The advantage of pre-park opening dining reservations

Have you ever wondered how that family on the internet has such gorgeous, almost crowd free, photos in front of Cinderella Castle?  And there they are again, with the Tree of Life towering above, not a single person cluttering their shot in the background.  What is their secret?  It’s the pre-park opening dining reservation.

I love dining at Walt Disney World Resort.  With more than 300 restaurants, ranging from counter service to five-diamond dining, there is something to please even the pickiest palate.  While I like our trips to be organic and flexible, there is one must-do for our family each trip–a pre-park opening, character dining reservation.

But, that means I have to wake my family up super early, get the munchkins dressed and arrive at the parks early!  Yes, yes you do.  But trust me, it is worth it!

We like to schedule our reservations for an 8:15-8:20 arrival window.  This allows us about 20 minutes to take in the beauty and details of the park, take fabulous photos and arrive ready for yummy food.  Some folks opt for the earliest arrival window, so that they are positioned to be in the parks at opening, to ride the more popular rides; this a great strategy during the busy months.  But, I would advise not rushing through the meal; the food is too good!

How do you schedule pre-park opening reservations? The dining reservation window opens up 180 days prior to arrival.  If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can make reservations at the 180 day mark, plus 10 additional days.  You can call (407) 939-5277 or book online through your My Disney Experience account.

Which restaurants host these early morning dining options? As of this writing, the following are available:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Tusker House Restaurant

Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Hollywood and Vine

Epcot:
Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Magic Kingdom Park:
Cinderella’s Royal Table
The Crystal Palace

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