We are now at 150 days until our holiday in Disneyworld Florida. At 180 days, I was able to book our dining reservations for the first 10 days of our stay at Art of Animation. I had been reading "horror" stories of people not getting any of the dining reservations they wanted even at 180 days ahead of their travelling dates but I must have gotten lucky because we got everything we wanted.
I had previously set up My Disney Experience by registering for a Disney account. It's free to register and you can use it on the Disney Store website too so all your details are saved under the same umbrella. My booking was linked to My Disney Experience account around October last year even though we booked in February. Disney told me that they can't link it until 12 months before hand at the minimum. With everything linked to where it needed to be, it meant my reservation allowed me to book the first 10 days of our holiday. Really handy when you want to eat at some of the most popular places in Orlando.
The whole process of booking our restaurants was pretty easy. Booking opens online at 11am UK time and it opens over the phone at 12pm UK time which is 7am USA time. Obviously there is a week in the Spring and a week in the Autumn between our clocks changing and their clocks changing so you'd need to bear that in mind when booking.
I booked all of our restaurants using the Disney website. There is an app for your phone that you can use to book (it isn't available on tablets) but I found it wasn't working great. To book, you simply choose the restaurant you wish to dine in, enter the date and the number of guests and choose a time. This could be breakfast, lunch or dinner or you can specify a time in half hourly slots. The system will then display a selection of times you can choose or the closest to your specified time. You make your choice and then you'll be taken to the reservation page. I had pre-linked my credit card information as you are asked for one to secure the booking. It doesn't charge you unless you are booking certain restaurants like Cinderella's Royal Table but it does charge a $10 per person fee if you don't turn up or don't cancel before the cut off time.
I did have to call Disney to book Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo Boutique for Miss C's Princess makeover. I called at 11:59am and I got straight through to reservations in Florida. Thankfully Disney provide a freephone number to call! They were really helpful and we managed to get a booking at the Magic Kingdom BBB. It is inside Cinderella's castle so I imagine it books up quite quickly. There is also a BBB in Downtown Disney which offers the same makeover packages but I think there's something special about getting the Princess treatment in an actual castle. There are a variety of packages to choose from but we decided we'd go for the Castle Package as Z is going to Universal for 2 days with Husband and Miss C isn't going so this will be her special treat.
I also managed to book Cinderella's Royal Table for dinner on the same day as our BBB booking so Miss C will be able to dine in her costume and meet all of the Princesses. You have to pay in advance for the meal and for myself and Miss C it cost $120. This price includes the tax and tip so it worked out around $61 for me and $39 for Miss C which is pretty good for a 3 course meal and drinks in a character experience restaurant.
Other bookings we managed to get were for Chef Mickey, Be Our Guest, The Crystal Palace, Tusker's House and Hollywood and Vine. We have booked most of our character dining for the first week and in the second week we've booked some of the fancier restaurants like Yachtsman Steakhouse.
It does seem crazy to even be thinking about where we want to eat in 5 months time but from reading comments on the Orlando group on Facebook, people are now struggling to get the reservations, especially those staying towards the end of the month so I'm really glad we planned ahead and got the restaurants we wanted.
I'm adding to my Pinterest board as often as I can if you want to follow it or if you have any suggestions or recommendations!
Images from Flickr, Creative Commons license.
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