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The Ins and Outs of Disney’s Advance Dining Reservation System

Disney Dining Reservations - PinterestAs you've probably learned by now, Disney World vacations require lots of planning, and dining is no different. While the quick-service restaurants in the parks are always an option, most families visiting Disney World would like to have at least a few meals that aren't fast food. For that, we highly recommend making Advance Dining Reservations, or "ADRs" for short. With dinner shows, character meals, fine dining, buffets, deluxe views and everything in between ... yeah, it's safe to say you'll want to book an ADR or two for your next trip!

For some of you, dining at Disney World is a big-time affair. If you see your trip as a once-in-a-lifetime experience and want to pull out all the stops, you should consider making reservations for at least one character dining experience and a few table-service restaurants, maybe for one of the hard-to-get restaurants or even for a romantic night out while the tadpoles stay with a babysitter. If this sounds like you, you'll want to make reservations as early as possible and consider staying on-site, especially during the busiest times.

However, if fine dining or character dining is less of a priority, you don't need to lose too much sleep over Disney World dining reservations. Unless you are visiting during one of the busiest times of the year, you should be able to find a few table-service options much closer to your actual trip date (especially at Epcot), or even while you're there. If you're fortunate enough to be visiting during the least-busy times of year, you'll have even more last-minute choices. And keep in mind that Disney has tons of tasty quick-service options, as well. Even if you don't book any dining reservations, you'll never go hungry!

What You Need to Know About Disney World Dining Reservations

Disney World Dining Reservations - Anastasia

All guests (even those staying off-site) can make Disney World dining reservations. Unlike some perks offered exclusively to those staying on-site at a Disney World hotel (such as Extra Magic Hours), ADRs are available equally to all guests, regardless of where you're staying.

Park admission is required for in-park dining. Just to be clear, you must have valid theme park admission at the location of your meal. So if you're dining at The Crystal Palace, be sure you have the proper tickets to enter Magic Kingdom for that reservation.

You can make Disney World dining reservations for your trip starting 180 days out. No matter what time of year you’ll be visiting, we recommend making reservations as close as you can to the magical 180-day mark. For guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you’ll have 180 days in advance of your check-in day ... plus, you can make dining reservations for your entire stay, up to 10 days. What this means is that guests staying on Disney property effectively get 190 days to make reservations rather than 180. This is quite an advantage if dining is a priority, especially during the busiest times, so you'll want to make sure you book your Disney World hotel room before the dining reservation window opens for your trip.

It's not uncommon to find the most popular restaurants, such as Cinderella's Royal Table and Victoria & Albert's, already booked by the time the 180-day mark rolls around. The longer you wait, the less chance you’ll have at eating at one of your favorite restaurants or experiencing a dinner show. That said, there are still ways of snagging those last-minute reservations, which we'll discuss below.

Disney World Dining Reservations - Chef Mickey's

If reservations are really important to you, make sure you have already planned which days you will be going to the parks before your 180-day reservation window opens. It is almost impossible to plan daily meals for your vacation without knowing where you’re going each day. You can use our Crowd Calendar to help you decide which parks to visit on which day. Keep in mind, reservations do sometimes start ahead of park opening hours, and you can get into the parks early.

We don't suggest using morning Extra Magic Hours for dining reservations if you are staying on-site and would otherwise plan to attend those EMHs, because that is when you would want to be on the most popular rides. For those of you staying off-site, if you have a dining reservation in the park before it opens, you will be allowed in early (usually about 30 minutes before the start of your reservation). Look for cast members with signs for reservation check-in, or specially-marked turnstiles. This can sometimes be a good strategy for getting a jump on popular attractions if the restaurant is further back in the park. Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom, for example, offers early reservations and is right near two of the most popular attractions in the park: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Peter Pan's Flight.

