What are the hardest Disney World reservations to get, and how do you get them? Which Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) book up the fastest? Do you want to get a table at Be Our Guest restaurant, or Cinderella’s Royal Table, Victoria and Albert’s, or Chef Mickey’s?

You probably already know the basics of Advanced Dining Reservations , and that you need them to get into some of the restaurants you want to try. But how you actually GET the coveted seats?

Timing is everything. The best thing you can do is to familiarize yourself with the My Disney Experience mobile app and disneyworld.disney.go.com ahead of time.  These are the most efficient methods to book dining when it opens.

You can also call Disney Dining, but that takes longer and the phone line doesn’t open until after reservations open online.

If you’re looking for information on how to make FastPasses, head over here instead.

Use disney's web app to book the hardest reservations to get
Use disneyworld.disney.go.com to get the hard to get Advanced Dining Reservations. Start 180 days ahead of time at 6 AM EST.

Plan ahead

In the old days, planning a Disney trip meant making a resort reservation and buying tickets. Those days are gone. <<Sigh>> Planning out each day to accommodate the needs of your party is extremely important.

Yes, you can still technically DO an off-the-cuff, unplanned Disney trip. If you do, you may wait hours and hours for the ride your little mouse wants to see most, you will probably not get into the table service restaurant you want, your kiddos may have a meltdown in the heat, etc.

It’s a rough way to execute a pricey trip.

These days, Disney is for planners, BUT…

THE PLANNING CAN BE REALLY FUN! For this Disneyphile, it is half the fun of the trip. Don’t tell. I am a Disney nerd.

So how far ahead is enough?

Book your dining reservations at least six months in advance

chef mickey's entrance. chef mickey's is one of the hardest disney advanced dining reservations to get
Chef Mickey’s is very popular and features Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Pluto and Goofy who come to your table and say hello.

Why? Well, dining reservations open at 180 days in advance of the FIRST DAY OF YOUR CHECK-IN AT A DISNEY RESORT or 180 days in advance of a given day for those without a Disney resort reservation.

Be prepared to make your reservations bright and early. Set your coffee maker to start early, have your K-cup loaded, whatever. The magic time is 6 AM Eastern Time.

I don’t live in Eastern Time,  so this is especially painful. I actually had my mom stay overnight and babysit for our last trip Advanced Dining Reservation booking day.

Our youngest was 2 months old and I wanted to make sure I had coverage when the clock struck 6 AM EST. Over the top? Maybe. Probably.

But, we got in to Cinderella’s Royal Table twice, Chef Mickey’s three times, and Be Our Guest three times. 

Be flexible on the day each reservation falls

Just as important as that early-morning coffee is having a flexible plan. Map out which restaurants you want to go to and have a few interchangeably planned days. If you don’t get the date you want, you can go to that restaurant on a different day. You should shoot for the hardest-to-get reservations towards the end of your trip if you are staying at a Disney resort.

Sign on to the website and mobile app with multiple devices before reservations open
cinderella's royal table is in cinderella's castle in magic kingdom. this is probably the hardest advanced dining reservation to get at Disney World.
Here is a photo of Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant in Cinderella’s castle. This is a TOUGH Advanced Dining Reservation to get, but doable if you follow this advice!

The best hack I know for getting the toughest Advanced Dining Reservations is having multiple computers or devices signed onto the my disney experience app or on your mac/pc to disneyworld.disney.go.com.

For our last trip, I had my iPhone, two iPads, and two macs fired up and ready to go (we are a mac family, but if you are more PC, that works, too).

Think of it as your launchpad with multiple devices to take you to the Disney experience of your dreams. Too corny and sugar-magical Disney-ey? Yeah, sorry.

But seriously, it’s a good trick.

You can do simultaneous searches and bookings as another loads. Enter the name of the restaurants you want on the individual devices, but do not hit enter until the magical moment that reservations will open at 6 AM ET.

Practice makes perfect

Does this all sound complicated? It can be. So here is another hack, or rather, bit of advice. Practice makes perfect. Make some reservations between now and 180 days from now and cancel them just to get to know the system. Sorry, Walt! Familiarize yourself with the booking experience. This will require a credit card, but as long as you cancel before 24 hours out, there is no penalty.

On disneyworld.disney.go.com, hover over “Things to Do” and select “Dining” to get started., choose a restaurant and date and go ahead and book a reservation.  As you do so, make sure you scroll down to the checkbox to accept the terms and conditions to finalize your reservation. This is key. Your reservation is not booked until you accept them and continue to the next page, where you will get a confirmation number.

Make the hardest-to-get reservations towards the end of your trip

Yes, I know I said this above – but it bears repeating as its own tip. Try for the hardest-to-get reservations towards the end of your trip if you are staying at a Disney resort, especially if you are going at a busy time of the year. Why? Because everyone else who is booked at a Walt Disney World Resort on the first day of your trip had extra days to book if their reservation if their vacation started earlier. Shoot!

What ARE the Hardest Disney Advanced Dining Reservations to get?

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian (Grand Flo to those in the know!)
  • Akershus in Epcot’s Norway pavilion (pronounced Ack-err-shoes)
  • California Grill
  • O’hana dinner

Book these restaurants before your other reservations. When the magic moment of 6 AM EASTERN TIME hits, GO, GO, GO.

Can you make last-minute dining reservations?

So…what if you didn’t set your alarm or you missed the note about 180 days ahead of time?

Rest easy. You may still be in luck. Many people make and cancel reservations on an ongoing basis. See my note above about overbooking…

If you don’t plan six months out, your kid might not be able to climb the stairs of Cinderella’s castle and eat at her royal table…

BUT with some diligence he or she may still be able to meet Mickey and Friends at the Contemporary’s Chef Mickey’s or Cinderella and Prince Charming at the Grand Floridian’s 1900 Park Fare.

In the My Disney Experience app or on disneyworld.disney.go.com, KEEP LOOKING EVERY DAY for the reservations you want. Why? People cancel all the time. Life happens. Trips get cancelled, plans change. Let me say it again.

LOOK EVERY DAY. Sound crazy? Probably, but it works.

I have planned a trip 4 months out and gotten Chef Mickey’s, Be Our Guest (lunch), O’hana, and many others by diligently checking. Reservations are cancelled all the time and really good ones can become available unexpectedly.

Getting into Cinderella’s Royal Table on short(er than 6 month) notice would be like winning the Disney lottery, but I have heard it has happened…just don’t hold your breath.

 Victoria and Alberts at Disney World, one of the hardest advanced dining reservations to get.
Sign outside Victoria and Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Why would I act like such a lunatic to just to get reservations? Because there are so many other type-A lunatics like me out there booking their Disney trips at the same time. Good luck and happy planning!

Got any other ADR tips to share?  Let us know in the comments.  Questions about ADRs?  Get an answer now.

You can also plan your Advanced Dining Reservation for some restaurants before the parks actually open. If you make the earliest reservation at Be Our Guest Restaurant for breakfast, you just might get to ride Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before the park officially opens!

What if you just don’t get the reservation you want most?

It does not hurt to walk up the restaurant and see if they happen to have a table available. It has actually been known to happen at the most popular venues. You never know when Disney magic may strike. This Comprehensive Guide to ALL the Magic Kingdom Restaurants can help you find another place to make a reservation.

Try planning a trip when the crowds are lower

Disney Advance Dining Reservations will always be a bit tougher to get during peak seasons. Try to plan your trip for a time of year when crowds are a bit smaller.

We provide a free Disney crowd calendar for your reference.

Do you have special tricks and tips for making ADRs? Let us know in the comments!

Tagged on: