Per updates to Walt Disney World’s official reopening update pages, select guests will be able to book Experience and Advanced Dining Reservations beginning June 30, 2020. In this post, we’ll cover the details and offer some advice if you’re eligible to make ADRs.
By way of recap, Walt Disney World previously cancelled all existing reservations, including Advance Dining Reservations. Going forward, Disney will shift from a 180-day booking window to a 60-day booking window for dining and experience bookings to allow guests to make their plans closer to their visits, which will work better with the new Disney Park Pass theme park reservation system.
At present, guests with Walt Disney World hotel reservations for arrivals through July 10, 2020 can make dining reservations for select restaurants in the Disney Vacation Club/Deluxe Villa Resorts that are presently open. Additionally, anyone can make reservations for operational Disney Springs restaurants via Disney, OpenTable, or the locations themselves…
The new addition to the booking options will be this List of Reopening In-Park Walt Disney World Restaurants (table service only) for July and August 2020. However, this option will only be available to guests who had an active dining reservation on or before September 2, 2020 that was cancelled as of May 28 due to the temporary closure of Walt Disney World Resort.
If that describes your circumstances, you’ll have the opportunity to make new dining reservations beginning on June 30, 2020 up to 60 days in advance of your arrival.
June 30, 2020 Update: Advance Dining Reservations reopened for select guests and the system…worked correctly?!
After a few minutes waiting on the “We’re Almost in Orbit” page, we were able to search for restaurants, and go through the motions of the process. Every date we spot-checked had full availability. (While eligible to book, we opted not to, as we have no desire to do indoor dining at this point.) It’s possible others had issues, but we had none.
After being skeptical that online booking would work, we’ll admit to being wrong on this one. “Kudos” to Disney IT on a job well done. Batting .200 isn’t totally terrible…if you’re a pitcher!
June 29, 9 pm UPDATE: Literally 30 minutes after we published this, a new banner appeared at the top of DisneyWorld.com with the heading: Dining Reservations Available Online Beginning June 30 for Select Guests with Cancelled Reservations.
“Beginning June 30, Guests who had a dining reservation on or before September 2, 2020 that was cancelled as of May 28 due to our temporary closure can begin to make dining reservations online for select Walt Disney World dining locations up to 60 days in advance. New reservations will be available to all Guests at a later date.” (Emphasis added.)
Well, that answers that question about online v. phone, and renders most of the below commentary moot. Here’s hoping the online ADR system works tomorrow!
Note that when Walt Disney World in-park dining initially becomes available, you’ll need valid park admission, a reservation for park entry and a dining reservation to dine at an in-park, table-service restaurant. Dining reservations do not guarantee admission to the park.
Here’s what the email says that went out to guests who are eligible to book:
If there are restaurants for which you absolutely must-have Advance Dining Reservations, our advice would be to log on to DisneyWorld.com tomorrow morning. If the system is working, awesome. Book your ADRs.
If it’s not working, check back at 8 am. If it’s still not up…wait. Do nothing. We would not encourage calling to book over the phone.
Obviously, waiting and doing nothing is a gamble. When resort restaurant bookings opened, we (Sarah) called bright and early on the first day–it was a frustrating experience detailed in our post: Advance Dining Reservations Now Open in Part.
Had we held off on calling until later in the day, or even the following day, we could’ve waited on hold for 10 minutes instead of 2 hours. (Lesson learned–we will not be calling tomorrow morning, or at all in the next several days.)
Most importantly, the results would’ve been the same. We were concerned the modified character dining experience at Topolino’s Terrace would book quickly. Instead, we were one of three parties in the entire restaurant.
When the parks reopen, there will be more guests visiting. It’s thus possible some spots, especially more popular ones like the prix-fixe lunch and dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant or Garden Grill (the only in-park character meal) will book faster.
However, many guests in the first couple of months will be Annual Passholders who will do quick service restaurants–or eating at home before arriving or after leaving.
Moreover, when the parks reopen, they will do so without the Disney Dining Plan. Without that prepaid option, many tourists will balk at table service menu prices.
In short, even with reduced restaurant capacity, we have a difficult time believing that restaurants at Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, or Hollywood Studios will fill up quickly. That has certainly not been what’s happening thus far–quite the opposite, in fact.
Again, not being part of the opening ‘call center tidal wave’ (and inevitably treading water on hold for hours) does present some risk. If you hold off, there’s always the possibility you won’t get what you want. However, we think that’s highly unlikely. If you’ve already spent an inordinate amount of time waiting on Walt Disney World’s phone lines, sitting this one out might be better for your sanity.
Of course, all of this is assuming our fear that the online system won’t be working comes to fruition. Maybe all of this is moot, and you’ll be able to use DisneyWorld.com flawlessly. Who knows? Even a blind squirrel finds a nut every once in a while.
Additionally, guests who had an experience reservation on or before September 2, 2020 that was cancelled as of May 28 due to the temporary closure of Walt Disney World Resort, you’ll have the opportunity to make a new experience reservation beginning on June 30 up to 60 days in advance of your arrival.
Beginning June 30, eligible Guests with experience reservations previously cancelled due to the closure can call (407) 939-6690 to make reservations for available offerings. Eligible Disney Vacation Club Members can call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 for reservations. Guests can check availability for the following experiences:
- Capture Your Moment photo experience
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
- Fort Wilderness Archery Experience
- Horseback riding
- Wilderness Back Trail Adventure
- Fishing excursions
- Private pool cabanas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Finally, Walt Disney World announced online reservations for all guests will reopen at a later date. What they did not announce is when that date will be. If we had to guess (and that’s exactly what this is–a guess), our prediction would be that ADRs will open to the general public on July 6, 2020.
Our basis for picking this date is Walt Disney World stating that guests who had dining reservations “on or before September 2, 2020” will be able to book at first coupled with the new 60-day window. Subtracting 60 days from September 2 puts the calendar at July 4, 2020. Since that’s a holiday weekend, July 6 makes more sense. That’s assuming logic applies here–but we wouldn’t expect the online ADR system to open to everyone before that date. In any case, we’ll keep you posted and share any updates we run across during Walt Disney World’s reopening process.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What’s your prediction…will the online ADR system work, or will Walt Disney World’s call center be inundated when it opens? Will you be booking Advance Dining Reservations tomorrow? How long are you willing to wait on hold? Think July 6 is a good prediction for the general public ADR opening date? Do you have plans to visit Walt Disney World this summer or fall, or have you cancelled? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Other thoughts or concerns? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!