How to snag hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World

(Article last updated: June 7, 2017)

Probably the hardest part of booking a Disney World trip is deciding on and getting all of the dining reservations you want.

The hardest dining reservations at Disney World include Be Our Guest for dinner (currently the most difficult to book), pretty much all of the character meals, signature dining meals (like Victoria and Albert's, Le Cellier and California Grill) and dinner shows.

Here are our tips on how to snag the hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World...

The most surefire way to snag hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World: book 180 days in advance

The most foolproof, surefire way of getting any reservation is to book 180 days before your trip begins.

But even if you do that, there are some tricks that can improve your chances of getting everything you want.

Try online before phone

Online reservations open up at 6 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, while the phone lines open up at 7 a.m. Always try the website earlier but keep the phone number handy in case there are issues on the website - 407-WDW-DINE.

Note: make sure you have your credit card handy. All reservations now require a credit card guarantee so you'll need to enter the number in when you make your reservation. 

Chances are better toward the end of your trip

People staying on-site can book all of their reservations for their whole trip 180 days before the trip begins. That means that your chances are better toward the end of your trip since those dates aren't opened to everybody yet.

If there's a place you really want more than any other, stay flexible and have a couple of date options.

Here's a video that helps explain this a bit better...

Put your reservations in order of difficulty, not chronological order

If you book your reservations chronologically, you may miss out on some of the difficult ones. Put them in order of difficulty so you can try the hardest ones first.

Note: do not be surprised if no availability shows at the 180 day mark for the dessert parties and dining packages such as the Rivers of Light or Fantasmic! dining packages. Those frequently don't show up in the system as available until later; however, it is best to check at the 180 day mark just in case.

Use a computer

Using a computer can make the process of booking reservations easier. Before your 180 day window opens, open a tab for each restaurant you plan on booking and arrange the tabs in order of difficulty.

Make sure you are logged out of My Disney Experience before your window opens and then right at 6 a.m. EST, log in, and click through each tab to make your reservations.

Using multiple tabs this way saves you time the morning your Advanced Dining Reservations open since you wont be searching for each restaurant one at a time - they'll already be open and ready to go.

Here's a video showing how this works.

Use multiple devices, but only if necessary

In most all instances, 1 person working on 1 computer is plenty but if you are booking for a large group, during an extra busy time of the year (such as the holidays) or trying for lots of hard-to-get reservations - all things that can make it more challenging to snag the reservations you want - you might want to consider using multiple people on multiple devices.

For example, put 1 person in charge of snagging that pre-park opening Advanced Dining Reservation for Be Our Guest while you work on everything else.

Some restaurants should be called directly

Non-Disney owned restaurants don't release many seats to the Disney Dining system, so you're better off calling them directly if you can't get reservations through the Disney Dining system.

Here are some numbers to keep handy:

  • Bongos - 407-828-0999
  • Frontera Cocina - 407-560-9197
  • House of Blues - 407-934-2583
  • Morimoto Asia - 407-939-6686
  • Paradiso 37 - 407-934-3700
  • Planet Hollywood - 407-827-7827
  • Portobello - 407-934-8888
  • Raglan Road - 407-938-0300
  • Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom location) - 407-938-9100
  • Rainforest Cafe (Downtown Disney location) - 407-827-8500
  • Splitsville - 407-938-7467
  • STK Steakhouse - 407-917-7440
  • Rex Cafe - 407-828-8739

A couple of days beforehand, check again

Disney World has recently adopted a new cancellation policy that requires a credit card to secure any Table Service reservation. If you don't cancel by the day before your scheduled reservation, you'll automatically be charged $10/person.

The good thing about this policy is that it keeps people from stockpiling reservations that they aren't going to use and it means that openings come up the day or two beforehand that people can snag for their trip.

Use this to your advantage and try checking again, even up until the day before, to see if you can get what you want.

********************

The same ideas could be applied to booking special events like boat cruises, although you almost always have to book those 180 days in advance. Since those have even fewer spots available than restaurants, you should put those high on your priority list.

Are there reservations you're hoping to get or other tips for snagging hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World you'd like to share?

Please discuss in the comments.

Ready for a trip quote?

The handpicked team of agents at Prep School Travel can help you out. Fill out the info below to get started.

Leave a Reply

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Ryan

How long are the reservations for? If we reserve an 8pm supper reservation, do they hurry us along afrer 60/90 minutes, or if we Want to take 120+ minutes of appetizers, entrée, desert then drinks etc is that allowed?