Take advantage of advance-order dining at Be Our Guest. Speaking of Be Our Guest, it's the only restaurant that currently offers optional order-ahead, or advance-order, dining when you make an advance breakfast or lunch reservation. (It is not available for dinner reservations.) When you are within 30 days of your reservation, you can select your entrees, sides, beverages and dessert through an order form on the My Reservations page in your My Disney Experience account. You do not have to pay when placing the order, and you can modify or cancel it at any time before arriving at the restaurant. Canceling a meal order will not affect the restaurant reservation itself, so you must cancel the restaurant reservation separately if you need to do so.

Disney World Dining Reservations - Dessert

Have your credit card ready when you make your Disney World dining reservations. Make sure you have a credit card ready before booking your dining reservations. You can also enter your credit card information in your My Disney Experience account in advance. Disney holds your reservation with a credit card guarantee, and if you do not show up to your reservation or cancel within 24 hours of your reservation, you will be charged $10 a person. Disney does not charge you in advance for your meal unless you are booking a dinner show (Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue, Spirit of Aloha) or dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table inside Cinderella Castle.

Here's how to book Disney World dining reservations online: Log into your My Disney Experience account and under the Things to Do tab, click Make Reservations under Dining. The new reservation window opens at 7 a.m. EST each day. This will take you to another page that lists all of the restaurants on-property. You’ll then enter the number of people in your party, date and time of day, and can filter your results by park, resort hotel or area (such as Disney Springs or Disney's BoardWalk). The search results will show which restaurants have availability that day. You can then click on the desired time and create your reservation. Voila!

Once you finish entering your details, your reservation should appear on your My Disney Experience account. You can make same-day reservations for restaurants if they’re available. If you need to cancel your dining reservation or change the number of people dining, you can do so on the website, so long as your reservation is not within 24 hours. At that point, visit Guest Relations in the parks or call the reservation hotline to modify your existing reservation.

Here's how to make a Disney World dining reservation on the My Disney Experience app: Click on the plus sign in a circle at the bottom of the screen, which will pop up with different options. Choose Reserve Dining and enter the number of people in the party, date and time of day. You can also search for reservations in the app by experience or cuisine and location. Just like on the site, you can make same-day reservations for restaurants if they’re available. You can also cancel your reservations on the app up until the 24-hour period before your reservation time. Anytime after that, it is recommended you call the reservation hotline.

Making Disney World dining reservations over the phone: Making an ADR over the phone should be used only when you do not have access to the app or website, or need to cancel a reservation within the 24-hour time period leading up to it. To make or cancel a reservation over the phone, call 407-WDW-DINE and listen to each of the options.

Disney World Dining Reservations - Ohana

How to snag last-minute reservations: We like to think there is an art to snagging last-minute reservations, but sometimes it's just good, old-fashioned luck. If we have a last-minute trip to Disney or we've waited to book dining reservations, we've had luck scoring popular restaurants. As soon as we've finalized our plans for which park we'll be in which day, we start checking My Disney Experience periodically for the week or so leading up to our trip. This is when other guests are also finalizing their trip details, and sometimes end up deciding not to keep their dining reservations. The day before is often the best day because people don't want to pay the reservation cancellation fee.

We've also had luck obtaining same-day reservations by simply showing up and asking about availability. It never hurts. We've even been able to snag same-day reservations when there was rain. Because Epcot has so many dining options, you can often find last-minute reservations for some of its restaurants.

If you want to dine at Disney Springs, also try Open Table. Many of the most popular restaurants at Disney Springs, such as The BOATHOUSE, Morimoto Asia and Raglan Road, offer additional reservation times on Open Table. So if you can't snag an ADR or the time you want isn't available in My Disney Experience, try Open Table.

Arrive on time. Disney is strategic with the way it schedules its reservations. Be sure to arrive on time, if not early, to make things easier for everyone! If your reservation is at the start of a dining period (some restaurants are only open for breakfast and dinner, with a break ending around 4 p.m.), there is likely to be a rush of new guests.

Disney Dining Reservations - Toldeo at Disney's Coronado Springs Gran Destino Tower

So there you have it: our favorite tips for making Disney World dining reservations. We want to hear YOUR favorite ADR spots in the comments. Have a question? Just ask. If you have tips we didn't mention, share them in comments below. Hop over to our Orlando Planning Timeline for more trip planning resources!

