2014 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a special ticketed event that  puts the magic of the holidays together with the magic of Disney!  If you ask me…. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is an absolute must-do!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party features:

  • The enchanted Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle
  • Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself
  • An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza – Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season
  • Live entertainment featuring Disney Characters
  • Meet and greet opportunities throughout Magic Kingdom theme park with some of your favorite Disney Characters
  • Complimentary cookies and hot cocoa
  • A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.
  • Special access to many of the most popular Magic Kingdom attractions

The party hours are from 7 pm – midnight. But your ticket allows you to enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm. You will be issued a wristband when you enter or you can pick them up at the designated wristband distribution spot if you are already in the Magic Kingdom before 4 pm.


2014 Dates

  • November 7, 10, 13, 14, 16, 20, 21, and 30
  • December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9 , 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19


  • November  7, 10, 13, 14, 16, and 20 and December 2, 4, 7, 9 , 11, 14, 16 – $71.36 (ages 10+) and $66.03 (3-9)
  • November 21 and 30 and December 5, 12, and 18 – $75.62 (ages 10+) and $70.29 (3-9)
  • December 19 – $78.81 (ages 10+) and $73.49 (3-9)

In the past the last party before Christmas has sold out well in advance.

After December 19, 2014 through the remainder of the holiday season, the standard daytime parade in the Magic Kingdom becomes Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, and the Holiday Wishes fireworks are shown nightly.

2014 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Have you ever wanted to trick-or-treat in the Magic Kingdom? You can during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party which takes place on select nights in September and October! The party dates for 2014 are:

2014 Dates
— September 1, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28
— October 2, 3, 5, 9, 10, 13, 16, 17, 19, 21, 23, 24, 26, 28, 30, 31

The party hours are from 7 pm – midnight. But your ticket allows you to enter the Magic Kingdom as early as 4 pm. You will be issued a wristband, party map and a candy bag when you enter or you can pick them up at the designated wristband distribution spot if you are already in the Magic Kingdom before 4 pm.

Dressing up in a costume is required (okay it is not required, but it is part of the fun)! Just be sure to stick to the Not-So-Scary rule. During the party you will see the characters also dressed in their Halloween costumes and you have unique opportunities to have pictures made with little seen characters.

Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade takes place at 8:15 pm and 10:30 pm. The parade is ushered in by the Headless Horseman and features all your favorite characters and the characters you love to hate – the Villians!

The Happy HalloWishes Fireworks show begins at 9:30 pm and definitely is not to be missed!  Major tip:  If you are not going to the party, why not try to watch the Happy HalloWishes Fireworks from one of Seven Seas Lagoon Beaches or from a restaurant like the California Grill, Ohana, or Narcoosee’s. 

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party requires a special event ticket and buying them in advance will save you money.  Prices (excluding tax) for the tickets depend on the date you want to attend:

Prices (tax included):

  • September dates – $66.03 (ages 10+) and $60.71 (3-9)
  • October dates (except the 30th and 31st) – $71.36 (ages 10+) and $66.03 (3-9)
  • October 30 – $75.62 (ages 10+) and $70.29 (3-9)
  • October 31 – $82.01 (ages 10+) and $76.68 (3-9)
Here is the fine printThis is a special event which requires a separately priced event Theme Park ticket.  The number of tickets available is limited. Events can sell out. Tickets purchased within 10 days of event will be available for pick up at the Will Call Window at Guest Relations. Tickets are valid only during specific event dates and hours. Entertainment subject to change without notice. Ticket types, entitlements and prices subject to change without notice. Tickets are non-transferable and non-refundable.  For safety, costumes must not be obstructive or offensive.  

Harambe Nights Celebrates Tales and Tastes of Africa

Animal_Kingdom_TPark_ColorIn celebration of the 20th anniversary of “The Lion King,” Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park will host Harambe Nights every Saturday evening June 7-Aug. 9, 2014.

The journey begins with a Welcome Reception in the park’s Harambe Village where you will savour mouth-watering appetizers and African-inspired wine and beer. Then, it’s time for the “mane” event – an unforgettable performance of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

Bringing to life the story of Simba, this brand-new theatrical experience features a live orchestra and choir, dancers, digitally projected movie moments, as well as dramatic lighting and scenic elements – all hosted by a celebrity guest narrator.

