Here’s How to Book Reservations for the Best Disney World Restaurants

in Disney, Disney Parks, Food

Busy dining room scene inside Raglan Road

Credit: Disney

Disney World dining reservations may not always be easy to secure, but they’re undeniably necessary for experiencing some of the top restaurants and food options here.

Aside from all the standout rides and optimal attractions gracing its four theme parks and all those stellar on-property hotels, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, is renowned for its phenomenal food scene. So, we really can’t blame folks yearning to enjoy at least some of those highly hailed Disney dining endeavors for themselves. But as with many in-demand Disney experiences, securing a spot at the most popular dining establishments here doesn’t always come easy and can even be overwhelming. But you’re in luck because here at Inside the Magic, we’re sharing with you some of our very best practices on how to make reservations for some of the most popular restaurants at Disney World.

Related: Tips to Scoring the Best Disney Dining Reservations

Book Reservations Far in Advance

In the tradition of the early bird getting the worm, you’ll do well to book any and all Disney Park dining and Resort dining experiences as soon as possible. And the good news is that Disney Resort Guests can make any intended dining reservations up to 60 days in advance. This should provide you with plenty of time to book those experiences you want most of all and notify Disney of any special dietary requests or accommodations you may require beforehand.

Example of screen showing how to make advance dining reservations
Credit: DVC Shop

Related: Disney World Makes Huge Change to Dining Reservations

Change Your Timeframe

One of the best Disney Park tips we can offer you for securing top-rated dining experiences is booking your mealtime for less conventional time slots. From coveted Character Dining to the best fine dining at Disney World, sometimes it’s only a matter of when you eat more than where you’re eating. Many restaurants serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. At some venues, dinnertime starts at 3:30 p.m. and runs through 11 p.m. Therefore, you need only think outside the box of the traditional noon lunchtime mentality or evening dinnertime hours to garner room in one of the more popular designations.

Another tidbit to take note of is the fact that many popular dinnertime establishments also have breakfast, lunch, or weekend brunch offerings. So, if it’s more about dining at a place than their lofty dinnertime menus, this may be another consideration and even save money!

Family dining at Maria & Enzo's
Credit: Patina Restaurant Group

Related: How to Save Money Eating at Disney World

Employ a Travel Agent

Calling on a trusted travel agent may just be the answer to securing some of those harder-to-get restaurant opportunities. Because many travel agents get paid for their services through commissions, there may be benefits in employing them to search out and secure restaurant reservations. Also, note that there are so many travel agencies and personal travel agents that specialize in Disney vacation planning specifically. So, you can rest assured that they know what to look for and are seasoned pros in utilizing all the insider tips and locking in magical experiences well beyond less-seasoned travelers.

Travel agent looking at computer and taking notes
Credit: TourRadar

Related: Disney Travel Agent Shares One Resort to Avoid

Use Reservation Finders

Did you know there are reservation-finding services you can sign up for to secure reservations to the most popular dining spots around? Whether you’re doing Disney dining specifically or wish to utilize such services elsewhere, the instructions are the same. First, you create an online account. Then, enter your criteria (venue, time, date, party size) to begin receiving notifications when said requests become available. Additionally, you will be informed about other comparable options and even alternate suggestions. Do beware, however, that even though reservation finders can be helpful, they do not lock in and secure your reservations automatically. So, you’ll still have to book these opportunities directly when you learn of their availability. Also, note that the pricing for these services may vary depending on who you go with. Most charge on a per-wanted reservation basis.

Homepage login to one of many available reservation finders
Credit: Laura Hermoza

Call Disney Directly

Here’s some basic yet solid advice—call Disney World Guest Services directly and ask to speak with a live Disney Cast Member. Nothing beats talking to a human being and personally asking about available dining reservations at a said venue or requesting a particular date and time. While never a guarantee, Disney Cast Members may have information come through even before your My Disney Experience account has processed the latest updates. Technology, after all, isn’t foolproof. Plus, Disney Cast Members can connect you with restaurants directly or call them from their end.

Cast Member representative with headpiece, seated at a computer
Credit: Inside the Magic

Reserve Third-Party Establishments Directly

Did you know that many dining venues throughout Disney World are operated by third-party restaurant groups? This is especially true of several notable Disney Springs dining options (in Lake Buena Vista), including Raglan Road, Wine Bar George, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Maria & Enzo’s, Paddlefish, the BOATHOUSE, and others. That means you can actually book reservations with these restaurants directly without even going through Disney. While availability is still contingent on all the usual factors, going straight to the source lets you learn firsthand about the options for accommodating your needs as they become available.

Family dining at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'
Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Springs Adding All New Dining Experience

Keep Checking the My Disney Experience App

Even if you didn’t score one of those dining reservations you longed for, there might still be hope. If you want it bad enough, just keep checking and re-checking the status of your dining hopeful until the very last minute. Log into your My Disney Experience app every day following your 60-day advancement if you have to. You can even check while on vacation at Disney World. You never know when a last-minute cancellation will come through, or even the option to join a Walk-Up Wait List directly onsite may present itself.

Family at Disney World looking down at a mobile phone
Credit: Disney

Related: You Can Open My Disney Experience with a MagicBand!

Do you have any practical tips or advice you’d like to share about scoring the best restaurant reservations at Disney World? Let us know in the comments.

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