Like many Walt Disney World fans, I eagerly wait for the 180-day advanced dining reservations window to open so that I can plan my vacation meals and get in at the resort’s hottest dining spots.
Many tough-to-get reservations book quickly – think Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table in Magic Kingdom Park, ‘Ohana at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and the 50s Prime Time Cafe in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Even though we try to book early, (cue the late night phone calls and waiting patiently on my computer to book our dining), many popular reservations are still tough to get.
Our secret weapon for dining at heavily booked restaurants? Same day walk-ups.
What do I mean by this? We check for reservation openings on the same day AT the restaurant where we want to dine.
We always ask the following question with a smile:
“Are there any openings for a party of 4 (or sometimes 6) today?”
While it is not a guarantee, most of the time, the host has said, “Yes.”
Many guests with ADRs change their minds based on different factors: double booking, exhaustion, change of plans, etc. You can take advantage of their last minute changes and get in at restaurants that may have been otherwise booked.
Of note: You may dine at off-times using our strategy. For example, we walked up to Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom, and we booked a same-day-lunch for [2:40]PM in the afternoon. Yes, this was a bit late for lunch and too early for dinner. We adjusted by snacking at the lunch hour and eating a light quick service dinner later in the day.
- Be polite. Let’s face it, you catch more flies with honey.
- Stay flexible – you may dine at off-times.
- Book smaller groups, 4-6 person parties are easiest to accommodate.
- Check in at the restaurant, Guest Relations or at your hotel concierge. Each of these locations can help you with same-day reservations.
- Enjoy yourself – If you get a reservation, celebrate. If you don’t, add it to your wish list for your next vacation.
Have you successfully done a same-day walk up? Where did you dine? Share your success and tips for last-minute dining reservations with us!
(Photos from the author’s personal collection.)
To learn more about Kristin and read her recent posts for WDW Radio, visit her author page by clicking the link on her name at the top of this post.