Disney Dining Reservations: When to Book [+Free Calculator]

June 7, 2022

Let’s be honest: The stress of planning Disney dining reservations can feel like a Lightning Lane to family therapy. Why? Disney World has over 400 restaurants to choose from and knowing what, when, and how to book can be overwhelming. To make matters more complicated, snagging reservations to restaurants with the highest demand feels like reservation gladiators. Throw post-pandemic staffing shortages into the mix and vacation planning suddenly becomes scarier than the Tower of Terror.

We have three resources to ensure your Disney vacation planning process has a fairy tale ending

But don’t fret. We have three resources to ensure your Disney vacation planning process has a fairy tale ending:

1. Our Disney Dining Reservation Calculator: You enter the first day of the trip (check-in date), we'll tell you when to book your Disney dining, lodging, events, and more.

2. A complete list of every Disney World Restaurant that accepts reservations: This spreadsheet includes a list of all Disney restaurants that accept reservations, where they're located, which offer character experiences and/or events, and which are in high demand. Not enough? It also indicates which restaurants are temporarily closed during COVID.

3. Where to find a Disney travel advisor: If you're not a travel professional already, you may just decide you want to find one to do the heavy lifting. We'll show you where you can find one here.

Our tools will help you choose your restaurant and ensure you make your reservation ASAP so you have the best chance at snagging a reservation at Disney dining hot spots, making your Disney vacation go from meh to magical . . . like Pixie dust!

It’s a lot cheaper than Family Therapy.

Behold: Our Disney Dining Reservation Calculator

Modesty aside, one might go as far as to call this resource the Excalibur of Disney reservation calculators. Why?

1. You can plan your trip to three Disney properties (Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Lines).

2. It goes way beyond dining reservations. You can also find the best time to book lodging, events, and more.

With our calculator, all you need to do is enter your check-in date and it will populate with the earliest date you can book your dining reservations and all the other fun stuff. Wield its power below:

How to use our Disney Reservation Calculator

Pretty snazzy, eh? Our Disney planning calculator will alert you to the earliest dates you can book lodging, dining, and tours/events. It will also tell you the deadlines for purchasing Memory Maker at a discount and Magic Band.

Our calculator will alert you to the earliest dates you can book lodging, dining, events and more. It will also tell you deadlines for purchasing Memory Maker at a discount and customizing your FastPass+ and Magic Band.

If you’re a travel agent, you can use the calculator to book on behalf of your client or you can direct your client to the calculator so they can make their own Disney dining reservations. If you’re booking for yourself, then have at it!

How do you use it? You can use it in five easy peasy steps:

1. Enter Disney arrival date: For this date, you'll enter the check-in date. (If it’s a Disney cruise, enter your embarkation day).

2. Enter the Trip Name: This is especially helpful if you're an agent booking multiple Disney itineraries. That when, when you receive our email with a list of booking dates, it will be attached to a trip name. Speaking of which . . .

3. Wait for an email from us: We highly recommend getting these dates in an email. If you requested a follow-up email, we'll send one out with all the info listed on the calculator. (Psst! Check your spam folder if you don't see it.)

Create calendar alerts the day before: This is especially important for your highest demand bookings

4. Book those baddies!

Okay, fabo. You know when you need to book your restaurant, but what are the options? Read on:

A Complete List of Disney World Restaurants & Dining Events that Accept Reservations

Okay, so you know when you need to make your Disney dining reservations. How do you decide which restaurants to aim for? We decided to go an extra step to aid your Disney dining reservations. (Hey, it’s Disney! It’s all about being extra, right?!)

Our list of Disney restaurants indicates which theme park restaurants are located in (or surrounding), which offer character dining, which are temporarily unavailable due to COVID, and which restaurants are hot commodities.

Below is a spreadsheet of every Disney World restaurant that accepts reservations. Our list of Disney restaurants indicates which theme park restaurants are located in (or close to), which offer character dining, which are temporarily unavailable due to COVID, and which restaurants are hot commodities. (Seriously, you need to books those bad boys right away).

