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How to Score Disney World Advance Dining Reservations

How to Score Disney World Advance Dining Reservations


Want to eat at all the best Walt Disney World restaurants on your vacation? Here’s how to get the Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR) for the meals you want. It takes some advance planning and a bit of know-how, but anyone can get the Disney dining reservations they want during their vacation.

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This article was originally published on April 11, 2017 and has been updated and republished with a new date.

Getting the Best Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations

When planning your first Walt Disney World vacation, you might think it’s strange to decide where you want to eat many months ahead of time! However at Disney World, Advanced Dining Reservations are needed for most (if not all) full-service restaurants. Many of these Disney restaurants are experiences in and of themselves.

If you want to eat inside the castle at Cinderella’s Royal Table you’ll need an ADR!

Guests can dine inside of a castle at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table for the ultimate in Magic Kingdom dining. Step back in time at 50’s Prime Time Café or at the Beach Club Resort’s Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe.

Watch fireworks from a rooftop vantage at the Disney’s Contemporary Resort California Grill or giddy-up at Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue in Fort Wilderness. Enjoy a seafood meal aquarium-side at Epcot’s Coral Reef Restaurant or in an exotic locale like Tiffins inside Animal Kingdom.

The best Disney World restaurants are coveted and they do fill up early, even in the “off-season”. Follow these practical tips to get a head start and you’ll soon be dining in the best Disney World restaurants!

9 Things Disneyland Fans Need to Know Before Visiting Walt Disney World

What Are the Disney World Dining Changes?

When Disney World began their phased reopening there were some significant changes at the parks, including dining and restaurants. It’s very important that if you’re planning a Disney World trip, that you are well aware of current protocols and guidelines at the park and resort restaurants.

These are some of the changes that might be different from before:

  • Guests may now book dining up to 60 days in advance of a trip. 
  • Disney World Advance Dining Reservations are highly recommended.
  • Disney Dining Plan was suspended, but will return in 2024.
  • View the list of restaurants and restaurant menus in the My Disney Experience app. Guests can also use smart phone devices to scan QR codes for menus at table service restaurants.
  • Mobile check in for reservations if you wish to skip the host desk at the restaurant.
  • Cashless and contactless forms of payment are recommended.
  • Enhanced cleaning protocols are taking place in all areas of the park, including dining locations.
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The Mickey Mouse ice cream sundae at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

Do You Have to Make Reservations for Disney World Restaurants?

Yes and no. If you want to eat in the full-service restaurants, you’ll almost always need Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations. Walk-up bookings are sometimes available (I’ll discuss this more shortly). But getting in can be unlikely for the most popular locations.

Which Disney World restaurant reservations are the hardest to get?

The newest and most popular dining options are going to book fast. Reservations for table-service restaurants like Roundup Rodeo BBQ and Space 220 Restaurant will fill quickly. And of course if you want to dine with the popular characters at Topolino’s Terrace or Cinderella’s Royal Table, you’re going to need a reservation!

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible. Here are tons of insider tips for getting the ADR for the meals at Disney World you really want to eat! #DisneyWorld
Ready for fun at the Hoop-Dee-Doo in Walt Disney World.

Which Disney restaurants don’t require reservations?

Quick-service dining locations do not require reservations to eat. If you don’t want to commit to reservations, then it’s totally okay to eat at only a quick service restaurant for your entire trip. I did this when I traveled to Disney World alone with my infant. And the meals I had were great!

Disney World reservation bottom line: If you want to eat in the full-service restaurants, you’ll need ADR. No, you don’t have to make reservations if you’re okay with eating all quick-service.

Do You Need Reservations for Disneyland Restaurants?

In the past, Disneyland regulars very rarely booked ADR. Most of the full-service restaurants were easy to dine in as a walk-up. However, this seems to have shifted and dining reservations are high recommended for the most popular restaurants.

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Are Disneyland Advance Dining Reservations Easier to Get?

In general, some Disneyland ADR are easier to score than others. The dining at Disneyland is less “experience”. Perhaps because it’s very easy to leave the parks and walk across the street to restaurants on Harbor Blvd? Or maybe because so many locals tend to pack in their own food and snacks?

