Can a Disney World Dining Reservation Help Get You Into Parks When They Reopen?

in Disney, Food, Walt Disney World

Disney Dining Reservations Reopening
As Disney fans everywhere begin preparing for the reopening of the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, it has been confirmed that the mega-resort and its theme parks will be opened at limited capacity. And while the anxiety of trying to claim your spot wasn’t enough, there has also been talk about distributing dated tickets to prevent the buildup of Guests at the entrance.
Shanghai Disneyland implemented limited capacity and dated tickets for its reopening, and the tickets sold out in minutes. There is little doubt a similar situation could happen at Walt Disney World.
But despite the limited capacity and the speed of more determined fans, there might be a way for you to secure your chance to get into the parks: Book a dining reservation for a restaurant inside your favorite park.

Dining Reservations Before The Closure

Winnie the Pooh Dining
Credit: Disney

As of May 12, 2020, guests can book dining reservations at Walt Disney World as early as July 1. A primary concern regarding future dining reservations is “will Disney still honor my reservation if the theme park is already at capacity?” Before Disney World closed due to the global pandemic, the answer was always “yes.”

Holidays like Christmas and New Years always saw at least one park (usually the Magic Kingdom) reaching capacity. But there are Guests who get to the park late in the day because they have plans elsewhere on-property. And Disney does not want to force them to spend an entire day in the park in which they will be eating dinner. So, Disney would honor the dining reservation. Cast Members will confirm the reservation at the turnstiles and give you an exception to enter.

Disney reservations also provided early access to the Disney theme parks. While the other guests were forced to wait at the turnstiles if they arrived at the park too early, Guests with breakfast reservations to restaurants like Cinderella’s Royal Table, could enter the park early and get a very special walk down a near-empty Main Street U.S.A.

Every reservation for a restaurant in a Disney theme park still requires a valid park ticket for entry.

Dining Reservations After the Closure

be our guest ballroom
Credit: Disney

While Walt Disney World confirmed over the phone their pre-pandemic policies regarding reservations and park capacity, they could not confirm, as of May 12, if the same privilege of honoring a reservation after the park has reached capacity will be given.

The Disney World Guest Services help chat also provided the following statement when we inquired about a future reservation we made for an in-park restaurant:

Currently, your reservation is good to go, as we have not been given a time frame for when our closure period will be continuing or ending. Any updates to that information will be posted here on our website through the advisory at the top of our web page.
In the event that your reservation will need to be canceled, more information will be provided prior to that.
Any information regarding details of our Theme Parks reopening have not been provided. Once a reopening date has been announced, any specific details regarding capacity will be provided at that time.

The Magic Kingdom and the other Disney theme parks across the mega-resort are still closed until further notice and they are still trying to determine what crowd control measures need to be taken.

That being said, again, Disney World is still offering dining reservations starting July 1. If you are looking to visit as soon as it opens, pick a day and a restaurant.

Lady and the Tramp
Credit: Disney

Wether it’s Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom, Teppan Edo in EPCOT, Oga’s Cantina in Disney‘s Hollywood Studios, or Tiffin’s in Disney‘s Animal Kingdom. Best case scenario, you can use it as leverage to get into at least that one park for the day. Worst case scenario, Disney cancels your reservation for you and you don’t have to spend a cent. 

Click here to see the dining options available and make your Disney reservation.

But please remember to often check the status of your reservations if you decide to make any.

Going back to Disney World

Soon, the gates to the Most Magical Place on Earth will be open once again and our friends at Academy Travel are ready to help you have the perfect trip planned and ready. Backed with years of experience, they know what it takes to get you the best Disney vacation for your budget as well as help you navigate any changes that come your way. Click here to learn more and to receive your free, no-obligation quote today. Let’s go back to Walt Disney World.

View Comment (1)