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Make reservations and plan extra time when dining at Disney

If you plan to dine out at Walt Disney World, be sure to make advanced reservations and budget additional waiting time at the restaurant.

Unlike most other restaurant reservations, which (in theory) mean a table is held for you at a designated time, a Disney reservation only means you have priority within a given time slot. According to Bob Sehlinger, author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2008, Disney’s Advance Reservations system at its restaurants only guarantees you a table before walk-in guests—not quite a reservation in the traditional sense.

“With Advance Reservations, your wait will almost always be less than 20 minutes during peak hours, and often less than 10 minutes,” says Sehlinger. “If you just walk in, especially during busier seasons, expect to wait 40 to 75 minutes.” During peak times, some restaurants don’t accept walk-ins at all, so advance reservations are especially important.

Reservations at Walt Disney World restaurants can be made anywhere from 30 days to one year in advance, depending on the establishment. And if you’re staying at a Disney resort, you’ll get extra booking windows as well (up to 190 days in advance, according to Sehlinger).

And be sure to bring your Advance Reservations confirmation number to the restaurant. While you may have the best-laid plans, you won’t get your priority seating without your confirmation.

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