Due to frequent Guest complaints about the lack of availability at certain Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World restaurants, Disney is making changes that have the effect of becoming more stringent towards Guests who make multiple reservations for the same meals.
Beginning October 26 2011, Disney will expand the list of restaurants that require a credit card guarantee. Guests will now be required to provide a credit card in order to make a reservation for certain signature restaurants (Disney’s term, not ours—the list below actually includes many restaurants that aren’t always considered “Signature Dining” by Disney or under the Disney Dining Plan) at Walt Disney World. In the event that reservations aren’t cancelled at least 24 hours in advance of the reservation, the credit card on hold for the reservation will be charged $10 per person on the reservation.
Here is the list of restaurants that will soon require the credit card guarantee:
Walt Disney World restaurants that are pre-paid dining experiences will remain such, with their current policy of holding the full pre-paid amount in the event that a Guest fails to cancel more than 24 hours in advance intact.
Reservations can be cancelled at any table service restaurant podium, Guest Relations, hotel front desks, www.disneyworld.com/dining, or at the newly created phone number, 407-WDW-CNCL, which has been created for Guest convenience.
This has been a long time coming, and we applaud the change. Admittedly, it will affect us. There have been times when we’ve made multiple, overlapping reservations. This has been “necessary” because the ADR window opens at 180 days, and many times, popular restaurants are booked within 10 days of the window opening. Unfortunately, Disney is not as prompt with its park hours calendar, so we often find ourselves unsure of which park we’ll be visiting on particular days of our trip. Once we make this determination, we usually cancel the superfluous reservations, but there have been times when we’ve forgotten to do this. Many others abuse the system far more, and this will be a great way for Disney to prevent such abuses. Disney has been working to prevent this for a little while now, and we have noticed (coincidentally or not) that walk-up seating for many restaurants have become far easier to obtain since these policies have been instituted. This is great news for those who are not obsessive planners, or locals who just want to show up and grab a bite to eat.
That said, there are some concerns this raises. What about Guests who become ill on the day of their reservation, have issues with transportation to their reservation, or have other extenuating circumstances? Luckily, as with the restaurants that currently require guarantees, Disney will likely issue refunds to those who call and provide legitimate reasons as to why they couldn’t make their reservation. As always, this is on a case-by-case basis, and subject to managerial discretion.
All told, we view this as a great move by Disney that should not harm any well-intentioned Guests!