When I’m on vacation at Disney World and trying to manage my dining, it’s easy and convenient on my phone. I can make a same-day reservation for lunch at the Grand Floridian Cafe while standing in line for Peter Pan, and have my rear in a seat 2 hours later. If I’m running a little late for something I booked months ago, I love being able to shift it back by 15 minutes while I’m on the go.
Never tried making a dining reservation in the My Disney Experience app? I’ll walk you through it below. You can practice everything here (except checking in for a reservation) in advance of your trip – just make sure to cancel any reservations you don’t actually want to keep.
Click on any link below to skip ahead to that section. You can also click on any image to enlarge it. Looking for a website walkthrough? Check out Erin’s post.
How to search for reservations at a specific Disney World restaurant
How to search for reservations at any Disney World restaurant
How to book the Disney dining reservation you found
How to modify a Disney dining reservation
How to cancel a Disney dining reservation
How to check in for your Disney dining reservation
Frequently Asked Questions
A Quick Note
Searching by Restaurant
To book at a specific restaurant, you need to start from that restaurant’s card somewhere in the app and tap it to open the restaurant’s page. These cards can be found on the Tip Board, on your resort hotel page – lots of places. If you’re not already at the restaurant card, then I find that using search is the fastest way to get to the page. Just click on the looking glass and type the first few letters of the name. Once you’re on the page, click on “Reserve Dining” to get started.
Next you’ll select the number of people in your party, the date, and the time you’re searching for. Dates that are available will be blue; if you’re not able to select a date then you may be searching too far in advance. Very important tip: if you search for a specific meal like Lunch or Dinner, that will match up with the meal times that are shown on the screen before you start searching. If lunch is only served until 2 p.m. but you’d be happy with a 2:30 reservation, then you’re better off putting in a specific time.
If there are no times available, or you don’t see a time you like, change the date or time of your search and the results will adjust automatically. If you’ve found a time you like, select it and click here to jump to the section that shows you how you’ll finish booking.
Searching for Any Restaurant
Start on any screen and click the big “+” sign on the bottom icon bar, then click “Check Dining Availability”. You’ll enter your party size and the date, then select the time. Dates that are available will be blue; if you’re not able to select a date then you may be searching too far in advance. As soon as you’ve selected the time, search results will fill in below. Click on any time to begin booking the reservation.
Pro tip: If you select “Lunch” or “Dinner” instead of a specific time, that matches up with the meal the restaurant is serving. So if you’re searching for “Breakfast” on a weekend, you won’t see any results from restaurants that serve Brunch on Saturday and Sunday. Be a little careful with these options – sometimes it’s better to put in a specific time.
After your search results come back, you’ll see a little filter on the bottom right – this allows you to restrict the results to a specific park or resort, or narrow down by cuisine. Or both at once! The filter icon tends to disappear as you scroll around; just click the time you searched for again to redo your search and get it back.
Booking the Reservation
After you select the time you want to book, you’ll often (but not always) be offered the option to add a Celebration cake. Here I’ve simply skipped ahead to the next screen, where you’ll fill in the contact and payment information. By default, these will be filled in from your My Disney Experience profile, but you can edit all of them. I find that the app remembers these much better than the website does, and that makes it much faster to book dining in the app. You can also add Allergy or Accessibility needs by clicking the button underneath the credit card information.
After filling out all your info, make sure to scroll to the bottom and check the Terms & Conditions box. The green “Book Now” button will not become active until after you’ve checked this box. Once it’s active, click the Book Now button. After that, your reservation is booked! You’ll get a confirmation email to the address you provided, and you can click on the “Update Party” link to fill out the rest of the diners from your Friends & Family list if you choose.
Modifying a Reservation
This is absolutely my favorite trick for if I’m running behind schedule. It’s never guaranteed that you can turn your 6:15 ressie into a 6:30, but it doesn’t hurt to try. It’s also great if you make a reservation a little earlier or later than you’d prefer and you’d like to check every now and then to see if you can move it to a better time. Find the reservation card. If it’s the current day, you might find it on your home screen and you can definitely find it under “My Genie Day”. If it’s a future date, you can find it on your Future Plans.
