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New Credit Card Guarantee Requirements and Technology Affect Disney Dining Reservations

Chef Mickey's Cracking Down on Skipping Reservations

UPDATE: See bottom of post for some FAQs and answers via a Disney Dining Phone representative.

In the past several weeks, Disney has instituted a few new technologies and requirements to better regulate the Disney World Dining Reservations Systems. These are largely being put into place to deter the ever-increasing practices of double-booking dining reservations, or simply skipping reservations without canceling them.

Double-booking and skipping reservations in restaurants that fill up six months in advance means that a large percentage of dining reservations are not being used, which, in turn, means that fewer guests are able to dine at these locations, and less money is made in each restaurant.

To improve this process, Disney has (or will be) instituting three new practices:

  • Mandatory Credit Card Guarantees on Signature and Character Dining Location Reservations
  • Reservation Reminder Emails
  • Disallowing Double-Bookings

Credit Card Guarantees Required for Signature and Character Dining Locations Starting October 26th

In order to deter skipped reservations at Disney’s most expensive and popular properties, Disney will begin requiring credit card guarantees on many restaurants beginning October 26th, 2011.

What does this mean for us as guests? Basically, you’ll be required to give a valid credit card number in order to make your reservation for these popular dining spots. No money will be charged to your card at the time of booking (unless the location is a pre-pay meal). However, should you neglect to cancel a credit card guarantee reservation within the allotted timeline (usually 24 hours prior to the meal), a $10 surcharge — per person — will be charged to the card.

California Grill Cancellation Policy Warning

Starting October 26, 2011, the following restaurants will require the credit card guarantee:

CHARACTER MEALS
• 1900 Park Fare
• Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
• Cape May Café
• Chef Mickey’s
• The Crystal Palace
• The Garden Grill
• Hollywood & Vine
• ‘Ohana
• Tusker House Restaurant

SIGNATURE DINING LOCATIONS
• Artist Point
• California Grill
• Cítricos
• Flying Fish Café
• Jiko – The Cooking Place
• Le Cellier Steakhouse
• Narcoossee’s
• The Hollywood Brown Derby
• Victoria & Albert’s – ($25 per person charge for cancellations within the time window)
• Yachtsman Steakhouse

The following restaurants will continue to require pre-payment for meals at the time of booking:

• Cinderella’s Royal Table
• Disney’s Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show
• Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue
• Mickey’s Backyard BBQ

In order to make canceling your unnecessary reservations easier, Disney has set up a special number at 407-WDW-CNCL for easy, quick cancellations. You can also cancel your reservations at www.disneyworld.com/dining, or at any guest relations location, restaurant podium, or resort front desk.

Reservation Reminder Emails

To help you remember your reservations — and cancel them if necessary — Disney has begun sending reminder emails for every single dining reservation. This works most effectively when you book online as your email address is required in order to finalize the reservation.

Reservation Reminder Email

Disallowing Double Bookings

To make double-booking less of a problem, Disney has also started disallowing guests on the same log-in username or resort reservation number to book dining reservations in the same general time slot.

For example, if you have a lunch reservation for 11:30am at Tusker House, you will not be allowed to make a reservation on the same day at 11:40am at another restaurant.

Double Booking Warning when making online dining reservations

Yes, you can get around this by not logging in, or by booking the reservation under another name and email address, but Disney’s hoping that that extra step will deter many folks from double-booking the same time slots in order to give themselves more options during their vacation.

Click here for details on how to make Disney Dining Reservations.

Some Possible Answers Re: New Cancellation Policy

Update: Our friends at WDWforGrownups.com reached out to Disney Dining and received some answers to some FAQs:

I just got off of the phone with Jennifer at 407-WDW-DINE and was asking questions about the new cancellation policy. I was very happy to speak with her and she’s really put my mind at ease. I’m thrilled with her answers and she really made me feel like the policy is being put in place to help free up reservation slots, and not treat you like a criminal if something happens and you can’t make dinner.

(Editor’s Note: Disney has NOT released this information officially, so please double check these details when making your own reservations!)

Q #1: What is the amount of time needed to cancel a reservation? If my reservation is at Friday at 5PM, when do I need to cancel the reservation by in order to avoid the fee?

A: The reservation would need to be canceled on the day before. So, Thursday before the WDW-DINE phone lines close at 10PM.

Q #2: If your reservation is for four people, but only 3 show up to dinner, will you still be charged for the 4th person?