Related: Ranking Disney World's Character Dining Locations

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
View Comments
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101–119 of 119 comments
Apr 7, 2017 at 1:07 a.m. Melissa Says...

We just put down our deposit for a Disney trip in October. We will be saying on-site. To make ADR at the 180 day mark, plus the 10 days do you need to have your trip payed in full? Or is the deposit and linking my reservation number to My Disney account work? Thanks!

Reply
Apr 7, 2017 at 8:31 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melissa,

You'll need to use a credit card to make a guaranteed reservation online. You'll connect with your Disney account, but it doesn't impact your deposit.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 23, 2017 at 10:29 p.m. Tom Says...

Great article! We have reservations at Planet Hollywood at 11:15pm. In the event we felt like going earlier, say 10pm, and they happened to have tables open....would we be considered as cancelling our ADR and get charged the fee? I'm just not sure how we're going to feel, but we would definitely honor our ADR if there is no flexibility.

Reply
Mar 24, 2017 at 8:06 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Tom,

Every restaurant has a different policy regarding cancellations. Contact Planet Hollywood to see what their policy is to make sure you won't get charged for a change!

Keep Hopping!

LEap

Reply
Mar 6, 2017 at 2:58 p.m. Maria Says...

Hi, a have a reservation for a party of 3. But it is possible that one person doesn't show (we won't know until that day), so we would end up being 2 at the restaurant. Would there be a problem or a charge for the no show of one person of our party?

Reply
Mar 6, 2017 at 10:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Maria,

It really depends on the restaurant you are dining at. Some require advance full payment with no refund, but those are usually the dining shows. For all other table service ones, as long as at least one person shows up to take the reservation there should not be a problem.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 6, 2017 at 10:27 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Maria,

It really depends on the restaurant you are dining at. Some require advance full payment with no refund, but those are usually the dining shows. For all other table service ones, as long as at least one person shows up to take the reservation there should not be a problem.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 26, 2017 at 4:10 p.m. Catalina Says...

I found a reservation for a party of 4, but we are five in our group, is there a chance that they let the five of us have dinner having a reservation for four?

Reply
Feb 26, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Catalina,

It's hard to say, and really depends on the restaurant and how busy it is and when you're dining.

Keep Hopping!

Leap

Reply
Feb 20, 2017 at 4:19 a.m. Aren Says...

Hello! When checking in for a character meal, will I pay for the meal at check-in based on the number of people the reservation was made for? Or can we pay after we've finished eating? In other words, if we have a reservation for 9 people, but only 8 people eat (and the 9th person just gets a soda), will we be charged for 9 meals, or charged for what was actually eaten? I'm asking this because one person in our party is VERY picky, and probably won't eat much at all, even at a character meal. I don't want to waste $30+ on too many character meals!

Thanks!

Reply
Feb 22, 2017 at 8:52 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Aren,

At character dining, everyone will need to pay the same price (adult or child) before being seated.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 15, 2017 at 9:36 p.m. Mura Says...

We're planning our trip for October. After looking at all the character meals and signature dining we wanted to do and crunching the numbers, it made sense for us to spring for deluxe dining. We want Cinderella's Royal Table, Hoop Dee Hoo and Spirit of Aloha. How do I make our ADRs without having to pay ahead of time since we will be using our dining plan credits, (yes I know they'll be 2 apiece.)

Reply
May 27, 2017 at 1:23 a.m. Courtney Says...

You do not have to pay ahead if using your dining credits, but you will still need to give credit card information in case you don't show up. This was the case anyway when we went to Cinderella's Royal Table and Spirit of Aloha.

Reply
Feb 16, 2017 at 7:54 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Mura,

That's a good question and something we haven't experienced. Try calling 407-WDW-DINE to see if you can book your reservations without the credit card.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Feb 4, 2017 at 3:58 a.m. Jess Says...

Hi,

We are staying the the Dolphin Resort, do you know if we are able to get dining reservations before the 180 day mark? Also we will be in a group of 18 people all staying at the Dolphin. Will we be able to book on the app with this many people?

