That Way Not Everyone Knew About How To Bypass Disney’s Advance Dining Reservations? It’s (Mostly) Gone.

If the Walt Disney Company is anything, it’s protective of its many brands, to the point where, for some aspects of the company, they’re downright self-isolated (and don’t get me wrong – it’s with good reason). Case in point, for years, the only way you could make a reservation at Walt Disney World (WDW) restaurants was through their reservation system. At first that meant calling them, but eventually the convenience of online reservations also came into play. Either way, it was still directly through Disney.

However, in early 2018, we wrote a post about how, in a surprise move on Disney’s part, you could suddenly use a common worldwide restaurant reservation system to make meal reservations at select restaurants at WDW. What’s more, they weren’t only at the ones owned by third party companies like Levy Brothers (owners of Paddlefish) or House of Blues (self-owned), but even some Disney-owned restaurants, such as Grand Floridian Cafe, Sanaa and Olivia’s Cafe. But apparently, that’s not quite the case anymore…

We told you about Open Table some months ago – it’s a restaurant reservation system wherein you can earn points towards money off meals in the form of gift certificates. We’ve been using it for over a decade and have amassed enough points where not only have we gotten money off our meals, but we’ve gotten some meals absolutely FREE. Anyway, in early 2018, we made the discovery that several restaurants on WDW property (several each of WDW-owned, third party and restaurants on Hotel Plaza Blvd.) were now (then) accepting Open Table for reservations. This was a major coup since it made it possible to get a reservation if Disney’s Advance Dining Reservation system said the restaurant was full for that particular date and time. Granted, it wasn’t for ALL WDW restaurants (looking for California Grill or Be Our Guest? Yeah, they weren’t on Open Table), but it was still a nice handful of them:

  • II Mulino New York Trattoria (WDW Swan)
  • Artist Point (Wilderness Lodge)*
  • Big River Grille (Boardwalk)
  • The Boathouse (Disney Springs)
  • Boatwright’s (Port Orleans)*
  • Bongos Cuban Cafe (Disney Springs)
  • The Edison (Disney Springs)
  • Enzo’s Hideaway (Disney Springs)
  • Flying Fish (Boardwalk)
  • Frontera Cocina (Disney Springs)
  • Garden Grove (WDW Swan)
  • Grand Floridian Cafe (Grand Floridian)*
  • House of Blues (Disney Springs)
  • Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  • Kona Cafe (Polynesian)*
  • Maya Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs (Coronado Springs)
  • Maria & Enzo’s (Disney Springs)
  • Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs)
  • Olivia’s Cafe (Old Key West)*
  • Paddlefish (Disney Springs)
  • Paradiso 37 (Disney Springs)
  • Planet Hollywood (Disney Springs)
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub (Disney Springs)
  • Sanaa (Animal Kingdom Lodge)*
  • Shula’s (WDW Dolphin)
  • STK (Disney Springs)
  • Todd English’s bluezoo (WDW Dolphin)
  • The Wave (Contemporary)*
  • Wine Bar George (Disney Springs)

About six months later, we revised the article to report that the restaurants with the asterisks next to them (which were all Disney-owned restaurants) were no longer taking reservations via Open Table. They were still LISTED, but Open Table made it clear that they were not taking reservations at this time. So obviously, something was up.

 

So by last fall, the only Disney-owned restaurants where you could still make a reservation via Open Table were Flying Fish and Jiko.

And now? Although Flying Fish and Jiko are still available via Open Table (WHEW!), most of the other Disney-owned restaurants aren’t even listed anymore. And on top of that, even some of the third-party and Hotel Plaza Blvd. restaurants are no longer available.

Now, we can’t blame Artist Point, since they were closed not long ago to be reimagined as a Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs character meal. But of all the restaurants listed above, the only ones still available to make reservations on Open Table are:

  • II Mulino New York Trattoria (WDW Swan)
  • The Boathouse (Disney Springs)
  • Bongos Cuban Cafe (Disney Springs)
  • The Edison (Disney Springs)
  • Flying Fish (Boardwalk)*
  • Frontera Cocina (Disney Springs)
  • Garden Grove (WDW Swan)
  • House of Blues (Disney Springs)
  • Jiko (Animal Kingdom Lodge)*
  • Maya Grill at Disney’s Coronado Springs (Coronado Springs)
  • Maria & Enzo’s (Disney Springs)
  • Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs)
  • Paddlefish (Disney Springs)
  • Planet Hollywood (Disney Springs)
  • Raglan Road Irish Pub (Disney Springs)
  • Shula’s (WDW Dolphin)
  • STK (Disney Springs)
  • Todd English’s bluezoo (WDW Dolphin)
  • Wine Bar George (Disney Springs)
  • Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Disney Springs) (New addition to the list)

Again and still, these were never any of the most popular restaurants on Disney property. But making reservations via Open Table meant you didn’t have a cancellation or no-show fee, and, of course, you earned points for your dining. So the loss of about 30% of the restaurants previously available, which included 5 out of 7 that were Disney-owned dining establishments, is still a pretty heavy loss.

Ah well…it was fun while it lasted. And I’m glad there are still 20 or so places at WDW that still take Open Table.

Well, for now, anyway.

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

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