Booking your Disney dining reservations should be a crucial part of your holiday planning
Reservations open for the restaurants 180 days in advance, at 7am EST, which is 12pmin the UK. That’s around 6 months in advance. If you’ve booked your holiday prior to that, it is worth considering knowing your 180 day mark, research the restaurants you really want to go to and book them on the first day you can. If you know when you’re going but not actually booked yet, you can still make dinner reservations – you can always cancel them. And if you’ve booked after the 180 day mark, it is worth making your ADRs just as soon as you can.
If this is the first time you’ve considered a trip to Walt Disney World or looked into, this may seem a little OTT. However, if you want a choice of meals and at times to suit you, you’ll need to book them early. If you wait until you get there, you could end up waiting a really long time (when you could be in the parks) for a table at the only restaurants that have any spaces, or eating quick service the whole time. It’s not uncommon to see signs up saying the restaurants are fully booked.
One of the reasons the restaurants are so busy is the Disney Dining Plans – pre-paid plans that enable you to eat at over 100 Walt Disney World restaurants. They’re great value if you make the most of them and to do that, you want to be eating at the best restaurants – and therefore they get booked up. In addition, Disney has offers throughout the year that offer the Disney Dining Plan for free. They’re extremely popular, especially in the States and if it is a period of free dining, then the majority of people in the parks are on the dining plan and so will be taking up reservations.
So how and when should you make Advanced Dinner Reservations (ADRs)? Bookings can be made 180 days in advance. However, if you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney have a 180+10 policy – so at 180 days from your first day of the holiday, you can book for the 10 days following that – so you don’t have to book separately every day. Unfortunately for us Brits, the longest typical holiday in the states is 10 nights, and this is what Disney use. We often visit for a fortnight, so that’s 4 extra nights to make separate bookings for.
There are two ways to book restaurants – online or by phone. The phone number is +1 407 WDW DINE or +1 407 939-3463. If you want to take advantage of the 180+10 rule, make sure you know your reservation number. It is an American number though, so look into using skype or an equivalent to keep costs down.
The website is http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/reservations/dining, or you can access it via the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone. If you are aiming book right on the 180 day mark, make sure you sign up for a My Disney Experience account (either via mobile or the Disney website) in advance and, if you’re staying in a Walt Disney World hotel, link your holiday reservation
Where should you make reservations for? Well that’s a huge question as there are just so many options. Disney gives you lots of information on their website and there are lots of reviews out there, so just do a little research and take a punt at a few. One tip is to look at the Disney calenders (released 6 months in advance) to see when the shows and extra magic hours are, plan roughly where you want to spend each day, and then select a restaurant in that park or at a nearby resort.
Learn more about dining at Walt Disney World