Now That’s A HArd REservation

Your Guide to Securing Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations

Looking to secure to hard-to-get Disney Dining Reservations? You’ve come to the right place! With 38+ years of traveling to Disney World, here’s my guide to securing hard-to-get Disney Dining Reservations

Hey there, Disney vacationers! If you’re gearing up for a trip to Disney World, you’ve probably realized that snagging those coveted dining reservations can be quite the adventure. With hundreds of dining options, you’d think it would be easy, but some spots, like Space 220 and character meals, are notoriously hard to book. Don’t worry, though; I’ve got some insider tips to help you land those elusive hard-to-get Disney dining reservations.

Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
Early Planning is Crucial

The 60-Day Strategy

Mark your calendar for the 60-day milestone before your trip. This early bird strategy is not just a recommendation—it’s your secret weapon in the battle for those sought-after tables. To find the exact date to when your booking window opens, use my Dining Reservation Date Calculator.


Online reservations for select restaurants open at 5:45 a.m. EST. Start with the website, but keep the phone number (407-WDW-DINE) handy as a backup.


The back-up plan. If online efforts fail, try calling right at 7:00 a.m. EST. Sometimes, phone reservations can reveal hidden availability.

Remember, the key to success is booking 60 days in advance. This might seem overly cautious, but it’s essential for popular spots. Align your dining choices with your park itinerary to minimize travel time within Disney World.

Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
Different Booking Strategies

On-Site vs. Off-Site Guests

Where you decide to rest your head at Disney World can have a big impact on your dining reservation strategy. Staying on Disney property offers unique advantages, including early booking perks, but don’t fret if you’re staying off-site—there are strategies for you too.


The 10-day advantage. Staying on-site allows you to book dining for your entire vacation (up to 10 days) 60 days before arrival, improving your chances for later dates.


The daily booking approach. Off-site guests must book each day separately, 60 days in advance. Don’t wait until the end of your trip; options will be limited.

Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
Securing the Most Coveted Spots

Advanced Booking Techniques

Prioritize by Difficulty, Not Chronology

Focus on the hardest reservations first. If you’re staying at Disney World, look to secure the harder reservations towards the end of your trip.

Tech Advantage: Computers and Multiple Devices

Using a computer with multiple tabs can streamline the booking process. In some cases, especially during peak seasons or for large groups, deploying multiple devices can be beneficial.

Booking During Unconventional Times

Splitting Large Groups into Smaller Groups

If you can’t get one reservation for your entire group, try splitting up into smaller ones. When you check-in, you can ask to be seated together or nearby, although this isn’t guaranteed.

Non-Disney Owned Restaurants: Direct Calls

Some non-Disney owned restaurants don’t release many seats to the Disney Dining system, so you’re better off calling them directly. Here are some numbers to keep handy:

  • Homecomin’: (407) 560-0100
  • Frontera Cocina: 407-560-9197
  • House of Blues: 407-934-2583
  • Morimoto Asia: 407-939-6686
  • Paradiso 37: 407-934-3700
  • Planet Hollywood: 407-827-7827
  • Terralina Crafted Italian: 407-934-8888
  • Raglan Road: 407-938-0300
  • Rainforest Cafe (Animal Kingdom location): 407-938-9100
  • Rainforest Cafe (Disney Springs location): 407-827-8500
  • Splitsville: 407-938-7467
  • STK Steakhouse: 407-917-7440
  • T-Rex Cafe: 407-828-8739

Most Challenging Bookings

  • Space 220 and its Lounge
  • Topolino’s Breakfast
  • ‘Ohana
  • Be Our Guest
  • Sci-Fi Dine-In
  • Victoria & Albert’s (Chef’s Table and Queen’s Table)
  • Beaches & Cream
  • California Grill
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Story Book Dining at Artist Point
  • Homecomin’
  • Character meals and signature dining experiences
Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
Utilizing Tech Tools

OpenTable and Apps

In the quest for Disney dining reservations, technology is your ally. This section explores how platforms like OpenTable and other reservation apps can be unexpected heroes, offering alternative paths to booking your dream dining experiences at Disney World.


