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We have a trip to Disney World coming up this fall to take our 5-year-old to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and even though I was online right when the clock struck 6AM Eastern 180 days before our visit, we still weren’t able to get some of the dining reservations we wanted, or at the times we would have preferred.
Of course missing out on a dining reservation won’t make or break your Disney visit, but Disney does have some pretty cool dining locations and experiences that are very popular such as the new “Be Our Guest” restaurant in the Beast’s Castle, Cinderella’s Royal Table (especially for breakfast), ‘Ohana in the Polynesian Resort (especially for dinner), Le Cellier Steakhouse, and Chef Mickey’s (especially for breakfast).
Today on Twitter I noticed a sponsored tweet from a site I had never personally heard of before, Disney Dining Buddy. Though I’m clearly behind the times since they have 48,000 fans on Facebook. Still, I was curious as to what a “Disney Dining Buddy” might be, so checked it out and it sounds super promising (until Disney inevitably shuts it down for using their name, searching their website, something…).
For now though, it costs you $8 to enter when and where you want to get a dining reservation at a Walt Disney World restaurant, and the “Dining Buddy” will monitor the Disney website “24/7” and alert you via text, email, or both if a dining reservation within your parameters becomes available.
The dining buddy service does not make the reservation for you, and you are charged the $8 to initiate each individual search with no guarantee a reservation will be found or that you see the notification and book in time. The fee is simply for the site to try and find the reservation you desire. Personally I was happy to gamble $8 to see if we can get a better time for one of the dinners we are really looking forward to enjoying while at Disney.
I have checked the Disney website a handful of times to see if any of our first choice dining reservations have become available, but without an automated service of some sort, the likelihood of me checking exactly when a hard-to-get reservation pops up is pretty slim. This is especially true because like most parents, I am simply too busy to stalk the site anywhere close to daily.
The Disney Dining Buddy website gives the following tips for getting the reservation you want via “Disney Dining Buddy”:
- Large parties reduce your chances of getting a reservation at some restaurants.
- Instead of a specific time, try choosing a period of Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner to allow for more matches.
- If your date is further than 30 days out, be patient until it gets closer. This is when guests frequently change their plans and reservations become available.
- Double-check the email and phone number you entered for the request to be sure they’re correct.
- Be sure to whitelist firstname.lastname@example.org in your email client. Check your spam/junk folder to see if your alerts have been mistakenly marked as junk.
I’ll be sure to report back if I have success using the Disney Dining Buddy service. So far everything seemed to have processed successfully, and I got the auto-generated email that my dining reservation request was now being tracked.
Have you used Disney Dining Buddy or a similar service to score hard-to-get Disney Dining reservations? Would you consider using this on a future trip?