Booking Your Disney Dining the Easy Way!

When I think of Walt Disney World, several things come to mind: trips of a lifetime, world-class entertainment, theme parks like no others.  Unfortunately, I also think of one less magical thing: planning my trip on a cumbersome website with clunky tools.  If you’ve ever planned a trip to the World, you know it’s true.  FP+ reservations can be glitchy, the site periodically freezes and the only thing that keeps you going at times is the knowledge that once you get there the agony of the website will become a distant memory.  To their credit, WDW is trying to make improvements, as evidenced in the new DVC room search tool.  But when it comes to dining reservations, the tool in place is still laborious at best.

Let’s say you’ve got a trip in early February for 10 whole days (lucky you).  You have a list of restaurants where you’d like to eat and you sit down to book your dining reservations.  You enter the Disney website and the first thing you notice is that you can only search one day and one meal at a time.  Depending on how little you plan to cook or visit counter service,  you may have up to 30 searches ahead of you- 30 searches on the often overloaded and slow WDW website.

You start with day one.  You know that on the first morning you’ll want to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table or Crystal Palace and on the 5th morning of your trip, you’ll dine at whichever one you didn’t visit on day 1.  On your first search, you see that both are available at the time you want.  Great!  You book Crystal Palace and move on through your week.  When you get to day 5 of your trip, you figure this day will be when you book Cinderella’s Royal Table.  You run your search and there are no CRT reservations for breakfast open on that day!  However, there is a Crystal Palace.  Ok.  You grab the Crystal Palace reservation for day 5 and head back to day 1 to book the CRT you remember seeing.  Oh- but don’t forget you have to cancel the Crystal Palace reservation for day 1 first.  And you have to hope that the CRT slot is still there. 

 As you book up the 10 days of your trip, you may encounter this repeatedly.  Ack!  You got La Cellier for one Epcot dinner but now you need to switch it because that’s the only night you can get in to Chefs de France.  It’s book, cancel, rebook, rinse and repeat.  By the end of your planning you’re frazzled, your email is full of confirmations and cancellations and you can probably barely remember where you are eating and when.  How do I know?  Because I’ve been there.

Enter the advanced Dining Search tool at  This handy little tool can make a big difference in how you book your dining.  Instead of 30 different searches, you can run as few as three!  Dining Search is equipped to search real-time reservation openings across the entire range of dates of your trip.  Remember those breakfast reservations?  Well, now you can plug in the dates you’ll be there, run a breakfast search and see exactly what days CRT is an option and what days you can snag Crystal Palace.  Same for dinner and lunch.  No more booking, canceling and rebooking a meal.  The information you need is all there- on one lovely screen.  

Even beyond the initial planning,  Dining Search proves to be an invaluable time saver.  Maybe I planned my trip last minute and I found that a few of our favorite restaurants were booked.  My dear husband had his heart set on a lunch at Via Napoli but there just isn’t anything open when I go to book things.  Of course, being a seasoned Disney traveler, I know that people cancel reservations and things open up.  In the past, I’d be faced with regularly hopping on Disney’s site and searching every single individual day of our trip to see if anything had opened.  It was time consuming at best and downright maddening at worst.  Thankfully, those days are over for me.  Now, I hop on over to, open up Dining Search and do one search for lunch reservations during the length of my stay.  To save time, I can even put in that I want to search for Via Napoli specifically.  Whereas the old way was so time consuming I wasn’t able to check very often,  Dining Search makes it easy and painless enough that a quick scan becomes routine.  This makes it much more likely I’ll grab that coveted ressie and make my husband’s day.  In the future, with enough interest, this tool may even offer the chance to get email alerts when a spot opens for the place I want!

Let’s say you’re the sort that doesn’t get her heart set on specific dining experiences.  You will still find that Dining Search can give you a better picture of what your options are during your trip.  Instead of running multiple searches and taking copious notes to compare what’s available throughout your stay, you can use Dining Search to get a clear picture of everything that’s available at once.  And Dining Search even provides a link to take you directly to Disney’s website and book whatever looks good!

Look, WDW is an expert at what it does- providing an amazing location for a fantastic vacation.  They certainly keep me coming back for  more.  But the fact is, their search tool for dining reservations can be frustrating.  Thankfully, Dining Search at takes out the frustration and adds the pixie dust needed to plan the perfect trip!  Try it out and leave a comment letting me know how Dining Search helped you.

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