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Lou’s Inbox: Tips for Advance Dining Reservation Times

Hi there, readers – Aly Miller here, coming to you from San Antonio, Texas.  I’m here to answer a listener question about advance dining reservations from Lou’s inbox!  Kevin writes:

Hi Lou & Becky, For the past several trips I’ve taken to WDW, I’ve tried to get an ADR for Ohana. The only ones I can ever find even when trying to make the ADR 180 days out are for late at night, like [9:45]PM. What’s up with that? I never have such difficulty anywhere else in WDW. Should we just show up and hope for the best? Thanks for.all you do, Kevin

ohana - disneyKevin, ‘Ohana is one of my favorite places to eat!  I am partial to the character breakfast, but I also like to open the parks, so it’s very important that I get the first slot at [7:30].  However, like you, I also find that those advance dining reservation times are hard to come by even at 180 days out.

So what’s a Disney fan to do?  Piece of cake.  Book the time that’s available.  And then, keep up with your My Disney Experience app.  I would recommend checking it every day first thing in the morning, until about 2 weeks before your trip.  Then check it a couple times a day.  Believe it or not, reservation times open up at the last minute as people finalize their plans.  Even when I’ve started out with times in the [10:00] AM hour, I have never failed to find the time I want by the day of my reservation.

This tactic works for more than just ‘Ohana!  I’ve successfully applied this strategy to Cinderella’s Royal Table, Be Our Guest Restaurant, The Crystal Palace and other wildly popular dining locations.  While you shouldn’t make a practice of booking lots of extra reservations and holding them until a day or two before, it’s not a bad idea to make sure you have at least one for every meal you intend to dine at a table service location.  It’s fast and simple to change them, and as long as you do it in advance of the reservation you will not be charged for the cancellation fee.  I recently changed a dinner at La Cantina San Angel to a lunch at The Garden Grill less than 8 hours ahead, and that went over just fine.

Dining at Walt Disney World should be fun and exciting, not stressful.  If you can’t get the time you want, explore other options in the area.  I love my go-to locations as much as the next guy, but I also know that the times I’ve branched out from the familiar and tried new restaurants have often resulted in brand new favorites!

I hope you have a great trip, and I invite all you readers to comment below and tell me your favorite places to dine – and don’t forget to share a few of the best dishes!

(Photo ©Disney)

Aly Miller is a lifelong Disney fanatic. She recently discovered the WDW Radio Podcast  and became a member of the WDW Radio Nation. When she isn’t obsessing over all things Disney, she and her husband run Chad Miller Auto Care, an independent full service automotive repair shop in San Antonio, TX.