DiningWalt Disney World (FL)

Hardest Dining Reservations at Disney World

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For hard-to-get dining reservations at Disney World, you’ll want to be prepared when your reservation window opens. But which restaurants should be on the top of your priority list? What Disney restaurant reservations are the most difficult to find? Now that Disney has made it easier than ever to find and make these restaurant bookings, we collected two weeks of restaurant reservation data to find the answer.

Our Testing

Dining reservations for Disney World restaurants open 60 days in advance, and if you’re staying at a Disney hotel you can make Table Service dining reservations for up to 10 days of your trip at one go. We started at the other end, looking at restaurants that were available a few days in advance. If it’s easy to get a table on 3 days’ notice then you can’t really say it’s difficult to find, right?

We searched reservations daily for two weeks, covering the same day, the next day, and two days out from when we were searching. Our searches were for four people, so if you’re dining with a larger party you’ll want to keep in mind that there can be less availability. And we collected our data in mid-February, for days where crowd levels ranged between 6 and 8 on our Crowd Calendar. You can expect that reservations may be less available if you’re visiting during peak weeks like Easter and Christmas, but our results should be pretty typical of what you’ll see when the resort is “average busy”.

Typical crowd levels during the weeks we searched

We chose our restaurants for this list based on locations and meals that came back in less than 50% of our searches, and we double-checked each one two months out (50-60 days in advance) and one month out to confirm that availability was less than you’d see with most Disney World restaurants. The other thing we looked at was the number of times available for booking; if 10 times are available for a particular date that tells a very different story than a single table.

Lastly, we excluded shows (like Hoop de Doo), dining packages, and ultra-high-end locations like Victoria & Albert’s. Although those came back in our search results, we wanted this list to be about regular restaurants and not super-special experiences that are the next level above a plain-old splurge.

Before we get to the list, I want to give a shout-out to our fabulous research team that manually collected this data. They’re so into the teamwork concept that they didn’t want to be named, but you know who you are!

Hard to Get Disney World Brunch Reservations

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Brunch

Brunch at Disney World is already limited by time: it’s usually only available on Saturdays and Sundays and not all locations serve it. (Where to Find Brunch at Disney World). Only one brunch was hard to get when we searched: Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ Rise ’n Shine Brunch. We only saw this reservation once, and only for a single table. Book early, have fast fingers – but we think it’s worth the effort.

Hard to Get Disney World Breakfast Reservations

There are only 22 places to get a Table Service breakfast at Disney World; that’s about a quarter of all the Table Service locations. You’ll generally find that you should book early if you want the best selection of times; we easily saw that even when restaurants appeared in every last-minute search, the choices for a time were usually restricted. But the three eateries below can require some advance planning to snag a spot at all, and ideally you’ll want to book right when your reservation window opens to get the spot you want.

4. The Crystal Palace, Breakfast

We found the Crystal Palace breakfast tasty when we visited a little while ago, and you’ll get to meet friends from the Hundred Acre Wood. We only saw this spot in the Magic Kingdom when searching about half the time, and only about two tables per search when it did pop up. The good news is that our two-month confirmation search showed plenty of availability, so you can book well in advance without stress. Just don’t wait too long on it – by one month out, the results matched what we saw just a few days in advance.

Mickey Churro Waffles at Crystal Palace
3. Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera, Breakfast

Of the 3 Mickey & Friends character breakfasts available outside the parks, this was by far the hardest to get. We only saw it about a third of the time in our last-minute searches. And we didn’t find it at all at one or two months out.

2. Cinderella’s Royal Table, Breakfast

Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom has been on the list of hard-to-get Disney World reservations for a long time, so we weren’t surprised to see that we only found a table in 6% of our searches. Our two-month check showed tables on about half of the 10 days, but not a lot of selection when it came to times. Why is breakfast so hard? Well, it’s $15 cheaper than lunch or dinner, and it only runs for about two hours a day.

1. 1900 Park Fare, Breakfast

1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian Resort was not available for booking when we collected the data for our experiment. But we are not dummies. The restaurant reopens on April 10, so our 2-month check covers the period at the end of May, more than a month after reopening. We found nothing. Prior to the pandemic closure, 1900 Park Fare was a popular, but not difficult reservation to get, but now it has a whole new menu and a new character lineup too. (1900 Park Fare Reopens April 10 at Disney World) We’ll have to keep an eye on this and see what happens as the novelty wears off.

Hard to Get Disney World Lunch and Dinner Reservations

Most in-park restaurants at Disney World serve the same food for lunch and dinner, but restaurants at resorts may have differences. We’ve combined lunch and dinner here since many people think of them as offering similar cuisine, but if you’re after a particular menu item you should double-check before picking one meal period over another.

11. Le Cellier Steakhouse, Dinner

Le Cellier, in EPCOT’s Canada Pavilion, has a history of being difficult to get. But it’s not the worst if you’re willing to be flexible about your dining time. Even only a few days in advance, we found tables in 50% of our searches. But, they were mostly at 4 pm or after 9 pm, not the most popular times for dinner. Our two-month check showed a bit more flexibility, but one month out was similar to our short-notice searches. You could get a table – but finding one during your “regular” dinnertime was a much harder job. Our advice: go to Le Cellier at lunch. It’s the same menu, and we found tables just a few days out over 90% of the time, with a good selection of times.

