How To Get Last Minute Reservations at the Most Popular Disney Restaurants
The Walt Disney World Resort website says there are close to 400 restaurants at Walt Disney World. Not all of these restaurants are popular, doesn’t mean they’re not fantastic, but they are restaurants easy to grab reservations for. Also, not all restaurants require a reservation. The restaurants that require reservations are what are categorized as table service restaurants, with the exception of Be Our Guest restaurant. There are approximately 30 restaurants that are very popular, what I mean by popular is, you need to book a reservation at these restaurants at least 5 to 6 months ahead of time. Now not everyone is planning their vacations that far out. Maybe you’re planning 2, 3 or 4 months ahead of time or maybe you’re taking a last minute vacation. This doesn’t mean you need to miss out on these popular restaurants. Here are a couple of tricks to grabbing a meal at one of these restaurants.
Try for a lunch reservation
Doing research for this post I found that the easiest reservation to get was a lunch reservation. When I was looking for reservations a month out, dinner times had 6 restaurants with no availability and 7 with openings at odd times. At lunch time there were only 3 restaurants with no availability and 1 restaurant with openings at odd times. Dining at a table service restaurant for lunch has many benefits. One, you get to eat at the restaurant you want. Two, you ride the attractions during supper time and have minimal wait times. Three, you get a break in the middle of the day instead of at the end of the day.
Check the day before
Generally speaking, I’m prepared for my reservations when our 6 month window before our vacation opens. Securing our must-do list of restaurants. However, we’ve done last minute vacations in the past and had to adjust our expectations because of it. On these vacations I’ve been able to grab some of the popular restaurants by checking during the course of our trip for those coveted reservations. Many people cancel last minute, for a variety of reasons, and therefore lots of last minute reservations pop up. So check the days leading up to your desired dates and you’ll likely find that reservation time you’ve been hoping for.
Change the Party Size
Most party sizes are going to be around 4 guests or more. All restaurants have table sizes that are for 2 guests but the amount of party sizes that include 2 people is very small and therefore easier to get a reservation. So what you can do, if you are really trying to get a reservation and can’t get it, is look for a party size of 2. Grab that reservation and then when you arrive at your reservation tell them that you need to add people to your party. You may have to wait another 15 minutes or so but at least you’ll be dining where you want. We had to do this on our trip last January. We had made reservations for our family of four but then my mom decided to come with us for the tail end of our trip and we needed our reservations to be for 5. I called the reservations line and they were able to adjust some but not all of our reservations. So we left the ones they couldn’t change as is and then notified the host upon arrival and they accommodated us. I wouldn’t recommend taking advantage of this too many times but for that one reservation you really really want may be worth it.
Choose an Odd Time
Hey, you’re going to be on vacation. Who says you NEED to eat at proper meal times, okay maybe your 5 year old but for those of you vacationing with tweens, teens or other adults, you don’t have to eat at exact meal times. So get creative and search for odd meal times. If you search for a reservation at 8:30pm, two weeks from now, there is availability at Chef Mickey’s, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Crystal Palace, California Grill, most of the most popular restaurants.
Don’t give up. Keep trying. If you still find you can’t get the reservation you want, don’t distress. There are plenty of restaurants that are fantastic even if they’re not popular. Search the menus of what is available and you may even find a restaurant more suitable than what you originally were hoping for. Take a look at these other posts about dining to get the most out of your Disney Vacation.
Happy Planning, Friends.