The Five Hardest Disney World Dining Reservations To Get

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A first-time visitor to Walt Disney World probably doesn’t know how hard it is to get a reservation at one of Disney’s best restaurants.  In this blog post we’ll list the five hardest-to-get dining reservations throughout all of Walt Disney World. Data comes from TouringPlans users, who’ve made more than 293,000 dining reservation requests since January 1, 2017.

#5 Dinner at Epcot’s Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria
Photo - Angela Dahlgren
Via Napoli is the place to question the meaning of ‘single serving of pizza’. (Photo by Angela Dahlgren)

Italy’s Via Napoli is my daughter’s favorite place to eat in all of Walt Disney World because of two things: (1) the Mezzo Metro is roughly four square feet of pizza; and (2) she says the waitstaff are “beautiful and kind.”

Disney says that the keys to Via Napoli’s pizza, arguably the best in Walt Disney World, are the flour imported from Italy and the water that’s sourced to match that found in Naples, Italy. Another thing that helps is that their pizza oven can reach temperatures of 800ºF, which crisps the crust in a way that most household ovens can’t even dream of.

TouringPlans users have an 85.4% success rate for getting dinner reservations at Via Napoli. They give Via Napoli’s food a “thumbs-up” rating about 89% of the time, which is slightly better than average.

#4 Dinner at T-Rex in Disney Springs

This wouldn’t be my first choice for dinner at Disney Springs. It’s insanely loud, mainly from the roar of the dinosaurs all around you. And honestly, those dinosaurs are the draw for most families, not the food.

The Chocolate Extinction serves four, which is really two people twice.
The Chocolate Extinction serves four, which is really two people twice.

T-Rex’s menu is geared to kids, with Jurassic Chicken Tidbits (nuggets) and Lava Lasagna. The portion sizes are massive – one dinner I had here was the most food I’ve ever eaten in a single meal, so you’re defintely going to leave full. Also, the service is prompt and cheerful, which helps a lot.

T-Rex’s menu is huge, which probably means it’s not making very much food – if any – from scratch. The best thing on the menu is probably the Chocolate Extinction dessert, with chocolate fudge cake, ice cream, whipped cream, caramel sauce, and Butterfinger crumbs, served alongside dry ice for a fog effect.

TouringPlans users have an 84.3% success rate getting dinner reservations at T-Rex. Members of Landry’s Select Club get priority seating at T-Rex, so that’s an option if you can’t get reservations. TouringPlans users give a thumbs-up to T-Rex’s food around 81% of the time, which is much below average for Walt Disney World restaurants.

#3 Dinner at Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ in Disney Springs

The benefit of Art Smith’s relatively small menu – around 7 entrées mixed and matched – is that the kitchen can master all of them. Start with the Bunch of Puppies – house-made hushpuppies so light that you’ll wonder why everyone else has been doing them wrong all these years – and the Jasper Board, a charcuterie sampler with meats, cheeses, fish dip, and addictive candied pecans.

True story: I once spent two years working on a recipe for making fried chicken at home with a crispy, light crust. And it was good – I liked my version better than a lot of restaurants’ versions. Then I tried Art Smith’s and almost cried. There are a couple of things I’ve accepted as an adult: I probably won’t get drafted into the NBA, and I’m never going to make a fried chicken as good as Art Smith.

Art Smith's fried chicken
The fried chicken that brought me to tears.

The good news is that Art serves some of the best drinks in Disney Springs, so I didn’t have to feel bad for very long. When it comes to desserts, there are two choices: the Hummingbird Cake, pineapple-banana cake with cream cheese frosting, served with a scoop of ice cream; and Shine Cake, frosted vanilla poundcake soaked in alcohol syrup. My advice here is to reject false choices like having to pick one dessert or the other, and get both.

TouringPlans users have reported a 75% success rate in getting dinner reservations at Art Smith’s Homecomin’. They also rate Homecomin’ as one of the best restaurants in Walt Disney World, with a 92% thumbs-up score.

#2 Lunch at Chef Mickey’s in Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey
You will definitely get to speak with the chef.

