When planning your Disney vacation, you are likely to consider what and where to eat. From snacks in the parks to signature dining experiences to character meals, narrowing down when and where you want to have a meal takes time and consideration such as your resort location, scheduled park days, and travel party’s food preferences. By the time your 60-day reservation window opens, in order for your vacation to run smoothly, you should have a good idea of where you want to secure a dining reservation. But what if, even on that 60-day mark or any time after, you go to reserve a coveted dining reservation only to find out that it is already booked solid for the day? After considering whether or not you are able to try to reserve on a different time or date with availability, here are 3 things that you can do to help secure those hard-to-get dining reservations.
1. Have Patience And Wait
As mentioned above, once the 60-day reservation window opens, people traveling on your same dates are also reserving their dining. During this time, many people overbook. It’s not uncommon for people to book 3 times in one day or 3 different days in one week if it’s available to them with the intention of later deciding which time slot will work best before their free cancellation window expires. This may not seem fair, but it inevitably allows a lot of dining reservations to open back up in the days, and sometimes hours, right before the time you are searching for. So, be patient! If there is a reservation you just have to have, refresh the reservation page often in the 24-48 hours before your desired date, and you may see availability that you previously had not!
2. Enroll In A Disney Dining Alerts Program
If you’re not into refreshing the My Disney Experience or Disneyland app just to score a reservation, there are several websites that will actually do that for you! Some like MouseDining will send you alerts for free to your email address or for a $9 per month fee, notify you via text message. Simply create an account and set-up alerts for the restaurant, day, and time. When a dining reservation becomes available, you will be informed via the method of your choice. Other companies offer similar programs such as Mouskepros, MouseWatcher, and MouseSeats. If you choose to enroll in one of the above programs, one is truly sufficient as they all use similar technology to find open reservations and send notifications when one becomes available.
3. Join The Walk-Up List
If in the end you do not score a dining reservation for the restaurant and time of your choice, you can join the Walk-up List on the My Disney Experience or Disneyland App! As long as you are in close proximity of the restaurant (i.e., inside of the park or at the resort location), you will be permitted to join the walk-up list when available. Some guests have even had luck with talking directly to a cast member at the restaurant on any given day and being notified that a table is open or receiving a return time for when they can accommodate their party. This is more likely to occur when guests arrive close to the opening time for the meal before the restaurant becomes too crowded with guests or behind in seating reservations.
If you find yourself disappointed that you did not get the dining reservations that you hoped for, don’t fret! Simply look for reservations periodically leading up to your trip, especially in the one to two days prior in the early morning and at night, sign up for dining alerts, or join the walk-up list. Which hard-to-get dining reservation are you hoping to score for your next Disney vacation? Tell us in the comments below!
Featured Photo by Disney