How and when to make all Disney World reservations

There are lots of different ways to contact Disney World, and I've spent the last several days on the phone verifying phone numbers and details about how to book all kinds of reservations for Disney World trips.

Below, you'll see how and when to book just about anything, as well as cancellation and payment policies, and whether or not you can expect to see the reservation show up in My Disney Experience.

Let's take a look...

Quick links
Want to jump right to one of these categories? Use these links to be taken straight there.

General/basic reservation info

These are the basics that everybody needs to make their Disney reservations.
[easytable style="font-size:0.7em;" width="600" colalign="left|left|left|left|left|center" class="table table-striped"]
Reservation type,When to make,How,Cancellation policy,Deposit required,Will show up in MDE? (Things that aren't added in MDE automatically can be added as a note.)
Disney World vacation package,"Reservations can be made once they are released for the year you're traveling (usually released in late July the year prior), up to 499 days ahead of time.","You can make reservations online, by using an agent, or by calling (407) 939-5277.",Packages canceled 45 days or more in advance will allow you to get a full refund (except for travel insurance or airfare if you purchased those through Disney). Packages canceled 2-44 days beforehand will result in a $200 cancellation fee. Packages canceled a day prior will be charged in full.,"$200 deposit required within 7 days (if booking online, the deposit is due immediately) and insurance is due immediately if you add it. Full payment is due 45 days before your trip begins. Payments can be applied until then if you'd like to pay as you go.",Yes
Room-only Disney resort reservation,Up to 499 days beforehand,"Call Disney World at (407) 939-5277 (just be careful that the phone rep doesn't try to upgrade you to a package if that's not what you want) or booking through an agent is the way to do it if resort rates for your travel dates haven't been announced yet. Once room rates are announced, you can also book online.",Can cancel up to 5 days beforehand without paying any penalty (up to 6 days if booked online).,"1 night's deposit due within 7 days if booking by phone, deposit due immediately when booking online. Final payment is due when you check in. ",Yes
Disney Vacation Club booking,Varies by resort. Check this list for more info - DVC Request chart,Can book directly with a DVC owner or through a site like DVCRequest.com,No refunds available if you need to cancel which is why trip insurance may be especially helpful when using DVC points,Full payment usually required when booking,Yes
FastPass+ reservations,"Up to 60 days beforehand (beginning at 7 a.m.) for on-site and Swan/Dolphin guests and up to 10 days of FP+ can be made at a time. Up to 30 days before the day you'll be in a park for everybody else (which means being online multiple days in a row for people staying off-site). ","407-939-7765 or FP+ section of the WDW site (the website is the preferrable method, but the phone number can be handy if you run into issues)",N/A,N/A,Yes
Memory Maker,"Anytime, but must purchase at least 3 days beforehand to receive the pre-purchase discount",On the WDW site,Non-refundable unless purchased as part of a Magic Your Way package,Full payment due when booking or you can book it as part of a package and then the package rules apply,Yes
Magical Express,"Anytime, but highly suggest making it at least 10 days beforehand (preferably at least several weeks beforehand so you can receive all of your information by mail)",On the ME site or by calling (866) 599-0951,None,None,Yes
Stroller and ECV/scooter rental,"If renting from Disney, you can reserve in person (ECVs have very limited quantities). If booking through a third-party company, it will vary. ","If renting from Disney, you need to go in person to the rental places. If booking through a third-party vendor, you'll need to contact them directly.","When booking from a third-party vendor, most require cancellation at least 48 hours beforehand.","When booking from a third-party vendor, your card will usually be charged at the time you book.",No[/easytable]