The lineup of celebrity narrators features stars from stage and screen. Scheduled to appear are:

June 7 – Viola Davis (“The Help,” “Ender’s Game”)
June 14 – TBD
June 21 – Montego Glover (“The Following,” “Memphis”)
June 28 – David Alan Grier (“Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”)
July 5 – Michael Beach (“ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”)
July 12 – Harry Lennix (“The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”)
July 19 – Joe Morton (“Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”)
July 26 – Alfre Woodard (“Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”)
Aug. 2 – Patina Miller (“Pippin,” The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”)
Aug. 9 – Brian Stokes Mitchell (“Ragtime,” “Trapper John M.D.,” “Glee”)

After the show, the celebration continues with Harambe Nights Street Party. You
can move to the beat as they enjoy an all-inclusive buffet of sophisticated and flavorful African cuisine and gourmet desserts. Disney Characters will be on hand as they show off their wild side. Plus, exclusive Lion King merchandise will be available for purchase during the event.

The evening concludes with a special finale that could only happen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Harambe Nights takes place every Saturday from June 7-Aug. 9, 2014. The Welcome Reception begins at 7 p.m. and the “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” starts at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Tickets with premium floor seating are $134 for adults, $94 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Theme park admission is included for the special event only. All attractions, entertainment and other offerings outside of the designated event area will not be available.

Advance reservations are highly recommended. Capacity is limited. Book today by visiting Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call 407-939-1319.

We’re Going to Disney! | The Big Reveal

Golden Ears Travel | Ideas for telling the Kids about your Disney trip! You’ve done all – or most – of the work behind planning your Disney Vacation and you’re ready for the fun to begin, right? Well, the first big event to look forward to is revealing your plans to your kids.

And now, you’re stumped.

How should we do it? It’s gotta be fun, right? You can’t just tell them! This is a BIG deal! WE’RE GOING TO DISNEY!!

Don’t worry about it! Not only can I make your planning easier, I’ve got great ideas for getting this vacation of a lifetime started with as much excitement possible…

► A Simple, But FUN Approach | Grab a large box and fill it with Disney character helium-filled balloons that are tied to an announcement about your trip.  Wrap it up with a big bow. When the kids open the package, the balloons will flGolden Ears Travel | Big Reveal Ideas | We're Going to Disney!oat up and out and squeals of laughter are soon to follow!

► A Very Merry Mickey Christmas | Send the kids on a scavenger hunt that starts in their Christmas stocking.  Give each child a clue that gives them a location to find the next.  You could have them look for multiple clues that will bring them all to a hidden surprise that tells them what’s up. For an extra challenge, make up a riddle that they’ll have to solve!

► An Easter Twist | Make your own Disney Vacation puzzle by designing your own “We’re Going to Disney” sign and cutting it up into jigsaw puzzle shapes. Hide each puzzle piece in plastic eggs along with their regular Easter egg hunt loot. When they start emptying the plastic eggs, the confusion as to why there’s a random puzzle piece falling out will only make the big reveal more exciting!

Golden Ears Travel | Taking the kids to Disney | Ideas for the Surprise► Go Ahead and Give ‘Em a Souvenir | Wrap a Disney t-shirt for each child and have them open them all at once.  The shirt can be wrapped with a note about the trip OR you could just leave them all stumped as to why they got a Disney shirt and make them play a guessing game.  You could also wrap a Disney gift card, which can be purchased online or at any Disney store to be used in the Disney Parks. This one is not only a great idea for the reveal, but can save you some money when it comes time to buy souvenirs on your trip!

Do you have any ideas to add to this list? Do you need help planning your Disney Vacation? Just let me know!

-Erin Brady,
Disney Vacation Nut

Golden Ears Travel - Erin Brady, Disney Travel Specialist

Favorite Disney World Room Requests

 Room requests at Walt Disney World ResortHave you been overwhelmed by all of the choices available when planning your Disney Vacation…especially when it comes to where your family will stay?  Have you wondered if you’re choosing the best resort or what location on the property has the best rooms?  While Disney does not guarantee that specific room requests will be granted, it’s been our experience that they really do their best to make guests happy so, ask away! 


