Reserve Your Dining

CHAPTER 3

CHAPTER
FOUR

BACK TO CHAPTER TWO

Chapter 3

"Getting dining reservations" is the answer I get most when I ask my friends what's stressing them about Disney planning. And I get it. Reservations have been hard to come by since some restaurants are temporarily closed.

Here's the good news: I've cracked the code when it comes to getting the reservations I want. I've landed the coveted Cinderella's Royal Table, Topolino's character breakfast (for 12 people!) and the reservations at the spots that are completely underrated.

I'm going to share EVERYTHING in my arsenal with you.

Let's do this!

Choose
Your 
Dining

Easier said than done, right? I recommend 1 killer dining reservation for each day of your trip, minus the day you leave. This can help anchor your day, and takes away a bit of anxiety, knowing where you're going to eat for at least 1 meal.

Let's first get a birdseye look at ALL the dining reservations available in Walt Disney World, and then we'll go into specifics like character dining, dining with large groups, and an FAQ.

01.

Choose Your
Dream Dining

"THE LIST" OF DINING RESERVATIONS

Start by looking at the directory below. My favorites are marked with a small          symbol.
To see the menus and pricing, click the links.

Restaurant Marrakesh (temporarily unavailable) Morocco

Takumi-Tei (reopening soon)

BACK

*HarmonioUS dining packages available. For Rose & Crown click here, for Spice Road go here.

Epcot

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood & Vine*
Hollywood Boulevard

Oga's Cantina
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge 

Woody's Roundup BBO (coming soon)
Toy Story Land

*Fantasmic! dining packages available. Learn more here.

Animal Kingdom

Tiffins Restaurant
Discovery Island

Pizzafari Family-Style Dining (temporarily unavailable) Discovery Island

Disney Springs

Monorail Resort Area

Contemporary

Grand Floridian

Polynesian

1800 Park Fare (currently closed)

Narcoosee's (closing in July for refurbishments)

Victoria & Albert's (temporarily unavailable)

Epcot Resort Area

All Other Resorts

Pricing: $63/adult and $41/child for dinner*

Characters: Aurora, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, and Snow White

*plus tax + gratuity

Pro Tip: ride Frozen Ever After before or after your reservation, since you'll be in Norway anyway!

EPCOT, WORLD SHOWCASE

Meet Aurora, Ariel, Jasmine, Belle, and Snow White while you dine for dinner with a Norwegian-style buffet.

Pricing: $67/adult and $39/child for lunch and dinner*

Characters: Beast

Pro Tip: plan a lunch reservation on hot summer days for an air-conditioning break.

*plus tax + gratuity

MAGIC KINGDOM

A popular spot themed to look like The Beast’s Castle. Beast makes an appearance, but character interactions are always changing!

Pricing: $45/adult and $29/child for breakfast*

Characters: Minnie, Mickey, Donald + Goofy

Pro Tip: If you're staying at a Skyliner resort, the Beach Club is a short-ish walk from EPCOT's Skyliner station.

*plus tax + gratuity

BEACH CLUB RESORT

A buffet-style breakfast at the Beach Club Resort, Minnie's Beach Bash Breakfast has Minnie and her friends ready for the beach!

Pricing: $42/adult and $27/child for breakfast, $62/adult and $37/child for dinner*

Characters: Meet Cinderella before or after your meal.

Pro Tip: plan a meal here for a special occasion, like an anniversary or birthday.

*plus tax + gratuity

MAGIC KINGDOM

Located inside Cinderella Castle, dine + see Cinderella, or meet her after your meal (depending on the meal and certain protocols.)

Pricing: $45/adult and $29/child for breakfast, $59/adult and $38/child for dinner*
Noise level: Very Loud
Character to guest ratio: 1 to 56

Pro Tip: plan a meal here for when you want to hop on the monorail to Magic Kingdom before or after.

*plus tax + gratuity

the contemporary

Located in the Contemporary Resort, have breakfast or dinner with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy + Pluto!

Pricing: $59/adult and $38/child for breakfast, lunch or dinner*
Characters: Pooh, Piglet, Tigger + Eeyore

Pro Tip: Make a reservation for the hotter part of the day so you can relax in some solid A/C!

