Eating in restaurants is one of our absolute favorite things to do in Walt Disney World, but in order to do it right, you need Disney Advanced Dining Reservations. Getting reservations for the restaurants you want to visit in Disney World is an essential step of the planning process and not something you want to skip.
Even if you are a pro at making Disney dining reservations, there are some new guidelines you need to pay attention to as things are changing for the Disney World reopening. As if getting reservations for your favorite restaurants wasn’t hard enough, these are just a few of the many changes you’ll need to understand for your next trip to Walt Disney World.
(Updated 7/7/20) – Disney World Dining Reservations are now available to ALL guests for up to 60 days in advance. Dining reservations can also be made online and are not restricted to phone reservations only.
Read on for more in the news section…
In this post, we will explain everything you need to know about Disney’s Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s), including what to do before you book them, when you can book them, how to make reservations on the phone, and tips on booking the hard-to-get reservations in the best Disney World restaurants.
We’ll also cover how to cancel dining reservations, what to do if you can’t get a dining reservation for the restaurants that you want and if advanced dining reservations are even necessary. After all, we love being spontaneous as much as possible when visiting Disney World, at least when it’s possible.
There are going to be a lot of changes in Disney World starting July 11 when the parks reopen. Disney has introduced a new guest reservation system for the parks as the only way to get entrance. New safety guidelines have been installed throughout the resort and guests are going to have to get used to face masks, distancing and temperature screenings.
On top of those changes Disney has currently suspended FastPass+, hotel reservations, the Disney Dining Plan and new ticket sales.
What we’re interested in for this article however are Disney Advanced Dining Reservations. Back in May, Disney canceled all existing dining reservations. That means everyone starting over from scratch.
They also suspended the Advanced Dining Reservation system for most Disney World restaurants outside Disney Springs. The good news is that the Dining Reservation system is now reopened!
Before we get further into the dining reservations, make sure to read our Disney World Reopening Guide for more information on how the experience will be once the parks reopen.
These other posts will get you prepared and ready to go to Disney World:
- Disney World Dining & Restaurants During Reopening Phase
- How to Make Guest Park Reservations
- All the New Guidelines in Disney World
- Wearing Face Masks in Disney World – Everything to Know
Also, if you want to find out the latest information about the Walt Disney World Reopening, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter
(NEWS): Disney World Dining Reservations Now Available for All Guests, Online Bookings Return
We’ve been waiting for more news regarding dining reservations over the past weeks and today Disney shared some big changes to the system.
First, Disney World restaurant reservations are now open to ALL guests. That means even if you are not staying in a Disney World Resort Hotel you can now book dining reservations. Reservations can be booked up to 60 days in advance.
Another big change is that Disney World restaurant reservations can be made Online and not only on the phone. That means reservations are also possible online on the website or on My Disney Experience.
If you want to book by phone Disney World Dining reservations can be made by calling (407) 824-1391.
Looking online we can now see restaurant availability in the theme parks…
One thing to remember is that if you are making a reservation at one of the theme park restaurants, you will need a park reservation in order to get in. A dining reservation alone will not give you access to the theme park.
These are some big changes and we’re sure that they won’t be the only ones. This is a developing story so stay tuned for more soon.
For the list of restaurants that are open, read our guide on Disney World Dining During the Reopening Phase.
Some of the information below has not been updated yet and applies to making regular dining reservations. We’ll update it for you as soon as possible.
Why Did Disney Previously Cancel Disney Dining Reservations?
So why did Disney make the decision to cancel Disney Dining Reservations? There were various factors that went into this decision and while on the surface it may seem strange, it makes sense given the circumstances.
The first and most obvious is that the restaurants in Disney World will have much lower capacity one they reopen. More space is needed inside the restaurants to allow for distancing between tables, and they will have 30-40% of the capacity they normally would have.
If you don’t cancel all the reservations, how do you decide which reservations to keep for some guests and which ones to cancel for others. There is no easy way to decide that except hitting the restart button and letting everyone start over with the new restaurant capacities.
The second reason for cancelling the reservations is the location of the restaurants in Disney World. Some are located in the theme parks which will also have capacity limits and not all guests will be able to get in those parks on those days. Some restaurants are located in hotels which may not be open right away.
Disney really had no choice in the matter at this time and canceling all advanced dining reservations was the only move here.
