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Changes to Disney World’s Online Dining Reservation System

Disney World recently announced a few changes to the online dining reservations system launched last Spring. To book, head over to the DisneyWorld.com website.

Most Noticeable Changes

  • The front page is now segmented into different dining experiences, including Signature Dining (which cost 2 dining credits on the Disney Dining Plan and are more costly than other restaurants), Character Dining, Most Popular Restaurants, Dinner Shows, and Special Experiences (like the Fantasmic Dinner Package).
  • The top of the front page now offers you the chance to search for restaurants based on cuisine type, dining experience, location, or restaurant name.
  • The front page is now a quick-search where you can input dates and times needed without going to the actual reservation page for the individual restaurants. (This is probably the best and most useful improvement, IMHO.)

Here’s a screen shot of the new quick-search system:

Head over and test out the new system! Like? Don’t Like? We’d love to hear your thoughts! :-)

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19 Comments

  1. Nancy Toby says:

    I wish they’d just call it a Dining Fastpass instead of an ADR!

    Or have a 2nd tier of real reservations with an actual penalty for breaking reservations so that we would have a better chance of getting into places we really intend to be eating at!!

  2. chris says:

    I like it, although I still think it’s easier and more effective to search by restaurant.

    Nancy, I really do dislike when people make ADRs and then don’t keep them. It will be interesting to see what happens to all the ADRs that were made for dates past 10/2 in anticipation of free dining if FD doesn’t happen (which I think may be the case). Will people cancel those? I hope so.

  3. Nancy Toby says:

    There’s currently no penalty in the system that I can tell for making numerous ADRs and not keeping them – so it makes it beneficial to guests to “game the system” and make numerous ADRs and only keep the ones that work out in their schedule once they’re at the parks. Want to ride Dumbo another time or two at the last minute when the lines are short? Why not just make a different dining reservation for every hour!??

    Your fellow guests may not like it if they hear about you doing it, but hey – I can’t even get an ADR rght now for dumb old T-Rex or Rainforest Cafe (yeah, I know, mediocre food, but my kids love them) on a Tuesday three months from now. C’mon, that’s ridiculous!!

  4. Cody says:

    I like the system, BUT still i think its easier to call, as the site has a tendency to freeze when i go on it. BUT it was convienent for me the other day to get a surprise reservation for Le Cellier.

    I do think there SHOULD be a penalty for people who make numerous ADRs, but i dont think they can do that.

  5. Kelly says:

    I like being able to search by restaurant name, instead of selecting from drop downs. That being said, while it’s easier for me, I think the lack of “alternate restaurant suggestions” isn’t great if you’re a first time Disney planner.

  6. AJ says:

    Good points about “gaming the system,” guys. My guess is that’s the next fix after the refillable mug changes ;-)

    Kelly and Chris — Yes! I definitely would rather search by restaurant. Would love to hear from someone new to WDW (you guys are experts) whether the “by cuisine” or “by location” system is easier. I’d imagine the “by location” thing would be helpful for folks who already have their touring plans set and just want to eat nearby…

  7. Nancy Toby says:

    The BIG improvement in the system now is the ability to name a park and a time and it will give you a reasonably large selection of various restaurant selections within that park for that timeframe, instead of a few strange randomly-generated restaurants that may or may not be nearby.

  8. Nancy Toby says:

    Discovered a couple more things, playing with it:

    Good news is that it can now generate a whole list of your bookings. Last time I tried online (and also requested it from the Contemporary Resort concierge in April 2010) this wasn’t possible.

    Double-bookings: It did give me an error message for a double-booking within an hour on the same name and contact phone number. However, it did allow me to make the double-booking and didn’t cancel anything (although it does encourage me to cancel one). I guess I’ll find out in time if they ever do follow-ups and cancel one or the other, but I kind of doubt it. Also not sure what happens if you just supply a different phone number.

  9. Nate says:

    This is great! I know as a West Coaster, sometimes you just don’t want to talk to people at 4:00 in the morning. :)

    I’m assuming that since “No Preference” is an option for both cuisine and location, that you can do a blanket search for a certain date and time? If that’s true, I think this will be a great way to get a general feel for where you can have a certain dinner on a certain night—instead of checking availability for one restaurant at a time.

  10. Jenna Z says:

    How did you generate a list of your bookings? I can’t find where to do this and that’s what I was really hoping for!

  11. txmama says:

    Jenna, if you go to the little orange suitcase and hover over where it says “My Disney Vacation,” the last link that will pop up at the bottom says something like, “View dining reservations.” It does seem like some made on the old system may not show up, though — but you should be able to retrieve via a confirmation number. I just made my adrs and I can see them all in one place! Nice!

  12. Melissa says:

    I just went to play around and check it out. LOVE IT!!!!! One of the biggest things that I always wanted from the online dining reservations was the ability to get multiple time options. I also LOVE how you can choose an actual time or “breakfast”, “lunch”, or “dinner”. I’m so excited to use it more!

  13. Nancy Toby says:

    Generating a listing:

    1. Log in (may be prompted to renew login)
    2. Click “My Disney Vacation”
    3. Click “Dining Reservations”

    and for me, it produces a whole long list that I’ve made for an August trip. It never did that before for me – before I had to put in confirmation codes one by one and it never worked right. Now it works like you’d expect it to.

  14. Rich T. says:

    The new search is great. I am actually moving to Central Florida in July, so now I can just say “I want to go to Epcot today, what’s open for lunch”? I was actually able to get a Le Cellier ADR on the Saturday after I move without having to guess random 1 hour blocks.

    The other thing I noticed, is it now prompts you to login, if you have not already. There were times where I forgot to login first on the old system and had to go rummaging for the confirmation e-mail to look up an ADR.

  15. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I hated the old system but this is pretty much spot on. The “by location” choice is a winner in my book. While foodies like us would search by cuisine and experience, most people plan thinking that they will be in a particular park/place on the day they are booking.

  16. Amie says:

    Thanks for posting this! I used the new system for “dinner” and found a 4:10pm for Le Cellier. I thought that was impossible! Thanks a bunch. :)

  17. AJ says:

    Loving the feedback on the system, guys! Sounds like it’s really useful for a wide range of folks (locals, last-minute planners, long-term planners, etc.). Thanks for the tips and tricks, Nancy!!

  18. Amy says:

    Loving the changes. Made July (4 days) and November (10 days) ressies with it…and can’t wait to go!

  19. AJ says:

    Amy — Jealous of your July trip! Have a great time!

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