I ate at this buffet restaurant last month, scheduling a reservation for the end of breakfast and the beginning of lunch. The food is good for a buffet – I’m not sure what they put in those Mickey-shaped waffles, but I could’ve eaten ten of them. Other highlights of the Chef Mickey’s menu are the smoked salmon, and the cheesy potato casserole, both on the breakfast buffet.

The reason you go to Chef Mickey’s is to meet characters. And you get plenty of chances, because Disney has this down like clockwork. Within the span of about 45 minutes we saw Mickey, Minnie, Pluto, Goofy, and Donald, who posed for photos and signed autographs while they weren’t whipping up pancakes in the kitchen.

Service at Chef Mickey’s is excellent – I think most of those servers have been around for many years. TouringPlans users have reported a 70% success rate in getting lunch reservations at Chef Mickey’s, while giving Chef Mickey’s an 85% thumbs-up score, slightly lower than average.

#1 Dinner at The Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom

The hardest reservation to get in Walt Disney World is dinner at The Plaza Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. To put this in perspective, your odds of getting into college at Michigan State University (65.7%) are better than your odds of getting a dinner reservation here (65.3%).

©Disney

The Plaza’s menu serves classic diner comfort food – sandwiches, burgers, and macaroni and cheese. The Plaza’s specialty, though, is their all-you-can-drink milkshakes. Challenge accepted.

TouringPlans users give The Plaza an 87% thumbs-up rating, about average for all Walt Disney World restaurants.

And that’s your list. You’re probably wondering where the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest ended up on this list. Dinner is the hardest reservation to get at Be Our Guest, with a success rate of just under 91%. If that sounds surprising, remember that Be Our Guest is huge, so it fits a lot of people. Be Our Guest is also getting more expensive, and that helps keep demand down a bit.

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Len Testa

Len Testa is the co-author of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, and has contributed to the Disneyland and Las Vegas Unofficial Guides. Most of his time is spent trying to keep up with the team. Len's email address is len@touringplans.com. You can also follow him on Twitter: @lentesta.

30 thoughts on “The Five Hardest Disney World Dining Reservations To Get

  • May 14, 2018 at 9:31 am
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    Interesting that CRT is not on the list. I easily got “Brunch” (12:05pm) at Chef Mickey’s. Of course it was about 100 days out.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 10:44 am
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    Interesting perspective. The only one I’ve ever had problems with is T-Rex. In fact, in over a dozen trips to WDW, each over a week long, I’ve NEVER eaten there. But, I’ve actually gotten Via Napoli via the app during the same week I’m there and always perceived it to be one of the easier ones. I’ve always found Coral Reef and Le Cellier to be the most challenging, even months out from a trip.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:13 pm
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      T-Rex you can call the restaurant directly and essentially choose the time you want to dine! Super easy grab even a few weeks out unless the party size is big or it’s a holiday.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm
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      We didn’t have a hard time with T-Rex at all. Walked up to the restaurant and they said it was about a 45 min wait, we walked around 45 minutes and then went back to eat. I didn’t even know it was that popular to be honest. Maybe it was the time of year? We went early January 2017.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:40 pm
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      We go at Christmas and have never had a problem…call the restaurant directly…several times we’ve even just walkwd up and were seated within 30 minutes. Last year we even went at 10 pm on a Saturday night after the parks had closed and had no problem. Love their burgers!!

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  • May 14, 2018 at 10:50 am
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    What is the data source? Is it survey results or is it your reservation finder?

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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      Data comes from the ADR finder, where we track the restaurant, meal requested, and success/failure result.

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      • May 14, 2018 at 1:34 pm
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        Ok, well that means you are analyzing reservations that someone was unable to get in the first place (i.e., they needed to use the ADR finder to get an unavailable reservation). Might that skew the data?

  • May 14, 2018 at 11:14 am
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    Via Napoli holds tables for Open Table as well. Not sure if that is widly known or not.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm
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      I tried searching Open Table and can’t find it. How do you find it in Open Table?