New Changes – (180 Days to 60 and Capacity)
Even though the existing dining reservations were canceled, Disney isn’t getting rid of booking restaurants. In fact, Advanced Dining Reservations are now open for all guests. Here are some big changes to take note of:
- The usual 180-day booking window period for making reservations has been reduced to only 60 days. This means guests can no longer make dining reservations 6 months out, but can only make them 2 months before arrival.
- Reservations will be much more limited with lower restaurant capacity. This may result in already hard-to-get tables becoming even harder to get.
What Happened to My Dining Reservations?
At this point, if you had booked Disney dining reservations prior to May, those have been canceled and you will not have them when Disney World reopens.
That doesn’t mean you can’t rebook those same restaurants again, however. Guests will have the opportunity to book those same restaurants again (restaurant availability subject to change).
You will be automatically refunded for any pre-paid dining or dining experience reservations that were canceled. Your credit card will not be charged and you will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee.
When Will I Be Able to Make Disney Restaurant Reservations?
When can you start making advanced dining reservations again? Disney has just announced that Advanced Dining Reservations are available for everyone and there difference between guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort or not.
Disney had announced the new restaurant booking window is 60 days, and that takes effect starting June 30. Just count back 60 days from when your hotel arrival date is, or the date you want to book a table and that will tell you when you can start booking your restaurants.
In-Park Restaurants – Reservations for theme park restaurants are now possible, and they will be REQUIRED for table service in-park restaurants.
You also will need a Park Pass Reservation since admission to the theme parks will not be given without one, only make dining reservations once your park passes are confirmed. You need to know which parks you’ll be going to first and then you can book your restaurants.
We’ll update you as soon as they make any changes.
What Should I Do?
We understand you are probably upset about your previous dining plans. This whole situation is extremely frustrating, especially after spending so much time trying to land all your favorite restaurants.
However, now, if you are planning a trip to Walt Disney World, you can start making your dining reservations once again once you are 60 days from your hotel arrival date or from the desired dining date.
We suggest you make them right away as reservations are extremely limited at this time.
Once you get your park reservations and figure out which hotels are going to be open, you can start planning which restaurants you would like to still book a table for.
If you have questions you can call Disney at (407) 934-7639 or go on the Disney World website and use the chat feature to talk with someone.
Other Reservation Changes for Reopening
Restaurant bookings are not the only reservation changes Disney World has made for the reopening. Here are some of the others you should be aware of:
Dining Plan – Disney has temporarily suspended the use of the Disney Dining Plan until further notice. All dining plans that have been pre-purchased will be fully refunded to the guest. We don’t know how long it will be suspended for, but we might not see the Disney Dining Plan for the rest of 2020, or beyond.
FastPass+ – Much like dining reservations, all FastPass+ reservations have been canceled and the entire FastPass+ system suspended until further notice. Guests will have to get used to Disney’s Virtual Queue for riding attractions instead.
For more info about it, read our post on the Disney World FastPass+ changes and what to do now.
Hotel Reservations – Right now all Walt Disney World Resort Hotel reservations and packages have been suspended for 2020. The ones still accepting new reservations are DVC Resorts. No word yet when Disney is going to open the rest of them up again.
2021 hotel packages are now accepting reservations.
Can I Get Into a Theme Park if I Have a Dining Reservation There?
Reservations will be required to dine at theme park restaurants during the reopening phase. But having an Advanced Dining Reservation doesn’t give you automatic entry into the theme parks.
To get into the theme parks you need a Park Reservation AND Park Admission Ticket. If you then want to go to one of that park’s restaurants, you will need an advanced dining reservation (ADR).
If you show up to the Magic Kingdom with a dining reservation but no park reservation, you will not be allowed in.
When Will Things Change Back?
At this point there is no telling when the old Disney Dining Reservation system will come back. Even Disney probably doesn’t know.
For now, you’ll have to get used to the new 60-day booking window and booking restaurants a bit closer to your arrival date. Given the more uncertain nature of things during the reopening period, Disney will probably keep the advanced dining reservation system like this until everything in the parks goes back to normal.
Just how long that is, remains to be seen. Until that happens we’ll just have to keep rolling with the changes. This won’t be the last and we are anticipating many more new changes during the reopening period. We’ll all have to try and learn the new strategies, so try to hang in there and we’ll do this together!
- While the information we’ve just explained is more geared toward dining reservations after the reopening, the rest of this guide is also useful for any time you are trying to book a restaurant in Disney World.
What are Advanced Dining Reservations at Disney World?
