• On Sep 7, 2017
    Tara from PA Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    I've just booked a"last-minute" trip to Disney for the end of November, in 80 days. I was hoping to make some dinner reservations, but there are none left. Are we going to miss out on all the cool character meals? Are we just out of luck? :(

    Hi Tara,

    There are so many wonderful dining locations at Walt Disney World. Let me offer you some suggestions on getting dining reservations.

    While your vacation is coming up soon, it is far enough out that you should be able to get many dining reservations. I suggest that you be flexible in a couple of areas. First of all, consider time of day that you want to dine. I am a big fan of a late lunch. While many families want to eat between noon and 1:00 p.m., I find that looking for times later than this allows me to find more availability. The same is true for breakfast and dinner - look for a late or early meal, and you may have more luck finding availability.

    You mention that you would like to do some character dining, which is a great way to meet characters without waiting in a queue. Take a look at the link that I provided for a list of character dining locations, and be sure to consider all of them. For example, if you wanted to dine at Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort to see Mickey Mouse and his friends in their chef gear but are having trouble finding a time to go there, instead consider Cape May Cafe at Disney's Beach Club Resort where you can meet Minnie Mouse and her friends - many the same as Mickey Mouse's! - in their beach wear.

    Also, for other dining, look for hidden gems. There are many restaurants that you might not have heard of that are wonderful. A couple of my favorites include Olivia's Cafe at Disney's Old Key West Resort for delicious, Florida Keys-inspired fare, or Restaurant Marrakesh at Epcot, which features wonderful Moroccan fare.

    Finally, just keep trying to get a reservation. Guests often do cancel dining reservations, so check back often to see if any reservations have opened up.

    I hope that these thoughts are helpful for you, Tara!
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Meet the Panelist: Mona Leigh, Maryland

I am a wife and mother who works in children's technology design and research. When I'm not at work or with my family, I'm often planning a Walt Disney World trip for my family or friends. I'm a Disney Vacation Club Member, and am excited to help you plan your Disney vacation!  Learn More About Mona Leigh

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