All character meals and fine dining, like the Blue Bayou restaurant and Carthay Circle are highly sought. Guests need to book Disneyland ADR during busier seasons and the Holidays.

How to Eat at Disneyland Without Dining Reservations

Just like at Disney World, Disneyland theme parks offer plenty of quick service restaurants and snacks. It’s easy enough to grab a fast meal without having any reservations. For more information, here’s how to eat at Disneyland without an ADR.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible. Here are tons of insider tips for getting the ADR for the meals at Disney World you really want to eat! #DisneyWorld
Character dining at Disneyland. It was a springtime Saturday morning, so yes, I did book ADR for this character meal!

How Many Disney World Full Service Meals Should You Plan On?

The answer to this question is both time and money.

Time constraints – Keep in mind that these “dining experiences” often take up a good amount of time so build eating times in to your trip itinerary.

Cost of table service dining – Character dining and other special dining events can take a large chunk of travel expenses. The full-service restaurant costs need to be worked into a Disney budget.

Chocolate layer cake with whipped cream at the 50s Prime Time restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios

In my own experience, I only book one Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations per day, usually for lunch. This allows my family to eat a light breakfast in our hotel room.

We enjoy our fancy ADR meal at lunch time. I like to book an indoor dining location for lunch in an effort to avoid the near-daily rain storms in Orlando! Then we grab a quick service dinner whenever hunger strikes. Or if I’m being honest, sometimes we just have ice cream cones for dinner!

So how can you get that Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations for the meal you really want? These are basic tips for newbies looking to grab a few ADR for their trip.

Raglan Road

Get Familiar With the My Disney Experience App

Create a My Disney Experience account, then practice using the app at home. This Disney World specific app will be where to find all pertinent information about your full vacation.

As a Disney resort guest, the My Disney Experience app holds all the Disney World travel details of your entire stay. Guests can add theme park tickets to the app, then make Disney Genie+ selections throughout the day. View park hours, entertainment showtimes, and more in the app.

In regards to Walt Disney World dining, the My Disney Experience app is essential. Guests can make dining reservations or make changes on the My Plans page. Schedule reminders about reservations here, as well.

The My Disney Experience is also where guests can make mobile orders for quick service dining. Mobile ordering is an time saver for fast snacks and meals.

Front entrance sign at Akershus Restaurant in Epcot at Disney World

Plan Out Your Disney World Vacation Itinerary

Before you start picking out Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations willy-nilly, you’ll need to plot out your basic itinerary. You don’t want to be booking The Crystal Palace for breakfast at Magic Kingdom on a day you’d planned on being at another theme park.

Guests need a theme park ticket to eat in the parks – Ensure that you have valid park admission for the location in which you want to eat. Make your theme park reservation first, before you make a restaurant reservation within one of the parks.

Compare the schedule of other theme park activities – Be sure to check the times of the attractions you wish to watch before booking an ADR. I almost booked a coveted Be Our Guest dinner reservation but stopped short after checking my itinerary. The time slot for dinner fell right during the fireworks show we’d planned on watching. Unfortunately I had to pass on the meal reservation.

So how can you get that Advanced Dining Reservation for the meal you really want? These are basic tips for newbies looking to grab a few ADR for their trip.
Cupcakes at Be Our Guest…try the grey stuff!

Book Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations at 60 Days

Your best bet for getting Disney’s Advance Dining Reservations you want it is to book the very first day that you can. This should be done at the very first moment Disney opens the reservations (either with a phone call or online). That is how you’ll get the most coveted slots like Cinderella’s Royal Table – by being the early bird!

Salad, corn bread loaves and coleslaw on a table at Disney World Hoop-dee-doo Restaurant

Book 60 Days in Advance – In the days before the park closure, Disney World dining reservations opened up 180 days in advance. But since the reopening, WDW has adopted a new schedule for 60 days out.

Guests can either book online or call the reservation phone number (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463) by 7:00 am ET.

Popular reservations often fill up within minutes of opening. Make a calendar reminder to book at the 60-day mark for your best chance at scoring the ADR you want!