Here are a couple of unique Disney Resort room bonus features:

  • At Disney’s Pop Century Resort, request the 3rd or 4th Floor, 50’s Building, Lake View – Why? You’ll get a view of the Epcot fireworks EVERY night!  While it’s not like being AT the show – it’s nice treat if you decided to head back from the parks early! Also, make sure you keep watching, because just when you think it’s over, another round will start!Best Rooms at Disney's Pop Century Resort
  • If you’ve chosen Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, there are so many options for different views and conveniences, but you may want to particularly consider requesting one of their outside corner rooms. These rooms have a second window that really opens up the room with light, making it feel larger even though the actual size is the same as the other rooms on property.Best Rooms at Disney's Port Orleans Resort

In general, you’ll want to consider proximity to transportation, pools, food, elevators, gift shops and your aversion to noise or walking when requesting a particular room at Walt Disney World, but no matter what, you’re sure to have a great time when visiting Walt Disney World – whatever resort location you choose.

Let us know if you’ve discovered any other “best rooms” and how we can help plan your magical Disney vacation!

-Erin Brady,
Disney Vacation Nut


I Know I Want to go to Walt Disney World, But I Have So Many Questions!

So, you’ve figured out where you want to stay and for how long, but there are still TONS of decisions to make about your trip to Walt Disney World.  Like, how many days will it take to see everything at Magic Kingdom? Do I get a park ticket for the day I arrive/leave? What seating is best for character meals? Should I plan every moment of every day or “wing-it”? Is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas party worth it and what’s the deal with getting tickets to them? And on and on…

Some Commonly Asked Questions about Walt Disney World – Answered:

Questions about visiting Walt Disney WorldIs one day at Magic Kingdom enough?  |  Your best bet is to spend two days at Magic Kingdom. There is SO MUCH to do and see that it’s almost impossible to experience it all in 1 day – even with planning! I can tell you from my own family’s experience in May, that we definitely made the most of two full days at MK (with a 3 and 6 year-old) and could have spent even more time there!

Should I get a park ticket for the day I arrive or leave?  |  This is one that may require a pro/con list. Sometimes it’s recommend that you get that extra park ticket on the day you arrive and leave because it is only about $10 per person to add the extra day to your tickets once you get past 4 days.  In the evening, walking in the park on the night you arrive is extra magical with all of the lights on.  Then, on the day you leave you have the option to get that last souvenir or ride your favorite attraction one last time. On the other hand, unless you’re arriving early on the first day of your vacation or leaving late, you may find that buying a park ticket for either of those days is wasted. If you don’t think you’ll have time to visit a park one last time, but have too much time before heading to the airport, I recommend exploring some of the Walt Disney World Resorts, Downtown Disney, play a round at one of Disney’s 4 championship golf courses, or even a quick game of mini-golf (which you may get a voucher for if you stay on Disney property using a Disney Vacation Package). All things that you may not want to do once you set your sights on the parks.

The Best Character Meal ValueWhat’s the best dining value when it comes to character meals?  |  Character meals are a great way to ensure that your child gets the chance to meet his favorite character and get a meal in at the same time. It’s my opinion that you’ll get the most for your money by reserving a seat at breakfast – and the earlier the better! If you make your reservation for before the park opens (think between 7 and 8 am), it will allow you the opportunity to get the meal out of the way and still maximize your time in the parks. It’s especially cool if you’ve chosen a dining option that’s located inside a park, like Cinderella’s Royal Table. Then you’ll already be in the park before it officially opens and have a head-start to the rides!

Is it possible to visit Walt Disney World without planning every minute? I caution clients against pre-planning too many activities (or even sit-down meals), as Magic Kingdom, in particular, has more attractions than you’ll be able to cover and I’d hate to see you obligate yourself to too much more and miss out on the awesome shows and attractions. However, it’s really important that you do your research before you go. Know what attractions you’re most interested in and prioritize those that you would consider “can’t miss”. If you walk into Walt Disney World without any information, you will easily be overwhelmed and likely waste more time wandering around. The burden here isn’t sticking to a plan, it’s not having a plan at all!
MIckey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Is Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party or Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party worth it?  | 
These parties are called “hard-ticket events” and you can only attend if you have the special ticket, but definitely a can’t miss if your schedule (and wallet) can accommodate it. This ticket is a separate admission ticket to the park and if you don’t have one, you are not allowed to stay in the Magic Kingdom after the party starts, usually around 7pm. Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween themed event that starts in September and runs until November 1st, where guests are encouraged to wear costumes and trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom Park, among other special activities. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is held on select nights in November and December at Magic Kingdom and celebrates the holidays with a special parade, fireworks, complimentary cookies and hot chocolate and other exclusive fun. Tickets for both of these events tend to sell-out, so work with your travel agent to make sure you get the chance to participate!
What other questions do you have for us? We’re always here to answer and guide you on making your Disney vacation MAGICAL!
-Erin Brady,
Disney Vacation Nut


Disney is known for their ingenuity!  Now they are redefining how you will experience your theme park vacation with MyMagic+.

