Walt Disney World is fixing dining reservation hassles with two new features

Oct 25, 2023 in "MyMagic+"

Posted: Wednesday October 25, 2023 3:09pm ET by WDWMAGIC Staff

Walt Disney World's dining system is about to get two major upgrades to make finding hard-to-get restaurant reservations easier.

According to sources familiar with the upgrades, new features will include availability notifications for fully booked restaurants and the ability to search a date range for reservations.

Disney is yet to announce the upgrades officially, but we understand that some of the new features are expected before the end of the year, with more to come in 2024. Disney recently rolled-out another upgrade to let guests view all available reservation time slots for each restaurant on a given date. The system previously only showed a few available slots based on a specified timeframe.

Availability Alerts

You will soon be able to set alerts for when availability opens up at restaurants that show no availability on your selected date.

Currently, guests have to manually keep checking for an opening or rely on a third-party service to do the work for them. The new notification system will send you an alert via My Disney Experience when a reservation opens up, and you will then be able to book it through the usual methods. The reservation will not be made for you automatically however, so you may be competing with other guests who have setup availability alerts for the same restaurant and date.

Date Range Search

When searching for dining reservations, you will soon be able to choose a date range. This update will allow guests to specify a start and end date for their trip, and the system will identify when the restaurant is available during that time frame. The existing system requires the guests to manually search through each individual date, looking for any available reservation slots.

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MisterPenguinOct 30, 2023

It was the same number whether you had a paid or free subscription. The point is that they'd be in trouble with Disney if it was for a fee. So, it was the same for free and for pay. The paid subscription was for other services, not for the ADR finder.

JD80Oct 30, 2023

I believe TP allowed 2 searched at once with a subscription vs. one free? I've always been subscribed so I don't remember.

GCTalesOct 30, 2023

Same here. After trying several other ADR finders, the touring plans one worked the best and was most successful for me. Their paid services have been worth the $$

MisterPenguinOct 30, 2023

TouringPlans never charged for the ADR finder. You only had to sign up on a free account. Although, I did regularly opted for the paid registration as a thanks for the service.

nickysOct 29, 2023

Not sure which part of my post that last paragraph is referencing. I know most sites other than Touring Plans charge for finding ADRs. And LLs etc. I don’t blame Disney for wanting to stop them.

PfsenseMessagingOct 29, 2023

Are you aware of who you are replying too? By the way the size of your development team is no reflection onto its talent. I’ve witnessed this many a time. Also, I think you mean used to have a service which charged people to get ADRs, that is until Disney saw the niche and decided to implement it into their own, I hear Disney isn’t a fan of others making money off of them. I guess they were tired of these types of innovations.

nickysOct 29, 2023

Are you aware of who you were replying to? He has a team of professional developers, that’s how his site has so many useful tools, which Disney are well aware of. I don’t think a site like Mousedining would exist without professional developers behind it. Likewise Standby Skipper and others. They’re unlikely to be a one-man business.

PfsenseMessagingOct 28, 2023

this is so true, personas/profiles. They build profiles based on everything you do within their domain, virtual and not.

PfsenseMessagingOct 28, 2023

I have my doubts any of those sites are established by professional developers. Disney just took advantage of the low hanging fruit that these sites made blatantly obvious. They also finally updated their IDP across the majority of their websites, which put an end to the innovators.

PurduevianOct 27, 2023

I wonder if Disney will truly alert everyone that has the alert set up? Lets say 1 breakfast at Cindy's opens up at 9:30am for 4 on Christmas day. Do they push that to everyone that has the alert set up? or do they only push it to people staying in a deluxe resort for 5+ days?

lentestaOct 26, 2023

Yes, I think one of the side-effects of Disney doing this will be more fully-booked sit-down restaurants. Outside of the problem of noobs throwing 100K searches at their ADR servers, management had to be pretty happy that third-party sites were helping fill the sit-down restaurants with guests, without Disney having to spend a dime.

brettf22Oct 26, 2023

Maybe I’m overthinking this, but won’t this make it *harder* to get reservations? I have no idea the use rate for the third party dining reservation systems (maybe @lentesta could fill us in), but I can’t imagine it’s a huge percentage of guests. The only reason they work is when ressies open up due to cancellations, the pool with automated searches is small. If you suddenly have every guest setting up searches, those openings are going to disappear instantaneously. Which, I guess, it what Disney wants, to keep restaurants as fully booked as possible.

paul16451Oct 26, 2023

I've been using mousedining for a while, every trip, and in my experience if you don't grab the restaurant reservation RIGHT AWAY the second you see it pop up, you won't get it. And even if you do try immediately, it's only a chance to get it. They last all of a second, maybe less. Having to sign into your account every time makes it even harder.

TouchdownOct 26, 2023

There’s a simple fix to this, book the reservation for 2 and then modify it down to one. Except for Dining packages (like F! Or Candlelight) I’ve never not been able to do that.