Are you ready? The countdown is on, and early booking will open for the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival in just a few hours!
That means that you and (and several thousand other people) will be calling Disney, trying to get into the Low-Cost Events, Culinary Demos, Beverage Seminars, and Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! Workshops of your choice!
What else does that mean? Well, this is a great example of a Peak Booking Day for a Disney event.
You may be wondering: What’s a peak booking day? It’s anytime that you can expect a high volume of guests calling at the same time to book events. This goes for early booking days for certain groups, regular booking days, days for booking where a new restaurant or experience is announced, and days that offers of Free Dining for the Disney Dining Plan are announced. And experience has taught us that all the things are probably not going to go smoothly.
With that in mind — and the fact that forewarned is forearmed — we want to share with you just what you can expect when it comes to peak booking days with Walt Disney World as well as some suggestions that may just help you to be successful (and keep your blood pressure down).
Peak Booking Days Equal Long Wait Times on the Phones.
No. Seriously. Be prepared to wait for hours — like multiple — when you call. And then, once you get through, it’s very likely that you’ll be placed on hold again for several minutes. And then maybe your call will be dropped. No joke.
This is the reality, and it’s always the case. Always. And that’s why we suggest that…
Peak Booking Days Equal Blocking Off a Significant Chunk of Your Day.
I would plan to schedule at least one to two hours to make reservations on a peak booking day. Easily. Because here’s the deal with that. If you’re wrong, and you happen to call the VERY first time that Disney has its collective act together, then you just got the happy surprise of extra time in your day!
But if you don’t build in that window and you are banking on hopping on and off the phone all short and sweet-like, you will either A) not get your reservation, because you have to run; or B) be late for whatever other important things are part of your schedule. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya.
Peak Booking Days Equal Cast Members Who Possibly Have NO Idea What You’re Talking About
Disney Cast Members are truly some of the best and nicest humans walking the planet. But they don’t possess magic powers. (So sorry if that’s a disappointment to find out.) And they also can’t know what they haven’t been told.
Time after time, for peak event after peak event, the poor Cast Members aren’t given the information that they need to set them up for success. So please, know this up front.
And be prepared to cut them some slack. Also be prepared to talk to multiple Cast Members (as in, hang up and call back to get a new person) or request to speak to a more senior Cast Member or a supervisor. Also keep in mind that kindness is always, always the best route to take, period. (But especially if you’re trying to get something to go your way.)
Peak Booking Days Equal the Online System Not Being Updated.
We’ve seen it time and again: Disney announces that reservations are open for a special event or a new eatery…but they kinda sorta forget to update their online systems.
There are times when reservations are only available via phone. Like, on purpose. For example, early booking for Epcot Food and Wine Festival Events is often only available by calling. But sometimes, online booking is supposed to be available, and isn’t. Be prepared on peak days to hop on the phone to take care of the business at hand, rather than booking via the website or the My Disney Experience App.
Peak Booking Days Remind Us, Yep, Disney Kinda Stinks When It Comes to This Stuff.
Look, we love Disney. Obvi. We’re such big fans, we photograph all of our food there and share with you guys!
But let’s be honest. They have never gotten the hang of executing the launch of peak booking times. Not once. And we’re talking about stuff they KNOW, year after year, is coming.
Why do I point this out? Well, again, if you know what to expect, it helps you to plan, and it might ease your frustration a little. Because personally, I find when I know it’s coming, it’s a little easier to cope with.
So, that’s our primer for setting you straight on what booking anything at a peak time is like if you’re dealing with Disney.
And now, I’d really love to hear from you! Share with us your experiences while attempting to secure a spot during a peak Disney booking day in comments below!