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  • May 14, 2018 at 12:17 pm
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    Great information I have Celiac disease and would appreciate articles for more information about the restaurants for special needs

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    • May 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm
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      Search for “allergy friendly” here on touringplans, they list every WDW menu there is.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm
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    Chef’s table at Victoria & Albert’s.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:00 pm
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      Absolutely difficult to get! There is only one table with one seating per night. We got it once. in a dozen tries. You can wait list, but I have never gotten confirmation before we left for Florida–so I end up pulling us off the wait list. (I’m not schlepping evening wear to Orlando if I don’t have to.) We tried the Queen’s Room last trip, though, and I might actually prefer it. The night we were there, they had four tables! I think that increases my odds of scoring significantly!

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  • May 14, 2018 at 1:02 pm
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    O’hana has proven to be the hardest to get for me.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm
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      ‘Ohana..not O’hana…

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      • May 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm
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        ‘O’K ‘Then. 😉

      • May 14, 2018 at 3:35 pm
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        I like your reply, Van. I believe I perfectly understood what restaurant you were referring to, no matter where the apostrophe was.

      • May 16, 2018 at 9:28 am
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        It matters. It’s Hawaiian, not Irish.

  • May 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm
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    Summer of 2016, Disney had Plaza as walk up only for several months and that just ended in March 2018. Was any of that taken into account? So because it was walk up only for dinner for that period of time of course it’s going to have a 0% success and the successes were probably within the last 2 months.

    And searching “lunch” for Chef Mickey’s won’t yield any results. You have to choose a specific time or brunch to find it but lots of easy availability as someone mentioned.

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    • May 14, 2018 at 1:21 pm
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      I wondered about that too. I had dinner at the Plaza a year ago when it was walk-up only.

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    • May 15, 2018 at 8:27 am
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      Gah. Argh. Let me check on The Plaza.

      As far as mealtimes go, I translated specific time requests to their mealtimes. So requests for 8 a.m. became “breakfast” for this summary, 11 a.m. was lunch, and so on.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 1:30 pm
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    I find this list incredibly hard to believe. The Plaza is the hardest to get? Really? And no Be Our Guest, CRT, etc.? Something has to be wrong here. I just checked the app for reservations for dinner for a party of 4 at the Plaza for next Wednesday the 23rd and managed to find two available within 10 seconds. If it were really the most difficult place to get a reservation, I wouldn’t be able to do that. Did the same thing for BOG and found nothing.

    I know this is just anecdotal evidence, but surely something is wrong because the Plaza is not that difficult to find a reservation for.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm
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    I wanted a Plaza 5 pm dinner reservation for early June. I tried at my 180+10 days. I tried at 180 days. The closest I could get was 4 pm. Every month afterward, I tried, and the available times got earlier and earlier, until they were before 3 pm. But no 5 pm reservation, even though the restaurant was open until well after that.

    Then in March, some dinner times magically appeared and I was able to get 5:15 pm. It felt like such a victory!

    However, i’m not sure if this difficulty is because the Plaza is ‘hard to get’ or because of Disney’s fickle behavior in the times they offer ADRs. I’m a little surprised to hear that it is the ‘hardest’ reservation to get.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 5:19 pm
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    I believe the Plaza only takes reservations for the first hour that they are open. After that it is walk up and wait.

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  • May 14, 2018 at 11:19 pm
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    Yeah this list uses questionable Data sets because BE Our Guest should be in this list and Cinderella’s Table is listed in Disney’s own website as being very hard to get but what do I know, I just worked in the Reservation Department for my college program at Disney

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    • May 15, 2018 at 8:28 am
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      CRT would have been 6th on the list. Be Our Guest wouldn’t be in the top 10. The success rate over time is well above 90%.

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  • May 15, 2018 at 2:25 pm
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    I am also a little surprised about The Plaza Restaurant. We had ice cream outside there and watched folks practically begging people tp eat there this March.

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  • May 15, 2018 at 3:27 pm
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    Hmm, as others have said, the Plaza only accepts reservations for a limited window. Plus, although I realise it was anecdotal and for humour, I’m surprised by the comparison to Michigan state because there are various pre existing conditions to be an applicant that most WDW guests would not meet. But maybe I’m being picky or missing the joke!

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  • May 15, 2018 at 9:35 pm
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    Victoria and Albert’s should absolutely be on the list as noted above and I find Beaches and Cream very hard to get as well.

    Reply

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