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Friday, November 4, 2016

How to Secure Last Minute Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World

How to Secure Last Minute Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World
by: guide4wdw - Collin
twitter: @guide4disney
instagram: @guide4disney

Recently we decided to take a semi-last minute vacation to Walt Disney World. While we did book our stay about a month and a half in advance, many of you may realize how difficult it can be to book dining reservations that late in the planning timeframe. Fortunately, we have a lot of experience in the planning process so we managed to secure about every reservation we would typically add to our time in the parks. So, based on our experience we decided to share some of our tips and tricks to booking dining reservation for stays within a short timeframe. (photo: flickr.com)

We do have to mention that many locations are simply unattainable when not booked far in advance. A few examples would be Cinderella's Royal Table, Be Our Guest, and Victoria and Alberts (occasionally). However, you may get lucky using these tips and stumble into a reservation.     

1. Try Booking at Certain Times

-As general as that sounds, booking at certain times of day drastically increases your chance of securing reservations. While Disney does not particularly advertise this, we were informed in a phone dining reservation conversation that there is a window early in the morning between 6am and 7am when a variety of reservations open up. According to the representative we were planning with, phone reservations begin at 7am, but there is a turnover time between 6am and 7am when the dining reservation site updates and prepares for the next day. Certain reservations are dumped from the previous day and more are made available as a result. Due to the fact that the phone reservation group is not open at this time, it allow reservations to be slightly more available. We tried it ourselves and sure enough we secured two of our prime reservations that we could not previously attain. (photo: disneyworld.disney.go.com)     

2. Book Over the Phone When Possible

-While this tip is a little contradictory to the last one, which would require you to book online, it often pays off to call rather than use the online system. We found out first hand that quite a few reservations are available when you call that do not always appear on the dining section of Disney’s website. It is not always a wining strategy, but it can never hurt to try, especially if you are only looking for a different time for a reservation which is available at a un-ideal time.     

3. Search for Specific Times Online Rather Than Just Choosing Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

-If you’ve utilized the online booking system before you are probably aware that when searching for dining times you are able choose by what meal you would like to eat. However, if the meal you are looking for does not show up at first, try to search for specific times, also available in the same category. For example, if you’re not picky about meal times, instead of choosing dinner, choose an odd time in the drop down menu (such as 3:00) and a time may appear as a result of the odd in between time that does not always register as lunch or dinner. 

So, as you can see there are quite a few simple ways to increase your chances of booking some of the harder to find reservations, no matter how late in the game you are planning your vacation. Also, as a quick tip, you can attempt to go to a few restaurants early in the morning and ask what the best time to attempt a walk up reservation would be. At the Crystal Palace at Magic Kingdom, we have been incredibly successful walking up and getting in for a meal at lunchtime. It is not a foolproof plan, but if you’re willing to risk it it’s always an option (many restaurants will simply tell you they do no take walkups, but that is not necessarily always the case). (photo: disneyworld.disney.go.com)
Hopefully these ideas help you out in the planning process. Of course, our results may vary from what you will be able to find and reserve. Let us know if any of these tips help you make dining reservations you’ve been trying to attain!   

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