It may be hard to believe, but the 180-day window for Christmas opens up this week!
As a reminder, Advance Dining Reservations have a window of 180 days. This means that on-site guests may begin booking their dining reservations 180 days from their check-in date, plus 10 days thereafter. So, if you are like my family and are checking in on December 24th, your 180-day(+10) window will open on Saturday, June 27th.
If you haven’t already, start by creating a My Disney Experience account. You’ll need an account to make dining reservations over the internet, as well as FastPass+ reservations. If you’re already on My Disney Experience, make sure that your resort reservation is linked to your account.
You should already have an idea of what restaurants you’d like to dine at. My family usually starts by listing out where we’d like to dine. Then, we print out a calendar of the dates that we’ll be at Disney and we start to fill it in. Check the park hours to make sure it meshes well with your plans. After all, you don’t want to book a 9pm reservation for Animal Kingdom if it closes at 8pm!
Be sure to line up a couple of backup restaurants. With Christmas week being so crowded, the reservations are sure to fill up quickly! Make holiday meals your first priority. Dinner on Christmas Eve, breakfast and dinner on Christmas Day, and dinner on New Year’s Eve will be the first to go. Character meals will go fast on Christmas morning. For dinner, the Signature Restaurants will fill up first, followed by the popular single-credit Table Service restaurants.
Keep in mind that many signatures, such as California Grill, have a prix fixe menu on New Year’s Eve. These restaurants feature a fixed price (usually between $250-500 per person!) If you plan on being in the parks on New Year’s Eve, I would recommend booking a reservation at a restaurant within that park. My family has never had a problem entering the park after 6pm, but there’s a first time for everything. Magic Kingdom and EPCOT will reach at least a Phase 2 closure by noon. If you head to the park early in the day, I’d recommend staying there. If you go to the park later in the day, I’d recommend leaving enough time to find a spot for the fireworks. We ate at Rose & Crown last year at 8pm. While this left plenty of time to find a spot to watch the fireworks, we made the mistake of trying to ride Test Track after our dinner. We were not able to make it back to the Italy pavilion until 11:30pm and missed out on a lot of the festivities. This year, we’re aiming for dinner at Teppan Edo and then securing a spot in Japan early in the night.
After securing a reservation for your holiday meals, the normal rules apply. Popular restaurants like Be Our Guest will be the hardest to book, followed by Signature Restaurants and character meals. As I mentioned in a previous post, look to book the popular restaurants later in your trip. This will increase your chances of securing the reservation.
If you can’t get a reservation at your first choice, book your second or third choice and keep checking for openings. Sometimes people drop their reservation due to scheduling conflicts or are forced to cancel their trip. By checking the Disney website, you may just stumble upon a time that works for you! BUT – NEVER cancel your reservation before securing a new one!
The Disney website “opens” up at 6am ET, and you can begin making reservations by phone (1-407-WDW-DINE) at 7am ET. I’d recommend using the website, as it gives you a one-hour jump on the phone line. I would not recommend using the My Disney Experience app to book reservations.
Good luck, everyone!Follow @survivedisxmas