Signature and Character Dining Locations Require Credit Card Guarantee Beginning October 26, 2011

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A new policy effective October 26, 2011, will require a credit card guarantee for new reservations at Signature Dining and most Character Dining locations in the Walt Disney World Resort. Cancellations to reservations made less than one day in advance will incur a $10 charge per person listed on the reservation.

A new phone number specifically to cancel dining reservations, 407-WDW-CNCL, has been added for guest convenience.

The following locations will require the new credit card guarantee:

  • 1900 Park Fare
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Artist Point
  • California Grill
  • Cape May Café
  • Chef Mickey’s
  • Cítricos
  • The Crystal Palace
  • Flying Fish Café
  • The Garden Grill
  • The Hollywood Brown Derby
  • Hollywood & Vine
  • Jiko – The Cooking Place
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse
  • Narcoossee’s
  • ‘Ohana
  • Tusker House Restaurant
  • Victoria & Albert’s – $25 per person
  • Yachtsman Steakhouse
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Posted on October 11, 2011

27 Responses to “Signature and Character Dining Locations Require Credit Card Guarantee Beginning October 26, 2011”

  • Are they changing the status of some of these restaurants? I’ve never seen Crystal Palace, Chef Mickey’s, Garden Grill, or some of the others listed considered as Signature Dining before.

    • Disregard, sorry, just saw that this fee included character dining.

      • To be fair, Disney could start describing character meals as “signature dining” at its will. There’s no information about that. Your question is totally legit. All we have for now is a list of restaurants. And some of the Signature Locations have allegedly charged cancellation fees for years. How this pans out should be interesting. (Like will ‘Ohana and Cape May dinners be subject to the cancellation fee? There are no characters.)

        Regardless, it looks like Disney is trying to crack down on bogus reservations that result in lower revenue: all these places are popular, expensive, or both. Since dining at Disney World has become so competitive, this isn’t a shocker. Anecdotal reports suggest there have been a lot of no shows in the past year or two.

  • I’ve actually been wondering when they’d start this. Many “in demand” places already do this and it was just a matter of time until Disney did too. I’m glad they are!

  • I am assuming it may be easier to get reservations to some of these places now. We always have to travel during busier times and have been trying to get reservations for Le Cellier for years. Maybe 2012 will be our lucky year!

  • I think some of the Dining Reservations at Crystal Palace and other in park places were being booked early so people could by pass rope drop and/or double booked so people could keep options open if they didn’t get a 1st choice.

    • When I worked in reservations there were constantly people who would triple book 3 meals a day (aka: 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners reserved) for the duration of their trip. Some even did it over a two week period and would cut it down once they finalized their time off work (and also trim their resort reservation).

      This was considered an unfair booking practice and not allowed, but many CM’s just wanted the points they got for each booking to up their monthly commission so they wouldn’t say no. My division wasn’t paid on commission so we constantly were saying no and “undoing” the mess the others created.

      Also you’re up against Concierge at some of the Deluxe resorts. They book bogus reservations under a single name for an time month so they can dole it out to their chosen guests. They’re not supposed to, and they get in trouble every time they get caught, but they still did it constantly anyways. Grand Floridian was notorious for doing this with the Garden View Tea and Polynesian would do it at Ohana.

  • Bravo! I’m glad they finally did this. Now more people will have a chance to actually experience these places. I’m guessing that people might actually be able to WALK UP on a whim! What a concept!

  • Can you help us out and post on your blog a list of in-park table service restaurants that are NOT on this list which are still under the old policy? It looks like we’ll be making most of our ADRs at those restaurants in the future so that we won’t face a potential penalty for forgetting to cancel. Thanks!

    • If my tabulation is correct(?), these table service locations in parks will have NO credit card requirement nor penalty for no-shows:

      MK
      Liberty Tree Tavern
      The Plaza Restaurant
      Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

      Epcot
      Biergarten
      Bistro de Paris
      Coral Reef Restaurant
      La Hacienda de San Angel
      Les Chefs de France
      Nine Dragons Restaurant
      Restaurant Marrakesh
      Rose and Crown Dining Room
      San Angel Inn
      Teppan Edo
      Tokyo Dining
      Tutto Italia Ristorante
      Via Napoli

      HS
      50′s Prime Time Cafe
      Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
      Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
      Tune-in Lounge

      AK
      Dawa Bar
      Rainforest Cafe – Animal Kingdom
      Yak & Yeti Restaurant

  • I think you should be penalized for forgetting to cancel. You are taking up space that could be utilized by someone who would actually show up for their reservation. We are all adults who should be responsible enough to show up for a commitment. I like this policy.

