Advance Dining Reservation Modification & Cancellation Policies at Disney World

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Walt Disney World has officially announced that guests can now cancel Advance Dining Reservations up to 2 hours in advance without any cancellation fee, which is a huge change with fairly far-reaching impacts. Here we’ll share the old & new policies and offer commentary about the good, bad, and ugly of this on ADR availability. (Updated May 5, 2023.)

According to Walt Disney World, the new policy applies to almost all restaurants in Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the resort hotels. There are exceptions to this both in terms of cancellations, which mostly apply to dessert parties, dining packages, and select premium experiences.

Before this change, guests had to cancel a reservation the day before to avoid a $10 per person cancellation fee. (It was not a full 24 hours in advance, just by 11:59 pm EST the day before the ADR.) Walt Disney World advises checking with your dining reservation confirmation email for details about any specific restaurant policies, but those likely aren’t going to reflect this change for previously-made ADRs.

Here’s the official 2023 Advance Dining Reservation cancellation & modification policy per

You can cancel or modify your dining reservation online. Restaurants offering advance reservations do not allow modifications within 2 hours of the reservation time, and most charge a $10 per-person fee to cancel within 2 hours of the reservation time, or if you don’t show up for your reservation. Each restaurant’s policies are provided when you make your reservation. If you’ve already booked, the policies can be found in your confirmation email.

Policies are subject to change without notice. For additional assistance, please call (407) 824-1391. Guests younger than age 18 must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Modifications – The experiences below have different modifications or cancellation policies. Once the reservation is confirmed, modifications are not allowed for:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review
  • Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Pre-Party
  • Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Post-Party
  • Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Seats & Sweets
  • Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise
  • Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package
  • Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package
  • Celebration at the Top – Sip, Savor, Sparkle
  • Top of the World Lounge – multiple products

Cancellations – Some restaurants require earlier cancellation to avoid a fee and/or have higher fees:

Restaurant: Cancellation Fee: How to Avoid Fee:
Cinderella’s Royal Table Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 2 hours prior to reservation time
Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 1 day prior to reservation time
Sangria University Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 1 day prior to reservation time
La Cava Experience $50 (per person) Cancel at least 1 day prior to reservation time
Monsieur Paul $100 (per person) Cancel at least 3 days prior to reservation time
Victoria & Albert’s $100 (per person) Cancel at least 5 days prior to reservation time
Takumi-Tei $100 (per person) Cancel at least 2 days prior to reservation time
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Pre-Party Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 7 days prior to reservation time
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Post-Party Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 7 days prior to reservation time
Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Parties: Seats & Sweets Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 7 days prior to reservation time
Ferrytale Fireworks: A Sparkling Dessert Cruise Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 1 day prior to reservation time
Rose & Crown Fireworks Dining Package Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 2 days prior to reservation time
Spice Road Table Fireworks Dining Package Full cost of experience (per person) Cancel at least 2 days prior to reservation time

May 5, 2023 Update: The above official policy from Walt Disney World has added a number of restaurants that require earlier cancellations or do not allow modifications. Additionally, this line was added: “Restaurants offering advance reservations do not allow modifications within 2 hours of the reservation time.” (H/t Scott Gustin.)

It’s unclear to us just how significant of a change removing the option for modifications inside two hours will be in practice. The modify button has already disappeared for ADRs within 2 hours on a case-by-case basis, requiring calls for modifications to be made even prior to publication of this policy. This is likely an across-the-board continuation of that.

It’s also likely that the penalties will be waived for modifications and cancellations as guest courtesies on a case-by-case basis. Previously, you could walk up to a host stand or call to cancel penalty-free even inside 2 hours. If this unpublished/unofficial policy continues, it would be at the discretion of Cast Members, but it was before, too.

In any case, if you get sick, tired, or someone in your party has a meltdown that makes a sit-down meal a nonstarter…you’re probably not going to be charged, so long as you’re proactive about addressing the no-show and explaining why you can’t make it.