Dining-related reservations

Nearly all of these can be booked using the same methods, but the payment terms and other details vary.
[easytable style="font-size:0.7em;" colalign="left|left|left|left|left|center" class="table table-striped"]
Reservation type,When to make,How,Cancellation policy,Deposit required,Will show up in MDE? (Things that aren't added in MDE automatically can be added as a note.)
Most Table Service reservations and Be Our Guest lunch,Up to 180 days ahead of time (people staying on-site can make up to 10 days worth of reservations at once),Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 180 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),"Disney says they must be canceled 24 hours beforehand, but it's really midnight the night before. ","A credit card guarantee is required to make these reservations, but will only be charged $10/person if nobody in your group shows up for the reservation. If at least part of your group shows up, you won't be charged a no-show fee.",Yes
"Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Spirit of Aloha Luau, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ",Up to 180 days ahead of time,Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 180 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),The 3 dinner shows must be canceled 48 hours in advance to get a refund. Cinderella's Royal Table can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance.,"Full payment required at time of booking if you're not on the Disney Dining Plan. If you're using the Disney Dining Plan, your credit card will be used to hold the reservation.",Yes
Be Our Guest breakfast,Up to 90 days ahead of time (though only available through July right now),Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 90 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),"Disney says they must be canceled 24 hours beforehand, but it's really midnight the night before. ","A credit card guarantee is required to make these reservations, but will only be charged $10/person if nobody in your group shows up for the reservation. If at least part of your group shows up, you won't be charged a no-show fee.",Yes
Rainforest Cafe (2 locations) and T-Rex Cafe,"Up to 180 days ahead of time, beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time","Some available online but calling can often be easier. Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom location) - 407-938-9100, Rainforest Cafe (Downtown Disney location) - 407-827-8500, T-Rex Cafe - 407-828-8739","If you book through Disney's system, you need to cancel by midnight the night before. If you book by calling, there aren't any cancellation fees.","If you book through the Disney system, Disney rules apply that require a credit card to guarantee and a $10 fee if you don't show up. If you book by calling the restaurant directly, there's no credit card needed or cancellation fees. ","Yes, if booked through Disney's dining system. No, if booked directly with the restaurant."
The BOATHOUSE,"Up to 180 days ahead of time, beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time",Book on OpenTable and eventually reservations on the WDW site will be available,"If you book through Disney's system, you need to cancel by midnight the night before. If you book by calling, there aren't any cancellation fees.","If you book through the Disney system, Disney rules apply that require a credit card to guarantee and a $10 fee if you don't show up. If you book on OpenTable, there's no credit card needed or cancellation fees. ","Yes, if booked through Disney"
Illuminations and Wishes Dessert Parties,Officially up to 180 days in advance but it's often not available until later,Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 180 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),Must cancel up to 5 days in advance to get payment refunded,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Perfectly Princess tea party,Up to 180 days ahead of time,407-WDW-MYTEA,Can cancel up to 3 days beforehand,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Candelight Processional Dinner Package,Usually released at the end of June or early July,407-WDW-DINE or book online,Must cancel at least 48 hours in advance to avoid cancellation fees,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,Yes
Special-order cakes,"At least 72 hours beforehand, up to 3 weeks beforehand",407-827-2253,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
[/easytable]

Special event reservations

[easytable style="font-size:0.7em;" colalign="left|left|left|left|left|center" class="table table-striped"]
Reservation type,When to make,How,Cancellation policy,Deposit required,Will show up in MDE? (Things that aren't added in MDE automatically can be added as a note.)
Backstage tours,Up to 180 days for most,407-WDW-TOUR,Must be canceled 48 hours beforehand to receive a refund,Full payment due when booking,No
Halloween and Christmas party tickets,"Available in April or May, but the earliest that any party dates sell out is usually around August",407-W-DISNEY or on Disney's ticket page,Tickets are non-refundable,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Disney's on-site child care centers,Up to 180 days beforehand,407-WDW-DINE,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the $23/child fee,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
Cirque du Soleil tickets,Up to 180 days ahead of time,"407-WDW-SEAT, in person, through Ticketmaster, or online,Tickets are non-refundable,Full payment due when booking,No
"Private portrait session
",Up to 365 days in advance,407-934-4004,Cancellation at any time will result in losing the $25 deposit,$25 non-refundable deposit required at time of booking (will be applied toward your session as long as you show up),No
Food and Wine special events,"When they are released, often in late July",407-WDW-FEST,Non-refundable,Full payment due when booking,Yes
runDisney events,As soon as they open up for registration (a limited number of spots open up early to DVC and AP holders). See this post for helpful dates, 407-939-iRun or rundisney.com,No refunds available,Full payment due when booking,No
Disney Florist,"Up to a year in advance, but at least 48 hours notice is usually required",407-939-4438 or DisneyFlorist.com,Can cancel up to 48 hours ahead of time unless your order includes custom embroidery,Full payment is required when booking,No
[/easytable]

