7. You can book dining reservations in advance.
Walt Disney World is a popular place, especially during holidays and during the summer. That means that in addition to making FastPass+ selections for attractions before you visit the parks, you also need to make reservations at each restaurant you want to experience before you visit Disney World. Dining reservations are so important that Disney opens up the reservation window 180 days in advance. So if you’ll be visiting the parks in March, you can (and should) make your dining reservations in September. And Disney makes it so easy for Guests to make those reservations. You can visit www.MyDisneyExperience.comto book, access the My Disney Experienceapp, or call (407) WDW-DINE. Whatever method you choose, just be sure to make your reservations early!
6. You can note food allergies when you make reservations.
Whether you choose to book your dining reservations over the phone, via the My Disney Experienceapp or online, you are able to note food allergies among Guests in your traveling party at the time of your booking. If you’re speaking with a Walt Disney World travel planner, be sure to let him or her know about any food allergies you or members of your dining party have. And if you’re using the app or booking online, you can make note of any food allergies by clicking “Add a Special Request” and then clicking the box next to the allergens that affect your dining party. Once you get to the restaurant to enjoy your meal, your server will already have this information. It’s so convenient, and it ensures that no one with a food allergy is overlooked.
5. You’ll want to remember to cancel if you can’t make it.
Disney doesn’t charge Guests to book dining reservations, but you will have to have a credit card on file to secure your reservation. But in the event you can’t make it to the parks for your dining reservation, or if you change your mind, be sure to cancel the reservation. You can cancel all the way up until 24 hours before the time of your reservation. Failure to cancel your reservation in time may result in a fee of $10 per person on the reservation, which means if you made the reservation for 5 people, not canceling will cost you $50. It will be charged to the card with which you held the initial reservation. Ouch! That’s a hefty price to pay and not even get a taste of anything on the menu!
4. Remember to plan your park days around your dining reservations, especially if you don’t have Park Hopper.
This doesn’t apply if you have the Park Hopper option on your Disney World tickets, which allows you to visit any of the Disney World theme parks you want—all in the same day. But if you have tickets that only allow you to visit one park per day, you will want to be sure to choose which park to visit each day of your trip based on the dining reservations you have (assuming those reservations are for restaurants inside the theme parks). That’s because if you head out in the morning to visit EPCOT, but your dinner reservation is at a Magic Kingdom restaurant, you will find yourself in a quagmire—do you cancel the reservation and face the fee for a late cancellation, or do you spend two of your ticketed days by keeping the reservation and entering Magic Kingdom? Don’t put yourself in this situation—if you have a reservation for dinner at a restaurant inside Animal Kingdom, let that day be your Animal Kingdom day. That way you only use one day on your ticket, and you don’t have to pay a cancellation fee.
3. It’s important to be on time.
When you have made a dining reservation at Disney World, be sure to arrive at the restaurant 15 minutes before your reservation time (or earlier). This ensures that you are checked in on time and seated at your table as close to your reservation time as possible. If you can’t make it 15 minutes early, it’s still important to be as early as possible—and definitely to arrive by the time of your reservation. Even though it’s not a written rule, typically Guests who show up late for a dining reservation find themselves with a little bit of a wait time before they are seated. If Guests are extremely late for their reservations, it’s quite possible that the restaurant considers them no-shows, and the reservation may be lost. (There’s definitely no magic in that!)
2. You can view menus online before you book.
When you are booking your dining reservations online or via the My Disney Experienceapp, you will have the opportunity to view the menu for the restaurant. You can view menus from any Disney restaurant by visiting disneyworld.disney.go.com and searching the restaurant’s name. Simply click “view menu,” choose the meal—breakfast, lunch or dinner—and see what’s in store for you and your family when you get to the restaurant!
1. Always remember your camera and autograph book for those character dining experiences.
If you have booked a character dining experience at a restaurant at Walt Disney World, be sure to bring your camera (or smartphone with plenty of memory!) and your autograph book with you. That’s because the characters present at those dining experiences are available to pose for pictures with you and your family, and they’re only too happy to sign their John Hancocks (or Mickey Mouses) in your autograph book! Don’t leave your hotel without them!