A: No. If the reservation is kept, even with fewer people, you will not be charged a cancellation fee. Obviously the preference is that you call ahead and let them know your party will be smaller, especially if it will effect the table size. (Editor’s Note: Some guests have had different experiences with this; double check when making your reservations if you’re unsure of your final party size.)

Q #3: Will all reservations be subject to the fee or will there be acceptable reasons to miss your reservation?

A: All cancellations will be dealt with on a case by case basis, and Disney will of course work with you to ensure the new policy is being applied with care and consideration.

Q #4: If I do need to call and cancel at the last minute due to extenuating circumstances will I call WDW-DINE?

A: You can call WDW-DINE to cancel, but there will also be an easy to remember cancellation phone number to take care of last minute problems and charges. The number is 407-WDW-CNCL.

Also, to answer a common question below, I do believe that if you already have a reservation made — or will make your reservation prior to the October 26th start date — your reservation will not be affected by the new policy. Once again, check when making your reservations.

Will this credit card guarantee requirement affect how you book your reservations? Let us know in the comments section below!

Source for new credit card guarantee restaurants: WDW Magic

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50 Comments

  1. Beth says:

    I noticed the double booking item back in August.

    Any word on whether Disney will charge you if not all of your party shows up? Like if you have a reservation for 7 and only 5 show? We often book for our full party, and then some decide not to come. I wouldn’t mind modifying reservations for smaller numbers, but Disney’s system doesn’t let you do this.

  2. AJ says:

    Beth — I have no idea how they’ll handle this when the new guarantee requirement is in place in October. I have had no problem with extra charges when I’ve shown up at California Grill with fewer people than the reservation noted.

  3. Pudge the Fish says:

    I applaud Disney for taking this next step. A few months ago they updated their system to prevent two reservations from being reserved within two hours of each other. (Although as AJ outlined, there are holes in that system.) The credit card requirement is an improvement because there is nothing more annoying feeling than showing up for your hard fought ADR than to find the restaurant with several empty tables.

    As long as Disney is not making an advance charge to my credit card for all my ADR’s, then I have no qualms about using my credit card to reserve a ADR that I fully intend to use.

    Conceivably this may also broaden the chance of getting same day reservations if people do double book and then cancel one of their reservations that day before.

  4. Kristina says:

    I’m OK with the changes – I had never even thought to double book a time slot, how rude that someone would intentionally do that knowing someone else would love to have that reservation!

  5. jen says:

    The Concierge folk have got to be happy too. Hopefully they’ll be able to tell their guests YES to last minute reservations!

  6. Marc says:

    I don’t mind the changes but, from past experiences, I haven’t always called 24 hours in advance to cancel my ADR. Sometimes I cancel (and I almost always formally cancel with WDW-DINE) it’s 4-6 hours prior to our reservation.

    Now, if only WDW would start sending out confirmations with TOURs! (My personal pet peeve that always results in a comment with the tours customer satisfaction surveys.)

  7. Greg says:

    I say Boo! Big thumbs down from me.

    I’m still stinging from an experience at the Royal Akerhaus a few years ago. We were stuck in a non-stop rainstorm. The kids were wet and complaining. The stroller was soaked. We just wanted to go home. I tried to move my ADR up, but they couldn’t accomodate us.

    Finally, I decided to bite the bullet and cancel. Keeping the reservation wasn’t worth an angry wife and two crying kids – much less the chance of them getting sick in the rain. I knew there would be a cancellation fee. I was prepared to eat the $30 for myself, my wife and the 5-year-old. I was not at all prepared for the extra $10 Disney charged me for the cancellation for the 1-year-old who would not have even had to pay for her meal.

    I know people are going to cheer the closing of loopholes for the small number of people who “cheat” the systems. But sometimes things happen and you have to cancel a meal in less than 24-hours. I see this as just another nail in the coffin of spontinaity at Disney World. I will be less likely to book at these restaurants in the future.

  8. Dana says:

    Hmmm – do you know which restaurants, if any, will require the credit card for the Disneyland resort?

    Not sure how well this will work. It may cause less reservations and more spontaneity in the parks, equaling longer wait times or lines. Then again – I think it would be really nice if Disney would utilize texting to page a party when their table is ready. Maybe even a FastPass??? :) One can dream!

