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Top 8 Reasons You Need to Book Your Dining Reservations in Advance at Disney World

Whether you are looking to dine at Disney as a party of 2, 8, or 20 – advanced dining reservations are the way to go. Keep in mind – as a Disney Resort guest, you can book your dining reservations 60 days from your check-in date. The trick to landing the dining reservation of your dreams is to be ready to book the day your 60-day advanced dining reservation opens. We don’t just mean that DAY – we mean the moment you can put the reservation online (6:00 am) or speak with a Cast Member over the phone when they open for the day (7:00 am). Non-resort guests are also welcome to book 60 days in advance but are not able to book for the length of their trip. You would have to call or book online each day, 60 days in advance of the reservation date. With this being said, resort guests have the potential of booking 70 days in advance, giving them the greater advantage of snagging those hard to get dining spots! Whether you are booking as a resort or non-resort guest, here are our top reasons why making those reservations in advance will save you (and your stomach) from grumbling.


1 – “No Tables Available”

We’ve all seen it on the Disney website… “No Tables Available,” and we’ve heard it several times – “I just want to eat at Be Our Guest, but we can’t get in!” Booking as soon as possible can provide you with a greater chance of dining at those restaurants that seem impossible to get into. We suggest if you’d like to avoid the dreaded “No Tables Available,” know your advanced dining reservation window and take advantage of it.

2 – Minimize Your Wait Times

While you can now use the My Disney Experience app to join a virtual walk-up list at participating restaurants, however, not all restaurants have this option. So you may still run into a situation where you have decided you would like to eat at a particular location, but the hostess is telling you the wait will likely be two hours! Too bad even the magic at Disney isn’t strong enough to turn this moment into a happy one. We have easily heard of two-hour or more wait times, even in the slower months at Disney. You also have to anticipate being told particular restaurants aren’t accepting any walk-ups for the day. While making an advanced reservation doesn’t mean you are free of a slight wait, you still know roughly what time you are to be seated and can let your stomach rest easily that food is coming soon!

3 – An Accurate Budget

When you know in advance which restaurants you are dining at, you have the opportunity to budget appropriately for meal costs. Meals are always tricky to budget, but if you know where you are dining, you can check out the pricing ranges and plan for each member in your family. You can also check out the restaurant’s tipping policy and plan for how much gratuity is to be charged.

4 – Menu Friendly

Do you have picky eaters? Is there a particular allergy in your family? Is there something on the menu you will enjoy? Having an advanced dining reservation lets every guest in your party plan ahead if they would like. Menus are available online, and browsing before your trip just adds to the fun! You can also mention any allergies you may have and add this to your reservation so Cast Members will know the moment you enter the restaurant.

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5 – Get into the Parks Early

That’s right! Some of the park restaurants offer breakfast before the park even opens! We love having breakfast at Magic Kingdom before the crowd arrives. Disney even has PhotoPass Cast Members that can take your family picture on the empty Main Street U.S.A. in front of the Castle. Plus, finish your meal before the park opens, and you are one of the first in line at the attraction entrance.


6 – Primo Spots for Special Events

Editor’s Note: Dinner shows are temporarily suspended.

Dine at Spirit of Aloha, sing-along at Hoop Dee Doo Revue – these are a couple of perfect examples that booking your dining reservation in advance can potentially get you fantastic seats center stage! Whether you are trying to catch the fireworks or a view of the parade, timing and advanced reservations are a must. Of course, making your reservation in advance is never a guarantee for primo seats, but chances are much better than if you didn’t!

7 – Meet Characters with No Fuss

Editor’s Note: Up and close character greetings are temporarily suspended. Chef Mickey’s, Topolino’s Terrace’s Breakfast a la Art, Hollywood & Vine, Tusker House, and Garden Grill offer modified character dining experiences. 

So your little one REALLY wants to meet Cinderella and eat in her Castle? Unfortunately, if you wait to book the character dining spots, the chances of you dining with the characters are slim to none. Our suggestion is to book a character dining experience in advance, then surprise your little one with a breakfast, lunch, or dinner they will simply never forget! But again… this can only happen by making your reservation well in advance.

Guests at Disney’s Riviera Resort can see Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck during breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, the resort’s rooftop restaurant. Characters maintain proper physical distancing while parading through the restaurant during mealtimes. (Matt Stroshane, photographer)

8 – Keep to a Schedule

Editor’s Note: The Festival of Fantasy Parade is temporarily suspended, however, it will return in 2022.

Parade times, show times – there is a lot to keep up within a park’s daily schedule. If you have made your advanced dining reservations, this helps all other planning pieces fall into place. Once you have your reservations set, you can begin to plan out the rest of your schedule for the day. Not only will this put less stress on the family or group traveling together to make last-minute decisions, but it takes out all the guessing game on what’s to come.

If you are like us, advanced dining reservations are a must for our big and small trips alike. We enjoy the occasional spontaneous trip, but based on our experiences, everyone seems much happier when they know when dinner will be on the table!

For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.


Mike & Jamie Sylvester

We are Disney nerds. Two kids at heart who love the magic and the memories of Walt Disney World! We follow all things Disney and have great experiences with being Annual Passholders, Disney Vacation Club Members, and RunDisney participants. We enjoy the vacations, day trips, weekend getaways and geek out over the planning of such events. From lodging to dining to Fastpasses we have a spreadsheet for every occasion. Mike’s frivolous Disney goal is to acquire as many MagicBands as possible while Jamie’s goal is to experience as many Disney desserts as possible. Usually there isn’t a day that passes without some discussion of the master plan of our next trip to the happiest place on earth. Most people think we’re normal – until they travel to Disney with us. We have been married for 13 years and are blessed with two children - our 8-year-old daughter and soon to be 2-year-old son. As a family we thoroughly enjoy the magic and the memories at Walt Disney World and are here to help others experience the magic as well.
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