*plus tax + gratuity

MAGIC KINGDOM

Enjoy a buffet for breakfast (with churro Mickey waffles!), lunch, or dinner with Pooh and his friends in a Victorian-style greenhouse

Pricing: $55/adult and $36/child for lunch or dinner*
Noise level: Super quiet
Character to guest ratio: 1 to 46

*plus tax + gratuity

EPCOT

See Chip n' Dale at the World Nature pavilion in EPCOT for lunch or dinner. The restaurant revolves (literally) around Living with the Land!

Pricing: $42/adult and $27/child for breakfast, $55/adult and $36/child for lunch or dinner*
Noise level: Medium
Character to guest ratio: 1 to 71

*plus tax + gratuity

HOLLYWOOD STUDIOS

At breakfast this is Disney Junior Play n Dine with Disney Jr characters, while lunch + dinner feature Minnie, Mickey + their friends.

Pricing: Unknown*
Noise level: Medium
Character to guest ratio: Unknown

*plus tax + gratuity

POLYNESIAN RESORT

At the Polynesian Resort, have a family-style breakfast with Lilo and Stitch at the Best Friends Breakfast returning September 27th!

Pricing: $42/adult and $27/child for breakfast, $55/adult and $36/child for lunch and dinner*.
Noise level: Loud
Character to guest ratio: 1 to 112


*plus tax + gratuity

Animal Kingdom

Find the crew - Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto  - in their safari gear for a breakfast, lunch or dinner. Buffet-style returning Nov 1st.

Character Dining Spots

Most of our trips to Walt Disney World have been for 8 or more people, but that doesn't hold us back from having plenty of dining reservations. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Depending on the size of your group, you may be split into 2 tables next to each other. 

If you can’t snag 1 reservation for all of you, break your reservation into 2 smaller ones with overlapping times. From a desktop, put yourself "in charge" of one reservation and have someone else from your Family & Friends list be in charge of the other. We've done this many times, just let a Cast Member know when you check in and they'll seat you at the same time.

If you don't have any luck, call the Group Reservation Team at (407) 939-1942 at 7am EST. But your chances decrease since it's an hour later than online-booking.

When you check in for your reservation via the My Disney Experience app, it will allow you to add or subtract one guest from your party. So if you have dining for 7 but can't find a reservation, try to find anything for 6 people!

Lastly, an 18% gratuity is automatically added to groups of 8 or more.

Dining with a Large Group

WDW Group Reservation Team:
(407) 939-1942

Biergarten

Find this in EPCOT's World Showcase (in Germany, of course.) This has great availability and can be booked for up to 30 people!

Boma

This is a buffet-style restaurant at Animal Kingdom Lodge. Great food, lots of room, and can be booked for up to 16 people.

Trattoria al Forno

I can always find a dinner reservation at this Italian restaurant on the Boardwalk. It's a crowd pleaser, but 12 people is the max reservation.

BEST RESTAURANTS FOR BIG GROUPS

Dining FAQ

You have more questions about...eating? We really are going to be friends. I knew it!

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

WHAT ABOUT A DINING PLAN?

These include a bunch of activities, dining events, and tours like: Enchanted Dessert Fireworks Party (my favorite) or building your own droid in Galaxy's Edge. See all the extras you can add here.


WHAT ARE ENCHANTING EXTRAS?

DELUXE

DELUXE VILLAS

WHAT ABOUT A DINING PLAN?

Yes! Even if they're not eating anything from the menu, the restaurant wants a head count. When I'm really in a bind with reservations, I'll drop my party by 1 (the baby) and explain to the Cast Member when I arrive that they'll be sitting on my lap. I've never had an issue!

DOES MY BABY COUNT?

WHAT ARE ENCHANTING EXTRAS?

Value

Value

Besides Victoria + Albert's, any age can eat at a Disney restaurant. This is NOT the place to be intimidated by the upscale spots - ITS DISNEY WORLD!

Most table service restaurants will have chicken fingers or plain pasta for picky eaters. Our favorite reservations for the whole family have been: Topolino's, Via Napoli, Sanaa, and the BOATHOUSE for their upscale-but-still-comfy vibes.

BEST RESTAURANTS FOR KIDS?

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

WHAT ABOUT A DINING PLAN?

MODERATE

DELUXE

DELUXE

MODERATE

You have more questions about...eating? We really are going to be friends. I knew it!

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

WHAT ARE ENCHANTING EXTRAS?

It never hurts to ask! Some restaurants have the option to "join walk up list" within the My Disney Experience app, but availability goes quickly. You can learn more about this here.

What about a dining plan?

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

DELUXE

DELUXE

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

DOES MY BABY COUNT?