Adam

I know this is an old question, but it’s one we asked a lot before we got to Florida. We have found that all of the Park dining experiences are designed to take between 50 minutes and an hour. Cinderella’s Castle a little longer.

They don’t hurry you along as such, but you don’t really need to spend more than that amount of time to get the full experience. Even the character meals are all done in that time, and then the ‘show’ seems to go on repeat.

If you want a longer experience the Signature Restaurants in the resorts do a great job for that big night out.

Laurie R

Love your site and your podcasts – I am taking lots of notes in preparation for our trip. We have booked a house offsite from Disney to accommodate our large family. My question is that our trip starts Nov 15 – so our day to book ADR’s is May 19. Since we are not on-site at WDW how does it work for us to book our reservations for our 10 day trip on May 19? Do I have to call everyday and book each day as they come up?

Thanks for your help!

LadyDis

For anyone having trouble: just check everyday!! Each year I book as far in advance as possible, but still don’t get all the ADRs I want. But I’ve snagged ADRs for the dates/times I’m looking for as little as a week in advance for our trip. Like many have said, that’s around the time ADR hoarders start to make final decisions about what they want to keep, and you’ll see new times available.

Peggy P

I actually found Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club Resort a harder reservation to get than Be Our Guest. I might not have gotten one at Be Our Guest right away, but with periodically checking throughout the day after my 180 day mark, I finally got one. Took twice as long to get one at Beaches and Cream, though, and even then it wasn’t really for when I wanted it.

People cancel all the time, so best thing is to keep checking. My friend is going in January and couldn’t get into Be Our Guest. I checked a few times and got her a reservation. I’ve found (though this will be bad for those who work) that the best time for getting in those hard places is during the week, during the workday. Forget it on the weekdays because everyone else is trying to do the same thing as you.

Sydney Bristow

Can someone help me understand how to take advantage of the 180 + 10 ADR perk that you get by staying at a Disney resort? I’m getting really close to my 180 days, but when I look at the reservation page, the dates of my trip are still blacked out. How do I do this?!

Tom Cottone

I managed to get a reservation at BOG for an 8am breakfast. Here’s the BUT. It’s only for a party of 1. Will the entire party be seated?

Peggy P

I can’t really answer that, but why did you only make it for one if you have an entire party going? The reservations are based on tables and people. If your reservation for one is really for two, it shouldn’t be a problem. But when the party starts increasing in size, that means a bigger table than planned or two tables put together, and so on. So, depending on the size of your party, you will probably have to wait. My suggestion would be to go onto your MyDisney account and change your reservation to the correct amount of people. If it doesn’t let you change it, chances will be good that you’ll have to wait….a long time…to get a table

Tom Cottone

My original post waa over a month ago. Since then another seat dropped and my reservation is now for 2

Debra Ruffing

I would like lunch reservations for canada and Brown Derby. I am so lost here,,,dh had leukemia and I really want this to be a nice vacation for him with grandkids.

Courtney B

I’ve read on Twitter that December 2017 reservations are not available at 180 days. People are having difficulty getting ANY of the character meals at 6am on their 180 day (plus the few extra days). Any ideas on that? I can book Sunday but I don’t want to go through all of this for nothing! I even looked for a basic reservation on December 11 with very limited options!!

Peggy P

We originally had a reservation for the beginning of December (changed it to Halloween when I discovered we’d be there during Pop Warner week). My 180 days was in July, and I could book December meals. However, I couldn’t get very many. For one thing, many restaurants in the Magic Kingdom won’t let you make a reservation after a certain time on nights that have the Very Merry Christmas Party. If you don’t have a ticket to that, you have to leave the park at 7pm. But even without the Magic Kingdom, I had a hard time. I had eight table meals but couldn’t only book about three.

courtnei

Does anyone know if they are up now? Or just all booked?

Jenn

I was able to book yesterday for A character dining and Be Our Guest for the last week in Dec.

Jolie

This explains why I can’t find anything good for our Dec. 16-23 trip. I can’t even get Ohana. I’m just hoping that things open up while we are there from people canceling.

Katelyn

I couldn’t get ANY character meals for our December trip. We were able to start booking today and only thing open the entire week we are there is chef Mickey.

Jennifer

Me, too! I went online at 6:20 am and almost every character meal for our entire trip was full! And we’re going at a time when crowds are supposed to be lower- December 11-15. It was really frustrating.