This year Walt Disney World is rolling out the new MyMagic+ program which will enhance your theme park vacation and give you an extra magical vacation experience!

magic band

There are three separate components of MyMagic+:  My Disney Experience, FastPass+ and MagicBands.  Let us look at what Walt Disney World guests have to look forward to:

My Disney Experience – My Disney Experience has two components – online and mobile.  Online, your vacation planner can help you can create an online account at DisneyWorld.com under My Disney Experience.  Here you can view your resort and dining reservations, make and change dining reservations and select your must-do’s like parades, shows, and more.

While at Walt Disney World you can use the mobile app on your smartphone to see park maps, wait times, as well as your personal vacation plan.  When complete you will also have the ability to update your vacation plans in real time! What’s more is that throughout your trip, you can connect and share your schedule with your friends and family too.

Not sure what to do next?  Using GPS information, the mobile app offers suggestions and tips on enjoyable things that can be done nearby.

FastPass+ – FastPass has always been one of Disney’s greatest services!  But FastPass+ will take your vacation planning to the next level!

With FastPass+ your vacation planner will help you select attractions, character meet and greets, fireworks, parades and shows to visit before you ever leave home.  You will reserve times to arrive at these attractions before you ever leave home.   You will have the opportunity to reserve three FastPass+ reservations in one theme park for each day of your ticket before you actually arrive.    But we all know how plans change, so while on vacation you will also have to ability to change your plans as needed with My Disney Experience.

Update:  After you have used your first three FastPass+ selections, you can select another one at one of the kiosks located in each of the WDW parks or from your MyDisneyExperience App on your smartphone or tablet. When you’ve used that one, they’ll be able to select another, and so on, ultimately providing even more ways to customize your Walt Disney World Vacation. You can also select and use your additional FastPass+ entitlements when you hop from park to park (if you have the park hopper ticket option).


MagicBand – The Key to the World cards are being replaced by the MagicBand.  MagicBands might look like simple bracelets but do have many more benefits. They are an all-in-one bands that will operate as a park ticket, FastPass repository, dining plan tracker, and room key.  The bands are sure to be your first vacation souvenir.  They are colorful, amusing and very simple to use.

MagicBands are waterproof and removable bracelets that each person in your party receives that ties together all of the components of your vacation!  MagicBand intends to replace traditional park tickets, paper FastPasses, and room keys that you would normally carry while in the parks.

Comfort is a high priority!  The MagicBands are made up of soft rubber and hence can be used again and again even for future visits. The bands are water proof so you don’t have to worry about wearing them in the pool or water parks and include ventilation too.  MagicBands will come in adult and child sizes.

MagicBands are going to be provided to the resort guests and can be replaced if lost or stolen.  As far as the security of your personal details is concerned, you do not have to worry. This is because your MagicBand will not have any of your personal details on it.

MagicBands will replace the old ticketing method at Walt Disney World. However, if a guest does not want to use this MagicBand, they can get a more traditional Key to the World card that uses RFID technology as well.

On the whole, MyMagic+ aspires to make your vacation more enjoyable!  But please don’t worry if all these features sound too daunting. Your vacation planner would love to help you navigate the new system.

Strategies for Visiting Walt Disney World with Small Children

Disney with Small ChildrenMy family is planning our second trip to Walt Disney World for this October and with the addition of a new bundle of joy since our last trip over a year ago, it will be a bit of different experience. Our baby’s first trip to Walt Disney World is sure to be filled with memories – admittedly more for me than him – and we want to make sure that they are all joyful and minimize the stress of a traveling to Disney with a one year old.