Recreation reservations

[easytable style="font-size:0.7em;" colalign="left|left|left|left|left|center" class="table table-striped"]
Reservation type,When to make,How,Cancellation policy,Deposit required,Will show up in MDE? (Things that aren't added in MDE automatically can be added as a note.)
Ft. Wilderness golf cart rental,"Up to 1 year in advance (phones are open 9-5, 7 days/week)",407-824-2742,Must cancel by 1 p.m. the day before to avoid the cancellation fee of 1 day's rental,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
Bay Lake water activities,Up to a year in advance,407-939-0754 or SammyDuvall.com,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance or the full cost will be charged to your credit card,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
The Pirates League,"Up to 180 days ahead of time (follows the same rules as dining for on-site guests and can be made 180 days from when your trip beings), beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time",407-WDW-DINE or 407-WDW-CREW,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance or a $10 fee will be charged,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
Golf tee times,Up to 90 days in advance for Disney World resort guests and up to 60 days in advance for non-resort guests,407-WDW-GOLF or online at golfwdw.com,"Must be canceled at least 24 hours in advance or a fee will be charged ($25 fee for May-September, and $40 for the rest of the year)","No deposit required, but a credit card is needed to make a reservation",No
"Pirate Adventure Cruises, fireworks cruises, horse-drawn carriages at Port Orleans Riverside, fishing at resorts, surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon","Up to 180 days ahead of time, beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time",407-WDW-PLAY,Must be made at least 24 hours in advance or the full payment will be charged,No deposit required,No
Harmony Barber Shop,Up to 180 days beforehand,407-WDW-PLAY,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the $10 cancellation fee,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
"Archery, horseback riding",Up to 180 days beforehand,407-WDW-PLAY,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid the $10 cancellation fee,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
Pirate and Pals Cruise,Up to 180 days beforehand (follows the same rules as dining for on-site guests and can be made 180 days from when your trip beings),407-WDW-PLAY,Must be canceled at least 48 hours in advance to avoid cancellation fees.,Full payment due when booking,No
Umbrella/cabanas at water parks and monorail resorts,Up to 180 days in advance,407-WDW-PLAY,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid paying the full price as a cancellation fee. Same-day cancellations are allowed in inclement weather.,Full payment due when booking,No
Spa services ,"Up to 180 days ahead of time, beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time",407-WDW-SPAS ,Must cancel at least 4 hours beforehand to avoid the full price of the services being charged to your room bill,No deposit or credit card guarantee required,No
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique,"Up to 180 days ahead of time (follows the same rules as dining for on-site guests and can be made 180 days from when your trip begins), beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time",407-WDW-DINE or 407-WDW-STYLE,Must call to cancel by 11 p.m. eastern time the night before or a $10/person fee will be charged,Credit card guarantee is required when booking,No
Miniature golf,Same day reservations available at Fantasia Gardens,Go to Fantasia Gardens (located near the Swan) and you can choose a tee time for that day,No refunds available,Full payment due when booking,No
Characters in Flight balloon ride in Downtown Disney,"Tickets must be purchased in person the day of unless you buy through a Groupon that's sometimes available. Wind conditions are a big factor so call the boat dock beforehand to see what the conditions are before heading there - (407) 828-3150, press 3, then ask to be connected to the boat dock where the Character's in Flight balloon is located",In person,N/A,N/A,No
[/easytable]

