You have your day at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom Park all planned out. Fast Passes are made, your day’s itinerary is all set, advanced dining is reserved, but then you hit a snag. Things happen, maybe transportation was running a little slow, or time got away from you as you enjoyed the parade or you got distracted shopping in one of the gift shops. You start to panic as you realize you might be late for your advanced dining reservation. What should you do? On the flip side, what if you find you are running ahead of schedule, how early can you show up for your advanced dining reservation? Let’s find out as we take a closer look at advanced dining reservations at Walt Disney World Resort.
What is an Advanced Dining Reservation?
At Walt Disney World there are plenty of delicious dining options. Whether it’s at Disney Springs, a Walt Disney World theme park, or one of the numerous Walt Disney World resort hotels there are plenty of dining selections to fill your family’s appetite. For table service restaurants, you are allowed to make something called an advance dining reservation. These dining reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance of your arrival day. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel you get the special benefit of booking dining reservations at your 180-day mark and make them for your entire stay – up to 10 days. If you are not staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel you can still make dining reservations at 180 days, however only for 1 day at a time. At the time of booking, you can also alert the chef of any special dietary needs by letting the representative you speak with know or check the box listed “Add a Special Request.” A credit card will be required to make a dining reservation; however, it will not be charged before you dine unless you don’t show up or cancel after 11:59 PM EST the day before your reservation. Do note that there are certain dining options, such as dinner shows that require payment in full when booked and have different cancellation policies. It is important to remember that there is a $10 per person cancellation/no-show fee. Advanced dining reservations can be made starting at 6 am EST at your 180-day mark online using your My Disney Experience account, or at 7 am EST by calling (407) WDW-DINE.
What if I show up early for my Advanced Dining reservation?
It’s always a good idea to show up a little early for your dining reservation, however, if you arrive too early you may be asked to wait. Some factors that may influence if you will be seated early include how busy the restaurant is, your party size and if they have an available table that will fit your party size when you arrive. Generally arriving 15 minutes before your reservation is acceptable and if the restaurant is able to accommodate you, they will, however, there is no guarantee that if you show up early you will be seated early. If you are early for your dining reservation, go ahead and ask if you can check in for your reservation and be seated.
What if I show up late for my advance dining reservations?
If you are running late for your dining reservation, check in with the cast member at the restaurant when you arrive and explain that you are a little late. They will then let you know if they can still seat you for your reservation. Do not “no show”- this will result in a $10 per person fee to be charged to your credit card. The restaurant will hold your table for 15 minutes. If you arrive 15 minutes after your reservation time, they will try to accommodate you, however, it will be based on the size of your party, how busy the restaurant is that day and table availability. In most cases, once you check in your name will be placed in the queue of people waiting on tables and you will be seated as soon as they have availability for your party. Please note that willingness to accommodate may depend on how late you are … 15 minutes late is way different from an hour late for your reservation.
What if I need to cancel my dining reservation?
It does occasionally happen that you are not able to make your dining reservation. You can cancel your dining reservation online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE. If you are past the cancellation period (11:59 pm EST the day before your reservation) you will need to immediately call Disney at (407) WDW-DINE to let them know. Once you call, check if the cast member is able to change your reservation. They may be able to change your reservation to a different day or time that would work better for you, or cancel the reservation entirely. Do note that you will be subject to the cancellation policies which may incur a cancellation fee if you are past the cancellation time. There are different cancellation policies for certain dining reservations and it is best to reference those policies before canceling to prevent from being charged a cancellation/no-show fee.
For your next visit to Walt Disney World, I hope you have some amazing dining reservations lined up and if you find yourself running a little early or late, don’t stress! I have found that in most cases restaurants at Walt Disney World are extremely accommodating and will try their best to honor your reservation if possible. So relax and have an amazing vacation!
Photo Source: Disney Parks Blog
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