Booking Disney Dining

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Back in January, I started planning for our 1st family trip to Disney! Whoo-hoo! I’m actually excited about this but, this is definitely a learning curve for me since I haven’t been to Disney since I was a kid. First step in the planning process was that I surveyed our awesome readers for suggestions and there were a lot! Thank you!

Booking Disney Dining

Once within the 6 month window to book dining reservations (I had set it on my calendar to the date) I had planned to start to try to book some of the top character dining experiences that we were interested in. On the top of the list is of course Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest Restaurant. So the day before our 180 window opened up, I even called Disney dining and asked what time the reservations opened up the next morning, you know is it midnight? 6am, what?

Booking Disney Dining

And here is what I learned….

The answer was 6 am online and 7 am ET via phone. But, what I hadn’t realized was that Dining reservations open 180 days in advance of your day that you want a reservation UNLESS you are staying at a Disney owned and operated resort in which case you can make up to 10 days of Advance Dining Reservations that same day.

So what does this mean?

Basically, if you are staying at a Disney owned and operated resort you can book 190 days in advance (10 days earlier then people who are not staying at a Disney owned and operated resort!


I guess I should have read reader Dan’s comments a little closer, “Reservations for dining open 180 days for people on disney property. You can book for whole stay starting 180 days from first day of your stay so potentially you can book 190 days out. You should book on very first hour of very first day for popular restaurants. If you miss out do not despair keep trying every day. Openings come up as people make changes but save yourself a headache and reserve early.”

Needless to say, Cinderella’s Royal Table was sold out at 6 am when reservations “opened” for everyone not staying at a Disney owned and operated resort for the entire day! Yes, that’s breakfast, lunch and dinner. Yikes!

So, it looks like staying on property has it’s benefits. And you may want to consider this when booking your Disney stay.

Up next, I am working on tickets and overwhelmingly UndercoverTourist was suggested by our readers. So, that is my plan for now. Feel free to post a comment if you have another suggestion. Last year, there was an Amex Offer for You for UndercoverTourist, so I might wait a little while to see if there is another one soon.

Bottom Line

I’ll keep updating you along the way as I learn about this Disney stuff! And after our first trip, I will be sure to give you more tips and tricks, as well as a trip report. Thanks again to our commenters for the help and be sure to keep the suggestions rolling in!

HT: Reader Dan

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or suggestions expressed on this site are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed.

About The Weekly Flyer

The Weekly Flyer writes about travel from a business traveler perspective. He travels the world every week accumulating points and miles along the way.

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  1. Tough restaurants like BOG and Cinderella’s Royal Table are like saver awards, they do become available later on as people cancel or change plans. You just have to keep checking. is a good site that has a pretty good crowd calendar. I’m not sure if they still have it, but they had a beta version of an expertflyer-type dining reservation finder that would alert you to a specific restaurant. I was able to book CRT thanks to that. The subscription was $9.95 for the year and sometimes you can find coupons.

  2. Any idea if Swan & Dolphin count as Disney properties in this case? I know that they do for fast passes, but wasn’t sure about this dining rule.

  3. With the deposit and no-show penalties it’s gotten far easier to get reservations. Yes – the popular ones to book up but as others have noted, everything opens up fairly regularly if you keep looking. Disney has made it easier to modify reservations online so one thing you can do if you find an opening at the restaurant you want but at a bad time is make the reservation and then regularly check to modify it and see if another time pops up. We’ve had very little difficulty getting everything we wanted by doing a quick check each night. (To the commenter above – I think every subscription service to alert you to openings was shut down about 6 months ago).

  4. For tickets, make sure you explore the Target gift card route to see which comes out better. You can buy a discounted Target gift card (or if you prefer, but one where you get 5x points or something) and then use that online to buy a Disney gift card at If you set your Target Redcard as your default payment type, you should still get the 5% off even though you are paying with a giftcard.

    Sometimes this can come out cheaper, especially if you can get a good discount on the Target gift card.

  5. Download the app and periodically check for open tables. People hoard bookings. Disney has combatted it by limiting reservation overlap but it hasn’t helped much. Btw – royal table isn’t worth it. If you want princesses go to Akurshes in Epcot. Same princesses, easier to get reservations for, and cheaper.

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