Handy article! My family has had luck grabbing hard-to-get reservations by using the the My Disney Experience app. Even if it initially shows no availability, by checking back randomly and often, we have been able to secure Be Our Guest reservations a couple times. We’ve done this a couple weeks to a couple days before our trip. Just takes a little dedication 🙂

Ken

Great stuff! Thank you!!

Shannon

We are booked for our next trip May 20 – May 26, 2017. We were able to get almost everything we wanted in terms of restaturants but cannot seem to find anything for breakfast at Hollywood & Vine. Is this restaurant really that popular now? Is is possible that they haven’t released the tables yet even thought the 180 day mark was last week?

Jeremy

We called today for June 1 because it was unavailable and they said it wasn’t released yet for March or June. They said keep checking daily.

Darren Carnall

So we have secured all our reservations for our trip. (WOOHOO!) but the STK Orlando restaurant would only let us book Lunch on the Disney Dining Plan. Do they not do Dinner on the plan or did we get in too late??

Arielle

Is there a WDW for Dummies or something? My husband and I are going to Disney at the end of next month. We planned this trip completely last minute a few weeks ago. We have had to cancel this trip twice already prior to this time because of extreme family circumstances. Needless to say we are totally excited and I have never been to Disney but reading your blog is making me terrified. Although, it is very helpful I didn’t know so much went into this planning process. Am I going to be able to even get anything reserved for us at such a late time? And where is everyone even getting the lists of all the restaurants for them to even know if they want to go there or not so that they can RSVP in the first place? I have no idea what all the options are to know where and what I want us to do. I thought I was doing well by just picking the park I wanted to visit.
PLEASE HELP

KiHe

You’ll want to use the disney website to see all of your dining options among lots of other things. YOu can create an account that will allow you to make dining reservations. Here is the link to their website below – they also have an app for your phone:
https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/

Amber

Do the reservations by phone for T-Rex and Rainforest open 180 days in advance as well? If so, what time do their phone lines open? Also, is there a chart or list somewhere listing the restaurants in order of difficulty of getting reservations?

Caytie

I was on at 6 am to book ANY Princess breakfast or BOG lunch for November 30th, with NO options on my phone app or desktop browser. I guess I’ll call in 30 minutes. I am so sad it is looking like we might not get into ANY of our restaurants we dreamed of.

Jen

I am having the same issue!! I even checked with less popular restaurants like Liberty Tree with NO AVAILABILITY for my release day today. Same thing happened yesterday for my Epcot reservations. Did you have any luck trying the phones or trying throughout the day?

Lisa

I was told to just keep trying so that’s what I’m doing every day! We are going the week of Nov 28th. Akershus is our main goal!!

Kimmy Dalton

I was finally able to get Akershus for breakfast on the 27th yesterday! I’ve been trying since 180 days as well. Don’t give up! I try every day at least once if not twice in hopes a reservation hoarder has made up their mind and canceled. Good luck to you!

Courtney B

This is happening to me now in 2017. What did you end up doing? We are scheduled December this year.

Drew

I’m having the same trouble with several of our restaurants for early december too! so bummed that I got up this early on a saturday for nothing!

Courtney B

Woah! This is happening in 2017 too! What did you end up with?? I can start on Sunday.

Jenni Deiderich

Is there a ranked list of how to prioritize which restaurants are harder to get into than others, so I know in which order to try to make my reservations?

Courtney

Our whole family has decided to go December 10-15 for an early Christmas Vacation. We want to experience Disney at Christmas without the large crowds. However, there are 12 of us. OF COURSE our list of restaurants are most of the hard to get ones as our group of 12 includes 6 young children. Any suggestions on scoring all of the restaurants with a party of 12? Should I just call the group dining line?

Rebecca

I just booked yesterday all of my reservations for a party of 17! Book all your hard to get restaurants towards the end of your trip. Also some restaurants don’t sit more then 8 to a table anyways. So split up if you have to. I was able to book all of the restaurants I wanted! ???

Amanda

I have a question about CRT. I know you have to pay in advance, but if I’m using the dining plan do I still need to do this? Thanks in advance.

Sara

Ir ealize you’ve likely already taken your trip, but others probably wonder – I did. Yes. You pay the full price in advance. When you arrive tell them you’re using the DDP (2 credits) and your card is then refunded.

Jim

No. But a credit card guarantee is required.

