Mom and Daughter at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort Room
  • On Jun 5, 2009
    Christina from TX 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.

    Is it necessary to buy the dining plans when you go to the parks. I don't want to be restricted to go to certain places at certain times. Would the wait be long to go when we were ready to eat?

    Hi, Christina!  It is absolutely not necessary to book the dining plan when you travel to Walt Disney World.  You can dine at any of the Walt Disney World restaurants - in the theme parks, the resorts, or Downtown Disney - without being on the dining plan.

    Having said that, some of the dining experiences fill up, so it won't be a matter of waiting a long time at a restaurant when you want to go eat there, it may be a question of whether or not they will have a table available at all.  The more popular dining experiences - Cinderella's Royal Table, Chef Mickey's, Le Cellier, and 'Ohana, to name a few - can book up anywhere from a few minutes after reservations are accepted to a few days, and walk up tables are rarely available.

    I understand not wanting to be locked in to having to eat at a certain time on a certain day, but if there are some restaurants that you know you want to try, I recommend booking them as soon as you can - when your 90 day window opens up.  You can always try to change them later, or cancel them if you decide you are going to be too busy or in a different location, but at least if you make the reservations, you'll know you have a table at the meals you don't want to miss.

    One more thing - if you will be traveling during the period of time when Walt Disney World is offering free dining (September), you will definitely want to make some reservations.  The restaurants will really fill up quickly!

    Have a great vacation!
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Meet the Panelist: Anna, New Jersey

My name is Anna and I am a retired teacher with a J.D., a proud Navy wife with 30+ years of experience, mom to three daughters and a son-in-law, and grandmom to three tiny Disney fans. I have planned vacations for all sorts of special occasions and celebrations, but I really enjoy DVC vacations, helping military families, and assisting those with special dietary needs.    Learn More About Anna

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