Monday, October 05, 2015
Buying Disney World Dining Reservations - Don't Do It
There's 351 restaurants found throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, and, of them, 115 accept reservations. It seems like finding a nice spot for a fun dining experience at the end of a day shouldn't be too hard, right? Well, as anyone who has tried in the past couple of years, it's getting quite a bit harder. Securing a reservation at Disney World's most sought after restaurants is nothing new. Although a bit frustrating, it wasn't much of a surprise if a last minute reservation wasn't available at Victoria and Albert's, 1900 Park Fare, or Cinderella's Royal Table. But, with the introduction of MyMacic+, which includes online MDE (My Disney Experience) accounts, getting reservations has become a whole new ball game. The issue is that non-Disney affiliated companies aren't playing by the rules. They are securing dining reservations, and then turning around and selling them to vacationers that weren't able to get one on their own. The good news? Disney is starting to crack down on them.
MyMagic+ was recently introduced by Disney, offering a suite of technologies and services that are meant to improve and enhance a Disney vacation (click here for more info on MyMagic+). One of those technologies is My Disney Experience, which, among other things, enables vacationers to make their dining reservations beforehand. How far in advance? Up to 30 days in advance, or, if you're going to be staying at a Disney property, up to 60 days in advance. It sounds like a wonderful feature, and it can be. But, there's always going to be people who take advantage of a good thing.
So, how are they doing this? DiS Dining Agent was a site that was creating fake My Disney Experience accounts, booking reservations, and then selling those accounts for a price. Or, they would create a reservation, and then give a customer the exact time when they will cancel that reservation, allowing the customer to quickly pick it up. Fortunately, Disney has already started cracking down on these practices. When we last checked, the website was telling its customers that they were in the process of changing their model, and that "all current customers will be receiving an email".
There are still other companies who provide services that may still fall in a gray area, but not so deep. Disney Dining Scout and Disney Dining Buddy provide services where they won't make reservations for you, and don't have reservations to offer you, but they will monitor a restaurant where you want to dine, and notify you as soon as a reservation becomes available.
So, what do we think of all this, and what do we suggest? Our best advice would be to plan ahead as much as you possibly can. If you're able to start making your dining reservations 30 days out, then make sure to open your account a few days before that. Planning your Disney World vacation, including which days you want to go to which parks, which shows you need to see, which characters you want to run into, etc., is almost just as fun an experience as the vacation itself. And, all of this is made easier and more exciting with My Disney Experience.