Before you launch in, here's a legend for our spreadsheet since I got a little emoji happy:

👑 = Offers character dining

🔥 = Reserve ASAP

🛏 = Restaurant is located in an on-property resort (not in a theme park)

🎟 = Dining Event

You can see for yourself:

Our Disney dining calculator and spreadsheet are a dynamic duo. Together, they'll help you prioritize and book your Disney dining reservations.

5. Expert Disney World Dining Reservations Tips & Tricks

Pre-COVID Disney guests used to be able to book dining reservations 180-day in advance. But now, all guests are able to make their Disney dining reservations 60 days in advance.

But those staying on-property still get an added advantage: If you’re staying on-property (aka, at a Disney theme park resort), you can book 60 days out plus 10 days into your total trip. This means you'll have a better shot at Disney's most popular restaurants (like Le Cellier) if you book them out a little later in your trip.

If you're staying off property, you can only book 60 days out, exactly. This means no booking ahead for your entire trip if you want to take full advantage of the 60-day lead time. Here's how you make the Disney World Dining bookings like a pro:

How to Book Disney World Dining Reservations

Disney World dining reservations can be booked in several ways. In a time when there's a higher demand for domestic travel and continued limitations on Disney World dining availability, it's important to get those reservations ASAP. Here's two way on how to do it:

  1. Online or on (My Disney Experience app): Disney dining reservations open 6:00 am EST
  2. By phone (407) WDW-DINE: Disney world dining reservations open 7:00 am EST

5 Travel agent TIPs to Book Disney World Dining quickly

Want to take it to another level?

For those who are die-hards ready to book their Disney dining reservations right out of the gate 60 days out, here's the earliest time of day when you can book different Disney Products: Nikki Miller offered a few tips on how to book dining reservations like a travel advisor pro.

Nikki Miller, Travel with Nikki Disney Specialist
Miller's booking tips are fairy dust
  1. If using the website, book on a private/incognito window to cut down on glitches.
  2. If using the website go right to the restaurant's page to search for options instead of the general dining search (saves time).
  3. Have the credit card stored in the account, as well as all the profile details filled in for address and phone number.
  4. On the App, go directly to the restaurant's page to reserve dining, and don’t use the broader search
  5. Have your list of dietary restrictions or mobility requests handy before making reservations

What About Disneyland and Disney Cruise Dining Reservations?

Don't worry, I didn't forget about Anaheim's theme Park gem. Here's how to get the most of your Dinsey dining reservations for Disneyland and Disney Cruise.

Tips on Disneyland dining reservations

It's good to get the jump on Disneyland reservations too! Here's how to do that:

Disneyland: 10am EST online or by phone at (714) 781-DINE

Here's a few other tips from Miller:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make a lunch and dinner reservation at the same location and you can edit them once you’ve been able to make all of your trip’s reservations removing duplicates.
  2. Use incognito browsers if making them online

Tips on Disney Cruise Line Dining Reservations

Headed to port? Here's how you can snag those in-demand dining options for DCL.

Disney Cruise Line reservations open at Midnight (12:00 am) EST online

And of course, a few expert tips!

  1. (Enter refrain) Use an incognito browser.
  2. List out 1st 2nd and 3rd reservation options in advance 

If you don't get your prime Disney dining real estate for your client, don't give up hope! Miller recommends, "Don’t hesitate to keep checking back. You never know when someone will cancel, or Disney will clear glitches from the system." Let the browser refreshing begin!

Final Notes on Disney World Dining Updates [as of 03.28.22]

Miller also offered an update on Disney Dining Events. Miller mentioned that as of this update, "many Disney dining events are available but not all." Miller offered an update below, so you can make sure your travelers know what to expect.

While my intent is to keep this section updated until things settle into a "new normal," always, check the Disney site for the most current updates on Dining Events. Thanks so much to Nikki Miller of Travel with Nikki for the update in this section!

