How to Score Those Hard to Get Disney Dining Reservations

You’ve seen the mouthwatering meals on Instagram. Followed along as your favorite creators float through those fully immersive restaurants. But when you go to grab some grub at Oga’s Cantina, or snack on bread service at Sanaa – it’s fully booked! Never fear, we’ve got the tips and tricks to get you there.

With park reservations, Genie+, and Lightening Lanes – planning and preparation are more important to your Disney trip than ever. And that includes dining reservations. Where there’s a will there’s a way, but the first step to securing those coveted spots is to make a wish list.

How Do Disney Dining Reservations Work?

Life-size statue of Woody waving a lasso, with vibrant and colorful Toy Story Land signage in the background.

Disney World is home to four different service types:

  • Quick Service – or takeaway. Place your order with a cashier, or on the mobile app, and pick it up at the counter window
  • Table Service – you’ll be seated at a table inside of the dining location. A server will come to take your order, bring out your meal, and help answer any questions you might have
  • Character Dining – similar to Table Service, but characters will be roaming the restaurant and greeting guests
  • Signature Dining – includes all aspects of Table Service but at upscale (fancy) locations such as California Grill or Victoria and Albert

While you can walk up to a quick service location at any time during operating hours – table service, character and signature dining all require reservations.

And these are some of the best dining options at Disney World, so you won’t want to miss them.

Serene exterior view of Nomad Lounge in Disney's Animal Kingdom, showcasing its rustic charm with wooden structures and lush greenery.

When to Book Disney Dining Reservations

Dining reservations open at 6:00am ET, 60 days in advance, for all park guests. Park reservations are recommended, but not required.

Classic and elegant entrance to The Hollywood Brown Derby, highlighted by its distinctive maroon awning and vintage style lanterns.

Those staying on property at a Disney World resort, or select nearby locations, are able to book reservations for the entire length of their stay 60 days before their arrival. If you are staying at a Disney hotel from April 1 – 10, you would be able to book reservations for the entire trip beginning on January 25th.

This effectively allows you to book 70 days in advance. Giving you a 10 day advantage over non-resort guests. Talk about an onsite benefit!

Tips and Tools for Securing Dining Reservations

Which brings us to our next tip:

Book Backwards

Appetizing display of Sanaa's famous bread service at Animal Kingdom Lodge, including a variety of dips and freshly baked bread.

Take full advantage of this resort guest benefit by planning your most in-demand reservations at the end of your trip.

You’ll have a better chance of booking what you want, and after a few days in Disney World a sit down meal at a nice restaurant is going to sound even better.

Delicious serving of fried hummus topped with fresh greens and a tangy sauce, served at Spice Road Table.

There’s just no better way to cap off a trip than the rooftop firework viewing at California Grill.

Mark It On Your Calendar

As soon as you know you are going to Disney World, mark your calendar with the date that you can make your dining reservations.

Bright and welcoming entrance of the Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom, featuring an ornate sign and colonial-style architecture with lush palm trees in the background.

There are so many moving parts and pieces in planning a vacation, especially to Disney World. It’s easy to forget something and miss the chance or a lifetime visiting Victoria and Albert.

Setting a reminder in your calendar, with a notification, will ensure you are up and online when the clock strikes 6am.

Use Your Travel Agent

It might come as a surprise but anytime you book a Disney stay, you’re paying for a travel agent. Whether you are using one or not, the cost is already built into the price of your trip.

A gourmet plate of pesto gnocchi at Trattoria al Forno, featuring soft, pillow-like gnocchi drizzled with creamy sauce, garnished with Parmesan cheese and a crispy parmesan tuile, all elegantly presented in a gray ceramic bowl.

Now, there are lot’s of reasons to consider using a travel agent. It’s free, they’re job is literally to know everything about Disney. But one of the best reasons is to avoid waking up at the crack of dawn to make dining reservations.

ADR’s open at 6:00am eastern. That’s 3:00am on the west coast, and midnight (or 1:00am) in Hawaii. Get a travel agent, sleep in, and secure top tier reservations to your favorite restaurants.

Notification Apps

My favorite thing about the internet is how easily creative and cunning folks can share their creations. Which is why we love the Mouse Dining webapp.

Exterior of Trattoria al Forno on a rainy day, featuring a stylish awning and signage, reflecting a cozy Italian restaurant atmosphere.

Mouse Dining receives information from the Disney World website to display up to the minute data about dining reservations. Simply pick the restaurant you’re interested in and view a complete calendar of availability.

Don’t see the date and time you’re looking for? Not to worry, just set an alert to receive an email when something opens up. This is a great way to secure last minute reservations.

Popular Dining Spots at Disney World

But where will you use all this new found knowledge? Nothing could be worse than going through the work only to have a disappointing experience that let’s you down. And trust me, it happens. Just look at our Rose and Crown dining review.

Cozy and inviting interior of Rose and Crown Dining Room at Epcot's UK Pavilion, featuring traditional British pub décor.

Break out that bucket list because here are the most in-demand dining reservations at Disney World

  • Victoria and Albert is the only Michelin star rated location on Disney property
  • California Grill Dinner located on the top floor of the contemporary, guests dining during the Magic Kingdom fireworks are able to access a rooftop viewing area. It’s the show of a lifetime, just don’t look down!
  • Ohana located in the Polynesian resort, near Magic Kingdom. Famous for their noodles and bread pudding. Infamous for the Stitch character breakfast.
  • Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge is a very upscale experience. Everything here is delicious, but the mac and cheese is so good it had to be brought back by popular demand after being briefly removed from the menu.
  • Crystal Palace Breakfast Magic Kingdom’s signature character breakfast features friends from the Hundred Acre Woods including Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, and Rabbit.
  • Takumi Tei service a (pricey) prix fix menu, you will feel like you have teleported to Japan and not just the pavilion.
  • Monsieur Paul Epcot is home to a litany of amazing dining options, but this location in the France pavilion may take the cake.
  • Tusker House this Animal Kingdom classic is a favorite among guests young of all ages.
  • Sanaa you might go for the bread service, but you’re going to come back for the butter chicken.
  • Round-Up Rodeo BBQ an all you care to eat family style BBQ in the middle of Hollywood Studios’ Toy Story Land. There’s even a full plant-based prix fix option, yum!
  • Be Our Guest a wish list requirement for fans of Beauty and the Beast. Dine here to be transported to the Beast’s castle. You can even eat in the East Wing.

What to Know

It’s important to mention that a credit card is required to secure all dining reservations. And, missing a reservation could cost you $20 per person on the reservation.

Rustic entrance sign of Tiffins restaurant at Disney's Animal Kingdom, surrounded by lush green foliage and earthy tones.

Dining reservations can be modified and canceled up to 2 hours before you’re scheduled arrival time. Reservations are typically held for 15-20 minutes, in case you are running late. So the risk of missing your window is slim.

Disney World is full of amazing entertainment, rides, and festivals. But failing to plan some epic eats along the way, is planning to fail my friends. We absolutely love a mid-day dining break, or a fancy feast to end a trip.

What’s your favorite dining location at Disney World?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to Top