Believe it or not, it’s now been over two years since we first began reporting on FastPass+ lunch reservations at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest restaurant. In that time, we’ve covered the seemingly never ending saga of Disney’s experiments with managing demand for the popular venue, and now they finally seem to have settled on a (hopefully?) long-term solution. On March 12, the My Disney Experience (MDE) app for iOS devices was updated to accommodate Be Our Guest lunch preordering for guests making dining reservations, and I was among the first wave of guests to take advantage of this newly streamlined process.
To begin, make sure that the MDE app on your mobile device is updated to the latest version.
The reservation and preordering can also be accomplished through the My Disney Experience website, but the interface will appear different. (Don’t attempt to use the old Be Our Guest lunch FastPass website, which was for testing purposes and is no longer active.)
Unlike during previous tests, anyone can now book a lunch reservation at Be Our Guest, regardless of whether or not you have a hotel reservation. Lunch reservations may be booked up to 180 days in advance. However, you will not be able to enter you preordered food selections until 30 day in advance.
Once you have a lunch reservation for Be Our Guest, you should be able to select “Place Or Modify an Order” within the MDE app. This will take you directly you to a lunch preordering portal on the MDE website.
Note that you cannot split a check if preordering food.
You can make or change your food selections up until about 10 minutes before your reservation. For example, I swapped the leek soup for the French onion.
The moment of truth: I arrive at the castle gates a few minutes before my reservation, and am swiftly scanned by a tablet-wielding cast member. They see that I have preordered food, and direct me to request a “rose” from the cart directly ahead.
I’m handed my rose and sent down the empty left side of the bridge. Everyone else with a reservation who didn’t preorder is standing in the line to the right.
Once at the restaurant entrance, I’m told to bypass the queue to the right that’s clogging the corridor of talking armor. Instead, I go straight to the small desk near the entrance of the main dining room, where only a couple couples are ahead of me.
My MagicBand and rose are swiftly scanned, and I whip out my iPhone to pay using ApplePay, making it a touch trifecta. I’m then free to find a table, and snag a small once in the spooky West Wing.
My total time from walking up to the gates to sitting down was just under 3 minutes. It took a little over 11 minutes more for my food to arrive, making for a total of only 14 minutes. That’s far faster than you’ll get served at a “quick service” location like Cosmic Ray’s or Pecos Bill on a busy day.
Of course, this convenience comes with a price: my meal, consisting of soup, sandwich, soda, and a small dessert, cost over $25 after tax. Everything was more than edible by theme park standards, though the soup had too much cheese and the sandwich not enough. Just remember that these prices don’t include a character meet & greet, as the Beast only appears for dinner.
If you want to eat lunch at Be Our Guest, I can’t stress how stress-free the preordering procedures are, in comparison to standing in a slow-moving line and stabbing at an unresponsive touch-screen. Even if you aren’t 100% certain what you want to eat, preorder anyway; they will verify your selections upon check-in, giving you one last chance to change your mind. I can’t say what will happen if and when preordering becomes more popular, but for now it’s one of the more magical experiences in Disney dining.
Finally, if you haven’t had your fill of Be Our Guest already, the eatery will be opening its doors for breakfast on a temporary basis beginning March 20, through June 18. Dining reservations are available now through MDE, but food preordering is not currently available. We’ll be trying it out on Monday, March 23, so follow @touringplans on Twitter and watch this blog for our first take on Be Our Guest’s breakfast service.