Thursday, 13 February 2020

Dining at Disney World can be an attraction all of its own, and really should play a big part in your trip.
Lots of people wrongly assume that they will be living off burgers and fries for 14 days whilst at WDW but this couldn't be further from the truth.

Every single Disney Park and resort offers a variety of either quick service, and/or table service dining. You will find everything from teppanyaki in Epcot, to a traditional Moroccan feast complete with belly dancers. You can dine on Lobster at Narcoosee's in the Grand Floridian hotel or stuff you face with Mac and Cheese with Winnie the Pooh at The Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom.

I suggest spending a few hours with your family or group looking through the vast array of restaurants and their menu's to decide what your must do dining options are as soon as you book your trip.

It doesn't matter whether you are staying on or offsite, or if you do or don't have a dining plan.
All dining reservations open up 180 days before any given date and there are a large number of restaurants you will need to book on this day if you are to stand a chance of getting a table at the time you want.

These include:

Cinderellas Royal Table - Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest - Magic Kingdom

Ohana - Polynesian Resort

Chef Mickeys - Contemporary Resort

California Grill - Contemporary Resort

Victoria and Alberts - Grand Floridian Resort

Akershus - Epcot

Le Cellier Steakhouse - Epcot

Making Disney dining reservations is actually really easy once you get started, but can be a little daunting at first. 

First off, if you haven't already you will need to sign up to My Disney Experience.  
My Disney Experience will become your new best friend in the run up to your trip.

You will be able to keep track of any reservations you make, as well as search wait times for rides, check menus and view park maps. 

Once you have an account and your 180 day slot comes around there are a couple of different ways you can go about making your reservations. Both give the same outcome but you may find one easier than the other.

You can start by selecting ' Make Reservations' from the 'Things to Do' drop down tab.

Or, if you are already logged into your My Disney Experience and on the home screen, simply select 'Find a Table' as shown below.

Either of the above will then lead you to the following page:

If you know exactly which restaurant you want to book you can simply search it in the top right had corner of the page. 

Alternatively if you aren't sure what you fancy or perhaps your number 1 choice is unavailable you can simply filter results by selecting the day and time, the park or hotel you plan to be in and even the type of food or price range you are looking for. 

This will then give you a number of restaurants that do have tables available at the time you requested or almost at the time you requested.

Once you select your chosen time slot as shown above you will be taken to the following screen where you will confirm your party.

If everybody in your linked group is dining with you then you wont need to do anything here. However if say 2 out of your party of 4 are eating at this particular reservation, you can choose which 2. This will mean the remainder of the party can make a separate reservation if they wish.

You will then be asked to provide card details to secure your reservation.
No money is taken from the card at the time of booking. It is simply held as insurance to prevent people from making lots of reservations and wasting them.

You can cancel your reservation with no fee up until 24 hours before and you can change a booking as many times as you like with no charge, as long as there is availability. If you did miss your reservation there is a $10pp charge.

This may seem a little thorough and I don't want people to think that Disney are trying to get money out of you here, because they really aren't. As someone who has managed restaurants, I can tell you there is nothing more frustrating than people who simply never turn up to a booking.

Disney simply want to give everybody the best opportunity to have the best vacation. This way everybody has an equal opportunity to get the reservations they want.

You can save the card details to be used for all future reservations. I use this option as it means I don't have to have my card with me to make a reservation and it saves time. For example if I noticed a table had come available and I wanted to book it before it was taken I could do this even if I didn't have my debit card with me.

You will then be asked for contact details and given the opportunity to note any dietary requirements for your party.

You are no longer given the option to request things such as window tables or put notes such as 'birthday' etc.

Given the sheer volume of guests at Walt Disney World it probably became too difficult to manage these requests, and too many people were disappointed when they arrived to find a window table or fireworks view wasn't available.

If you ask when you arrive a cast member will be able to inform you of your various options available at that time, but don't book a table at California Grill assuming you will be sat with a straight on view of Cinderella Castle.

TOP TIP: If you haven't managed to get the reservation you wanted for California Grill or Chef Mickeys at 180 days out, this doesn't always mean you won't get one at all. People who are keen planners like myself often change their plans frequently, particularly the closer they get to their trip. 

It is worth checking again the week before you go and even 24 hours before you want the table. Some people hold on to multiple reservations so they can decide nearer the time. In order to not get charged they will then cancel the reservation the day before. If you really want to eat at a specific restaurant keep checking back. 

I hope you have found this article useful. If you have any other questions relating to Disney Dining or dining reservations, please contact me below or through Instagram (links at side)


No comments

Post a comment