For a little perspective, here’s our situation: My husband and I took our two older children (and one on the way) in May of 2012 for our first family trip to Disney World. We spent 5 days in the parks and stayed at Disney’s Pop Century Resort. It was a wonderful trip where we took minimal breaks and tried to get to the parks as early as we could and stayed as long as the kids would let us. Luckily, with a 6 year old and a 3 year old and their parents who believe that vacations are not meant for rest, there were virtually no meltdowns and we all had fun. Most of what we did then worked really well for us, so we’ll be repeating those and making adjustments based on our new family dynamic. I’ve put together a list of our best advice for making the most of your trip to Disney with babies in tow!

10 tips for enjoying Walt Disney World with Small Kids:

  1.  We’ll be staying at Disney’s Pop Century Resort again. The strategy here is to go with a resort that we are familiar with and that isn’t going to break the bank to visit. We really won’t be staying there for more than sleeping and since the kids aren’t old enough to really appreciate beautiful hotels with extra amenities, Pop Century is the best choice for us. Staying somewhere we’ve been before will also minimize surprises, which we’re sure to have enough of while wrangling three kids in a theme park.
  2. Speaking of sleep – we’ll be taking breaks for naps. No, we didn’t do this last time, but the baby will need them and there’s no reason to ruin our trip with a cranky little one. Besides, naps will rejuvenate us all and maybe we can stick it out for the fireworks! We’ll probably consider letting the older kids swim instead, while baby brother (and dad) sleep. Either way, the break after lunch will be a great way to get some energy and excitement built back up for the afternoon.
  3. We’re planning for a good mixture of shows and standing in lines for rides. Ride lines can get tiresome, so we’ll be sure to take an A/C and leg break by alternating rides and attractions.Baby’s First Trip to Walt Disney World
  4. Rent a stroller to be delivered to your resort. There a ton of options for independent stroller rental places that will not only have a stroller waiting when you check-in to your resort, but will pick it up when you’re done! While Disney does have strollers for rent, they are hard plastic, don’t recline and have to be rented by the day for a hefty price.
  5. Try, but don’t stress about getting to the parks for “rope drop”. Yes, kids usually get up early anyway, but that doesn’t mean they can get out the door very quickly. We always plan to get to that day’s park when it opens, but if it doesn’t happen, we don’t stress. Going with the flow from the start will do wonders for ensuring everyone has a good time at Walt Disney World.
  6. Scope out food choices with large portions and big variety. We prefer counter service meals when on vacation at Disney because of the convenience and always try to find the restaurants that serve the largest portions with the most variety. Some of our favorites are the half rotisserie chicken at Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, the honey chicken at Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafe and the ginger Mongolian beef at Sunshine Seasons. All of them are totally share-able and will feed you and at least 1 or 2 small kids!
  7. Prep lots of pennies and gather quarters for the penny-press machines! They’re all over Walt Disney World and really help to fend off the “I-wants” that plague every family vacation.
  8. We always talk about the kinds of souvenirs we might want to buy before we leave (a t-shirt, vinylmation, Mickey ears, etc) so there are some expectations about what mom and dad might be willing to buy. We also let them buy a small souvenir early on and then tell them to keep their eyes open for what else they might want to get before we leave. Oh – And take advantage of package delivery – don’t lug stuff around if you’re staying on property. Disney will take care of taking it back to your hotel for you!
  9. Scope out characters that gather in groups. Think Epcot Character Spot, Disney Princesses at Town Square Theater, Pete’s Silly Sideshow, Animal Kingdom’s Adventurers Outpost, Pixar Placethe list goes on.  You might stand in line a little longer, but you’ll be able to see 3 or 4 at one time and will spend less time trying to find one or two characters at a time to get signatures. Also, be nice and bring a really fat marker to make it easier for those large-fisted characters to grip!Walt Disney World with Small Children
  10. Make a plan! Buy a book or talk to your travel agent (ahem!) to learn more about the “can’t miss” Disney attractions and figure out how you’re going to see them all. We like to spend time before our trips talking with the kids about what they would like to experience. It adds to the excitement when you can stand in line saying things like “this is the one we read about!” or “remember watching the video on YouTube about this one?”

Armed with all of these tips, we’re so excited about our next trip to Walt Disney World with our family of 5 and hope this has helped you put together a better plan for your next trip with little ones too! And, in full disclosure, I am a Disney Travel Specialist and have tons more info to share, so contact me if you’d like FREE help planning your Family Vacation to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or on a Disney Cruise!

