Character and signature meals have become as much a part of the Disney experience as the parks themselves. With top-notch theming and delectable food, it’s no surprise that making reservations for stellar restaurants has become seemingly impossible. But with the proper plan, you have an advantage. Use these tips to make getting those coveted reservations a little bit easier.
1. Start Early – You can begin booking your Advanced Dining Reservations 180 days before you trip. Disney will send you correspondence with the date that you can begin—mark that date on your calendar! On that date, set an alarm to be up and ready to go when the website opens at 6:00am Eastern Standard Time. (Sorry, west coast.) By 5:59 you should have your first pick entered and ready to hit “submit” as soon as the clock hits 6:00. When you’ve done as much as you can on the website, start using the help of your friendly Disney Guest Services Rep starting at 7:00am EST. (If you have experiences that you’re trying to reserve at the same time, use the regular call line—not the dining line—because then you can do both without a transfer.) Being ready at your 180 mark means that you’ll have to do a majority of your pre-planning well beforehand, but it will be worth it! Make a list, grab your favorite Mickey mug, and psych yourself up for some Disney fun!
2. Start in Order of Exclusivity – Rank the ADR’s that you’re hoping to get in order of exclusivity OR in order of importance. Be Our Guest, Cinderella’s Castle, O’hana, Le Cellier, Hoop de Doo Review, Chef Mickey’s, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ are all extremely difficult to get. But if it’s more IMPORTANT to your party to get Akershus, then that should be your first priority. Also, don’t start chronologically. You can make ADR’s for your whole trip 180 days before the FIRST day of your trip. Therefore, depending on other people’s travel plans, they’ve already had access to the days that you want. But at the end of your trip you may have less competition. So it might make more sense to try for your most exclusive ADR at the end of your trip.
3. Recruit Helpers – Each adult in your party can help you with dining reservations. Divide the list of ADR desires between yourselves and double (or triple, or quadruple) your chances of getting everything that you want, when you want it. However, you’ll all want to be in the same room when doing this, so make sure to synchronize your alarms!
4. Be Flexible – If you can’t get your ideal day or time for your #1 restaurant, have a few back-up plans in mind. Can you do lunch instead? What about swapping dinner days? This is why all your helpers need to be in the same room—you’ll need to update each other in real time so you don’t end up double booking and wasting your efforts.
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5. Be Persistent – If you end up not securing one of the ADR’s that you really want, don’t give up! Disney requires a credit card to make ADR’s, and will charge $10 per person for any no-shows and/or cancellations made on the day of the reservation. This is a wonderful thing, because it motivates people to stay on top of their dining plans. Keep checking periodically for the ADR that you want; you never know when there might be a cancellation. If you leave wiggle room in your schedule, you can even check late (like 11:00pm) the night before you wish to go. With a little luck and pixie dust, you might just snag your favorite at the last minute!
Best of luck making all your dining dreams come true!
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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