Our Best Strategy for Dining at Disney World During Christmas Week

Securing the dining reservations you want during your Disney vacation can feel a bit like an extreme sport at times.

Trattoria al Forno

One of the biggest and busiest times of the year at Disney World is the holiday season. The parks are packed, and people are trying to make dining reservations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. If you’ll be heading to Disney World for Christmas this year, we’ve got a few tips and tricks to getting the dining reservations you need.

Book As Soon As You Can

Dining reservations open 60 days prior to the day you want to dine. So, if you’re looking for a dining reservation for Christmas Eve (December 24th), then you can make a dining reservation on October 25th. If you’re looking for a dining reservation on Christmas Day (December 25th), then your reservation window will open on October 26th. 

Magic Kingdom holiday decorations

If you are staying for a longer period of time (say you’ll arrive in Disney World on December 20th and will be there until December 30th), you can make dining reservations for the entire trip 60 days from the first day of your trip. So for this imaginary trip, you could make your dining reservations for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day beginning on October 19th, which gives you a few-day head start over groups that may not be arriving so early.

Click here to see everything to consider before making Disney World dining reservations!

Manage Your Expectations

We recommend knowing what you want and trying to get a reservation at that preferred restaurant for your preferred time, but it’s also important to have managed expectations and to be flexible, too.

Christmas Tree at the Grand Floridian

If you want to have Christmas Eve dinner at California Grill at 6PM, go for it — but you should be aware that it’s possible by the time you’re able to reserve dining, that reservation may not be available anymore. However, there could be a reservation available at 8:30PM, or for a different restaurant at 6PM. That’s why you should be flexible and open to exploring other options.

California Grill

If there’s a restaurant that you just HAVE to eat at on Christmas Day, be flexible with timing. Would eating there at lunch work instead of for dinner? What about a Christmas breakfast instead? If you keep an open mind, it’s more likely you’ll reach a favorable outcome.

Click here to see what the hardest Disney World dining reservations to get will be in 2023!

Keep Checking

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: plans change. If you can’t get the dining reservation you want right when the dining reservation period opens, don’t lose hope. Some popular restaurants, like Oga’s Cantina, for example, fill up fast as soon as reservations drop, but then as people decide they don’t actually want to eat there, or they decide not to go to Disney’s Hollywood Studios that day, they change their plans and cancel the reservation.

Oga’s Cantina can be a hard reservation to get!

We see this happen a lot the day before reservations because Disney charges a $10 per person cancellation fee for no-shows and reservations canceled within 24 hours of the meal, so you could score a great reservation the day before you dine!

Click here to see the easiest ways to modify a Disney World dining reservation!

Come Prepared With Choices

If you’re trying to have a specific meal on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day (like if you are specifically looking for a reservation for Christmas Eve dinner, for example), then we recommend coming up with a list of restaurant options beforehand.

50’s Prime Time Cafe

Sit down with your group and field suggestions. Once you have a list of all of the restaurants you’d be willing to eat at for that Christmas Eve dinner, rank them. Now you have a ranking for when you try to make your dining reservations. If you can’t get your first, move on to the second, then the third, etc., until all options have been exhausted.

Click here to see what to do when your phone dies in Disney World!

Try Different Approaches

Disney World dining reservations can be made online at the Disney World website, or in the My Disney Experience app. Some guests report having more success with one or the other, so you can practice with both or just have both open and available to you when it’s time to book your reservation.

Garden Grill Restaurant

Some also suggest that, when you go to make the reservation, you put in a specific time rather than just a meal period. You can search for reservations by breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but you can also search by time. Again, this may just be personal anecdotes, but some say that it’s easier to find the reservation you’re looking for if you narrow it down by time.


When you search by time, Disney will show you open reservations about an hour and a half before and after the time you put in, as well.

Click here to see 18 Disney World secrets even locals don’t know!

Know What’s Popular

Another way you can prepare yourself is to know what’s popular. There are some, like Oga’s Cantina, that are popular year-round, but others become more popular during the holidays. Liberty Tree Tavern, for example, is a popular choice inside Magic Kingdom because of its Thanking/holiday-inspired food.

Liberty Tree Tavern

Another popular choice is California Grill. This year, you’ll be able to dine on the prix fixe 50th Anniversary menu while getting stunning views of Magic Kingdom. And, of course, there’s Minnie’s Hollywood Dine over at Hollywood & Vine where you can catch some of the characters all dressed up for the holidays.

Mickey Mouse at Minnie’s Holiday Dine

For the most part, the popular restaurants during the holidays are the usual suspects and the ones that are popular during other times of the year, as well.

Click here to see 3 terrifyingly easy ways to ruin your Disney World vacation!

If you’re heading to Disney World this holiday season, be prepared for some beautiful decorations and holiday touches, but also some busy parks and hard-to-get dining reservations! With these tips, you’re on your way to a successful holiday meal, but, as always, there’s no guarantee you’ll be able to get the reservation you want.

The 2022 holidays in Disney World mark a special occasion as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will be returning to Magic Kingdom for the first time since 2019. You can check out the full list of dates and prices for the party here. And, as in years past, the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will be returning this year, along with the widely popular Candlelight Processional! We’re always on the lookout for more Disney news, so make sure to stay tuned to DFB for all the latest.

Click here to see 6 ways you’re doing Christmas WRONG in Disney World!

Don’t Miss Out on Any Disney World Fun This Holiday Season!

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It includes over 400 pages of must-have information, including:

    • A full What’s New!! chapter for the 2022 Holiday Season
    • A full Monthly Schedule of Events for the Holiday Season
    • How to avoid the crowds on Disney World’s busiest days (and when Disney World closes their parks due to capacity!)
    • ALL of the events, activities, and holiday additions in Walt Disney World. ALL. OF. THEM.
    • And, of course, we’ll tell you where to eat! ;-D

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    As always, our e-Books are 100% guaranteed! If you don’t love it, you get your money back!

Want Even MORE?

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    • The DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Dining 2022
    • The 2022 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival Guide
    • Pre-Order for the DFB Guide to Walt Disney World Holidays 2022
    • Pre-Order 2023 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival Guide
    • All Three DFB Snack Guides

    Click HERE to order your DFB Everything Bundle!

Will you be in Disney World this holiday season? Let us know in the comments! 

The post Our Best Strategy for Dining at Disney World During Christmas Week first appeared on the disney food blog.