My Disney vacation is fast approaching. Well, not really I guess. It’s 180 days away now, but for you Disney fanatics out there, you know that means I can now make reservations for dining at the parks. Why am I worrying about dining reservations a half year before the actual trip? Simple: Thanksgiving.
If I’m going to be giving up a homemade Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t want to end up having to stand in line at Pecos Bill’s so I can get some shoddily grilled burger and fries. Know what I mean? So instead, I researched the heck out of restaurants I can use on the dining plan to try and come to some sort of a best case scenario.
This is made trickier by the fact that other people are doing the same thing, and there are only so many reservations to go around. Also, did I mention I’m going with my sister, so we’ve got a party of 13? Because that makes a difference too.
This all means that Sunday morning I got up before 6am to get the first crack at the reservations. I had my research all done. I knew where I wanted to eat each day, and at precisely 6am, I started booking.
Or tried to, at least. Disney’s reservation system crashed. So after 40 minutes of try try againing, i went back to research mode. Phone lines opened at 7am, and I could already see that some of the places I wanted to book were sold out, so I did my best to come up with alternatives. At 7am, I got on the phone.
And was promptly placed on hold, of course.
Speaking from experience, the worst possible time to be stuck listening to a Disney-fied version of The Trolley Song (From Meet Me in St. Louis) is at 7am on a Sunday morning when you’d rather be sleeping but are instead on hold with Disney because their computer system is bugged. Also speaking from experience, music you listen to at 7am while on hold is music that stays with you. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. (“Clang clang went the trolley . . .”)
To make a long story short (too late!), I have my reservations. Where will we be eating Thanksgiving dinner?
With Eeyore and ftiends.
That’s right. Crystal Palace baby. And by ancient custom, anyone I eat Thankgiving dinner with becomes related to me, so after this Thanksgiving, I’m going to be Eeyore’s brother. Or something. I’m excited.
Where else will be be snarfing down food? San Angel Inn, Marrakesh, Be Our Guest, Sci-Fi Drive In, Tusker House, Akershus, and Ohana’s. There’s no way I’d go to that many places normally (in addition to all the counter service food we’ll be eating), but free dining makes everything different. Akershus is $60 per adult? Who cares? It’s free to me, and my girls get to eat with Disney Princesses. Sign me up!
In hindsight, and if anyone else is looking to plan a Disney trip in the future, allow me to offer a super secret ninja level bit of advice when it comes to dining reservations:
They open them up to you 180 days before the first day of your on-site stay, and that then opens up 10 days of reservations including that day. So in other words, the absolute earliest you can make a reservation for is 189 days before your first night. But the reservations aren’t tied to your hotel booking, and if you cancel your hotel, your dining plans stay there. So if I wanted to eat at Liberty Tree Tavern for Thanksgiving (that had been my first choice, and it was completely sold out), I should have made a hotel reservation starting 9 days before Thanksgiving. Then I would have had first dibs on Thanksgiving day.
Ah well. I’m still happy with everything we ended up getting. Dole Whips! Turkey legs! It’s all waiting for me . . .