The 2020 Guide to Understanding and Securing Disney Dining Reservations

Whenever Megan and I visit Walt Disney World, which is not enough by the way, we try to hit at least one table service or character dining experience. With 83 options to choose from, it might be awhile before we get to try them all. But, trying them all is what we intend to do. Some are easy to get, others fill up with reservations as soon as they’re available. As you read on, hopefully I can help guide you through which ones you want to choose and which ones you need to act fast on!

When can I set my Disney dining reservations?

If you intend on dining at Disney World with reservations, you can set those up to 180 days in advance. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resorts owned and operated property* you can make up to 10 days of reservations at once. This means, you get 189 days advance beyond your first night of stay. 

*does not include Swan/Dolphin, Shades of Green, Disney Springs area resorts, or offsite hotels.

Reservations open up in the MyDisney Experience app at 6:00 a.m. ET daily, or you can call the Walt Disney World reservations number (407) WDW-DINE at 7:00 a.m. ET.

Which dining reservations sell out quickly?

Within minutes, exactly 180 days in advance, Cinderella’s Royal Table Character breakfast sells out. The Chef’s Table at Victoria and Albert’s is another reservation that sells out almost immediately. This one is for a different reason in that there is exactly one reservation per day. Why? There is only one chef’s table at a restaurant! It is also not available on Wednesdays or Fridays. 

In addition to these two, the following dining experiences go quick:

  • Be Our Guest, Magic Kingdom Park
  • California Grill, Contemporary Resort
  • Hoop Dee Doo Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Oga’s Cantina, Hollywood Studios Park
  • Spirit of Aloha Luau, Polynesian Resort
  • Victoria & Albert’s, Grand Floridian Resort

What Disney dining experience should I choose?

Decisions, decisions. We could write a whole article detailing how to choose your reservations (psst, we are soon). But, for now, take into account where you’re going to be that day. There is no point in booking a dinner reservation for 7:00 P.M. at Chef Mickey if you want to go to Epcot that day and stay for the fireworks show that night. 

The point we are making is that your dining reservation should fit smoothly into your schedule. Write down which days you will be at which park and then narrow your dining preferences to fit that plan.

Is there dining with Disney World characters?

Megan at Chef Mickey, September 2018

Yes! This is Megan and I’s favorite way to have breakfast at Disney World. Together we have done Chef Mickey and ‘Ohana. Growing up I was also able to do quite a few as I got my Disney fanaticism from my parents. Disney is one of the few places where you can fully immerse yourself with characters from your favorite movies. The following restaurants offer character dining:

  • 1900 Park Fare, Grand Floridian Resort
  • Artist Point, Wilderness Lodge
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Epcot Park (Norway Pavilion)
  • Be Our Guest, Magic Kingdom Park
  • Cape May Cafe, Beach Club Resort
  • Chef Mickey’s, Contemporary Resort
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom Park
  • Crystal Palace, Magic Kingdom Park
  • Garden Grill, Epcot Park (The Land Pavilion)
  • Garden Grove, Swan Hotel
  • Hollywood & Vine, Hollywood Studios Park
  • ‘Ohana, Polynesian Resort
  • Ravello, Four Seasons Resort
  • Trattoria al Forno, Boardwalk Resort
  • Tusker House, Animal Kingdom Park
  • Topolino’s Terrace, Riviera Resort

If you want a full guide on character dining and which ones offer breakfast, lunch, or dinner and what characters are involved, check out our Character Dining Guide.

How do I book my Disney dining reservation?

The process of making Disney dining reservations via the MyDisney Experience app.

There are two different ways you can book your reservation. Option one is through your MyDisney Experience App or by calling the Walt Disney World reservations number (407) WDW-DINE. I always recommend using the app as the reservations number can be very hit or miss on wait times (also I hate booking over the phone in general). 

Again, if you’re going after a coveted reservation at the 180 day mark, you get an extra hour of priority access by using the MyDisney Experience App instead of the Walt Disney World reservations number. 