Full payment required when booking

Although most reservations just require a credit card to guarantee a reservation, these are the ones that require full payment when you book.
[easytable style="font-size:0.7em;" colalign="left|left|left|left|left|center" class="table table-striped"]
Reservation type,When to make,How,Cancellation policy,Deposit required,Will show up in MDE? (Things that aren't added in MDE automatically can be added as a note.)
Backstage tours,Up to 180 days for most,407-WDW-TOUR,Must be canceled 48 hours beforehand to receive a refund,Full payment due when booking,No
"Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop Dee Doo Revue, Spirit of Aloha Luau, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ",Up to 180 days ahead of time,Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 180 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),The 3 dinner shows must be canceled 48 hours in advance to get a refund. Cinderella's Royal Table can be canceled up to 24 hours in advance.,"Full payment required at time of booking if you're not on the Disney Dining Plan. If you're using the Disney Dining Plan, your credit card will be used to hold the reservation.",Yes
Halloween and Christmas party tickets,"Available in April or May, but the earliest that any party dates sell out is usually around August",407-W-DISNEY or on Disney's ticket page,Tickets are non-refundable,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Pirate and Pals Cruise,Up to 180 days beforehand,407-WDW-PLAY,Must be canceled at least 48 hours in advance to avoid cancellation fees.,Full payment due when booking,No
Disney Vacation Club booking,Varies by resort. Check this list for more info - DVC Request chart,Can book directly with a DVC owner or through a site like DVCRequest.com,No refunds available if you need to cancel which is why trip insurance may be especially helpful when using DVC points,Full payment usually required when booking,Yes
Cirque du Soleil tickets,Up to 180 days ahead of time,"407-WDW-SEAT, in person, through Ticketmaster, or
On the WDW site,Non-refundable unless purchased as part of a Magic Your Way package,Full payment due when booking or you can book it as part of a package and then the package rules apply,Yes
Illuminations and Wishes Dessert Parties,Officially up to 180 days in advance but it's often not available until later,Online (beginning at 6 a.m. eastern time 180 days beforehand) or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (beginning at 7 a.m. eastern time),Must cancel up to 5 days in advance to get payment refunded,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Food and Wine special events,"When they are released, often in late July",407-WDW-FEST,Non-refundable,Full payment due when booking,Yes
Perfectly Princess tea party,Up to 180 days ahead of time,407-WDW-MYTEA,Can cancel up to 3 days beforehand,Full payment due when booking,Yes
runDisney events,As soon as they open up for registration (a limited number of spots open up early to DVC and AP holders). See this post for helpful dates,407-939-iRun or rundisney.com,No refunds available,Full payment due when booking,No
Umbrella/cabanas at water parks and monorail resorts,Up to 180 days in advance,407-WDW-PLAY,Must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid paying the full price as a cancellation fee. Same-day cancellations are allowed in inclement weather.,Full payment due when booking,No
Miniature golf,Same day reservations available at Fantasia Gardens,Go to Fantasia Gardens (located near the Swan) and you can choose a tee time for that day,No refunds available,Full payment due when booking,No
Disney Florist,"Up to a year in advance, but at least 48 hours notice is usually required",407-939-4438 or DisneyFlorist.com,Can cancel up to 48 hours ahead of time unless your order includes custom embroidery,Full payment is required when booking,No
[/easytable]

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

Have other reservations you're hoping to book or questions about any of the info above? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments.

Ready to book a trip for 2019?

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

50 Comments

  1. Cheryl March 28, 2018 Reply
  2. Frank M July 28, 2017 Reply
    • Shannon Albert July 29, 2017
  3. Emma January 26, 2017 Reply
  4. Ernest Garcia January 10, 2017 Reply
    • Shannon Albert January 10, 2017
  5. Bethany October 17, 2016 Reply
    • Shannon Albert October 17, 2016
  6. Julie Yurkanin July 8, 2016 Reply
    • Kelly Stewart August 1, 2016
  7. Erika July 5, 2016 Reply
  8. Melissa Ojeda June 11, 2016 Reply
    • Shannon Albert June 13, 2016
  9. Sarah June 7, 2016 Reply
    • Erika July 5, 2016
  10. Jennifer March 2, 2016 Reply
    • Brittany Corbett March 6, 2016
  11. Stephanie January 13, 2016 Reply
    • Brad Thompson May 27, 2016
  12. Rachel January 5, 2016 Reply
    • Erin January 6, 2016
  13. Bobby Ratliff January 3, 2016 Reply
  14. Amber July 5, 2015 Reply
    • midge bridges September 3, 2015
  15. Cilla May 18, 2015 Reply
  16. Troy May 15, 2015 Reply
    • Troy May 15, 2015
  17. Ciara Doyle May 15, 2015 Reply
  18. michele kronick May 15, 2015 Reply
  19. sarah May 14, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 14, 2015
  20. Jarrod May 13, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 13, 2015
  21. Emily May 13, 2015 Reply
  22. Lonna May 13, 2015 Reply
  23. Susan Nawyn May 13, 2015 Reply
    • Rae May 13, 2015
    • Bobby Ratliff January 3, 2016
  24. Monica May 12, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 12, 2015
  25. Drew May 12, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 12, 2015
  26. Tiffany May 12, 2015 Reply
  27. Addi May 12, 2015 Reply
  28. Katie May 12, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 12, 2015
    • Katie May 12, 2015
  29. gary May 12, 2015 Reply
    • Shannon Albert May 12, 2015
    • gary May 13, 2015

Leave a Reply