If you haven’t been to Disney World in while you might not know that you can (and should) make dining reservations 180 days in advance. Yes you read that right – 6 months in advance!
I don’t know about you, but I’m not sure what I want to dinner tomorrow yet alone 6 months from now. Here are my tips for scoring the hard to get reservations, including Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Royal Table, California Grill, and Victoria & Alberts:
Get Up Early
There are numerous websites (just google – ‘Disney dining reservation calculator‘) that will calculate what day you can make reservations based upon your arrival date. Once you know which day you can make reservations, it’s time to set your alarm clock. The online reservation system seems to open up at 6:00am EST while the phone reservation system at 7:00am EST. Obviously the online system will give you a jump start on anyone booking by phone.
While anyone can book dining reservations 180 days in advance, guests staying onsite at a Disney resort can book dining reservations for their entire trip at the 180 day mark. So if you have a 7 night trip, you can book every day’s reservations at the 180 day mark of your arrival and NOT have to make reservations each and every day.
This is why even if you wake up early and try to make a dining reservation right at 6:00am it may be full already. The onsite guests who are arriving earlier in the week made reservations for their entire vacation.
Automate Your Search
If you didn’t make reservations at the 180 day mark and still want to snag one of the popular restaurants, there is still hope. Since people change and cancel dining reservations all the time, you can swoop in and snag that reservation when it opens. There is an easier way than sitting at a computer and hitting refresh button all day, let me show you how to automate the search so you get a text message and email when a reservation opens up:
First head over to: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/reservation-finder to join Touringplans.com (the website of The Unofficial Guide to Disney):
Before you can use the automated reservation finder, you will need to sign up for an account, don’t worry there is a FREE account option.
Once you have an account and are logged in, head back over to reservation finder page: https://touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/reservation-finder
Here is where you start by adding a new request. Once the box pops up, you select:
- which restaurant you want to search for
- days of search
- time or meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) and
- party size.
Be sure to enter your email address and cell phone number so you can be notified and finally click the ‘disk save’ icon to start the search.
Once a reservation has been found (my sample searches were found in about a day or two each), the status symbol will turn green and the searching will stop. You will also get a text message and email like this:
Don’t forget these are only alerts that a reservation has been opened – you still have to book the reservation online or by phone. If you aren’t quick, someone else could snag the reservation before you. If the reservation is no longer there, you can restart the search by clicking on the ‘refresh’ icon (below):
Need to Knows:
- Disney dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance at 6:00am EST online or 7:00am EST by phone.
- Guests staying onsite can make reservations for their entire vacation starting 180 days prior to their day of arrival.
- Use TouringPlans.com reservation finder tool to be notified when a particular reservation open up
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