  9. Trish1432 says:

    I agree with Greg completely. We just returned from a trip with our tumultuous two year old. Had I felt forced to stick to a ressie despite her difficult mood at a given time it would have been a detriment to the other patrons as well as us. We’ve been trying to decide if we should do the quick service dining plan instead of the regular one we usually do, I think this made the decision for us.

  10. Carolina says:

    Hellow, For those who already have your reservations for these restaurants Janeiro/2012 must now be the number of credit card, you need to change to continue to guarantee the reservation ?

  11. Chris says:

    Is that double booking dialog box still there? I had seen it a few months ago, but this week I booked a conflicting ADR but only saw a warning and reminder to cancel the other ADR on the “My Reservations” page. It ended up being a bit of a pain because the ADR wouldn’t delete through the website and I had to call.

    I like the email notification system but there’s still room for improvement. I’ve received at least 1 reminder for an ADR that was already canceled and no longer existed (WDW-DINE and the restaurant could not find it either) and I wish the system would group all of one day’s ADRs into one message, especially now that the F&W events are included in the system.

    We don’t do many character meals anymore so the new CC policy won’t really affect us much. No-shows must be a significant enough problem if WDW feels the need to add an extra layer of hassle for everyone else, but it’s a problem that they’ve largely created for themselves. They don’t take actual table reservations and demand for some places has far outstripped supply but they’ve made it difficult to relieve it outside of the WDW garden. On the other hand, if you want to see a true no-joke cancellation policy, check out Masa in NYC.

    Dana: I don’t think any of the DL restaurants require a CC to book. It’s pretty easy to find alternate options as you can walk to the other park, DTD or even places at GardenWalk.

  12. I don’t mind this policy, but I’m not in love with it either. I’d like them to bump it back to say 2 hours prior to reservation or something. I once had a reservation at Le Cellier, and cancelled cause at the last minute I was in the mood for Teppan Edo. I’d like there to be some flexibility to accommodate my taste buds:)

  13. prttynpnk says:

    I’m totally good with this~ its hard enough to get some reservations this will eliminate some of that. Hopefully….

  14. JoAnn says:

    I think this is a good idea. I have no problem giving a CC number to hold the reservation.

  15. I agree. I like the change to stop double booking. I had a coworker that would book 2-3 places for each meal until she decided where she wanted to go. Not fair. I do, however, think the 24 hour time frame is a bit much.

  16. Melissa Stolasz says:

    I always finagle my dining but I always try to cancel the old ones. Lately each time I try to cancel a res it tells me that the system is down or there is an error and my request could not be processed. The result of this is that currently I have a BUNCH of dining reservations I have no intent of using and they’re just sitting there. Makes me feel bad that someone is not getting the slot. I will try to cancel them again today since they’ve messed with the system…

  17. Bookbabe says:

    Way to go, Disney! I’m all for anything that helps prevent the inconsiderate double- and triple-bookers from making it impossible to get ADRs unless you book right at the 180 mark. I hate seeing all the empty tables while they’re turning people away. We book at least one trip to WDW a year with only a couple months notice due to our work schedules, which makes it impossible to book places like Ohana or Le Cellier. Hopefully this will mean last minute ADRs or walkups are a possibility. I’m thrilled with the change!

  18. Brandy says:

    I,too agree&disagree with the new system. It works great in theory in order to make it easier for some to get last minute reservations BUT as a family with 3 small children it is sometimes a very last minute decision to cancel a reservation based on their moods. It would be a shame to have to eat $ due to a justifiable reason. Double booking&eenie meenie miney moeing where you’ll end up&keeping all those reservations until the last minute is not a justifiable reason.

  19. Jeff C. says:

    I welcome the changes, and it won’t impact how we go about making our dining plans.

  20. dwirth says:

    The whole dining system, and need to lock in days/times months in advance to even stand a chance to dine at many places, is out of control. Cancelling and double booking happens almost by necessity to retain some flexibility in your day, especially if using a DDP. Having to plan down to the hour, 6 months out is ridiculous – and therefore, it’s possible to end up with a 5 PM Boma and a 6:15 Brown Derby on the same day. Oh well…

    And while I’m surely in favor of giving enough notice to a restaurant if you’re cancelling, there are about 50,000 hungry folks to step in and take your place if you cancel – even an hour or two prior to your stated time. The 24 hour rule is way too strict.

  21. Kimberly says:

    Since Disney is requiring you to cancel a full 24 hours before your reservation, it may actually be 2 “days” earlier like you can’t cancel tomorrow’s breakfast at lunch today.

