5 Ways To Score Those Hard-To-Get Disney Reservations

With so much to do at Walt Disney World, it can be challenging when planning what you want to do on your trip. There is no doubt about it, reservations make your life easier because they allow you to have a clear plan as to what the itinerary will look like for your trip. Scoring some of the more challenging ones can turn your smile upside down, but don’t panic! Here are some tips you can use to score those hard-to-get reservations!

5. Disney Dining

Disney restaurants are simply the best. There are so many unique options for dining on property resorts and in the parks, but did you know that there are restaurants that are nearly impossible to get into because of their popularity? Take the Be Our Guest restaurant for example. I have heard so many people complaining about calling way ahead of their trip to book this particular restaurant and they have no luck. You have a few options for snagging some of the more popular restaurants for dining. The first one is simple, call as early as possible. Dining reservations can be made as early as 180 days prior to your arrival. This leaves you plenty of time to decide what you want to experience, and then call as soon as it is the 180th day before your vacation. If you are past the 180th day mark, or book your vacation for an earlier date, you can try calling every day to see if there has been a cancellation for the restaurant(s) you have had your eye on. Now I know this may sound like a lot of work (and sometimes it can be), but people cancel their reservations all the time. You never know when you will get lucky enough to have one available. Remember that persistence pays off! You can start calling as early as 8:00 AM eastern time, so be sure to do it around then so that you can be one of the first calls of the day. You can also make reservations online at any time, but 6:00 AM eastern time is the best. This is when the cancellations roll over to become available for the next day.

4. runDisney Marathons

Disney World and Disneyland both put on some spectacular marathons at various times of the year. Due to the high demand and number of participants, these events sell out very quickly. How quick you ask? I have seen them sell out just after 24 hours of being available to the public. There are a few options for registering for these marathons. First, be sure to sign up for a registration reminder on the runDisney website. This way, you will get a reminder via email when the registration will be available. You will want to be on the website a few minutes prior to it going live so that you can book your tickets immediately. Also, If you or any member in your family is an annual passholder you’re in luck! One of the annual passholder benefits is the option to sign up a week or two prior to the general public. This always takes away some of the stress for me of making sure I am online at the time of registration for the general public. I am pretty much guaranteed a spot since I am able to register early. Not an annual passholder? No problem. As long as someone in your party is an annual passholder, they can purchase up to a certain amount of tickets for their party. Make sure you check out the runDisney website for more information regarding the tickets!

3. Disney Resorts

There are several resorts on property to meet everyone’s needs and wants, but along with the convenience of the on property resorts, comes a high demand. Often times, some of your favorite resorts may not be available when you plan your visit. Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do if you are told the resort is completely sold out, however, there are a few suggestions to avoid this happening to you. First, try to visit during the slow season. When the parks aren’t as crowded as usual, neither are the resorts. You have a higher chance of being able to stay where you would like without having to worry about it being sold out during the slow season. If you have your heart set on a particular resort, you can try to call everyday (just like the dining reservation tip) and see if by chance a party cancelled their plans. Again, I know this sounds like a pain, but as I mentioned earlier, persistence pays off! You never know when you will get lucky! Check out “Disney Resorts – 9 Factors to Help You Decide Which One’s Right for You.”

Bonus Tip!

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Disney travel deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius! Discover More >

2. Hard Ticket Events

There are some special events at the Disney theme parks that require a hard ticket. This means that you will have to purchase a ticket just for attending the event, as opposed to a regular theme park ticket. An example of this type of special event includes Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and Night of Joy (just to name a few). These parties have become quite popular over the years and they are a great way to celebrate holidays and enjoy concerts with a smaller crowd. Because these events are on limited days, they can fill up quickly, especially since there is a limited amount of guests allotted per day. If you want to attend these hard ticket events there are a few helpful tips. First, book your tickets early. The earlier you do it, the more choices you will have to choose from. Choose dates that are not as popular as others. For example, those that choose to go to the Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on Halloween night will be paying the highest price and will be around a bigger crowd of people. If you choose to go to this event, you can benefit from attending it on a weekend that isn’t as popular as Halloween night. You will not only save a few bucks, but you can avoid a higher level of crowds. If you do in fact decide to go on the most popular days (i.e.- Halloween or Christmas day), your best bet is to reserve early! These days fill up the quickest.

1. Fastpass+

No one enjoys waiting in line, but it is inevitable and part of visiting the happiest place on earth. Lucky for us park guests, there are Fastpasses that allow us to wait little to no time to ride some rides. Since Disney began My Disney Experience, guests can now select Fastpasses 30-60 days in advance with linking their park tickets to their My Disney Experience account. Since this took off, thousands of guests have planned their trips way ahead of time with selecting their fastpasses for their entire party. You can still select fastpasses at the park kiosks; however, most of the popular rides will not be available because they have already been reserved ahead of time on My Disney Experience. If you want to grab some of the best Fastpasses, you will need to purchase your tickets ahead of time and schedule your fastpasses on your My Disney Experience account the day it becomes available. Chances are you will be able to reserve your favorite rides and attractions without them being unavailable. You should also be aware of the ‘fastpass worthy’ rides since some of the attractions that offer fastpasses often have little wait times. Remember that fastpasses can be cancelled at anytime, so you will want to check you’re My Disney Experience account daily if you are trying to grab a fastpass for an attraction or ride that you weren’t able to get. As I mentioned earlier, you never know when you will get lucky and score something that someone cancelled! Check out “3 Major FastPass+ Tips & Over a Dozen Attractions You Should Never Waste a FastPass+ On.”

BONUS TIP: Consider planning and booking your next Disney trip with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner you can trust like Mickey Travels. They’ll help you get the best Walt Disney World deal, share expert advice and their services are totally FREE! It’s genius!

About Natalie

Natalie is an elementary school teacher and a native Floridian who lives and breathes all things Disney. Her love for Disney started at the age of two during her first visit, and has continued to flourish into her adult life. She loves to share her Disney passion with her students and believes Disney is so special because there is no other place to forget about your worries and be a kid again, which is why she refuses to ‘grow up’.

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