Chef Mickey
  • On Feb 23, 2022
    Sandra from WA 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 a family trip in May, a group of 12. We want to reserve a character dining experience. We plan to break into 2 groups of 6. What is the most efficient way to manage this? On line how do we request it for 2 parties?

    Hi Sandra, welcome back to planDisney!

    The 50th Anniversary celebration makes this the perfect time to jump coasts for a visit to Walt Disney World Resort. Character meet and greets and character dining experiences currently have physical distancing requirements in place to preserve the magic, but the joy of personal interactions and photos with some of your favorite Disney characters remains magical.   

    Character dining experiences are the white whale of Disney dining reservations. As Walt Disney once said, "If you can dream it, you can do it," so I'd like to share my best tips for making your family's Disney dining dream a reality. The first step is to mark your calendar. Guests can make advance dining reservations online up to 60 days in advance. Set an alarm on your phone for 5:30 a.m. that morning so you can enjoy your morning cup of coffee and log into your My Disney Experience account by 5:45 a.m. In fact, I recommend at least two members of your traveling party log on separately. The more early birds the better, as one person may see two reservations available when reservations open at 6:00 a.m. but by the time they secure the first reservation and go back to make the second, the availability may be gone.  

    My next tip is to stay flexible when it comes to restaurant and/or mealtime. An after fireworks dinner at Chef Mickey's or a 4:00 p.m. dinner at Tusker House Restaurant might not have been your first choice but, as I tell my kids, you get what you get and you don't get upset. Dining reservation inventory changes in real-time so there's always the possibility of modifying your reservation as your travel dates get closer. Many restaurants with character dining, including the two I just mentioned, may also have day-of mobile dine walk-up availability that allows you to adjust to a more preferred time or even enjoy a character dining experience without a reservation.

    Teamwork makes the dream work and my next tip is to divide and conquer. I support your plan to break into two groups of six. Each person logging in to secure dining reservations 60 days out should have a list of your family's top five choices (restaurant and meal). You'll find more availability if you search by meal as opposed to a specific time. The understanding should be that each person will take any time they can get for as many options as they can. Even if you come to find the reservation times you were able to get don't perfectly align, overlapping reservation times are better than no reservation times. Once you determine which reservations, if any, are not needed, you can cancel them at least one day in advance without being charged.  

    Guests staying at a Disney Resorts Collection hotel can make their dining reservations for the duration of their stay, up to ten days. If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel, my final tip is to try booking a character dining experience for the latest possible date to maximize availability.

    If you are unable to secure a character dining reservation 60 days out, Sandra, just keep trying! You can even search online for reservation finder tools to aid with this process. Please return to planDisney with any other trip-planning questions. 

    Dream big,
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Meet the Panelist: Jennifer, Virginia

Hey there, hi there, ho there! I’m Jennifer from Northern Virginia, close to Washington, D.C. Together is my family’s favorite place to be, and I’m so grateful that Walt Disney World Resort is designed to make that dream a destination. I’ve visited The Most Magical Place on Earth at every age and every stage, in every season, and for countless reasons. I can’t wait to help you maximize the magic on your next Walt Disney World Resort vacation! Learn More About Jennifer

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