-Erin Brady,
Disney Vacation Nut


Summer Park Survival

If you and your family plan on traveling to Disney World during the hot summer months, then it is essential to be prepared. A trip in the heat can be miserable if you don’t plan ahead.  Here are some tips to make your stay cool and enjoyable.

First and most importantly, remember to stay hydrated while at the park. Disney will allow you to bring drinks into the park as long as you check them through security and they are not in glass bottles. If you don’t want to deal with security and a cooler, then bring plastic reusable bottles that you can fill at the water fountains. While it may be more convenient to just buy a water bottle at the park, it is MUCH more expensive.

Another thing to consider is sunscreen. Be sure that everyone in your family wears it so that you don’t regret it later. Don’t make the mistake of thinking if you aren’t in a swimsuit then you don’t need it. You will! Walking around the parks on a hot day is a great sunburn opportunity. Also, consider bringing portable fans. They are relatively cheap at Wal Mart or Target and come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some go around your neck so you don’t have to hold them, some are small and easy to stow away, and others clip onto the stroller. Whatever you decide, don’t forget to buy extra batteries.

Getting wet is another great way to stay cool. Walt Disney World, Epcot and Downtown Disney have fountains that are perfect for kids to splash around in and there are the water-soaking rides like Kali River Rapids and Splash Mountain.  While it is fun to get soaked and cool off, being wet the rest of the day is miserable. Be sure to bring a change of clothes.  You can also consider going to the water parks. Nothing says cool like Blizzard Beach!

Staying at one of Disney’s resorts definitely has its advantages during the summer months. All of the transportation is air conditioned making it much more enjoyable than hiking through the parking lot to a car that has been sitting out in the sun all day. Another advantage is the extra magic hours. This allows you to go early and stay late giving you the perfect opportunity to take a break during the afternoon when the temperatures are at their highest and the parks are their most crowded. You can head back to the resort for some pool time or even a nap.

Be Our Guest Reservations

be our guestThe popularity of Be Our Guest is not surprising!  The theming is amazing and the Magic Kingdom has long needed another restaurant.

What is most surprising is how hard it is to even get a reservation for dinner!  Guests are rightfully asking why can’t I get a reservation even 180 days out?

Keep in mind, that Be Our Guest is only taking reservations for dinner when it is a table service location.  So there aren’t many reservations available to begin with.  Then take into account that guests checking in up to 10 days before you are already making their own dining reservations and taking up some of those precious few reservations.

So what are the best strategies for getting a Be Our Guest reservation?  My personal answer is….use a vacation planner who will make dining reservations for you.  Your vacation planner knows the best strategies and will make your reservations.

But if you are making your own dining reservations here is what you should know:

  • Reservations open 180 days before your check-in date. Be ready to make reservations at 6 am EST online through DisneyWorld.com or 7 am EST by calling 1-407-WDW-DINE.  In fact call in a minute early and be ready to hit redial!  Once your call is answered press “0” (zero) followed by a “2” (two).  That will get you to an operator quickly.  Make sure you have your resort confirmation number available to expedite the question and answer portion of the call.
  • If you are going to Walt Disney World at a busy time of year, your best option is to try to get a reservation at Be Our Guest later into your vacation.   So look for a late date first and if it is available grab it!  You can always ask for a reservation on a earlier date next.
  • If you have a party of more than 4 guests be willing to break up and make multiple reservations.  Sometimes you can get multiple reservations that are close in time.  But even if you have an hour or more between the two reservations go ahead and make the reservations.  On the day of your reservations just ask at the podium if your entire party can be seated together despite the different reservation times.  Your wish may or may not be granted so try to be flexible!
  • Before and during your vacation keep checking back for cancellations!  You can call dining at 1-407-WDW-DINE or check with your resort concierge.  Keep in mind that guests have to cancel their dining reservation the day before to avoid the dreaded penalties so you might get lucky if you check the day before you want to dine.
  • Finally, if you still don’t have a reservation on the night you want to dine, just walk up and ask if there is availability.  The best times for getting in are when the restaurant firsts opens or later in the evening (around 9 pm).

If you don’t get a reservation at all remember you can eat at Be Our Guest at lunch when it is a quick service location!