  • We often complain about policies that are not being controlled properly, so I’m happy that they’re finding ways make last-minute ADRs and walk-ups more likely.
    Between this and the dining website not allowing double-bookings, I’d love to see some data on how much easier it is to book more popular restaurants, especially during free dining.

  • Is this for reservations MADE after 10/26, or all reservations OCCURRING after 10/26?

  • Well I’m not a prolific over-booker but I have booked 16 and used 14 over a 2 week stay and this policy will stop that (bad) behaviour in me. I welcome it because I think it’s fairer but it will make planning more challenging since we can’t always predict park crowds 6 months ahead.

  • Overall I think this will increase ADR availability so it will be good for guests in the long run. However, there will still be ways around the policy (pre-paid cards with small balances, cancelling a card after using it to book, etc.), so I’m not sure it will really stop those who still want to overbook.

  • Has anyone else tried to make ADR at one of these restaurants? It looks like pre-payment (not just a credit card guarantee) is required.

    For CRT:
    “This reservation requires advance payment. Please provide your credit card information below. Your card will be charged the amount shown below.”

    • To answer my own question, this is if you’re not on a dining plan. Dining plan is credit card guarantee.

    • CRT already requires prepayment, as does Hoop De Doo, Spirit of Aloha, and some others. California Grill already requires a credit card guarantee. They’re just adding a bunch of restaurants to the list of ones who already do this.

  • A critical component of this is the creation of the new cancellation-only phone number. In the past, I have occasionally tried to cancel on the phone, got caught in an endless hold, and then eventually gave up without cancelling. Hopefully the new number will solve this problem.

  • I guess I am going to be one of the lone dissenters. I think that while this sounds good in theory, there are a lot of potential problems. What happens if someone in your party gets sick and you have to cancel within 24 hours? What about the families pushing their luck taking over-tired children to dinner, because cancelling to go back to the resort would cost too much? We weren’t planning on booking that many ADRs on our next trip to begin with, but this may cut the list down even further.

    • I’m not happy about this new policy. Why? Because having spent many days in WDW with kids, I can tell you that sometimes, things happen, and you don’t have 24 hours notice. I remember very well the day we had to unexpectedly change plans because my daughter was sick and literally could not get out of bed. She was six at the time, and she missed an entire day at the parks and half of the next day. We ended up having to cancel two days of table service meals with her (including a character breakfast the next day). Had this policy been in place, we could have been out at least $100, which really stinks when it’s on top of the problems of having a sick kid in WDW as well as the thousands you’ve already spent to go there. Sorry, but that’s pretty draconian.

      I am all for controlling the double booking and for having some type of penalty, but $10 for each person on the reservation, particularly at the character meals where lots of people with kids go, is really taking some of the “niceness” out of Disney.

      My kids are getting older now, and we usually only do one character meal per trip these days, but if they were little, I would be really hesitant to book any because I would be worried that somebody would get sick, and we’d be out the $50 per meal. I’m just disappointed that Disney couldn’t come up with a better and less harsh way to deal with the booking problem.

    • When my daughter got sick the morning of our reservation they did let us out with no charge. I called as soon as I knew. I think they are just trying to weed out the chronic overbookers.

  • It would also help if the CMs didn’t scold people who call in to clean up their ADRs … it makes you afraid to call in for fear of having duplicates cancelled, even when you fully intend to cancel long before (I was scolded at 178 days out …). Sometimes you don’t know how many people are coming at exactley 180 days.

  • Personally I do not like the new policy. Pretty soon most restaurants are going to do this. When one arrives, one does not always know when they will get to the park especially if your flying. Sometimes it is just a matter of wondering which park you will be in a what time. I have booked more than one reservation at a time about 6 months in advance. One may want a different restaurant and can’t get their time if they do not do this. I have had to use a credit card for Norway reservation and don’t like it but understand if the policy doesn’t get carried away. I NEVER leave the restaurant hanging without cancelation and it never seemed to be a problem because they have no problem filling it with someone esle. Check out the standby lines. BTW I take it that most of you know how to use a computer as you are on this Blog. Make your reservations online at disneyworld.com and cancel them just as easy online. On the rare time I have two reservations at two different but close times and I need to use the phone to cancel one, I have had not problem what so ever. Bet on how fast that reservation is snapped up at the last minute. With the new smart phone and all it’s not a problem and for those of you that are too lazy to make advanced reservations at all, you take what you can get. After all you have the right to make dinning reservations any time you please but if you wish to get the time you want make it early and sometimes multiples if necessary.