Walt Disney World is the number one theme park resort destination in the world partly because of it's size which means lots of activities, entertainment, recreation, and of course theme parks and water parks to visit. The easiest ways to ensure a magical vacation to Walt Disney World is to plan ahead as early as possible. This guide can help you determine which entities call for advance Walt Disney World reservations and how to make those reservations for easier planning.
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Advance Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World
Considering the vast amount of popular dining options advance Walt Disney World reservations are critical to ensuring you get a spot at the table.
How to Make Reservations
There are a few different ways in which to make advance Walt Disney World reservations for dining.
- Online- You can go online to the specific restaurant of interest and search through the calendar to select a time and date. You'll need a credit card to hold the reservation.
- By Phone- You can also call (407) WDW-DINE to book by phone, between 7am-10pm EST, Monday thru Friday. Weekend times are 1pm to 8pm. Reservations can then be added into the My Disney Experience profile if you are building your package.
- Disney App- You can also make dining reservations via the My Experience App.
Reservations are available at the table service locations in all four theme parks as well as at the myriad of hotels scattered on property. Read all about dining at Walt Disney World here to find out about all the dining options available.
The table service venues will accept them up to 180-days in advance. If you're staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, you may book dining reservations every day of your trip up to 10 days. If you must cancel, Disney asks for a 24-hour courtesy.
When it comes to securing those hard to get dining reservations, some strategy is involved to ensure you get a spot. Here are our tips on how to seize those popular dining reservations!
To reiterate, book 180-days in advance ASAP. Plan your itinerary first then add in your dining meaning choose restaurants in your vicinity. If you're in Epcot for a day, don't book at reservation at ‘Ohana which is in Disney's Polynesian Village Resort. Opt for Akershus in the Norway Pavilion, one of the harder locations to secure a dining reservation.
Opt for Online First
Try booking online before picking up that phone. Online reservations open at 6am EST, while Disney Dining—(407) WDW-DINE—starts accepting phone calls at 7am EST.
Prepare for your 6am reservation morning by opening computer tabs at each location on your list in order of difficulty. Hardest reservations first, easiest ones last.
Take Advantage of the Perks of Staying at Disney Resort Hotel
If you're staying on property, you have some perks when it comes to booking your reservations! You can book all your dining experience AT ONCE, up to 10 days out meaning if you are staying 10 days, you can book all 10 days at one time. Guests staying off-property must book reservations per day.
Prioritize by Difficulty
Another great tip is to reserve the locations by difficulty as opposed to chronologically. If you're hoping to get in to Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort two days after you arrive at Walt Disney World Resort, book that location first, not where you want to eat your first day of vacation.
Keep trying if you don't get your first choice reservations on the first try. As Dory says— just keep swimming. Cancellations occur at anytime so if you don't get your preferred location right at first, revisit Walt Disney World Dining on your computer, My Disney Experience App, or call….again.
Booking Large Groups
If you're in a big group, divide and conquer. Try reserving two smaller parties possibly nearby each other. Another great tip is to eat during a non-peak time so your group can all sit together. Busier times means less tables.
Most Sought After Dining Locations in Walt Disney World
With so many eating venues available, you'd think wait times wouldn't be an issue but not in the case with these highly popular locations. Some locations are notoriously hard to get dining reservations for- even if you book on the first day of the 180 mark!
The most difficult dining reservations at Magic Kingdom are:
- Be Our Guest (most difficult to get!)
- Cinderella's Royal Table
- The Plaza Restaurant
The most difficult dining reservations at Epcot are:
- Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Norway Pavilion)
- Le Cellier Steakhouse (Canada Pavilion)
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
The most difficult dining reservations at the Walt Disney World hotels are:
- California Grill (Disney's Contemporary Resort)
- Chef Mickey's (Disney's Contemporary Resort)
- ‘Ohana (Disney's Polynesian Village Resort)
- Victoria's and Albert's (Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel & Spa)
Disney theme parks resorts' FastPass system is a lifesaver for anyone. It's a streamlined process that allows you to virtually hold a place in any attraction queue.
Walt Disney World utilizes the FastPass+ version which allows guests to reserve up to three attractions per park at a time. You can make your FastPass+ choices up to 30 days in advance with your Walt Disney World tickets. You just need to link your travel package or Disney tickets to your account on the mobile phone My Guest Experience app.
If you're staying at a resort hotel, you can make FastPass+ selections up to 60 days in advance– another perk of staying on-site.
Snagging Those Difficult FastPass+ Reservations
Much like some of the Disney dining locations, a handful of attractions throughout the resort are high on everyone's list which means getting a FastPass+ reservations can be a challenge. Here are some hacks to help you along on your quest.
Staying at a Disney World Hotel
If you're staying at one of the resort hotels, make your reservations ASAP at 60 days out from your first scheduled day. Be ready to go at 7am EST and have your selections ready.
Book in Order of Difficulty
Like the dining options, make your FastPass+ reservations in order of difficulty to obtain, not chronologically. And, since you have three selections per park, make the hardest reservation at each park first then go back and nab the other two in each venue.
Make the reservation for one person then go back into the computer or on the My Disney Experience phone app to “change” the party to add more people.
Select FastPass+ Times that Overlap
Choose your FastPass+ selection times that overlap. If your time for Soarin' is 2:45-3:45 try to get a time frame that may overlap such as 3:40-4:40. There is still a 5 minute window for your group to go together.
Look for extended park hours. Some parks might be open later as is usually the case with Magic Kingdom. Take advantage of those extra few hours to ride some attractions together.
Club Level Perks Access
For Disney hotel club level guests, they can opt to pay $50 plus tax per person per day for three additional FastPass+ selections per day. This access also allows guests to reserve in different parks, book up to 90 days in advance, and offers additional tiered selections.
