Disney World Restaurant Reservations
Reservations are not actually required at most Disney World restaurants, but they’re strongly suggested. Most restaurants are happy to accept walk-ups during most times of the year, but it’s not unheard of to have to wait 30-60 minutes for a table on even moderately busy days.
During the most crowded days at Disney World, walk-ups may not be accepted at all because all available tables have been promised to people with reservations. No tables are set aside solely for walk-ups (though you might be able to grab a spot in a nearby lounge and order from the restaurant menu in some cases).
Seen on New Year’s Eve at EPCOT
Dining reservations can be made up to 60 days in advance of your visit, and we offer a handy reservation calculator to help you figure out when you can make your Disney World restaurant reservations.
Dining reservations are only offered at table service restaurants. While quick-service restaurants don’t offer reservations, many of them allow you to use the MyDisneyExperience app to order and pay for your food ahead of time, then schedule a pickup time for it.
Mobile Ordering Service
Disney World Attraction/Ride Reservations
You can make reservations (of sorts) for many attractions at Disney World, meaning you don’t have to wait in a long line to experience them. But it’s not a requirement in most cases — almost every ride allows you to simply wait in a so-called Standby Queue that doesn’t require advanced planning. The only exception is whichever ride happens to be offering a virtual queue when you visit.
Here’s a look at the different kinds of ride reservations that are possible at Disney World:
My Disney Experience App showing options for Standby, Lightning Lane, and Genie Plus
Each theme park has several rides which offer a so-called “Lightning Lane” expedited entrance, and many of them are bundled together into a single package deal called Genie+. You can purchase Genie+ on the morning of your park visit; you’ll pay somewhere between $15 and $30 per person and can then make ride reservations for the remainder of the day, subject to availability. Reservations are made one at a time, and you’ll generally be able to use the system to skip the lines at two or three rides over the course of the day (maybe a few more on less-crowded days).
Individual Lightning Lane
For the most popular rides at Disney World, Lightning Lane access is a separate paid product and not included in Genie+. Typically one or two rides in each park offer reservations under this system, at a cost that’s usually between $10-$20 per ride (occasionally a bit more or a bit less).
Typically reserved for the newest ride in all of Disney World, the Virtual Queue is used to prevent people from having to wait hours and hours to ride a brand new attraction. The virtual queue replaces the traditional standby line; if you want to ride the attraction (and haven’t purchased Lightning Lane access), you’ll need to try to join a boarding group through the MyDisneyExperience app. You won’t be able to just walk up and stand in line. There is no additional cost to use the Virtual Queue.
Virtual Queues are often used for new attractions
Competition to grab a spot in the virtual queue can be fierce; on the busiest days, all available slots can be claimed within seconds of being released. The virtual queue is currently only being offered at EPCOT’s Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind and Magic Kingdom’s Tron Lightcycle Run.
Other Disney World Experiences Taking Reservations
You’ll find many other offerings at Disney World which accept reservations, but it’s rare that reservations are actually required in order to participate. In most cases, walk-ups are generally able to be accommodated — but it’s always best to have a reservation to ensure a smooth experience.
Reservations are accepted for special dining packages, recreation such as golf tee times, boat rentals and fishing excursions, fireworks cruises, spa treatments, salon appointments, and separately-ticketed stage shows such as Cirque du Soleil.
Note that some experiences, such as the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, are extremely popular. Although walk-up can theoretically be accommodated, it’s extremely unwise to rely on that possibility. Absolutely no spots are held solely for walk-ups; the venue can be completely at capacity for the day and walk-ups can be refused at any time.
Disney World Experiences that Don’t Accept Reservations
Many Disney World experiences and services neither require nor accept reservations.
There are no reservations for Disney World’s two water parks, Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. You also won’t be able to pre-reserve mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter Summerland. Disney Springs itself does not accept reservations (though you can always reserve a table at the restaurants there or a show at Cirque du Soleil). And you don’t need to pre-arrange your parking at any of the locations throughout Disney World.
Final Thoughts on Reservations at Disney World
While much of Disney World doesn’t require a reservation, you’re much more likely to get to do everything you want during your trip if you plan ahead and reserve as many experiences in advance as possible.
You won’t be able to enter a theme park at all without a reservation; everything else is at least possible to do as a walk-up, though your chances greatly diminish as the parks become more and more crowded. For the best chance at a disappointment-free vacation, plan ahead and reserve, reserve, reserve!