1. Disney Dining Permanent closures:

  1. Spirit of Aloha
  2. ESPN Club at BoardWalk resort

2. Disney Dining Temporary Closures

  1. Temporary Dining Event Closures
  2. Mickey's Backyard BBQ
  3. Temporary Epcot Closures
  4. Akershus,
  5. Monsieur Paul
  6. Restaurant Marrakesh
  7. Takumi-Tei
  8. Temporary Resort Closures
  9. Hoop Dee Doo Musical Review
  10. 1900 Park Fare
  11. Garden View Tea Room
  12. Victoria and Alberts

3. Disney Dining Event additions:

Disney has added a dessert portion in three places:

  1. HOOP DEE DOO reopens June 23rd, 2022 and is currently open for reservations!
  2. California Grill (Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks at Disney's Contemporary Resort)
  3. Ferry Boat (Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise)
  4. Fireworks Dining Package at Epcot (Rose & Crown and Spice Road Table)

4. Character Dining that has Reopened

The following dining locations have reinstated modified character experiences to adapt to health precautions. This means characters are present with social distancing. This means no hugs and no autographs.

  1. Chef Mickey’s Restaurant
  2. Story Book Dining at Artist Point
  3. Garden Grill Restaurant

5. Dining with character experiences temporarily unavailable

These Disney dining locations are still hitting the pause button on character experiences:

  1. Cinderella’s Royal Table (Only has Cinderella walking through)
  2. Crystal Palace
  3. Cape May Cafe
  4. Ohana- Breakfast
  5. Trattoria al Forno- Bon Voyage Character Breakfast

Find a Disney Agent to Get the Best Disney Dining Reservations

Even with our handy Disney dining reservation calculator, it’s no walk in the park to book Disney dining reservations (let alone an entire Disney vacation). Maybe you’ve never been and you’re not sure what theme park you want to stay close to (or far from?) or which restaurants would be the best for you. Or perhaps you can’t (or don’t want to) keep up with the spinning carousel of COVID closure updates.

A travel advisor can book your Disney trip in their sleep. If you don’t want to whittle away your spare time planning your Disney trip, consider reaching out to a travel agent.

A good travel advisor will know Disney inside and out, will save you oodles of time (no joke . . . I'm talking hours here). Heck, why not let someone else stress over your deadlines? You can start with advisors who've offered great tips in our Disney resources on the site. Where else can you find Disney agents? You can also find Disney advisors listed on ASTA (American Society of Travel Advisors) here.

Become a Disney Agent

So you're a Disney fanatic who's not scared to spend some quality time surfing the net? Do you want to book trips for yourself and other Disney fanatics? Host Agency Reviews' 7 Day Setup is your first step! Check it out to see if it's a good fit for you!

7-day Setup
Click to get started!

We also have about a bazillion Disney resources. (Okay, only 5 but who's counting?)

  1. The Best Disney Travel Agents Share their Booking Secrets
  2. The Travel Agent's Guide to HAR's Disney World Planning & Booking Cheatsheet
  3. Disney Cruise Lines 101 for Travel Agents
  4. Disney World Tips and Tricks: Travel Agents Tell All
  5. Top Tips for Travel Agents Booking Disneyland

Your tumble down the Disney click hole begins here! Questions? Comments? Juicy gossip about COVID updates at Disney World? Dish in the comments below!

Gratitude to Our Disney Expert!

Special thank you to Nikki Miller who edited the most recent update of this article and included Disney dining reservations tips that will help you go the extra mile for your client. Here's her bio below!

Nikki Miller, Travel with Nikki Disney Specialist

Travel With Nikki-Owner | Your Voyage Vocation Educator: For the past 12 years, Nikki has been using her extensive travel knowledge and knack for knowing the details to help her travelers have the best vacation experiences possible. She founded Your Voyage Vocation in 2020 to empower travel consultants by giving them knowledge, tools, and support to build a successful travel agency. Nikki currently lives in southwest Michigan with her husband and her cat, Tinkerbell. Her favorite vacation spots are Hawaii and Walt Disney World.

About the Author
Mary Stein - Host Agency Reviews

Mary Stein

Mary Stein has been working as a writer and editor for Host Agency Reviews since 2016. She loves supporting travel advisors on their entrepreneurial journey and is inspired by their passion, tenacity, and creativity. Mary is also a mom, dog lover, fiction writer, hiker, and a Great British Bake Off superfan.