Making Disney World dining reservations

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Disney dining woes -

For many people, going on a Disney World trip is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  Parents scrimp and save to make the dream a reality, then spend hours on the planning process to make it perfect.  In the past few years, the online dining reservation site has become super popular.  For those hard-to-get restaurants, such as Be Our Guest and ‘Ohana, you’ve got to do your homework to make sure your family will have a table.  You can’t count on walking up and getting in the door. Paired with free dining promotions, and it’s really tough to grab those reservations early.

So what to do? Here are some options!

1.  If you plan your Disney trip WAY in advance, you can reserve up to 180 days in advance of your arrival day. It sounds like it would defy logic to plan a vacation, but for me, it’s relaxing to know what we’ll be doing (and where we’ll enjoy meals) in advance.  Staying on Disney property gains you an extra 10 days of reservation time!  Take advantage of this if you can; we never seem to plan our trips this far in advance, so I’ve never taken advantage ofo the opportunity.

2.  Take a look at the menus before you head out to the parks.  It’s helpful to know which restaurant or kiosk will serve some well-timed chicken nuggets for your kiddo.  If you’ve got a picky eater in the party, glancing at the menu might save a disastrous mealtime.  Considering that you pay a pretty penny for Disney World meals, you want to make sure that you can all find something.  My favorite resource for menus is AllEars.

3.  Sign up for a sniping service to help you look for open reservation slots. I started using Disney Dining Scout, and have been pretty happy with it. There’s a free version, but I paid the extra ($5.99, I think?) for additional searches.  Personally, it was worth it.  Dining Scout has sent me 3 texts about open reservations that I really wanted, and I was able to claim 2 of them.  I had a reservation scheduled for the third, and the delay in cancelling meant that someone else grabbed it.  I’m still somewhat obsessive about checking the reservation site throughout the day, but this gives me a little breather.

4.  Check again before you give up — as late as the day of your trip!  Several years ago, we arrived a whole day earlier than planned. I called when we were about an hour outside of Orlando and was able to get a reservation for that day’s lunch. It was so easy!  Many people cancel their plans at 45 days out (when full payment is due) or 24 hours before their meal (otherwise they’ll be charged a cancellation fee.)  If you’ve got a place that you just can’t live without, it may be worth it to stalk the site for a little while.

If you’re planning your family’s Disney trip, there are lots of ways to save time and money while having the time of your lives!


Check this out….


  1. Tamra Phelps says:

    Oh boy, I bet DisneyWorld’s restaurants are packed! I’ve always wanted to pretty much eat my way through all the countries in Epcot, lol.

  2. Sherry Compton says:

    Wow! Great sites, and I like the fun way you explain things. I had never heard of AllEars, but I like the idea of checking into menus before hand. This is especially important with several kids or picky eaters.

  3. margaret peg m says:

    hi, we go to disneyworld every other year or so and i had no idea there was a site that could help w/ dining reservations. hallelujah!

  4. Living in Florida, I have had the opportunity to travel to Disney parks very often. Making reservations for dinner places was always at the top of our list. Great experiences with friends and family hanging out with Mickey. At a , we can help your blog increase revenue with daily videos to help increase your traffic.

  5. I would love to visit Disney again! I have been to both, Disney Land, and Disney World, and I love them both!!! I can’t wait to take my nephews in a few years!!! I don’t remember the dining experience, as it has been over 25 years since I was there…but, I bet they’re excellent!

  6. Amber Ludwig says:

    Love this!! It totally avoids the whole “what are you hungry for” issue lol!! Just plan every night ahead of time!! So much more relaxing!! Yay Disney!

  7. Alison Gibb says:

    Wow, I did not know how much goes into having a meal at Disney. It kinda sounds a little tedious. I would likely give up and go to Mcdonalds too often,

  8. When we went to Disney World & Universal Studios years ago, we must have gone at the right time, because we did not run into problems like these. But I will have to share this info with my kids when they want to take their families there. I am sure they don’t want to run into these types of problems – especially with hungry kids!

    • I think the dining experience has changed in the past few years. When we travel, it’s usually when everyone else does, so places like WDW are really crowded.

  9. When I was last there, there were no cell phones or neat apps like this. (been awhile…)

  10. When I’ve visited parks like this, fine dining is NOT on my list.

  11. Getting reservations to where we want to eat is always the most stressful part of planning our Disney trips. Thanks for the tips!

  12. Angela Saver says:

    I love that you can make your reservations online! Makes things so much easier!

  13. Renee Rousseau says:

    Appreciate all the suggestions! It really helps to plan ahead regardless of the challenge of sticking to a schedule. Even I can accept regimentation when it comes to great eats.

  14. Jerry Marquardt says:

    I thank you for this very useful post to help with making reservations to make it much easier getting around with Disney. I couldn’t thank you enough as this helps out dramatically with the amount of people going every day.

  15. Sherri Lewis says:

    thanks for those tips. I have a picky daughter and it can be a problem finding things she will eat

  16. This is really great. Have not heard of AllEars before now. We can look at the menus and find when tables are available ahead of time at our convenience thanks

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