  22. Greg says:

    To the people who are in favor of this, do you really think it will stop anyone from double booking? Canceling a reservation isn’t hard. If people were willing to double book before, they will continue to do so.

    The people who will be impacted by this will be the well-intentioned folks who had a bit of bad luck. Disney will add insult to injury by hitting them in the wallet when their vacation has already gone off track.

    Double booking will continue to be a problem as long as Disney has this messed up reservation system.

  23. Gloria says:

    The new credit card “rules” will not affect me personally, but I do think the 24 hour requirement is too strict.

    What about a family where someone gets sick during the day and can’t make a dinner reservation or the family with small children who are in melt-down mode that decides to skip a meal?

    Seems to me you shouldn’t be charged as long as you actually cancel the reservation, no matter when, thereby giving the restaurant a chance to fill the slot with walk-in guests.

  24. canadianslovewdw says:

    i know i dont have as much experience as some of you .. all of my trips have been with children 5 and under and never had to cancel an ADR, but i do agree that maybe a 4 or 6 hour window would be better.. or at the least by 9 pm the night before.. that way when guests come back from their day at the park they can ask at the desk if there are any cancelations for the next day . and fill them that way…

  25. Vickie says:

    While I can appreciate wanting to change plans if the weather is dreadful, and believe me, I would prefer not to eat in a restaurant with kids in melt-down mode, I still think the credit card charge is a good idea, and 24 hours is not a bad timeline.

    It’s not as if we are talking about every meal you may have booked — it only relates to the “special” ones like signature restaurants and character meals. I would think you’d be really looking forward to those, and would not WANT to cancel!

    If you have a special meal planned, don’t run your kid ragged so they can enjoy it. And talk about a kid melt-down if you tell them they are not meeting Mickey because it is raining!

    Also, over half of the restaurants with a credit card charge are in a hotel. If it is raining, it is not that hard to get to them without getting soaked. And for Artists Point or Narcoosee’s, I for one would make the effort!

    I can work with this policy.

  26. Wendy says:

    I’m mostly in favor of the change, but I do feel that the 24-hour cancellation requirement is a bit much. We’ve never canceled a reservation being just 2 adults, but I can only imagine with a cranky toddler in tow the possibility of the need to cancel. Hopefully Disney will reconsider the 24-hour thing and knock it down to at least just 6 hours.

  27. Greg says:

    Does anyone really think this will help with double booking in any substantial way?

    If it doesn’t, what’s the point? To make a couple extra bucks to pad the bottom line. That’s the only conclusion I can come to.

    Disney has no problems filling those tables as it stands even with no-shows. Now, they can fill the joint and make a few extra dollars off tourists who have a run of bad luck. The double bookers will just cancel 24 hours early.

    For those thinking this will help with walk-ups, think again. Disney will now have 24 extra hours to make sure those tables are full. There will be fewer walk-ups than ever.

    This is not a win for guests. It won’t stop the cheaters and it won’t benefit those who play by the rules. Only Disney benefits – assuming the xtra income is worth the guest dissatisfaction.

  28. Jenn says:

    This suggests even more that Disney should open only a fraction of the tables for reservations, while keeping at least half of them open for same-day sign-ups or walk-ins.

    If people want to reserve a table somewhere to make sure they eat at that one special place, they should have that opportunity (with a tight reservation/deposit policy that minimizes cancellations).

    If others want (or need, because of small children) to be more spontaneous, they should also have that chance – tables open for same-day sign-ups or walk-ins would, for example, allow parents to gauge their kids’ mood the day of, then decide where and when they want to eat.

  29. Marianne says:

    We eat WDW TS less and less. Now that DD is past the princess-dining stage and we have become DVC members (no free dining, full kitchens), we find it rarely worthwhile. That said, I feel for those who have less flexibility in dining.

    I think WDW is taking lemons and making…rotten tomatoes? Rather than coming up with an innovative solution, maybe involving real reservations, more dining choices, and some way to enable more walk-ups, they’ve shifted the burden onto their customers.

    The biggest issue to me, however, is Disney’s historically less-than-stellar computer systems. Remember last year’s screw-ups in the online reservation system, which took weeks to fix? Imagine that with this new policy in place!