Keep Checking for Canceled FastPass+ Reservations
Back to our favorite blue tang- Just keep swimming! Always go back to check as often as you can because cancellations occur at any given time.
Most Sought After FastPass+ Reservations
While most attractions appeal to the general public, a handful continue to be popular on a continual basis. These are the attractions for which you'll want to get Fastpass+ reservations and add to your priority list for advance Walt Disney World reservations.
- Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
- Peter Pan's Flight
- Space Mountain
- Frozen Ever After
- Test Track
Disney's Hollywood Studios
- Slinky Dog Dash
- Alien Swirl Saucers
- Toy Story Midway Mania!
Disney's Animal Kingdom
- Na'Vi River Journey
- Flight of Passage
The Magical Express is Walt Disney World Resort's shuttle bus to and from the airport for onsite guests so you will need to make a reservation.
Although anytime is acceptable, it is recommended you make your reservations 10 days prior so your information and luggage tags arrive to your house on time. Advance Walt Disney World reservations can be made online or by calling 866-599-0951.
Memory Maker Reservations
Walt Disney World Resort's Memory Maker is a photopass product. This option provides unlimited digital downloading, characters and attraction shots, and Magic Shots which add in a special character or image to your photograph.
Disney's professional photographers are readily available to secure all your photo needs. No advance Walt Disney World reservations are needed to obtain Memory Maker. However, there is a pre-purchase discount if you purchase three days prior to usage.
Special Events and Miscellaneous Reservations
Disney is known for the details so if there is a special event you've been thinking about and want to add it to your itinerary, chances are you need to make a reservation.
As well as celebratory cakes, the resort offers up beautiful bouquets for that special occasion. Order your flowers up to a year in advance but at least 48 hours prior. A Dream Maker will assemble the perfect gift bouquet filled with flowers, balloons, snacks and toys.
Most Disney runners are familiar with the race registration. If you're new to resort runs, it can be a frenzy trying to get a spot on a coveted race. Check the Rundisney.com site periodically to find out when registration opens. Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members often can register about a week before general registration opens.
Private Portrait Sessions
Different than the Memory Maker system, the private portrait options are generally utilized to commemorate special occasions including weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Or maybe you just want someone to capture your special Disney vacation! Reservations can be made up to a year in advance.
Walt Disney World Resort Tours
Behind the scenes magic is an amazing viewpoint so if you have the time, I strongly recommend scheduling a tour in your itinerary. Disney's Animal Kingdom Park offers several animal close-up tours, Epcot shares the gorgeous flora with a garden tour. Even Star Wars fans can enter the dark side with a specialized tour. Guest services will take advance Walt Disney World reservations up to 180 days in advance with a credit card. For a full refund, you must cancel 48 hours before the tour date.
Recreational Event Reservations
Disney theme park resorts are so much more than just the theme parks. Walt Disney World Resort's extras are plentiful and some may need those advance Walt Disney World reservations.
If you plan to visit one of the two water parks- Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach- cabanas and umbrellas are available for rental. Guests staying at Grand Floridian Hotel and Spa Resort, Disney Polynesian Resort, or Disney's Contemporary Resort can also hold cabanas and umbrellas for the day. You can reserve up to 180 days in advance and must cancel at least 24 hours prior to avoid any fees.
Golfing Tee Times
Golfers can choose from four courses within the resort- Disney's Palm Golf Course, Disney's Magnolia Golf Course, Disney's Lake Buena Vista, and Disney's Oak trail. For the best tee time, contact your preferred course up to 90 days in advance if you're staying on property. For non-resort guests, reservations may be made 60 days in advance. Cancellations for any player must be 24 hours in advance to avoid any fees.
Located in the Magic Kingdom, this seafarer makeover experience caters to guests 3 and older. Kids can transform to a pirate, Captain Hook, an empress or a mermaid then take the pirate oath and enjoy some swashbuckling adventure. Advance Walt Disney World reservations for Pirates League can be made up to 180 days in advance. Cancellations are accepted but must be 24 hours prior to avoid any fees.
Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
In this magical shop, located in the Magic Kingdom and in Disney Springs, smaller guests can become princesses or knights for a day. The packages include hair and makeovers, and costumes then a wave of the fairy godmother's sparkling wand and the guests are ready to greet their royal subjects. Advance Walt Disney World reservations for the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique can be made up to 180 days in advance and cancellations must be made before midnight prior to avoid any fees.
Miscellaneous Recreational Activities
Many additional recreational activities follow the standard procedure when making reservations- up to 180 days in advance and cancellations at least 24 hours prior to the event. Advance Walt Disney World reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-PLAY.
- Harmony Barber Shop- Located in the Magic Kingdom, guests of all ages can look their best after a visit.
- Specialty cruises- Choose from “Day Cruise Around the World, “Grand 1 Yacht”, or a spectacular fireworks cruise.
- Fishing at the resorts- Enjoy guided tours or dockside fishing at select resort areas.
- Surfing lessons at Typhoon Lagoon- Learn to hang ten whether you're a novice or a pro at riding the waves!
- Horse-drawn carriages at port Orleans Riverside- Relax with a 25-minute ride along the Sassagoula River.
Plan Your Walt Disney World Vacation!
With so much available, every tip can help you streamline your trip. Be sure to sign up for our free newsletter to keeping you informed on deals to help you enjoy your vacation and save a few dollars.
Be sure to check these links for more terrific Disney vacation suggestions.
- How to Plan for Walt Disney World
- A Day at Typhoon Lagoon
- Walt Disney World Magic Bands
- Guide to Walt Disney World Transportation
- Celebrating a Birthday at Walt Disney World