Thanks

Reply
Feb 5, 2017 at 3:11 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jess,

You should be able to get dining reservations for at the 180-mark, provided everyone is checking in on the same day. You may want to call (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-346 to see if that's still the case.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog!

Reply
Jan 23, 2017 at 10:32 p.m. El Says...

Hi,

My boyfriend and I are staying on-site in a Disney hotel but the rest of our party are staying off-site. How can we add them to our dining reservations? I know we can book our reservations up to 180 days before we leave, but they have to wait longer. Is there any way we can book our favourite restaurants in advance and then add them to the booking at a later date?

Thanks!! :D

Reply
Feb 3, 2017 at 9:09 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi El,

You may make changes to your dining resvervation—depending if there is still seating available on that day. You can make the change in the app or by calling Walt Disney World Guest Relations.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jan 7, 2017 at 4:56 a.m. Meg Says...

We will be staying at the Polynesian and booked our stay through DVC. If we wanted to book the dining plan are we able to since we are staying on property but didn't directly book through Disney?

Reply
Jan 11, 2017 at 10:39 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Meg,

The only way to purchase the Disney Dining Plan is by purchasing a Magic Your Way Vacation Package through Disney.

Hoppy Planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 2, 2017 at 11:15 p.m. Amy Says...

This is not the case. If you book through DVC you can add the Dining plan...even without purchasing any park tickets. The only thing is...the DVC owner has to book the dining plan for you, you can't call yourself.

Reply
Dec 6, 2016 at 8:43 a.m. Erika Says...

Hi

We are staying at magic kingdom and can't find any restaurants available :(.... however , Disney springs has a restaurant available for us. If I reserve a spot for us to eat there, can we eat there without paying for the springs entrance then go back to magic Kingdom ?

Thank you

Reply
Dec 8, 2016 at 3:28 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Erika,

You do not have to pay to enter Disney Springs, and yes, you can return to Magic Kingdom. You'll just want to factor in your time for getting to Disney Springs and back to Magic Kingdom.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Nov 2, 2016 at 10:19 a.m. Rina Says...

We are traveling the week before Christmas. Most of our reservations are made. We have a few hard to get reservations and my friends daughter has decided to come with us. We have reservations for 4. Would they typically honor our reservation if we go with 5 people?

Reply
Aug 13, 2017 at 3:40 a.m. Greg Says...

We originally had eight people going to Disney World last spring and at the last moment we added another child. We were able to update most of our reservations by phone, but the for the few that we weren't able to update , we arrived at the restaurant with all nine of us and they were able to accommodate us no problem.

Reply
Nov 8, 2016 at 2:04 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Rina,

Technically, no, but the cast members do have discretion in these types of decisions. I would call and try to get the 5th person added to all reservations.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 23, 2016 at 11:46 p.m. Ryan Says...

How long are dinning reservations for? If we reserve an 8pm supper reservation, do they hurry us along afrer 60 or 90 minutes. Or can we take 120+ minutes of appetizers, entrée, desert, and drinks?

Reply
Oct 25, 2016 at 12:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Ryan,

You may find they try to hurry along, but you can always take as long as you'd like.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Oct 6, 2016 at 6:28 a.m. Laila Says...

We're staying off site and want to book early morning breakfast at Cinderella's Royal Table. Is it even possible for an off site guest to snag one of these given their popularity and on site resort guests booking 189 days in advance??

Reply
Oct 11, 2016 at 12:47 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Laila,

It depends on the time of year. It's difficult but not impossible. Good luck!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Sep 11, 2016 at 1:35 a.m. Alexis Says...

We have a trip planned for New Years Day and I'd like to surprise my mom with a breakfast at Crystal Palace(somehow there are still some reservations available!). The only thing is, we are staying off property and are not sure how we could get to the park for breakfast before it opened. Is there a way that guests staying off property can get into the park before it opens for meals or is it only possible if you are staying at a resort?

Reply
Sep 14, 2016 at 3:19 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Alexis,

If you have an early morning breakfast reservation, you can get in the park early with valid park admission. Enjoy!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jul 7, 2016 at 9:35 a.m. Jamie Says...

