What should you do if you can’t get a reservation at Disney World? Let’s face facts: reservations are pretty much a requirement for Disney World.

You need reservations to get into the parks and to eat at the best restaurants.

But let’s also face it: sometimes you can’t plan everything. Whether you’re making a last minute spontaneous trip to WDW, or you just couldn’t snag that coveted Be Our Guest dinner ADR, you might find yourself going into the parks without a reservation.

Here are a few tips on what to do if you don’t have a reservation at Disney World. Try these out and you might end up getting your dream dinner after all.

Update July 14, 2023 – We just added a video version of this article to our YouTube channel. We’ve also added new tips for what to do if you don’t have a reservation at WDW.

No Reservations at Disney World? How to Score a Last Minute Table – Video

We just made a video version of this article for Guide2WDW’s YouTube Channel. Join me as I guide you through 5 strategies to get a last minute table at Disney World restaurants. Find out how I got to eat at a WDW restaurant without a reservation or joining the wait list, even though the app said there was no availability.

Keep Checking, Especially 24-48 Hours Before

If at first you don’t succeed, try try again! This adage isn’t just good advice in general, but it also applies to grabbing Disney World reservations.

For dining reservations, use the Disney World website or app to check back 24-48 hours before when you want to go. Disney World has a no-show fee for their dining reservations. While the deadline for cancellation used to be 24 hours, Disney World now allows same-day cancellations for ADRs — up to 2 hours ahead of time. So many people who decide not to use their reservation will start cancelling their reservations a day or two before.

This will leave a lot of reservations temporarily open, so you can snag a table even on the same day.

For Park Pass reservations, Disney is constantly refreshing the availability of certain parks on certain days. If you can’t secure a Park Pass for the park and day you want, just check back in a few days. Thrill-Data.com has a great service where they will send you alerts for when Disney World reservations become available, which can really help.

Join the Virtual Walk-Up Wait List with the Disney World App

Minnie Mouse - Topolino's Terrace - Hardest to Get Reservations at Disney World

If you haven’t been to Disney World in awhile, here’s a fairly new system. Some WDW restaurants have a Virtual Walk-Up Wait List for guests who don’t have a reservation. There are actually a ton of great restaurants that feature a Walk-Up Wait List, including Be Our Guest, Topolino’s Terrace, and Nomad Lounge (one of our favorite bars at Disney World).

Check Dining Availability - Disney World App

To join the list, open the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone, click the Plus button in the middle of the bottom menu, then click “Check Dining Availability.” Select today’s date and “Now” under “Search by Time.” You’ll see a list of restaurants with Walk-Up Wait List availability. In order to join the Walk-Up Wait List, you must be within a certain proximity of the restaurant, and the app will tell you if you need to move closer to it in order to join the wait list.

Use OpenTable for Disney Springs and Select Resort Restaurants

Boathouse Entrance at Disney Springs

Don’t see any dining reservations in the Disney World app? Check again on OpenTable. Many Disney Springs and restaurants at resorts such as Boardwalk, Swan, Dolphin, and the Four Seasons also use OpenTable for dining reservations.

OpenTable Disney Springs

We’ve had a lot of good luck grabbing last minute lunch or dinner reservations using OpenTable. As an extra bonus, OpenTable offers rewards and a more lenient cancellation policy, so you might want to use their system over the Disney World app or website when you can.

Here are a few of the Disney World restaurants that are available on OpenTable:

  • Wine Bar George
  • Boathouse
  • Morimoto Asia
  • Il Mullino
  • Shula’s
  • Amare
  • The Edison
  • STK
  • Terralina
  • Big River Grille (Boardwalk)
  • Raglan Road
  • Paradiso 37
  • Splitsville
  • House of Blues

Choose a restaurant with easy-to-get reservations that’s actually good!

50s Prime Time Cafe - Disney World Dining

While you may assume that only “mid” restaurants at Disney World have easy to get reservations, you would be wrong. There are a ton of great restaurants that fly under the radar, so it’s very easy to get last minute reservations there.

Guide2WDW loves Skipper Canteen, Chefs de France, 50s Prime Time Cafe, and Tiffins. All of these restaurants have very easy to score Advanced Dining Reservations. You can find our full list of the best easy-to-get reservations at Disney World here.

Go up to the host stand and ask for availability

San Angel Inn - Disney World Dining

As I mentioned on our YouTube channel, just going and asking a real person to help can make a huge difference. On a recent Disney World trip, our son was napping in his stroller at EPCOT. So my wife and I decided to head to the Mexico Pavilion and get some margaritas and queso. After navigating our son’s stroller into the pavilion (no easy feat!), we were met with a line at Cava Del Tequila that was crazy long.

However, we knew that San Angel Inn, the other restaurant inside the pavilion, served the same margaritas and also had queso. But the app said the Walk-Up Waitlist was full.

My wife suggested we just ask the host if they had a table. I scoffed, because the app said they were full. And the app is never wrong. Right?

The app was wrong. They did have a table, and they were able to seat us immediately.

If you can’t find a table, it doesn’t hurt to ask the Cast Member at the host stand politely if there’s any availability. You may get lucky like us!

Use Mobile Order

Disney World Tip: Use Mobile Ordering

If you’re not dead set on sitting down to eat, but you want to avoid a wait, a little planning ahead can save a lot of time. Use the MyDisneyExperience app to place a mobile order ahead of time. For the most popular restaurants, time slots go quickly, but you can select your arrival window well ahead of time, so ordering your lunch as soon as you get into the park isn’t a bad idea if you usually eat lunch at a certain time.

Disney World Mobile Order App

To make a mobile order, open the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone, click the Plus button in the middle of the bottom menu, then click “Order Food.” You’ll see a list of restaurants and the soonest available pickup window. Click “More Times” to see other pickup windows available throughout the day.

For more about dining reservations, be sure to check out other entries in our Guide 2 Disney World Dining Reservations.

We want to hear from you!

Let me know in the comments below! Do you have any tips on what to do if you don’t have a reservation at Disney World?