Mom and Dad planning vacation
  • On May 11, 2021
    Christine from CT Asked

    Headed to Disney 7/30. 12 adults, 9 kids aged 1-14. Looking for dining advice and suggestions during covid times. Any covered outdoor dining for a group of this size? Will we be allowed to sit together? Thanks once again for your help!

    Hello Christine!

    I love a Guest who has returned to see us again and again here on planDisney. Welcome back! This is a great question, as planning with larger groups can be challenging, and with some options and dining experiences being limited right now with Covid-19 precautions, you may need to make some alterations to your plans and expectations. We are going in July with a party of 11, and I just got through making my Advance Dining Reservations last week. I am hopeful some of what I did and learned can be of use to you too.

    If you are staying at a Disney Resort Collection Hotel and can book your Advance Dining Reservations for your entire trip 60 days before check-in, aim to get reservations toward the end of your trip first. These later days will have the greatest availability. If you are staying off-site and can only book 60 days in advance, one day at a time, you may have more difficulty.

    Right now, know you will not be able to book a group that large as a single party. Except for some Disney Springs locations and Biergarten Restaurant, almost every Disney location will return zero results if you look for a party larger than 6. You may want to look at reservations currently available 60 days out and play with the booking system to get an idea of what locations tend to have more availability. You’ll also find that My Disney Experience will not allow one Guest to hold two dining reservations at the same time. The best way to go about this is to have multiple Guests in your group use their individual My Disney Experience Accounts to make their own Advancing Dining Reservations and coordinate to snag tables at similar times.

    I would divide yourself into maybe three groups of 5 plus a group of 6. My husband and I each have separate My Disney Experience Accounts so he booked a table of 5 and I booked a table of 6. We were both ready to go at 6 AM Eastern and sat at the kitchen table and worked together to book our tables. You could do this on a speaker call with other family members as well. I find the desktop computer works better in these situations than the Mobile App, as you can search each individual restaurant quickly. Try to get tables within 15 minutes of each other. Once you have all your separate dining reservations, I recommend calling the Disney Dining Line to have them put a note on your reservations that you are a group traveling together. While you are not guaranteed to sit together, Cast Members will do their best. You may end up with tables near each other, or possibly not at all, but it never hurts to ask.

    Outdoor dining is very limited at Walt Disney World. While they don’t take reservations, Spice Road Table at Epcot has walk-up tables that are in a covered, yet open-air setting. Maybe visit the podium earlier in the day and inquire about the possibility of seating your large group? Aim for a less popular dining time, say between 2 and 4 pm. I would also consider both Disney Springs locations and restaurants at Disney Resort Collection Hotels as you are likely to find greater availability than locations inside the theme parks.

    I hope some of this information is helpful as you plan. Sending you all my extra pixie dust that you can secure those 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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