DOES MY BABY COUNT?

What about a dining plan?

CAN I JUST WALK UP?

Disney's Dining Plan can be a great way to save some money depending on the restaurants you're planning on going to and how your family eats. This is temporarily unavailable.

WHAT ARE ENCHANTING EXTRAS?

A tip from Dana...

Pair a breakfast reservation that coincides with your park day. Park your car (or Uber!) to any resort and use the resort's transportation! For example:

Breakfast at Cape May Cafe at the Beach Club, then walk to EPCOT or take the boat to Hollywood Studios.

Breakfast at Steakhouse 71 at the Contemporary, then walk or monorail to Magic Kingdom.

Using your printed planner, or your Google spreadsheet (on sheet 2), start filling in the following:

  • Your "ADR Day", or the day your Advanced Reservations open. Find this by using this calculator and subtract 60 days from the first day of your vacation.

  • Next, write your dining reservations in order from most popular to easiest-to-get. Refer to the section here. If you see your dream reservation on that list, put it at the top. Your FIRST reservation should be for the one you absolutely don't want to miss. 

  • Add your alternate dates and times for each, so you have a backup plan.

Fill in Your Planner

02.

PRINTABLE PLANNER

GOOGLE PLANNER

See how I fill my Dining Planner!

Looks best fullscreen!

Planning Your Advanced Dining Reservations

You've got your list of dream reservations, and it's time to make this happen! This section will show you how to book these using a desktop and mobile.

Advanced Dining Reservations open 60 days before your check-in date at 6:00AM EST. Some reservations are said to open as soon as 5:45AM EST.

On-property guests (Disney Resorts, Swan, Dolphin, Swan Reserve + Shades of Green) are able to make reservations for their whole stay, while off-property can only make them 1 day at a time, 60 days before.

A credit card number is required to make dining reservations. If you cancel or don't show up within 2 hours, you will be charged a penalty fee of $10/person. 

03.

Reserve Dining + Enchanting Extras

MORE TIPS FOR GETTING RESERVATIONS:

For a desktop, open an incognito browser window. This prevents any crashing.

Double check a valid credit card is under your profile.

Go to time.gov and watch a live clock for Eastern Standard Time.

Check the night before that you're My Disney Experience app is up-to-date.

DON'T CLICK "MAKE DINING RESERVATION." Instead, hit the search tool and type in the first restaurant you want to make a reservation for. Wait on this screen until exactly 6:00:00AM EST.

Searching availability by meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner) almost never works. Instead of selecting "breakfast", try selecting time slots. They'll pop up!

To up your chances, have someone help you book 1 hard-to-get reservation while you grab the other, from two different MDE accounts.





Watch me book dining in real-time!

Live Dining Reservation: Mobile + Desktop

NOTE: Enchanting extras (like bibbidy boutique) open at midnight 60 days before

04.

Sometimes you don't get the reservations you were hoping for. Honestly I would be SHOCKED if you got all of them! 

01. Set Alerts
This step is a game-changer: MouseDining is an alert system that will text or email you when a reservation opens up. It's amazing!

Laid-back Magic members can use the code LBMFAMILY (enter at checkout) for $3.00 off their first month's subscription.

A pro tip: add your spouse/partner's phone number to your account as a backup - sometimes they see the text before you do!

When You Didn't Get What You Wanted...

02. Don't give up!
Try checking for cancellations 24-26 hours before the reservation you want. People start cancelling like CRAZY and things really open up.

Your best bet is the night before. I've gotten a lot of reservations (like Topolino's breakfast) the night before, even when there was nothing available for weeks!

9:08pm on Aug 7th: reservation for Aug 8th at 10am

CHOOSE FROM "THE LIST"

SET UP ALERTS 

Did you get all the dining reservations you wanted? Go to the Community and share the ups and downs of your experience in the Dining space here.

continue to chapter 4

FILL YOUR PLANNER

RESERVE DINING + EXTRAS

Are you still having trouble getting a reservation?

There are some restaurants in Walt Disney World that you can find on OpenTable, and may give you a better chance at finding something. For instance, one of our favorite restaurants - the Boathouse in Disney Springs. 

Some other great restaurants that usually have availability are: Toledo, a fantastic tapas restaurant at Coronado Springs - Jiko, one of the highest rated restaurants at Animal Kingdom Lodge - and Trattoria al Forno, a solid italian restaurant at the Boardwalk Resort.



FURTHER

reading