Nancy

We were able to snag a California Grill reservation for our upcoming December trip to celebrate out 25th wedding anniversary! What I am wondering is if we can go up early to watch fireworks (scheduled for 8:00) with a 9:15 resv? I know you can go up after with your receipt but cannot find any info on going up before. Thanks!

Heather Nugent

I was able to make ALL of my Spring Break 2016 ADR’s this morning thanks to you and your wonderful advice. I absolutely LOVE your website! It really makes the planning process so much fun! I also made a Disney planning binder, per your suggestion, and wrote down all my confirmation numbers. Come on, March!

Summer

Shannon,
I am planning my first Disney World trip and all my friends say I’m psycho with how much studying and planning I have done. I think I have read every tip, idea, you name it from you and other sources. We will be traveling with a 22 month old and 3 1/2 yr old. At 180 days I had 4 computers opened, logged in and ready to go at 5:30 going over scenarios with my husband (he was calling for BBB and Harmony Barbershop), if things got moved around. We got almost everything we wanted. 2 CRT, 2 BOG, the works. (For Christmas week). There were some times that we wanted better for our schedule so we signed up for the WDW Tablefinder that I read about in one of your articles. OMG! I LOVE IT! SOOOO worth the money. We only have 2 more reservations that we are waiting on for better times. But we have gotten improved times for 4 reservations already and it is so easy! You just have to be quick. As soon as it pops up… click the link. I’m waiting for my 60 days to do FastPass, but we have our strategy and are excited for our picks and our upcoming trip! Thanks so much for all the information!!!

Summer

Oh, one thing that I wanted to add was this. In my pecking order of restaurants I did not put Tusker House Breakfast at Animal Kingdom as a priority list. By the time I got to that reservation on my list it was gone. This really surprised me. Especially since I got every one I wanted, just not at my “perfect time”. So, I would suggest putting it higher on the list than you would think. Not before CRT or BOG, but close. I got the WDW Tablefinder and it got us a reservation in the morning for the Character Breakfast for 5 people Christmas week. I got the package of 10 for $50. Worth. Every. Penny!

Hi Shannon! We booked our dining reservations 180 days in advance, got all the places we wanted, however we didn’t add our baby since he wouldn’t be eating from the restaurant. So booked a table for 4 instead of five. We changed some but the others are booked, do you think they will turn us away if we show up with our baby. We really don’t want to cancel our reservations ??

Rebecca

I don’t know if they would turn you away, but I do know when I went with my son who was one at the time, they wanted him included in how many were going. I would just call Disney dining and ask.

megan

We were going to do that too, since it’ll be easier to book a table for 6 than 7. Did it work out for you?

Stephanie Biedenbender

Here’s something I discovered about T-Rex that you might want to add. We have a large group on 10. On disneys site you can’t book for a party that large at T-Rex. So you have to split the party into 2 groups and hope they’ll be able to sit you together. If you call the restaurant directly (using the number you so fabulously provided), they can book large groups. We were able to get all 10 of us, at 1 table, at the time and day we want this way! Thanks so much!

Kim

Can you still make ADR 180 days out if not staying onsite with dining plan?

Jessica

Great advice! Another few tips we’ve used:

– If you absolutely want to go somewhere that’s full, try looking closer to your trip, right when your final balance is due (I think 30 days prior to your trip?). It’s been my experience that there seem to be some reservations that open up right around that timeframe. We were able to get Coral Reef reservations right at 6:30 this way.

– If it rains in the parks, head to the hard to get restaurants! I had tried everything I could think of to try to get in to Be Our Guest for our Sept. 2013 trip, but it was booked solid. Our next to last day at the parks, there was a torrential downpour that lasted all afternoon/evening. We threw on our ponchos and kept going, and decided to try BOG and see what the wait for a table was like. We had a 5 MINUTE WAIT because people opted to avoid the horrible weather and cancel their reservations. It was awesome to be able to get a table, and out of the rain 🙂

Natasha

Hi Shannon, love your site! My family and I are traveling to WDW at the end of sept. I made all my dining reservations the week we booked our vacation but never could seem to get into Tusker house. I was trying to go there for Brekfast on Sept. 26th. Its always been full. Is it worth my troubles? Do you think if i call, they might be able to put me in?

Natasha

Hi my family and I are going to wdw at the end if sept. I was hoping to get a breakfast reservation for tusker house for Friday sept 26 but even with doing the reservations 180 days in advanced they still seemed to be completely booked for that day and that’s the only day we are going to animal Kingdom. Is it worth my troubles? Any suggestions?

