Wednesday Q&A: Why are some restaurants and fast passes already unavailable at the exact time our booking window opens?

hard to get dining and fast pass

Welcome to Wednesday Q&A. This week’s question is about booking hard to get dining and fast pass reservations. If you are my guest, please know that I always do my very best for you. If you are just now starting to plan your days at Disney, this may help.

Q:  Why are some restaurants and fast passes already unavailable at the exact time our booking window opens?

A:  Unfortunately, this happens pretty often. The most popular dining locations, rides and attractions book up quickly. Many times they’re sold out days before guests can even book. Hopefully, this post will help with planning around that.

It’s important to know that dining reservations like Be Our Guest, ‘Ohana, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall and Trattoria al Forno (just to name a few) often book up right away. There are also popular rides and attractions of note that present a problem when booking.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Flight of Passage, Frozen Ever After, Soarin’, and Toy Story Mania are the hardest to get fast passes. They can frustrate me for sure.

Most of the time I love my job, but when I can’t get what my guests want I get frustrated. That’s why I carry this book. Inside is my running list of all the dining reservations and fast passes I am still trying for and I carry it everywhere. Anytime I’m in the office or have any down-time I check for those on my list.

So, why is it that these sought-after experiences aren’t available, even when your booking window first opens? The reason is simple. Guests arriving the day before you or sooner, and staying past this date, have already booked the available fast passes and/or dining reservations. There is nothing that can be done about that. However, there are some things you CAN do:

Tip #1: Plan these later in your visit

Plan to dine at these restaurants and visit these attractions as far out as possible. Trying to book Trattoria al Forno or the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for your first day will very likely be unsuccessful. It is best to plan these later in the trip. You need to be flexible! Even the second day, you will likely not get the time you want.

Tip #2: Be at the park for rope drop

Do you want to take that 7:30-8:30 PM timeslot for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train when your other two fast passes are booked for 9:30-10:30 and 10:30-11:30 AM? That would mean that you wouldn’t be able to get any more fast passes for the day once your first 2 are used. You’ll be waiting around all day to use fast pass number 3. My advice is to forego the evening fast pass and book them all earlier, then plan to be at rope drop at least 45 minutes before the park opens. Once the rope drops, head right for the Mine Train and ride before your first fast pass starts.

This scenario is especially true if you are trying to book for larger parties. Many times when working with large groups I have had to, at a moment’s notice, completely change their itinerary in order to get all the dining reservations they wanted. I don’t change my guests planned days except as a last resort, but I’d rather they have everything they want and shuffle the days around than have them only get some of their wishes. It means so much to me to get them everything they want.

These extremely popular restaurants and rides are some of my biggest pains. Thinking on the move and keeping my little book are how I roll. We can try our best but there are just some things that are out of our control. And people will always want the latest and greatest everything. We’ll need to remember this when the new Slinky Roller Coaster opens next Summer!

Thanks for reading and happy planning!

I would love the opportunity to help plan your trip. You can request a free quote HERE.

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