My Disney Experience profile so that you are not entering it every time.  Bonus tip: generally, your credit card will not be charged at the time of the reservation (it will only be used to hold it).  However, there are some restaurants, like Cinderella’s Royal Table, which will require full payment at the time of reservation.  Don’t be surprised by this!

How do I book Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique or The Pirates League?

Reservations for these special experiences can only be done by calling 407-WDW-DINE.  Expert tip: reservations for Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique and The Pirates League will not show up automatically on your My Disney Experience account.  You will have to create a separate note so that it will show up in your daily itinerary.  Bonus tip: early morning reservations for Bibiddi Bobiddi Boutique at Cinderella Castle go VERY quickly.  Make this reservation a priority if it is important for your vacation.

What else do I need to know?

If you are not able to score that one important reservation the first time, try again!  Availability for Disney restaurants change constantly.  Also keep in mind that Disney charges a $10 per person cancellation fee if you cancel your reservation with less than a day’s notice.  Assuming that people take a wait-and-see approach for some of their reservations, they may cancel the day before.  So if you are patient and if you keep trying, you might find yourself scoring a reservation for a popular restaurant for the following day!

And now it’s your turn – what are your top tips and tricks to getting that hard-to-get Disney dining reservation?  Sound off in the comments!  If you are thinking of visiting Disney this year, it’s a great time to book your vacation!  Especially with the ongoing Free Dining promotion, you can try delicious Disney dining at significant savings. Please contact me at myra@worldofmagictravel.com or (920) 526-0809 to get a free quote!

My name is Jason Mayhew, and I am the owner of OFF On The Go. When not traveling with the website, I own my own marketing and PR company, J Mayhew Marketing. I have the best job where I get to travel the world and showcase the most amazing and unique experiences!

About Author

Jason Mayhew

My name is Jason Mayhew, and I am the owner of OFF On The Go. When not traveling with the website, I own my own marketing and PR company, J Mayhew Marketing. I have the best job where I get to travel the world and showcase the most amazing and unique experiences!