Disney World Makes a Dining Change You Won’t Like

Vacationers and travelers make plans weeks, months and even years in advance. They make reservations and bookings for excursions, adventures, hotels, and dining. Some planners go so far as to have an hour-by-hour itinerary to try and get as much out of their time as possible. Some less organized travelers will show up just ready to have a good time with whatever they find.

Tourist destinations know that many travelers will make lots of plans, and work to accommodate all the different type of travelers. Disney  (DIS) – Get Free Report is one of the most traveled to destinations in all of the world, so it works hard at helping its guests plan their vacations as much as possible.

Disney theme parks have multiple types of tickets and passes to control costs for those who want the bare minimum Disney experience, and it also sets a premium price for those who want the ultimate experience and are ready to pay for it. No matter what kind of traveler comes through the gate at a Disney park, they are expected to be wowed by their experience. While many guests who visit have expectations on what they will be able to ride and where to dine, one thing is for certain, there may be a wait and some changes may occur.

Image source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Disney Guests Expect Change

It takes lots of time to plan the ultimate Disney resort vacation, and much of that planning is done with a grain of salt, as guests know changes may be inevitable. Disney sets the expectation that some rides and or attractions may be closed for maintenance, and there is even a schedule to help prepare guests for the closures. Disney also states that other closures are subject to happen, and guests should check on their reservations and daily plans to make sure everything is set to try to avoid last minute disappointments. Many things like wait times and reservations at Disney World parks can be tracked using the My Disney Experience App.

The change that is unexpected, but is here nonetheless, is that Disney World has put a kibosh on guests’ ability to make last minute changes to dining reservations. Users of the app were previously able to make changes to their dining reservations up to about 20 minutes before their reservation time. The short time change allowed guests to finish seeing an attraction or make a quick change to their plans without losing out on their dinner reservations. Now guests can only make changes up to two hours before their dining reservations, but now they have to call the restaurants. Calling is no doubt an inconvenience for the guests, but a no call no show or a late arrival puts undue stress on the restaurant and its staff.

As with any special request or change, comes a price tag. If a guest wants to make a change within that two-hour time window before the dining reservation, the restaurant may impose a $10 per person fee to cancel or for a reservation no show. Each restaurant has its own policies, so guests should be sure to check out the change and cancelation policy before booking if they think there may be an issue making the reserved time.

And remember, reservations for Disney World restaurants require a credit card to hold the booking. 

Disney Change Aligns Policies

Disney World’s restaurant cancellation policy changed earlier this year according to Blog Mickey from a one-day cancellation policy to a two-hour cancellation policy. This policy change allowed for more flexibility for Disney guests. 

The new dining reservation modification policy is anything but more flexible. The idea that guests can no longer use the app to make changes, is completely backwards from what guests have come to expect from the technology used to create a streamlined experience at Disney parks. Being able to use a smart phone and an app to make reservations, changes, bookings, pay for attractions etc., to having to make a phone call to make a modification is just wrong.

There is a whole group in the population that would just assume have a $10 per person fee show up on their credit card than use the phone to call someone and tell them about a cancellation or request a modification. Maybe that is what Disney World is counting on, the expectation that people do not want to use their phones to call anyone. It certainly wouldn’t be that Disney’s technology can’t allow for the restaurants to manage modifications, but it likely could.

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