Read my honest review of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Walt Disney World in Orlando. Is this longstanding show worth the cost and is this Disney World restaurant appropriate for everyone in the family?

Check the Website Frequently

Missed the 60 day window? You may still be able to grab the reservation you want by frequently scoping out the ADR website for openings.

I was able to grab a reservation for 50’s Prime Time Café five days before my trip just by checking the site several times a day. Many guests overbook and then cancel unneeded reservations ahead of their vacations.

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Schedule at least one full-service dining meal per day.

Search by Meals, Not by Exact Times

When checking for availability, search by meals instead of exact times. You’ll have a greater chance at finding a reservation if you use the broader “meal times” filter instead of a specific time.

How to search by meals – Click the “Dining Reservations” tab. Inside the “Check Availability” box there is a drop-down menu that will say Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. If the restaurant isn’t open for a particular meal, that meal won’t show up in the drop down. If there is an available time slot there will be a button with the time available that you can click to reserve your spot.

Inside Oga's Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge in Disneyland
Inside Oga’s Cantina in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Use a Disney World Travel Agent to Find Dining Reservations

Many agents will include booking dining as part of your vacation package. So instead of having to get up before sunrise to make those calls to Disney dining, your agent will do the work for you!

The awesome agents at Get Away Today offer this, along with other complimentary concierge services, when you book your Disney World vacation with them.

Mickey waffle at PCH Grill


My travel partners at Get Away Today offer discounted Walt Disney World tickets and Orlando-area hotels to fit any budget!

The cost of a Disney World vacation includes complimentary concierge from Get Away Today to assist with dining reservations and more. This also includes their best price guarantee!

Book a Walt Disney World vacation package for just $200 down, with final payment due just 30 days before check-in. Contact Get Away Today for a complimentary vacation quote on a WDW vacation!

Use MouseDining to Get Coveted Disney World Reservations

If you don’t have time to be constantly checking for open ADR, there’s a site that will help you with that!

Rather than stalking the Disney World app to book ADR, try MouseDining. There’s a way to upgrade your account for additional features but for most people, their free program is adequate. Here’s how this system works:

  • Open the MouseDisney website and search the restaurant you want to dine at.
  • Add in your dates to see if a reservation is available.
  • If everything is booked, simply set up an alert with more details including meal, preferred time, and party size.
  • MouseDining will email you when a reservation comes available!

Naturally you have to be the first person to grab it before it’s taken by someone else, but it definitely saves time not having to stalk the website yourself!

I used MouseDining to get a reservation for Beaches & Cream Soda Shoppe. The email came through letting me know there was a reservation available and I was able to immediately go online and scoop up the reservation for the meal time I wanted!

MouseDining isn’t just for dining reservations – you can use it for any reservation-type activity on the trip! That includes Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, light saber building at Savi’s Workshop, and dessert parties.

Be Open to Booking Different Reservation Times

Would be willing to eat at Be Our Guest if the only reservation is for 9:30 pm on a Wednesday night?

I actually had this reservation set on a visit with my family, it worked out great! Since we came from the West Coast, I kept my little ones on Pacific Time. Therefore a 9:30 pm (6:30 PST) wasn’t too late of a dinner for them. We scored a great ADR in the process!

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible. Here are tons of insider tips for getting the ADR for the meals at Disney World you really want to eat! #DisneyWorld

Change Up Your Usual Meal Times – Consider pushing back lunch so you can have a later dinner. Then stay to play in the parks and sleep in the next day. If you find an early dinner reservation, eat a big breakfast and skip lunch. Then have your early dinner and enjoy dessert later in the evening!

Certainly, some reservation times just aren’t ideal for many families. But if you can be open to dining at a different time you’ll more likely be able to find a reservation.

Getting Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations doesn't have to be impossible; here are 8 tips for getting the ADR for the meals you really want to eat!

Disney World Advance Dining Reservations for Large Groups

Some restaurants are better suited to large group reservations than others. Intimate locations like Oga’s Cantina and Sci-Fi Dine-In can be a challenge to book with a large number in your reservation.

If you’re struggling to find Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations for a big group, consider booking at one of these restaurants.

