Character Dining at Riveria
  • On Apr 26, 2021
    Hope from OH Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We have 10 adults and 7 children, in our party, all staying at the Riviera. When can we make dining reservations, and can we make them online? Do we have to split the reservations into 3 reservations, or 2, or just say 17 people?

    Hello Hope!

    Welcome back! Another great dining question, and now I’m getting hungry for some Mickey Waffles! I am also taking a larger group to the Walt Disney World Resort this summer, and making plans to book our dining. I’m going to share my pro-tips with you!

    Currently, Advance Dining Reservations can be made 60 days in advance. Guests staying at a Disney Resort Collection Hotel can begin making their reservations 60 days before check-in and may make reservations for the entire length of their stay. This is a huge advantage as you have the opportunity to book popular restaurants further in advance than Day Guests. For a check-in date of July 5, you may begin making your Advance Dining Reservations on May 6.

    With safety precautions in place for Covid-19, many dining locations have not reopened, and those that are open are seating at a limited capacity. Because of this, Advance Dining Reservations are harder to book than before the pandemic. This is why you should have a strategy and plan ready to go, and recognize that you will need backup options on your list.

    Larger parties are difficult to book, and you should consider breaking the group down into three smaller parties. Because the system will not allow you to book two tables at the same time, the only way to do this online is to have multiple people booking on separate My Disney Experience Accounts. I will be splitting my group into 5 and 6, and both my husband and I intend to use our separate accounts to book tables online at similar times.

    Advance Dining Reservations can be made online or by calling, but online opens earlier and is always preferred. Online reservations officially open at 6 AM Mickey Time (Eastern Time), but some Guests are noticing that availability is opening at some locations as early as 5:45 AM, and that other locations not until after 6 AM. You cannot call until 7 AM, so those booking online have the advantage. Phone hold times can be long, and they only have access to the same reservations that you can see online. I recommend each reservation maker be at their computers and ready to go at 5:45 AM, and if you are in different locations be on the phone together to coordinate.

    My other tip, is that if you are hoping for a popular dining location, you should book that location as late into your trip as possible, as that increases the chances of availability.

    You can call and request it be noted on your reservations that you are a larger party traveling together. I would also visit the restaurant podium earlier in the day, or at least 15-20 minutes before your reservation to chat with the Cast Member about the possibility of dining together. While this cannot be guaranteed, and you may be sat at separate tables, it is always worth asking politely.

    If you are not able to get a reservation you were hoping for, I often find that luck favors those that stalk reservations. People can and do cancel, and you should check back daily to see if what you need has become available. In particular, Guests cancel in the days leading up to the reservation, so you may have some last-minute luck!

    I hope these tips help! Sending you pixie dust for the perfect dining reservations!
    - Kate
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Meet the Panelist: Kate, Indiana

"Welcome Home!" I'm Kate, a mom and nurse from Indiana. A lifelong Disney fan, Disney Vacation Club opened a world of vacation possibilities for our family. I’ve traveled with young children and those young at heart, planned romantic trips for two and made FastPass+ reservations for an entire marching band! Whether dining with Mickey, surfing in Hawaii, or relaxing around the pool we make the most of our Disney Vacation Club Membership. For this nurse, every day is better with a little dose of Disney! Learn More About Kate

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