Can I Arrive Late/Early for My Advanced Dining Reservation?
Even if you’ve planned out your Disney days with military-like precision, things may not always go according to plan. As a matter of fact, the most frequent call I get from clients while on their Disney vacation is because they are frantically trying to make their Advanced Dining Reservations. So what happens if you’re running late for those coveted reservations that you painstakingly made 180 days in advance? Or what happens if in your excitement you’ve shown up at your restaurant a good 45 minutes before your reservation?
We here at MickeyBlog want all of your Disney days to be tickety-boo! That’s why we thought we’d give you a heads up on what happens if you’re running behind or an early bird when it comes to dining!
Running Late for Your Advanced Dining Reservation
I see this happen nearly every time I visit Disney. No matter how much planning goes into your Disney visit, all it takes is a late bus, long security line, or getting lost and suddenly your dining reservation window has come and gone. If you’re running a wee bit late, there’s no need to worry. Disney’s policy is that they will typically hold your reservation up until 15 minutes after your scheduled dining time. After that point, if they haven’t heard from you (more on that in a minute) they reserve the right to re-allocate the table to other diners.
What To Do If You’re Running Late
If you find that you miscalculated and will be arriving later than the 15-minute window there are a few things you should do:
- Call Disney Dining – If you are stuck on a bus, boat, monorail. etc, instead of worrying over the status of your dining reservation be proactive and reach out to Disney Dining. The number is 407.WDW.DINE. Follow the prompt for same day dining. The cast member you speak should be able to advise you on steps to follow if you’re running very late for your reservation and can even add something to your notes to make the restaurant aware that you are on your way.
- Contact Your Travel Agent – If you are working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner like MickeyTravels, we pride ourselves on being available to our clients while you are on holiday to help should anything come up. Most Disney travel agencies will do the same. If you’re frantically pushing a stroller and racing to get to your restaurant, let us help by letting Disney Dining know on your behalf!
- Show Up Even If You’re Super Late – If 15 minutes late turns into an hour late, it’s always good to pop by your restaurant as soon as you’re able. The staff will work hard to accommodate you and can give you an idea of if/when you can still make your meal. In addition, Disney reserves the right to charge a “No Show Fee” of $10 per person for guests that don’t make their dining reservations. However, they don’t charge a “Late Fee.” Even if they can’t accommodate you, its unlikely Disney will charge you the “No Show” fee if you turned up late.
Cancelling Your Dining Reservation
If you know there’s no way that you are going to able to make your advanced dining reservation then the best thing to do is just cancel. Reservations can be cancelled up to 11:59pm the day before your reservation using the My Disney Experience App. For last minute cancellations, you should either call 407.WDW.DINE or 407.WDW.CNCL. Though cancellations may incur the late fee I mentioned above if made with under 24 hours notice, explain your circumstances and see if you can have these fees waived. This is determined on a case per case basis and is not guaranteed.
Cancelling Pre-Paid Reservations
There are a handful of Disney restaurants that require you to pay in advance for your dining experience. This includes the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue dinner show, Spirit of Aloha dinner show, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. If cancelling these reservations, it is very important to try and do so within the 24 hour notice period to avoid being fully charged for the reservation. This can be done by contacting 407.WDW.DINE.
Cancelling Reservations at Privately Owned Restaurants
Many of the restaurants at Disney Springs are privately owned. This can confuse guests who may need to cancel their reservation at the last minute. Regardless of whether or not a restaurant is privately owned/operated if you booked through Disney you can contact Disney using the steps outlined above to cancel your reservation or adjust your booking. In the event that you are running late, however, I recommend contacting the restaurant directly to find out if/how they can accommodate your late arrival.
Arriving Early For Your Advanced Dining Reservation
I’m one of those people that hates to run late. This means that I’m always giving my family a very wide window when it comes to arriving in time for FastPass and dining reservations. Even for those that aren’t early birds sometimes traffic is amazing, the resort bus is early or there are no crowds meaning you show up to your Advance Dining Reservation with ridiculous amounts of time to spare. So what should you do if you’re early?
I find (because believe me, I’ve been there) that cast members are typically great at accommodating diners arriving before their allocated time give or take 15 minutes or so. This is especially true in the morning before there is a backlog. When they are able to seat your early, they absolutely will. However, this is not a given. If the restaurant is jammed, if it’s peak lunchtime etc. they will adhere to your original waiting time so you should find a comfortable place to sit an relax.
Disney’s official stance on early dining arrival is that guests may not be accommodated if arriving 15 minutes before your reservation.
We here at MickeyBlog hope we’ve managed to give you a bit of reassurance when it comes to making those Advanced Dining Reservations. Please keep following along for more Disney travel planning tips and tricks.
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Find articles like this helpful? Then why not consider working with an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner? As an agent with MickeyTravels, I’ll be on hand to assist you with everything from finding your perfect package to helping you plan lots of special touches to make your visit truly magical. Best of all my services are absolutely FREE. Get in touch at 1.800.801.4025 via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow along on Facebook