Before the 180 day mark:

  1. Familiarize yourself with the Disney restaurants and dining system. You will need to click on each restaurant to see their menus. Don’t worry, if you’re a ways out from your trip we will have a breakdown of each restaurant up soon!
  2. Make a list of the restaurants that you want to make a priority of when it comes time to actually book.
  3. Refer to your daily itinerary. If you haven’t made one yet, I would suggest checking out ours and either using it to a T or tweaking it to fit your lifestyle.
  4. After consulting with your itinerary, write down what days you want to dine at each restaurant.
  5. Put your highest priority bookings at the top of the list.
  6. If you’ve already booked your vacation, you can skip this step, but if you haven’t, create an account at DisneyWorld.com. You can find this in the top right corner of the website.
  7. If your reservations aren’t linked to your account yet, do so now. This qualifies you for the 180+10 days system we talked about earlier.
  8. Download the MyDisney Experience App from your phone’s app store (don’t worry, it is free). Login with your account details and make sure everything matches up.
  9. Congratulations, you’re all set and prepared for 6:00 a.m. ET 180 days before check in! 

6:00 A.M. ET at the 180 day mark:

We recommend doing steps 1-3 a few minutes before 6:00 A.M. ET just so that you can prepare for unexpected load times or a forgotten account password.

  1. Have your credit card ready! We recommend using the Disney Visa card because you get a few extra perks.
  2. Log into your account on your computer or on the MyDisney Experience app.
  3. Choose the restaurant you put at the top of your priority list and open the page.
  4. There is a blue box that says “Check Availability” on the far right, halfway down the page.
  5. Pick your date and party size.
  6. Select “Find a Table” and make your reservation!
  7. Repeat this step for as many reservations as you are planning.
  8. Congratulations! You’ve done it!

Do I need to pay in advance for a Disney dining reservation?

Depending on your table-service location, you may have to pay in advance. All table service restaurants require a credit card on file in case you do miss your reservation. 

The following restaurants do require a full prepayment at the time of booking, using a credit card:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Hoop Dee Doo Revue
  • Spirit of Aloha Luau
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

Can I book reservations with the Disney Dining Plan?

Absolutely! If you have the Disney Dining Plan, Disney Dining Plan Plus, or the Disney Deluxe Dining Plan you can book reservations to use with your table service credits. There are a couple locations that require you to use multiple table service credits towards one meal. Those are as follows:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table, Magic Kingdom Park
  • Jiko-The Cooking Place, Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort
  • Flying Fish, Boardwalk Resort
  • California Grill, Contemporary Resort
  • Citricos, Grand Floridian Resort
  • Narcoossee’s, Grand Floridian Resort
  • Artist Point, Wilderness Lodge Resort
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse, Yacht and Beach Club Resort
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse, Epcot Park (France Pavilion)
  • Monsieur Paul, Epcot Park (France Pavilion)
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby, Hollywood Studios Park
  • Tiffins, Animal Kingdom Park
  • The BOATHOUSE, Disney Springs
  • Wolfgang Puck, Disney Springs
  • Morimoto Asia, Disney Springs
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ, Fort Wilderness Resort
  • Spirit of Aloha Luau, Polynesian Resort

If you want to know more about the Disney dining plans, we have a guide for that too!

What if I’m late to my Disney dining reservation?

Oh no! While not the end of the world, see a guest relations Cast Member or your host/hostess immediately! I can’t make any guarantees, but they may be able to move you to a different time. This is the case depending on how late you are. 30 minutes to an hour and they might move you into the seating queue for an open table. Again, see a Cast Member immediately!

What if I miss my Disney dining reservation?

You completely missed it?!? Things happen, but the outcome of this will depend on which Disney restaurant you booked a reservation for. Some of the more coveted reservations have a $10 or $25 per person no-show or day of cancellation fee, while all table-service reservations have at least the $10 per person no-show fee.

If you prepaid for one of the reservations above and no-show or cancel within 2 days of your reservation, you will be charged the full amount. 

Mitchell Tomczak

Mitchell Tomczak

I'm 26 years old and I've been to Disney over 10 times in my life. 3 of those have been as an adult and twice with Megan! I love learning about the mystery behind the magic, Walt's life, and what's coming to Disney down the line! If I can share that with you, I'm doing my job!

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