  • Whispering Canyon Café at Wilderness Lodge
  • Boma at Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot
  • Teppan Edo in Epcot
  • Splitsville at Disney Springs
  • Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue dinner show at Fort Wilderness
  • Yak & Yeti at Animal Kingdom park
Tables set for dinner with stage in the background at Disney World Hoop-dee-doo restaurant

Staying on Disney Property?

Guests staying onsite at Disney-owned resorts may have a better chance at booking dining reservations, in particular for restaurants on property. The chances increase for guests staying at Club Level, with access to the hotel concierge.

If you’d like to make a particular advance reservation during your Disney vacation, check with the front desk or concierge with your request.

Disney ADR Last Minute Finds

Don’t Stop Looking for Reservation Openings

Even while on your vacation, Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations may open up. Many guests overbook and then cancel at the last minute to avoid no-show charges and fees. This opens up same-day reservations for you!

Keep checking for Advance Dining Reservations through the My Disney Experience on your mobile phone to see if an ADR opens up for the time you want. I was able to book a last minute Be Our Guest lunch the day we arrived.

Which Restaurants Often Have Last Minute Openings?

Some locations, especially those that are large and can accommodate many guests, may be easier than others to book last minute ADR.

Biergarten Restaurant in Epcot, Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant at Hollywood Studios and Yak & Yeti in Animal Kingdom are good bets.

Front entrance of Sci-Fi Restaurant at Disney's Hollywood Studio

Look Outside the Theme Parks

Some of the locations outside of the theme parks may have more booking opportunities. Many of the Disney resort hotel locations offer full service dining, including excellent character experiences and dinner shows.

Hop on the Monorail to visit the hotel restaurants near Magic Kingdom, including Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary.

Disney Springs has lots of great dining spots in their outdoor shopping and entertainment district. Try a location like Raglan Road Irish Pub, T-REX, or Splitsville that are fun for kids.

Raglan Road seafood In Cod's Way
In Cod’s Way – seafood dish at Raglan Road

Lock in Disney World Advance Dining Reservations

Let’s say you can’t get the reservation you really want, but there is another restaurant that has availability? Consider booking ahead and getting the reservation you can. Then continue to search for the ADR you want.

If you can’t get another reservation at least you’ll have something booked! If you’re able to book elsewhere, the first reservation can be canceled. The following section includes some of the must-know details about cancelling reservations.

Front entrance sign at Tusker House restaurant in Disney's Animal Kingdom

Canceling Disney World Restaurant Reservations

Reservations may be canceled, with the deposit refunded in full, by calling (407) 824-1391. This can also be completed on the Walt Disney World website or via the My Disney Experience.

Time Window for Canceling Reservations

Most restaurants allow modifications within 2 hours of the reservation time. Other restaurants require an entire week of notice for cancellation to avoid fees.

Each restaurant at the Walt Disney World Resort has its own cancellation policy, so be sure to check your reservation.

Reservation Change Fees Beyond the Time Window

Some locations do not permit modifications once the reservation is confirmed. These include Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review, and dessert parties.

For changes beyond the reservation time, there may be a fee to cancel. This could be a nominal charge or a full cost of the experience. Make cancellation and modifications within the designated time pertinent to your reservation to avoid any fees.

Try a Walk Up Reservation

If you’ve done your best to book a Disney World Advance Dining Reservation without any luck, consider walking up to the restaurant to check availability.

Visit the restaurant – Talk to the Cast Member at the check-in kiosk to request dining availability during your visit. They may be able to serve your party immediately or put you on the list for later in the day.

Join the walk-up list – Within the My Disney Experience app, open the tab for the specific restaurant you wish to visit. Press the “Join Walk-Up List” button and follow instructions.

Disney World Dining Walk Up Information

  • You must be close to the restaurant for the walk-up feature to work.
  • Not all restaurants offer a walk-up list feature.
  • There will be an alert on the description if the walk-up list is currently unavailable due to high demand. Bookings might be completely full for the day or you may have better luck if you check in again later.

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Walt Disney World Guide for Toddlers at Magic Kingdom

Monday 17th of April 2017

[…] Dining Reservations for any full-service meals you wish to eat in Magic Kingdom (here’s how to get the reservations for the meals you […]

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