Many Disney World restaurants are now listed on OpenTable, offering an alternative way to secure reservations. If no reservations are available via Disney Dining, it’s worth checking OpenTable.

Reservation Alert Services

Services like MouseDining, Touring Plans’ dining reservation finder, or offer alerts for openings, saving you the hassle of constant checking.

Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
The Cancellation Game

Last-Minute Tactics

Even the best-laid plans can change, opening up opportunities for those still on the hunt for hard-to-get Disney dining reservations. leveraging last-minute cancellations to your advantage, ensuring you have a seat at the table even at the eleventh hour.

Cancellation Policies

A new opportunity. Disney’s updated cancellation policy (at least 2-hours prior) often leads to last-minute openings. Keep an eye out via My Disney Experience, especially on the day of your desired reservation.

Walk-Up Reservations

Though not guaranteed, walk-up spots are possible, particularly for smaller groups. Early checks on the waitlist options can pay off. Even if My Disney Experience says the walk-up list is full, it’s still worth checking, as things change constantly .

Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations
Consider Working with an Expert

Utilizing a Disney Vacation Planner

If the thought of navigating the complexities of Disney dining reservations seems daunting, a Disney Vacation Planner, like myself, can be a lifesaver. As experts in all things Disney and we handle the intricacies of booking dining reservations for you, when you book your Disney trip with us.

Services Offered by Disney Vacation Planners

  • Personalized Planning: They provide tailored advice and planning services based on your preferences and needs.
  • Dining Reservations: They can book all your dining reservations, ensuring you get the best possible options.
  • Monitoring for Discounts: They keep an eye out for any discounts or deals that could save you money on your trip.
  • No Extra Cost: Their services are typically offered at no additional charge to you, as they are compensated by Disney.

How to Work with a Disney Vacation Planner

  1. Contact a Planner: Fill out the Free Quote form, and I will be in touch to start the planning process.
  2. Discuss Your Needs: Share your trip dates, dining preferences, and any special requests or needs you have.
  3. Let Me Handle the Details: As your Disney Vacation Planner I will take care of the reservations and keep you informed, allowing you to relax and look forward to your trip.
Hard-to-Get Disney Dining Reservations

Advance Disney Dining Reservation: FAQ

Navigating the world of Disney dining reservations can spark a lot of questions. This section aims to clear up common queries, providing you with straightforward answers to help streamline your planning process for hard-to-get Disney dining reservations.

No, a park ticket is not required to make Advanced Dining Reservations. However, if you want to dine at a restaurant inside one of the parks, you will need a ticket to enter the park.

Yes, anyone can make reservations – offsite guests, onsite guests, guests paying for meals out-of-pocket, and guests with the Disney Dining Plan.

Guests staying at one of the onsite Walt Disney World resort hotels can start booking 60 days in advance, just like everyone else. However, they also get to make up to 10 additional days’ worth of reservations, giving them a head start on securing those hard-to-get spots.

Disney World’s dinner shows, like the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, can be popular, so it’s a good idea to book these early as well. Tables are assigned when you book, so if sitting close to the stage is important to you, book as soon as your window opens.

The holiday season is exceptionally busy at Disney World. If you’re traveling during this time, be sure to consider special meals or events that are popular and add those to your priority list. For example, Thanksgiving meals at Disney World, like at Liberty Tree Tavern, are extremely popular and should be booked as early as possible.

Ready, Set, Reserve!

Securing those hard-to-get Disney dining reservations can be part of the fun of your Disney adventure. With these strategies, including the savvy use of apps like OpenTable and direct calls to non-Disney restaurants, you’re well-prepared for the challenge. Happy dining, and may your Disney experience be filled with unforgettable culinary delights!

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Meet the Author: Nate Bishop

I’m a die-hard Disney fan with 38 years of visits under my belt, having stepped into Disney World 120+ times. Proud to be a Disney Annual Passholder, a Vacation Club member since ’92, a Castaway Club Member, and a runDisney enthusiast. Oh, and I’ve graduated from the Disney College of Knowledge. Need Disney insights or planning tips? I’m your guy!