A big part of any Disney World vacation is the food. There are literally hundreds of restaurants and snack locations around the theme parks, resort hotels and entertainment venues. You can access the menus of any Disney World food service location on-line. Consider trying at least one or two table-service restaurants during your Disney vacation. Not only will you enjoy good food and a great experience, but your feet (and your family) will appreciate the rest. Be aware that thousands of people visit Disney World every day and it’s important that you make reservations ahead of time for any table-service restaurants you want to try. Here are 5 things you should know about making Disney dining reservations.
1) 180 days out – Because Disney World is the most popular vacation destination in the world, it’s imperative that you make any table-service dining reservations as soon as possible after planning your vacation. You can make dining reservations as much as 180 days out from the start of your trip. You may not know what you’ll want to eat six months from now, but check out the Disney World menus on-line and decide what looks good to you. The most popular restaurants (Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, etc.) fill up their daily reservations quickly. If you are unable to get your first choice of restaurant, don’t give up! Guests cancel dining reservations all the time. Keep trying!
2) How to make dining reservations – There are several ways to make dining reservations for Disney World restaurants. You can call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-3463 any time between 7:00 am and 10:00 pm, ET. The phone lines will be most busy early in the morning. You can also go to www.mydisneyexperience.com (or use their app) to make your reservations. *Bonus tip: The website and app open up even earlier than the phone lines, sometimes as early as midnight. Probably the easiest way to make dining reservations is to use a travel agency. Tell your agent what you want and let them do all the work! Regardless, be aware that Disney requires a credit card to hold any reservation. You won’t be charged until you dine and you can cancel up until midnight the day before your reservation.
3) Dining plan credits – If you purchase the Disney Dining Plan for your trip, you need to be clear on how many credits you will be charged. Most restaurants require only one credit, but a few are classified as Signature Dining (or a just very popular), requiring two table-service credits. Restaurants that currently charge two table-service credits include Cinderella’s Royal Table, The Boathouse and Le Cellier. The entire list is available on-line.
4) Walk-ups – If you are averse to making dining reservations six months ahead of your trip, or you plan a last minute trip, you should understand that walk-ups to most Disney table-service restaurants are rare. You would probably have better luck making reservations a day or two out than doing a walk-up. However, you’re not totally out of luck. Try these tips: Do a walk-up as soon as the restaurant opens or try for a mid-afternoon walk-up. Consider one of the less-popular restaurants such as Restaurant Marrakesh or Nine Dragons in Epcot. Another option is to ask to sit at the bar. Restaurants that have a bar will usually let you order from the menu.
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5) Disney Springs/hotels – Do not overlook the restaurants at Disney Springs or the Disney hotels. If you cannot get a reservation at your favorite theme park restaurant, consider stepping outside the parks for a nice meal. Disney Springs is a prime location for shopping, dining and entertainment. The Disney hotels also offer some great dining opportunities. While a few of these restaurants book up quickly (especially character meals), you can usually snag a reservation closer to your trip. Some of these restaurants are located right outside the parks, enabling your family to take a brief break before returning to the fun!
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!
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