The steaks are good at Le Cellier, but the Maple Creme Brulee is a winner too
10. Teppan Edo, Dinner

This hibachi eatery in the Japan Pavilion showed up just under half the time in our searches for a dinner reservation, with only a few later times available when we saw it. The two-month confirmation showed pretty good availability, but by a month out it’s the same story as a last-minute search. We say you should plan on hibachi for lunch; Teppan Edo’s menu is the same at both meals. We found tables at lunch about 75% of the time last minute, and they were plentiful at one and two months out.

9. San Angel Inn Restaurante, Dinner

Dinner beside a pyramid, with a volcano? That’s not a hard sell – in fact, my kids have sold me into it more than once. Similar to Teppan Edo, this Mexican restaurant in the Mexico pavilion comes up with a table or two for dinner about half the time last-minute, is available readily two months out, and by a month most of the availability is gone. Also like Teppan Edo, San Angel Inn Restaurante serves the same menu for lunch and dinner, with good last-minute availability for lunch and excellent availability 30 days out.

It’s a pyramid. Who doesn’t want to eat in front of a pyramid?
8. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Dinner

Sooooo here’s the thing. We already talked about Homecomin’s brunch, and searching just a couple of days out yields a hit about 35% of the time at lunch and 65% at dinner (the menus are the same). But a little closer examination shows that 2 months out, every available dinner reservation is after 9:30 pm, and the same thing is true for 30 days. If your vision is a perfect Disney Springs evening with dinner at Chef Art Smith’s that is early enough for you to digest before bedtime, plan accordingly and reserve promptly. Lunch is generally easy to book a month out, but we did find a couple of days with lunch totally blocked out in each of our confirmation searches.

7. T-REX ™, Lunch and Dinner

This dine-with-the-dinosaurs meal has pretty good food too (in my family, we think it’s much better than the Rainforest Cafe). The prehistoric animatronic atmosphere fits right in at Disney World, so it might not be too surprising that we only found sparse tables in about 10% of our last-minute searches. Two months out this Disney Springs restaurant looks pretty similar to Homecomin’: it seems like there’s a lot of availability for dinner, until you look at the table times and discover they’re all 9 pm or later. But you can still grab a lunch reservation (it’s the same menu) without too much trouble. One month out dinner times are even less available, still not early, and lunch reservations are extinct.

Dino decor appeals to kids (and also inner kids)
6. Cinderella’s Royal Table, Lunch and Dinner

A meal, in a castle, with princesses. But of course it will be popular, and as previously mentioned it’s been on the “difficult reservation” list for a long time. Last minute, we never found a lunch spot at Cinderella’s Royal Table, and dinner only popped up about 20% of the time. Two months out, both lunch and dinner were generally available. But only a few spots showed for each day at lunch, and at dinner the choices were times before 5 pm or after 8. At one month, there was absolutely nothing.

Our recommendation: if you don’t find the reservation you want at Cinderella’s Royal Table, consider Akershus Royal Banquet Hall. It isn’t in a castle, and it’s in EPCOT instead of the Magic Kingdom. But it does have princesses and also you can find a selection of times available 30 days out. Or even at the last minute, most of the time.

5. Yak & Yeti, Lunch and Dinner

Yak & Yeti came back a bit more often (47% of the time) in lunch searches than at dinner time (8%). This is probably because Yak & Yeti’s lunch period is longer than its dinner service due to Animal Kingdom’s relatively early closing time. Either way, our 2-month confirmation search showed no times available at all over a 10-day period, so be on the ball if you want to snag this reservation.

4. Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, Lunch and Dinner

In our initial searches just a couple of days out, we found Sci-Fi Dine-In about 35% of the time, with just a single table each time. Our confirmation searches one and two months out? Bupkes. The take-home here is not to give up if you’d like to dine here, check a couple of times on your vacation in case someone cancels. But being prepared when your dining window opens will be a much better strategy for scoring a table at this Hollywood Studios restaurant.

Are you noticing a theme about which restaurants are hard to reserve?
3. Space 220 Restaurant, Lunch and Dinner

Blast off in the space elevator to get to your meal at Space 220, with views of space and the station activity as you eat. But make sure that you are awake bright and early to reserve at this EPCOT restaurant when your dining window opens. We found spots about 20% of the time in our last-minute searches with just a single table each time. At two months out, and also at one month out, we didn’t find a single table. The prix-fixe lunch and dinner menus are different, and differently priced – but if you’re not quick on the launch pad you might need to take what you can get. If you can get anything.

2. 1900 Park Fare, Dinner

As with breakfast, we didn’t collect any last-minute reservation data on 1900 Park Fare because it doesn’t open until April 10 and we were searching in February. But also as with breakfast, our one-month and two-month searches didn’t find any availability at all. Again, we’ll be keeping an eye on this one to see what happens over time. But for the moment make sure you are ready to reserve if you want to check out the newly reopened venue.

1. Space 220 Lounge, Lunch and Dinner

Hah, you thought getting a reservation at Space 220 was tricky? That’s 2 spots up on the list from the Lounge! Aside from Victoria and Albert’s, Space 220 Lounge was the only one of Disney World’s 96 Table Service restaurants where we didn’t find a single spot in any of our searches. At all. Not last minute, not one month out, not two months out.

Does a burger and fries taste better in space?

Why is this such a hard reservation? Well, Space 220 the restaurant is popular because of its setting, but the prix-fixe menu is not cheap. The Lounge is smaller, which on its own would make it a harder catch, but it also has an a la carte menu that lets you experience the space station with a much lower price tag. ‘Nuff said?

What Disney dining reservations do you find difficult to get? Are you surprised to see what’s at the top of this list? Let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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