With Walt Disney World being one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, you can imagine how busy its restaurants are. That’s where dining reservations come in.
Advanced Dining Reservations (“ADRs”) are a part of Disney World’s restaurant reservation system. When you have an ADR, it guarantees you a table at a specific restaurant on any given day.
Guests can plan ahead of time which restaurants they want to dine at in Disney World and then can book a table online or on the phone.
Once you have an ADR, you will receive a reservation time for that restaurant. Depending on how busy the restaurant is when you arrive you may be seated immediately or you may have to wait a few minutes until a table is ready.
- Dining reservations can be made for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, character meals, buffets, dinner shows, and any other limited dining experiences.
- ADRs are typically only used at Table Service Restaurants, though occasionally Quick Service Restaurants will offer dining reservations.
The nice thing is that ANYONE can use Advanced Dining Reservations to book restaurants in Walt Disney World. This includes guests staying in a Disney World Resort hotel, guests staying off-site or just anyone visiting for the day.
Do You HAVE to Make Dining Reservations for Disney World Restaurants?
For most restaurants in Walt Disney World, you are not required to make a dining reservation ahead of time. However, when available, it is always best to get an advanced dining reservation for the restaurant you want to visit.
*(During the Disney World reopening phase, reservations are REQUIRED at table service restaurants.)
Depending on where you want to go, some restaurants are more difficult to get a table at than others. There are some restaurants that take walk-ins and are easier to pick at the last minute.
On the other hand, if you want to dine at one of the more popular restaurants in Disney World, then reservations are HIGHLY recommended and it will be extremely difficult to get in without one.
The time of year you are visiting also matters and the busier Disney World is when you visit, the more likely you will need an ADR. Just another reason to use a Disney Crowd Calendar before deciding when to visit.
Walt Disney World is not a great place for spontaneous eaters and you should familiarize yourself with how dining reservations work for the best results.
Which Restaurants Use Advanced Dining Reservations?
The majority of dining reservations are found at table service restaurants and buffets. These are restaurants where you have a waiter for your table.
Occasionally, a quick service restaurant like Be Our Guest or a lounge such as Oga’s Cantina will require them too. ADRs are not usually required in restaurants where you have to go up to the counter and order your own food.
Advanced Dining Reservations can be found in almost every area of Walt Disney World including:
- Theme Parks
- Resort Hotels
- Disney Springs
As we are currently writing this post, Walt Disney World has over 440 restaurants including special dining experiences. Over 160 of those restaurants take advanced dining reservations.
The bottom line is if Advanced Dining Reservations are available, it’s a good idea to get one.
When Can I Book Restaurants?
Figuring out when you can book dining reservations in Walt Disney World is one of the most important steps because time is of the essence.
UPDATE: All Walt Disney World guests can now make dining reservations. Disney had temporarily suspended the Advanced Dining Reservation system, but it is now open once again.
As of July 2020 during the Disney World reopening, Advanced Dining Reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance.
Before this latest change, dining reservations in Disney World were available 180 days in advance. This new 60-day booking window is temporary and at some point it will go back to 180 days.
Disney Advanced Dining Reservations can be made the following number of days in advance:
- All Guests (guests not staying in Walt Disney World – 60 Days
- Walt Disney World Resort hotel guests – 60 Days + 10
The best restaurants in Disney World always fill up quickly so try to make your reservations exactly on the 60-day window if possible. The sooner you make your advanced dining reservations the more likely you are to get a table at the restaurant you want to dine in.
All guests can book reservations for Disney World restaurants at least 60 days in advance. This counts even if you aren’t staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel or if you are a Florida local just visiting for the day.
The rule is you can book restaurants 60 days in advance from today. For example, if today is June 3, the 60th day would be August 2. That means you can book a restaurant on any day, all the way through August 2.
Who counts as the general public? Basically anyone NOT staying at a Walt Disney World owned and operated resort hotel. This includes:
- Staying at an off-site hotel
- Disney Springs-area hotels
- Swan & Dolphin hotels (they are on Disney property but not owned by Disney)
- Shades of Green
- Local Florida residents visiting for the day
If you are in any of the above categories, you can book dining reservations 60 days in advance from today, but you don’t qualify for the bonus 60+10 rule I will explain below.
Walt Disney World Resort Guests
If on the other hand, you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you have a slight advantage over other guests when it comes to restaurant reservations. You get to take advantage of the 60+10 rule
This used to be the 180+10 rule and will most likely go back to that once the reopening period is over.
