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.

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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.

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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!

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

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?

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