I’m pretty certain that my daughter is avoiding me this week. I’d like to think that it has something to do with her being a teenager, but I think it has more to do with the fact that every time she sees me, I try to engage her in a conversation about which Disney restaurants she wants to try out this year.
I know she thinks that I’m a little obsessed with this subject, and to be fair she’s right; I really look forward to trying new dining experiences each year. But what she doesn’t realize is that if you don’t nail those dining reservations down as soon as you can, you are going to miss out.
Disney allows guests to start making dining reservations up to 180 days in advance; our 180 mark was at the beginning of this week. I know that 180 days seems like more than enough time to make these reservations, but I have learned the hard way that there is no time to waste.
For example, I tried to make a breakfast reservation this morning – not even 7 full days since our 180 day window opened – at Cape May Café at the Beach Club Resort. Do you know what was available? Nothing. Nada. Not a single time slot was available for breakfast at any day during our vacation week, which, I will state again for effect, is in AUGUST.
There are some experiences that fill up faster than others, of course; character breakfasts especially seem to get booked up right away, as does the Be Our Guest restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Basically, if you shudder at the thought of your little ones missing out on a specific character dining experience, there are about a million and one other parents shuddering along with you. Get on it right away and beat those other parents to the punch.
While we can’t speak for all of the restaurants as we are still working our way through them all, we’ve had the hardest times with O’Hana (breakfast) in the Polynesian, Be Our Guest (lunch) in the Magic Kingdom, Chef Mickey’s (breakfast) in the Contemporary Resort and, just added to the list is Cape May Café (breakfast) in the Beach Club Resort.
Of course, the difficulty in getting the reservation that you want depends on the time of year during which you are visiting; school vacations and summer time are certainly going to be more challenging than visits during the “off” season, but it’s still a good idea to make your reservations at the more popular (and if Mickey’s going to be there, you can be sure it’s popular!) restaurants right away.
If this is your first visit, I highly recommend downloading the My Disney Experience app on your phone; this app links to your hotel reservation and you can make, change and cancel dining plans quickly and easily. It is also pretty intuitive; I had booked two dining experiences at the same time for the same day and not only did the app recognize the discrepancy, it canceled the unwanted reservation when I confirmed the experience that we wanted. If you are looking for a way to access all of your plans and reservations in one place, this app is worth every byte of space that it takes up on your phone.