Instead of only being able to book Disney restaurants 60 days in advance, you can book them 60 days in advance of your arrival date PLUS you get an additional 10 days bonus from that date. This allows you to book advanced dining reservations for the entirety of your stay, as long as it doesn’t go over 10 days.
For example, if today is June 3 then 60 days out is still August 2. But if you have a trip planned for 10 days or less, you can book the restaurants for your whole trip on June 3 and call it a day.
Instead, if you were not staying at a Disney World Resort hotel, you could book your ADR for August 2 on June 3, but then for the restaurant on August 3, you’d have to wait to book that until the next day, June 4. And so-on and so-forth. That means waking up early for the next 10 days in a row just to book a reservation.
Do you see the advantage in staying on-property in this case?
The 60+10 rule give you a big advantage in getting hard-to-get dining reservations over non-Walt Disney World Resort guests. Of course, you’ll still be competing with other Disney World Resort guests, but the closer to the last day of your stay that you try to make a dining reservation, the fewer people are already going to have one, making it easier for you.
- TIP: Count back now 60 days from your Walt Disney World arrival date and mark it down on your calendar so you don’t forget.
Disney World Split Stays
If you are not sure what a split stay is, it is when you stay at two or more Disney hotels during your vacation. For example, 5 night at the Polynesian and 5 nights at Caribbean Beach.
In the case of a split stay, the 60+10 rule does NOT apply. On the 60th day from your arrival date, when are able to start making ADRs, you will only be able to book a restaurant for those first 5 days of your vacation at the Polynesian and not the last 5 at the Caribbean Beach.
Even though it would be logical to be able to book them all right away since you are staying all 10 days on Walt Disney World property, that is not the case.
In order to book the restaurant for the last 5 days at the Caribbean Beach Resort, you will have to wait until 60 days before your arrival at THAT resort. Even though we love split stays, this is one of the only downsides to doing it and is usually not a problem unless you are trying to book one of the absolute hardest-to-get reservations in Disney World.
Before You Book Dining Reservations
Now that you have your list of restaurants, there are just a few more things you need to prepare before the 60-day booking window starts.
1. Make a list of restaurants you want to try – Before you start making advanced dining reservations you need to have a plan for which restaurants you want to eat at in Disney World.
The Walt Disney World website is a great resource with a list of every restaurant and their menus. Go on there and through them to see which ones look the best to you.
Always put a few extra restaurants on the list than what you will be able to eat at. This gives you more options when it comes time to make ADRs.
2. Narrow down your list to the absolute must-try restaurants – Out of your whole list, write down the 4-5 most important ones that you HAVE to eat at. This will help you prioritize when booking.
3. Plan your vacation days – Write down which days are going to be park days, which parks you will be at on each day so you figure out where you are going to be. Once you know where you are going to be, you can start filling in the meals with restaurants from your list that are located in those places.
Will you be in the Magic Kingdom on Wednesday? That’s a great time to try Be Our Guest. EPCOT on Thursday? Grab some sushi at Tokyo Dining then.
4. You have to be flexible – We always have a list of the must-try restaurants for our next trip and make some of our plans around those. When we go to make the dining reservations we sometimes end up switching our park days around so we can get the ADRs we want.
5. Make DisneyWorld.com account – Go on The Walt Disney World website and set up your account if you haven’t already. You can use this account with the My Disney Experience app which is essential to planning your vacation.
6. Sign-in and get familiar with the website – Once you create your account, log in and get used to the Disney World website. The better you can navigate before you make dining reservations, the smoother things will go when your booking window opens.
7. Link Hotel Reservations to your account – Once you get your My Disney Experience account set up, you need to link your hotel reservations to your account. If you don’t do it, the system won’t know when your trip is and you can’t use the 60+10 days from your arrival rule.
- Go to “My Plans” under the “My Disney Experience” tab on the website or in the My Disney Experience app to do this.
- Click “Link a Reservation.”
- Enter your Walt Disney World confirmation number and the last name on the reservation.
- Once you link them, you can check the status to make sure it is all connected correctly. Check under “My Plans” to see if your reservation shows up.
You will need your Walt Disney World confirmation number, the last name on the reservation, your arrival date and the name of your Disney Resort hotel.
What Time Can I Make Dining Reservations?
What time of the day can you start making advanced dining reservations? That depends if you are making them online or on the phone.
- Online Reservations – Advanced dining reservations open each morning at 6:00 am ET.