    Even assuming the system is working well, how do you connect to it while you’re at WDW? Wi-fi is still extremely limited or non-existent there. Anything else is time-consuming and/or difficult. (Just as you get through to WDW-DINE, a big tour group goes by, and you can’t hear.)

    Although it doesn’t affect me much, I’d have to label this policy a fail, until WDW puts systems in place that can reliably support it.

  30. Jenn says:

    I think I’ll probably stop making ADR’s.. For our trip last January, we literally had to reschedule every single one after my husband decided to get sick and end up in the hospital.. of course, without adrs, we walked into every restaurant we wanted, so I think we’ll go back to the “do you have room for 3?” days..

  31. Dottejean says:

    May I offer one word of caution…sounds like an acceptable idea unless the CC is actually charged for the meals prior to the reservation date when you are on the DDD plan (in Feb for July reservations!) Then it takes three months and six phone calls to find someone who can say something besides “mention it when you check in at the Castle”. I have a gut feeling that this will occur more often with this new broader policy.

    Also 24 hours is ridiculous when you’re on vacation. It’s not like the reservation is going to go “begging”! 6 hours is much more acceptable. If you have to cancel a “special” meal, you’re going to be disappointed enough without being smacked in the wallet when it’s not anyone’s fault; i.e., sickness, etc. (I’ll have to remember to tell my husband he can’t have a cardiac episode on our way to dinner like he did two years ago!) Just seems this policy needs to be “re-thought”.

  32. Greg says:

    “Any word on whether Disney will charge you if not all of your party shows up? Like if you have a reservation for 7 and only 5 show? We often book for our full party, and then some decide not to come. I wouldn’t mind modifying reservations for smaller numbers, but Disney’s system doesn’t let you do this.”

    I called Disney to get an answer straight from the Mouse. You WILL be charged for any members of your party who do not cancel at least 24 hours in advance. So be careful who you include on your reservations. If they don’t show, you’ll be stuck holding the bag.

    Brutal, huh?

    I have posted my full thoughts on this blatant cash grab here:

    http://lebeauleblog.wordpress.com/2011/10/13/disney-dining-cash-grab/

    Disney should be ashamed!

  33. Sue says:

    I have to say that I’m pretty happy with this new policy. We usually book our trip about a month out and we stay at the campground so we can’t get the DDP. We can never get reservations at any of the popular restaurants that close to our arrival date. I have spent hours in the past trying over and over again hoping someone happens to cancel at the same moment I’m trying to book a reservation. I’ve been successful a few times to get the restaurant I want but it’s rarely the time or even the day that we want. I’m hoping that with the new system we’ll at least be able to get a few reservations that we want.

    I do agree that 24 hours is too far out to cancel when you’re on vacation. I’d say that 6 hours is a more appropriate time frame.

  34. Marianne says:

    Looking more closely at the list, I wonder what kind of pressure it will put on restaurants in the same area, the next level down? Rather than risking a ressie at Jiko, people might be more likely to reserve at Boma. Same for Le Cellier/Chefs de France and CG/The Wave.

  35. Jen says:

    For the people that are ok with this new process….did you think of what will happen if you a) have a fussy baby or toddler. Or a fussy adult, for that matter ;) b) you or another member of your party gets sick…personally I don’t want some walking germ blowing their nose, sitting next to me in a restaurant b/c they don’t want their family to be charged. c) decide you aren’t in the mood for that type of food….come on, you all know 6 months ago when you booked, you were in the mood for chinese, but the minute you walked into Epcot and smelled those turkey legs you changed your mind. d) Weather is horrendous and you don’t feel like going to a restaurant in the park…I personally don’t want my children waiting out side of a restaurant in a hurricane or lightning storm, my husband maybe, but not my kids. e) you are having a fabulous time at Magic Kingdom, and don’t want to leave to go to a restaurant not in the park…time flies when you are having fun and sometimes you just forget to check your watch.
    I generally go with my family (party of 6) $60 is alot to lose if any of the problems above arise. I’m not a weather forcaster but if I have a dinner res at, let’s say, Crystal Palace…..and I see that morning the weather is going to be bad…I don’t want to waste a non-expiring hopper ticket just so I don’t get charged $10 pp. You can’t tell me Disney can’t get a walk up in a heart beat and fill my seat that I didn’t show up for.
    Maybe you all have money to blow, but I budget my vacation to the penny…and I’m paying alot of money to take my family on a nice vacation, I think Disney is getting enough money out of me….what next? are they going to start monitoring when I get a soda with my refillable mug, oh wait, yes they did start doing this? Maybe they will start charging gratuity on a one year old that is only eating baby food you bring with you, Oh wait, they do that too.
    This will change the way I dine at disney, I don’t want to waste my time hopping from restaurant to restaurant only to be turned away for a walk in. The only way to dine in disney is to have a reservation, we all know that. And all my favorite restaurants are on the list, so I will take my business else where….I know I will get some snarky comments, such as “good, it will leave an open table for me….etc” Please, save your time…

  36. Michael says:

    Really enjoy the Blog and Pics !!