Click on the reservation card to open up the reservation, then press Modify. Select the new time you’d like to search for, and search results will populate below. You might find that no times are available. If there are times found, then clicking one will take you through the same booking process you did when you made the original reservation. When you’re done, you’ll get an email confirmation with the new reservation.
Although you can change the date of a reservation this way, I don’t recommend it unless it’s a same-day reservation where you might need to pay a cancellation fee. I’ve had issues with reservations where I modified the day not appearing in the restaurant records when I showed up on the new date. In these cases, I recommend simply booking a new reservation on the new date and canceling the old one.
If you need to change the party size, you should be able to decrease it while keeping the same time. To add people, you may need to contact the restaurant.
Canceling a Reservation
Start by finding the reservation card. If it’s the current day, you might find it on your home screen and you can definitely find it under “My Genie Day”. If it’s a future date, you can find it on your Future Plans. Click on the restaurant card, then select “Cancel”, and confirm in the following screen. After your reservation is canceled, you should receive a cancelation email to the address you used when you made the reservation.
Checking In For Your Reservation
Checking in on the app, instead of at the hostess stand, is a new feature that was added post-reopening – it’s called Mobile Dine Check-In. I like to check in while I’m walking in from the parking lot or the monorail station, sometimes my table will be ready just as I’m walking in the restaurant door! Find the restaurant card on your home screen or the “My Genie Day” tab. If it’s close to your reservation time, you’ll see the button to begin checking in.
You’ll start by selecting your party size. If some people on your original reservation aren’t with you, now is the time to adjust the number. Next are sections about Accessibility options, Allergies, and Celebrations – click here to see these screens. At the end, you’ll be asked how you want to be notified when your table is ready. Push notifications from MDE are automatic, but I recommend checking the box to get a text and entering your phone number as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I cancel my reservation in the app, will I be charged the cancellation fee if it’s less than 24 hours away?
As long as you cancel by midnight the night before your reservation, you won’t be charged. But on the same day, canceling in the app doesn’t save you from the $10 fee. Your best bet is to call the restaurant directly and see what can be done.
If I modify my reservation for today to a different day and then cancel it, will I be charged the cancellation fee?
In my personal experience, this did not incur a fee. But I wouldn’t recommend this except as a last-ditch resort. It won’t work unless you can actually find an open reservation to modify the time to – something that can be difficult for hard-to-get spots. And I couldn’t find an official policy on this, so your mileage may vary. Your best bet is to call the restaurant directly unless you actually want to keep the time you modify the reservation to.
I need to change the number of people in my group but it doesn’t work when I try to modify the reservation. How do I do this?
In my experience, you can’t modify the number of people in your party by modifying the reservation in the app. If you need to add people, your best bet is to call Disney Dining (407-WDW-DINE) or stop in at the restaurant if you’re already at Disney. If you need to remove people, then unless it’s a significant change you can simply adjust the number when you check in for your reservation.
I’m going to be late for my reservation, what will happen?
First of all, take a deep breath. Next, see if you’re able to modify your reservation time in the app. If not, you can try calling the restaurant directly to let them know you’ll be late. Even if that’s not a possibility, you should know that there certainly won’t be any issue if you’re within 15 minutes of your reservation time. And if you’re later than that, my experience is that Disney World restaurants are very accustomed to having guests appear late because they were stuck on the monorail/bus/Spaceship Earth/etc. Usually it’s not an issue.
I keep searching, but I can’t find a time. What can I do?
For popular spots, this is a common complaint. You can try our free Reservation Finder tool that will search for you and let you know if a reservation is found. You should also try checking the day before; spots tend to open up last minute as people cancel last-minute to avoid the fee.
What are your thoughts on managing Disney Dining in the app? Do you have a favorite tip? Let us know in the comments!