If you can only get a partial party reservation for a meal (I.e. 3 when you have four on your trip) can you just show up with the extra person for the meal?

Reply
Jul 11, 2016 at 2:50 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jamie,

Perhaps during a slower time, the restaurant could accommodate you, but generally, no, this would not be possible.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 27, 2016 at 7:48 p.m. Hollie Says...

To eat at the coral reef restaurant do you have to buy entrance to Epcot for the day? Or can you just go to coral reef restaurant for dinner?

Thanks!

Reply
Jun 2, 2016 at 2:49 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Hollie,

You would need valid park admission to eat at the restaurant.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 16, 2016 at 8:48 a.m. Mark Turner Says...

Cant choose between coral reef and whispering canon help i have done both but this is girlfriends first time in the states

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 1:32 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mark,

They're both great choices, but such different experiences. It really depends on what theming you think would be most appealing.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Apr 12, 2016 at 9:25 a.m. Feona Macdonald Says...

Hi, we are book for a 14 night stay at Disney on property (yay!) . After the initial 10 day window would I have to then just book the rest of the days each day at the 180 day mark or do you know if another 10 day window would open up ? Thanks

Reply
Aug 8, 2016 at 12:10 a.m. Christine Says...

Hi! We are are going to Disney for 12 days so I know what you are asking! You can book the first 10 days of reservations 180 days out, then 10 days later you can book the rest of the days in your stay as that would be 180 from those days... does that make sense? This is how it was explained to me by a Disney Cast Member.

Reply
Apr 25, 2016 at 12:52 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Feona,

We are not 100% sure. Perhaps someone reading this will chime in!

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 19, 2016 at 7:02 p.m. Mary Loveless Says...

We are staying on Disney property for 9 nights 10 days and just to let you know, My Disney Experience did not roll over for us to make a dining reservation until 6 am Eastern 180 days in advance. There was no additional time added for the vacation time. We've had our reservations since November 2015.

Reply
Jul 6, 2016 at 2:31 p.m. Nicky Says...

I had the same problem until I realised my resort stays had not been linked in the app. Once I added my resort reservations, the 10 day window opened up. Therefore check! Hope this helps. It's a massive benefit for those staying onsite.

Reply
Mar 10, 2016 at 6:28 a.m. Melea Says...

What time of day is the earliest that I can book my reservations? For example, 180 days before at midnight eastern time? Just wondering because I'm on the west coast, and it would be great if this was available for me at 9pm the night before my 180 days :)

Reply
Mar 10, 2016 at 9:13 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Melea,

Good question! It opens at 7 a.m. Eastern Standard Time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
May 19, 2016 at 7:09 p.m. Mary Loveless Says...

You can book online at My Disney Experience at 6 am eastern time. If you call to make a reservation, they don't open the phone lines until 7 am eastern time. The folks using My Disney Experience will have an hour jump on you. Also, we are staying at a Disney resort and we were not given "up to 10 days of our vacation" to book our dining reservations. It didn't open up until exactly 180 days. In fact, the confirmation we received in the mail from Disney stated we could start making our dining reservations on 16 May and that's when it magically opened for us. My daughter was online at 4 am central time and she was not able to make our dining reservations until 5 am on the nose.

Reply
May 20, 2016 at 11:08 a.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Mary,

Thanks for sharing, but when your 180 day window opens, you could make all of your dining reservations (for the rest of your vacation days) at that time.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Jun 29, 2017 at 4:23 p.m. Jessie Says...

Once my 180-day opens up (I am staying off-resort this year), can I make all my dining reservations at the same time, or do I need to make them each day?

Reply
Jun 29, 2017 at 12:20 p.m. FrogBlog Says...

Hi Jessie,

Since you are not staying on-site, you will need to call every day. The 10-day grace period is only for guests on-site.

Hoppy planning!

Mommy Frog

Reply
Mar 18, 2016 at 11:08 p.m. Lori Says...

I was able to make my reservations at 6am. The phones open at 7am.

Reply
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FOR 1 NIGHT
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