• On Apr 13, 2021
    Kevin from SC Asked Please note that experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    Do you have to have a reservation for character dining?

    Hiya Kevin, and welcome to planDisney! Just think - in less than a week, you'll be starting your Walt Disney World adventure! Let's get down to business and help you put the finishing touches on your plans!

    Disney's character dining experiences are a lot of fun, and a very popular way to see your favorite Disney pals. While reservations aren't required for most of the restaurants that have character dining, they are recommended because they tend to fill up quickly. It looks like that's what's happened for your stay next week. I've been searching for availability at character dining spots during your time frame, and nothing is coming up. But I do have a couple of recommendations that might help you score a seat at the characters' table!

    First, let's touch on a new service through your My Disney Experience app called the Mobile Walk-up Wait List. You can find it by firing up the app and tapping the "+" sign in a circle at the bottom of your screen. That brings up a pop-up menu; click on "Check Dining Availability" there. Next we'll choose the party size and select the date from the calendar. To get the wait list info, you need to choose the current date, then click on "Now" for your dining time. That will show you all the restaurants that offer the wait list option with availability info, and how long the wait is expected to be. On some restaurants, you may notice a prompt that says "Please move closer to the restaurant to join the walk-up list." If you have a particular restaurant you're trying to book, I'd try to be near that place when you check for wait list availability. The restaurant will also have a QR code posted outside to make joining the wait list go a bit more quickly. It's a little hit-or-miss depending on how busy the restaurant is, but it's worth a shot!

    Also, you can try one of the reservation finding services offered by some third-party websites like Touring Plans. You just enter the date and restaurant you're trying to reserve and the website will initiate a search, and you can go about your day. If a reservation pops up, you'll get an alert telling you to hop on your My Disney Experience app right away to grab it. They don't reserve it for you so you need to be quick on the draw, but it can be helpful when trying for a hard-to-get reservation like a character meal.

    Kevin, if you can't quite manage to get into a character dining spot, you can still see lots of your Disney pals out and about in the theme parks! Keep an eye out for unexpected moments like princesses waving from a float, or a silly old bear chasing butterflies on the lawn. I promise your family won't miss out on seeing your favorite friends.

    I hope this helps you plan a vacation filled with "character," Kevin. Have fun, and please come see us again if you have any more questions!

    Keep Disney Dreaming,

    Kathy K.
thumbnail image for Kathy

Meet the Panelist: Kathy, Florida

I've lived my whole life just an hour's drive from Walt Disney World, so I've been a regular visitor for as long as I can remember. Even after all these years and so many visits, I love that there's still so much to discover! Now that I'm a mom myself, seeing my favorite place through my son's eyes has given me a whole new perspective that I enjoy sharing with other parents of young children. Learn More About Kathy

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