We’ve done this many times over the years and not once had a problem. Of course, we’re always polite, so that probably helps. We also don’t have a history of ADR hoarding, so perhaps that plays a role. If you’re rude or get yourself “flagged” in the system as abusing ADR policies, you lucky may be different.

Outside of 2 hours and the exceptions identified above, you can change or cancel your ADR by clicking on it in the My Disney Experience app. From there, you should see a modify button. That will give you the option to cancel the reservation so long as it’s eligible. (Again, subject to the above policies.)

If the Advance Dining Reservation isn’t eligible for modification or cancellation, you will instead be given a phone number to call. This is more or less how things worked before, although the appearance of the message with the dreaded (for me) phone number to change/modify was pretty inconsistent.

Walt Disney World introduced the cancellation fee for table service restaurants way back in 2011 with enforcement of the $10 per person penalty. It wasn’t too long ago (a little over a decade!) that the only way to make or cancel ADRs was by telephoning Walt Disney World and speaking with a Call Center Cast Member. Suffice to say, a lot has changed since 2011.

One thing that has not changed is ADR hoarding. Well, the way it now happens has changed, but the idea remains the same. That’s why the cancellation fee was instituted in the first place, with the goal of cracking down on people booking multiple restaurants for simultaneous meal times, reducing ADR availability for everyone else. While that problem persists to this day, it’s not the big issue you might think it is–but more on that in the commentary.

Advance Dining Reservations have been a hot topic here the last couple of months. Just a couple weeks ago, we published our Top 10 Tips for Difficult ADRs at Walt Disney World. As the title suggests, that detailed the difficulty of scoring reservations for highly-coveted restaurants…and even some less popular ones.

For Walt Disney World first-timers, it might come as a surprise that making Advance Dining Reservations (ADRs) is such a challenge. After all, there are literally hundreds of table service restaurants that are bookable two months ahead of time at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Disney Springs, and the two dozen-plus resorts at Walt Disney World. Yet, it is.

We’ve been documenting the challenges with making Advance Dining Reservations for years, as this has always been a controversial issue among Walt Disney World fans. Most recently, What’s Up With ADR Availability? explained the current dynamic, which has morphed over time and become a matter of staffing shortages and reduced capacity as a result (among other things).

However, this is hardly new. There have been controversies around booking, hoarding, and trading ADRs as long as I can remember. Over the years, Walt Disney World has made a number of changes to discourage the practice, yet it still persists to this day.

As with all facets of visiting Walt Disney World, knowledge has been a big barrier to entry. Many visitors are unaware that it’s even possible to make ADRs a couple of months prior to their trips, or the ins and outs of booking reservations. These first-timers or casual guests are at a distinct disadvantage as compared to power users who book far in advance and find loopholes for securing multiple simultaneous reservations.

For its part, Walt Disney World has done a lot to even the playing field and make it easier for casual guests to dine at table service restaurants. When the parks reopened, Disney shortened the ADR window from 180 days to the current 60 days. While some fans bemoan this, we see it as a positive change for most visitors. It’s difficult to make firm plans at Walt Disney World that far ahead of time given all of the moving parts of the vacation destination. (Not to mention that few people know where they want to eat 60 days beforehand!)

On top of that, Disney introduced the Walk-Up Waitlist feature in the My Disney Experience app. While Walt Disney World’s technology initiatives have been hit or miss for the guest experience, this is one of the biggest improvements of the last several years.

Walk-Up Waitlist reduces stress rather than adding to it while also increasing spontaneity–two huge wins, especially in light of everything else. We regularly see options like Be Our Guest Restaurant, Le Cellier, Garden Grill, Topolino’s Terrace, ‘Ohana, and other hard-to-book Advance Dining Reservations via Walk-Up Waitlist.

In terms of commentary about Walt Disney World reducing the cancellation window to 2-hours, we see this as a change that will have good, bad, and “ugly” consequences. Let’s start with the good: you can wait until the last-minute to release ADRs that you won’t want or need to use. This allows you to be more dynamic with your day, and change plans on the fly.

