Over the years (especially over the last several months since the parks have reopened), Disney World has introduced a number of ways technology can be used to offer a more frictionless experience for its guests. Heads up — they all love the world “mobile!”
Many of us are well acquainted with Mobile Order, a contactless way to order food at various Counter Service locations. There’s also Mobile Dine Check-In, Mobile Check-Out at certain gift shops, and even MagicMobile just debuted, offering guests an alternative to MagicBands. But one of the biggest game-changers when it comes to planning your Disney vacation is hiding in plain sight all around Disney World (and on My Disney Experience): Mobile Dine Walk-Up Waitlist.
What is Walk-Up Waitlist?
This feature debuted in August of 2020 and allows guests to view Table Service Restaurant seating availability as a walk-up. NORMALLY, you’d have to plan your sit-down meals out in advance of your trip and make reservations ahead of time. You can still do that (and should for popular posts) but now, rather than arriving at a restaurant with an Advance Dining Reservation, you can try your luck and see on your smart device which restaurants have additional availability.
Checking on a restaurant’s waitlist availability is simple, but can be tricky to find the first time you do it. First, you open up My Disney Experience on your smart device and select “Check Dining Availability.”
Then, enter your party size as well as the date. There’s no option to search by restaurants with Walk-Up availability, rather you must select “Now”, as in the current time (instead of “breakfast,” “lunch,” or a specific window of time), to view the Walk-Up Waitlist. If you select a future date, the app will show you available Advance Dining Reservations. See? It’s kind of sneaky hiding in the regular ol’ dining reservations!
A list of restaurants will appear in your immediate area, along with an estimated wait time. From there, you can add yourself to the Walk-Up Waitlist virtually!
How does Walk-Up Waitlist impact your Disney World vacation?
As many a Disney vacationer is well aware, some Advance Dining Reservations are really hard to come by, especially nowadays when the parks and restaurants are at limited capacity.
However, guests’ travel plans change all the time, and you can almost always find last-minute Dining Reservations popping up for at least some locations. The same logic applies to Walk-Up Waitlist. If you happen to be in the location of a hard-to-get restaurant, you can give this feature a shot to see if you can score a super last-minute table at some of Disney World’s most exclusive locations. (We’ve checked many times and, if you’re flexible with your schedule, they do show up from time to time!)
Of course, Walk-Up Waitlist is not as much of a “sure thing” as an Advance Dining Reservation. If you know there is a restaurant on your must-do list, it’s imperative that you book those reservations the minute your dining reservation window opens up 60 days in advance.
However, if the stars align, Walk-Up Waitlist could result in an unexpected meal at a bucket list restaurant. One of our writers shared a story about her friend who visited Magic Kingdom during the busy President’s Day Weekend and managed to get a table at Be Our Guest Restaurant (aka one of the toughest reservations to grab) for lunch with less than a 5-minute wait, thanks to Walk-Up Waitlist. We’ve scored a number of same-day spots at the ever hard to come by Oga’s Cantina in Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well!
Which Disney World restaurants offer Walk-Up Waitlist?
There are a decent amount of Table Service Restaurants that currently offer Walk-Up Waitlist across the four theme parks as well as the resort hotels. Your current location will determine which dining locations you can join the location for; for example, you cannot be in Magic Kingdom and join a walk-up waitlist for Tiffins in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So keep that in mind when deciding which restaurants at which location you want to try to grab a table!
The restaurants that currently offer Walk-Up Waitlist are as follows:
Disney World Theme Park Restaurants
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park
- Coral Reef Restaurant
- Garden Grill
- La Hacienda de San Angel
- Le Cellier Steakhouse
- Rose & Crown Dining Room
- Spice Road Table
- San Angel Inn
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- 50’s Prime Time Cafe
- Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano
- Oga’s Cantina
- Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
- The Hollywood Brown Derby
- Be Our Guest Restaurant
- Cinderella’s Royal Table
- The Crystal Palace
- Jungle Navigation Co., LTD Skipper Canteen
- Liberty Tree Tavern
- The Plaza Restaurant
- Tony’s Town Square Restaurant
Disney World Resort Hotel Restaurants
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney’s Beach Club Resort
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
SO much of a Disney World trip revolves around planning. You still should do at least some planning, but this option lets you be a little more spontaneous with your plans. Or possibly score that REALLY tough to get spot you’ve been dreaming about!
We will continue to keep you updated as more restaurants are added this feature, as well as future mobile-friendly services from Disney World that you’ll need to know about in order to master your next vacation! Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek recently commented on how technology will become a more prevalent feature for the guest experience in the future, so we’ll definitely expect more services like this to pop up in the coming months and years!