    We wonder how this will work for us this Nov/Dec. Mainly because when we ADRed we rec’d the confirmation e-mail. Then we started rec’ing the confirmation e-mail followed in minutes by 1-3 e-mails titled cancellation, but were really confirmations. Disney stated as long as they show on the itineray they should be OK. I’m wondering with this policy change if we’ll be notified. With our “GOOD LUCK” we probably will be lost at cyber sea. OH Well !! Then again we’ve usually faired well at WDW.

  37. Tamara says:

    This policy stinks.

    We have three kids, so if we have a sick kid and do not know 24 hours in advance that this child will be sick (which happened to us a couple of years ago), our disappointment at having a sick kid and being stuck in a hotel room rather than enjoying the parks and whatever character meal they were looking forward to is now going to be exacerbated with a $50 per meal charge?

    Sorry, but I thought Disney was nicer than that. I guess I was wrong.

  38. Jeremy says:

    Jen, that is hysterical! You completely made my night reading that. And while I was completely “for” using a credit card to book restaurants, after reading you comment you brought up alot of good points that I didn’t even think of.

  39. Alan says:

    I’m glad nobody got too worked up about these changes. I long for the days when you just walked up to a restaurant and checked how long the waiting time was. If it was too long – you just went to the next place and tried there. If you really wanted a particular restaurant you could go to the concierge that morning to make a reservation. I usually don’t think the past was the “good old days” but maybe in this case it was.

  40. Pudge the Fish says:

    Wow, nothing gets people going more that ADR’s (except refillable mugs, and Jen took care of both of those topics!) Last time that I checked, ADR’s (and refillable mugs) where still optional and Disney offers a variety of wonderful Quick Service options that do not require ADR’s (and ice+tap water is still free.)

    The choice is still ours to play by Disney’s rules or not. It’s their park and their business and their pregorative. I still love Disney and I still love Disney dining, and I will play by there rules as long as they are up front about their policies. If that means I cancel within 24 hours of my meal, for whatever reason, then so be it, I was warned.

    This is no different that any other vacation, if I get sick or choose not to eat a meal on any cruise or any all inclusive vacation then I won’t get a refund there either.

  41. Amy says:

    I have no problem with any policies Disney implements ever.

    So, really I’m just curious: Does this have any effect on reservations for dates after October 26th that were made a few months prior to this change?

    Should I call to give my credit card info, or is this just something being pushed from that date forward?

    Thanks!

    (i skimmed the article as Im at work, so Im sorry if you stated it!)

  42. Heather says:

    Last year we were supposed to eat at Narcoosee’s (one of the restaurants that already had this policy.) I got *really* sick that day, and there was no way I could go. My mom called to cancel, not even asking about getting a refund or anything, just because that’s the right thing to do. The CM didn’t charge us the cancellation fee. So for those worried, I’m sure if you explain the situation, like a sick child or husband in the hospital as mentioned, if you cancel closer than 24 hrs, they won’t charge you. (I still haven’t tried Narcoosee’s :()

  43. Bookbabe says:

    Heather makes a good point about Disney possibly not charging if you cancel closer to the ADR than the 24 hours…as long you DO cancel. I think the problem from Disney’s perspective may be, in addition to all the double-bookers, all the “sick kid families” that don’t bother to cancel when they change their plans due to that sick or cranky kid, or the weather, or all of the other valid reasons for not making it to an ADR. I know that’s my problem with people who no-show…they don’t necessarily fill your spot with a walk-up if they think you may just be running late.

    Especially when the parks are busy and restaurants are fully booked, they don’t always give the option of waiting for a walk-up spot. So, when those families don’t show up, yes, others may get seated a bit faster, but there won’t necessarily be the same number of tables filled over the course of the night.

