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?
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.
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