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  • On Jan 9, 2012
    Laura from GA Asked

    My daughter and I have quick dining plan but would like to have a sit down meal a few times. Do we need to make reservations or can we chance it? We do not have any certain restaurants in mind it will be whatever sounds good at the time. Thanks!

    Hi Laura,

    The answer to your question depends on a few things: when are you visiting Walt Disney World, what time you want to eat, how long you're willing to wait, and where you want to eat.

    For much of the year, it is possible to walk up and be seated at many Walt Disney World table service restaurants. However, if you're visiting the parks during a major holiday week (Easter, July 4, Thanksgiving, Christmas), the crowds will likely be such that you will have no opportunity to have table service dining without a reservation.

    At other times of the year, to increase your chances of being seated as a walk-up, try approaching the restaurant at off hours. This means before noon or after 2:00 for lunch, or before 6:00 or after 8:00 for dinner. This past weekend I visited Walt Disney World with my husband. We wanted to dine at Via Napoli in the Italy pavilion at Epcot. We called Disney Dining and were told that there were no reservations available. We decided to take a chance and walked over to the restaurant at about 5:00 p.m. We were seated right away. This won't always work, but you have a better shot if you're not trying at peak hours. Sometimes restaurants may have walk-ups available if you're willing to wait 1 to 2 hours for a seat.

    There are some restaurants that are so incredibly popular that walk availability is extremely rare. These include Le Cellier at Epcot, almost all of the character meals, and several of the signature (gourmet) dining experiences. If you have your heart set on eating there, make a reservation.

    Overall, other than holiday weeks, you will be able to find some table-service dining without a reservation, particularly in the resorts rather than in the parks. However, if you have a restaurant on you absolutely-must-do list, then you should make a reservation to secure your seat ahead of time.

    Good luck with your planning.

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Meet the Panelist: Erin, New York

I have three teenage daughters. We're DVC members obsessed with Disney travel. We've been to Walt Disney World countless times and have visited Disneyland & Disneyland Paris. We've taken several Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise trips. Learn More About Erin

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