There are several reasons you might no longer want or need an Advance Dining Reservation, from simply changing your mind to not being hungry to wanting to dine elsewhere to having an “important” Genie+ Lightning Lane reservation that conflicts with your Advance Dining Reservation. (Why there is not an actual fix that allows for shifting Genie+ ride reservation times to accommodate ADRs is beyond me, but at least this is a step in the right direction.)

The bad of this is that many of our hacks for scoring hard-to-book Advance Dining Reservations are now obsolete. My go-to approaches of searching for ADRs between 10 and 11 pm the night before will, presumably, no longer work (or at least not be as effective). I assume searching the morning-of will still be an effective approach, as that seems to be driven more by restaurants adding inventory, rather than cancellations.

Another negative of this is that booking Advance Dining Reservations at the 60 day (plus) mark is almost certainly going to get more competitive as a result of this change. Which brings us to the ugly…

This change will undoubtedly be exploited by ADR hoarders. It will give them more time to hold onto multiple Advance Dining Reservations until the absolute last minute.

It will also give casual (non-hoarding) guests more reason to take up this practice. While there has been a growing problem with making and trading ADRs on social media, it’s now likely more people will do this for personal use.

Think about it. If you can cancel only 2 hours in advance rather than the night before and plan on purchasing Genie+ or Individual Lightning Lanes, it actually offers strategic advantage to make multiple ADRs for the same meal (albeit at different times) given that there’s no other alternative for conflicting ADRs and Lightning Lanes.

This way, people can make their Genie+ selections, and then drop whichever ADR overlaps with their ride reservations. Thankfully, this is a problem that is fixable on Disney’s end. Honestly, it’s a problem that should’ve been addressed before Genie even launched, so the blame here for this soon-to-be-common practice lies squarely with the company, not your fellow guests. (The ball is in your court, Disney IT!)

Personally, I think the “ugly” of this change is going to be over-exaggerated by Walt Disney World fans, just as I think the impact of ADR hoarding is currently overestimated by fans. We’ve previously discussed how ride capacity is what it is, and Walt Disney World’s queueing systems (e.g. Genie+, FastPass, FastPass+, virtual queues, standby, etc.) only rearrange the deck chairs. They do not add or subtract capacity, just change the winners and losers.

It’s the exact same idea here with restaurant capacity and table allocation. In the end, what matters when assessing this objectively is whether tables will go unfilled as a result of this change. They will not.

What will happen as a result of this policy change is more Walk-Up Waitlist availability will be added to the My Disney Experience app. (Now, there may be some growing pains in the first week or two while Cast Members adjust to the new cancellation policy, but that’ll be the result in the medium and long-term.)

Readers of blogs like this one that emphasize planning may dislike that result. They are disproportionately one of the “losers” of an approach that offers more last-minute availability, just as they were a loser of Genie+ as compared to FastPass+ (well, pretty much everyone is a loser because that costs money–but I mean with advance v. same-day ride reservations).

However, other guests will benefit from their losses. The winners in this case include first-timers who don’t know about ADRs, locals who don’t plan where they want to eat months in advance, and spontaneous visitors. I am always in favor of changes that advantage first-timers, although I must admit that I see this as a personal positive as someone who hates making ADRs. So I am biased here.

Ultimately, there will be a lot of online arguing about why Walt Disney World reducing the penalty-free cancellation window is objectively good or bad, but the reality is that it’s all subjective. So long as tables are not going unfilled as a result of this policy change (and, again, they won’t!), it’s a zero-sum game. If you’ve complained about Disney requiring too much pre-planning or being too stressful, this is them listening to you. If you’ve asked for even more planning and less flexibility, it’s definitely not.

Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!


What do you think about Walt Disney World dropping the fee for same-day ADR cancellations so long as they’re done at least 2 hours in advance? Is this a good, bad, or ugly change from your perspective? If you’ve visited or booked ADRs for Walt Disney World in the last few months, what has been your experience? Have you had success at the last-minute (0-3 days in advance)? Had challenges at the 60 day mark? Notice any differences in the dynamic as compared to pre-closure? Agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback–even when you disagree with us–is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!


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