Amy

Planning a Nov 10-17th trip. Our 180days was on May 14th. Attempted online right at 6am, but the system was down. Called and by 6:01am ET the wait time to get to someone was ridiculous. We were watching reservations disappear while we waited. Long story, by 8:30am we only ended up with 2 yes TWO of the desired table service meals. So disappointed. Any tips on how to get better reservations? Chef Mickey on a Monday for dinner and the only opening was 9:05pm! Not do able with a 6year old.

Dan

I was wondering if when booking T-Rex directly, does the 180 day + 10 policy still apply, or is it only 180? I thought if only 180, then the +10 might make using the disney reservation system better for those booking asap.

smokeylu99

Is there a list somewhere, in order of difficult, of which restaurants to try for first?

Janet Mac Farlane

It was suggested to me to change your number of guests. I was trying to get Ohana for 2 and could not get a ressie so I changed it to 3 and ta-da got a ressie. You are not charged if some people don’t show. you will be charged if you are a total no-show.

Tammy

I am planning a WDW trip for Nov of 2014 with a 14 1/2 year old boy, 12 and 9 year old girls. Where would you recommend for us that would be age approiate?

Connie

We also learned that party size counts. There must only be a certain amount of tables for two available. I have noticed that if I change our party size from two to three, a spot will be available.

Steve and Katie

I don’t think this is a very ethical option tho it kinda feels like your fudging the system to get your way just cause there is no penalty?? Put yourself in someone else shoes who doesn’t get a reservation with 3 people cause you lied about your party size.

Chicken man

Perhaps Disney shouldn’t make it so insane to actually GET a reservation in the first place, then all these people wouldn’t be resorting to back door work arounds.

Kim

We always make our reservations 180 days out… we’ve never missed one yet. We even got lucky and was able to get another reservation at Liberty Tree Tavern since we enjoyed it so much last minute!!!! We plan our trip so far in advance, but I love your website and tips!! They are fantastic!!!!

Marie

When I made my dining reservations a few weeks ago the first person told me the cancellation was 48 hours before that night I called to book the rest of my dining and was told 1 day before. Online it’s showing me 48 hours before I need to cancel to avoid fees.

Arline Erven

We weren’t able to plan our trip 180 in advance, so we didn’t plan any character dining. However, a spot opened up last week for ‘Ohana and we snatched it up! Wouldn’t have known to do that if it hadn’t been for your podcasts!

Sara

I am hoping for several reservations for our family’s first WDW trip this summer. I think I have them listed in order of difficulty and ready for January, when I can make reservations. Can you rearrange them if I’m off?
1. 1900 Park Fare – dinner
2. Hollywood & Vine – Fantasmic Dinner package
3. Tusker House – breakfast
4. Rainforest Cafe – (AK) dinner
5. Planet Hollywood – dinner

Does that sound about right? Thank you and I LOVE your site and emails!!!

Afton

These are great tips. I’m hoping for a good seat for the dessert party – I booked it right when you posted it opened 180 out (even though it was that far out for our trip) I’m hoping I was one of the firsts! Have a great trip! Can’t wait to hear your thoughts!

Gloria

The only reservation I cared about getting was Cinderella Table for my girls when we go in may. I used all of your advice, got up to book them online at 6am, and even though the website wasn’t linking our reservations for the first 15 minutes of my attempt, I was able to land an 8:10 breakfast reservation for the first day in the parks!! I am having a hard time keeping it a secret for our surprise trip! Thanks so much for all the advice!

Elise

Awesome!!!!!!!

wpDiscuz
Animal Kingdom Epcot Hollywood Studios Magic Kingdom Water Parks
Complete guide to Epcot
All about the Frozen Ever After Dessert Party at Epcot
Complete guide to Magic Kingdom
Planning Process Overview Step 1: Pick a Date Step 2: Lodging Step 3: Make a Daily Plan Step 4: Dining Step 5: Park Touring Step 6: Extra Magic
Disney Springs restaurants and dining
Disney World breakfast reservations and a ride – before the park opens!
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique review/tips
Babies and Toddlers Characters General Reference Group Travel Luxury Saving Money Special Needs Technology Transportation
Disney Springs restaurants and dining
Using an ECV or scooter at Disney World
How Disney World Annual Passes can save money (even if you only go once)