    My suspicion is that as long as you actually cancel and don’t just no-show, Disney will waive the fee in many cases where you actually have a valid reason for the last minute cancellation…

  44. Patty says:

    When we go to Disney, it is usually with a large group 8 or 9 staying at DVC villa, so we are all in “one room” under “one reservation. Quite often, adults will trade off “alone” time. For example, I made a reservation for 6 in Germany and 2 in Paris one night and a reservation for 6 in Whispering Canyon and 2 in Artist Point. Am I going to get zapped for double booking if my group doesn’t eat every meal as a group?

    Our departing flight was also changed on our last trip, so we had to give up a 2pm reservation at Chef Mickey’s to make the magic express. I would hate to be charged $80, because we don’t know when the bus is coming 24 hours in advance.

  45. Teresa says:

    I’m someone who is very serious about my ADRs. If I make an ADR 180 days out, you can bet I’m going to eat there. And if I’m deathly ill on that day then I’ll just pay the $10 and send the other 5 people in my party. I don’t have money to burn but if those are the rules, those are the rules and 99 times out of 100 I’ll make it there. And I don’t change my ADRs just on a whim, if I’m going to a signature restaurant you can bet that I’ve strategically planned out my day so that I’m pretty hungry by the time I get there! I’m not going to grab a shrimp basket at Columbia Harbour House an hour before and then decide that I’m not in the mood.

    In my experiences, Disney is usually pretty willing to help people out so I’m sure that if there are extenuating circumstances that they will be willing to listen. It may not discourage double booking for those who are determined to do it, but I hope it discourages all of the no shows.

  46. Rhonda says:

    I’ve been going to Disney since ’78. When they were available, we started going on the Premium Plan. Everything paid in advance. Very expensive, but when I made the reservations for the week, my family complained there was no wiggle room. Always told them it wasn’t written in stone, but now it is. I have Lupus and am scared to make the reservations to my favorite restaurants for fear of being too sick to enjoy it. The good paying for the bad. Will they understand when you call 2 hrs before? We’re on vacation! I don’t double book, but if I decide not to go, I would prefer not to have to pay. It only means my money is going to another Disney restaurant. As it is, gratuities are no longer included. Now we have to bring more money and they didn’t reduce the price of plan. I am considering going for possibly my last trip in May 2011. But Disney is slowing SUCKING THE FUN OUT OF IT!

  47. Patty says:

    It is about time Disney has a special cancellation phone number. For years I have suggested that they offer a cancellation text line. It is quicker and more convenient for everyone. It is so difficult to find a quiet spot and have enough time to wait on a phone line to cancel a reservation especially when you are cancelling a reservation that did not require a credit card. I feel this is why so many people never cancel non-credit card reservations. There would be a lot more reservations if Disney incorporated a FAST and more EFFICIENT way to cancel a reservation, just as texting.

  48. Jan says:

    I don’t really like planning meals 6 months in advance, but dining at my fave restaurants is one of my favorite things to do on vacation, so I do the ADRs. I can understand having to cancel because of illness & I believe Disney will work with me if that happens as an extenuating circumstance. But I don’t get these parents who say their children are not in the mood for a table meal or who are in “melt-down mode”. I raised four kids, and made over ten weeklong Disney World trips with them & it never even crossed our minds that one of them might not be “in the mood” to sit for a nice meal. Not an option! Who are the adults & why are the kids running the show? And a melt down?! I can just imagine the consequences if I had pulled a meltdown in public! Only once did I have to threaten mine with getting a babysitter in the room for a couple of them while the rest of the family enjoyed the parks. Changed their attitudes immediately! A child needs to know how his/her actions can ruin a family’s vacation & that he is not the only one the trip is for.

  49. Penaz Bardoliwalla says:

    We are first time traveling to Disney World and would like to get the full value of our experience by pre-booking our Dinner Reservations. However since we are International Travellers the Disney Website does not accept our Credit Cards to gaurantee the reservation. This is unfair and this could mean that we might loose out on the oppurtunity to get space at the restaurant of our choice.

    Please advise a work around for this.

    Regards,
    Penaz

  50. Fran says:

    I don’t like the fact I can’t double book a resto! I always gave a credit card and knew ahead of time to cancel so I don’t care about the credit card. To get a decent reservation time and location you have to do it in advance . I arrive at disney in May. It’s January and I start to book . Even now it’s hard to get a decent reservation ! We are 4 in total and I always would respectfully cancel a reservation if I could not make it .

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