WDW -- some weird stuff with MyDisneyExperience site ?

July 6, 2019, 12:11 AM

I am typically extremely rigorous in our WDW planning, and we have traditionally had little problem getting Dining Reservations or most fastpasses since we always show up 180 days/60 days in advance of our reservation. But 2 things were super-weird lately:

1. Our upcoming trip starts New Year's Eve. July 4 is 180 days shy of that, and our account reflected that. (For reference: http://www.easysurf.cc/ndate6.htm)

So imagine my surprise when I showed up on the morning of July 4 to make a dining reservation, and many New Year's Eve restaurants were already sold out. In fact, dates were already open, and I was able to book, through January 3. So I made some reservations, but I wasn't able to get what my family wanted for New Year's Eve.

Now I show up (early morning July 6), and I can only make reservations through January 2 -- which is more what I would have expected, but completely inconsistent with what I just saw. Especially since I have, in my account, a reservation for January 3 which in theory shouldn't have even been available yet.

Have people seen weird behavior of this sort before ?

And is it like Fastpass+ in that I should keep checking back for other reservations to open up -- even on a high-demand date like December 31 ?

2. About a week earlier, my daughter and I looked at "Choose Your Magic Bands", and all that was there was 8 solid-color bands. It SAID that there were supposed to be special other choices, but none were there.

On the morning of July 4th, there were 28 or 32 choices including lots of custom bands. But my entire family wasn't around so we didn't make any selections.

Now -- early morning July 6th -- everyone is around, but there are only 23 choices. A number of the others are gone, and a few have been replaced with other new choices. Including, of course, at least one that my kids wanted to choose.

Have others seen inconsistent behavior like this ?

Or other weird stuff with the website/WDW system that I should be aware of or concerned with ?

All info appreciated and thanks!

Replies (3)

July 6, 2019, 5:16 PM

So we spoke with Disney Customer Service today and it was kinda explained, but still odd. And I still think the site has some issues.

On the dining front: Our stay is split at 2 different resorts, so we weren't 180-days out from our 2nd stay yet. So we theoretically could book until January 3 only. On the other hand, when we checked yesterday we were only able to book through the 2nd, even though we had already booked on the 3rd, which still feels like a system bug.

But what I realized is that since people arriving sooner can book their entire stay...at least that explains why New Year's had a lot of restaurants sold out already. That at least seems like a real explanation.

Meanwhile on the Magic Band front: Every time we check the site, there are different numbers Magic Bands available. Some are the same, some are ones we haven't seen before, and some we saw before are missing. Whenever we try to choose any, we get a "can't process this request now, try again later". The agent explained this as a "out of stock" problem, which may be true, but it definitely feels like a legitimate system bug as well.

I definitely would have expected much more clarity and smoothness on the site -- we have never had any problems with it before. :-/

July 7, 2019, 4:06 PM

I had a similar problem booking dining reservations in that 180'days before I could only book half of the reservations, then I waited a day and I could book all of them. Also I'm having the same problem with the magic bands with once logging on only finding the normal colours and one jack skellington band, then two days later all special bands were available.
I'm not sure, but it could potentially be to do with what device you log into on the disney experience, ie on a tablet, phone computer. And wether you are on the app or online.
Most issues tend to sort themselves out by the next day for me but obviously phoning may be best sometimes.

Edited: July 8, 2019, 7:33 AM

Yeah, split stays are always confusing, and with the online system, it probably looks even stranger. The bottom line is that while the 180-day window is when you can start booking ADRs, it has always been 180+ (at least for more than a decade). That means you can start booking ADRs for every single day of your stay beginning 180 days from your check in date when staying on-site. If you're staying 10 days at a single resort, that essentially means you can book as far as 190 days in advance of the last day of your stay. Over a decade ago, I was similarly frustrated that high-demand reservations (like Victoria & Albert's Chef's Table) were always sold out when I went to book right when we hit 180 days out even though I was sure I was the first person through on that day (V&A's used to have a phone-only in-restaurant reservation system - you didn't get routed to an outside agent - and I verified once that I was the first call that was taken that morning and discovered that the day I wanted was already gone).

MDE has always been a quirky system, and if you consider the number of people bombarding it at any given time (not just people making ADRs 180 days out, but people making FP+ reservations 30 and 60 days out and switching FP+ reservations the day of), it's a wonder it doesn't behave more erratically. You also have to consider when you are traveling to WDW. The Christmas/NYE timeframe is the absolute busiest time of year at WDW, and you can imagine with Galaxy's Edge debuting in a couple of months, the parks will be even more crowded than they normally are. Trying to snag a high-demand ADR on NYE can be an exercise in futility and those that are successful probably should feel like they've won the Powerball. If you're having issues making ADRs through MDE, you can always go the old fashioned way and use the phone system. The phone agents are interacting with the system the same way you would through a computer (just on the end of a phone line), but they probably know some of the tricks to force the system to feed them specific reservation times (for instance, the system will give you reservation times if you select a specific hour that may not show up if you select " morning, afternoon, or evening").

To be perfectly honest, I think Disney has given up on MDE, and is not investing the money anymore into maintaining the site compared to what they did when it launched. Unfortunately, we're all stuck with it, and have to deal with the randomness and quirks associated with a system that is a necessary evil. You should bring your patience and just keep trying over and over again until the system gives you something that you can tolerate. You can always change it later if something else comes up, but understand that coveted ADRs are unlikely to simply pop up like high-demand FP+ reservations as Disney doesn't need to hold back ADRs since they are guaranteed through a deposit.

This discussion has been archived and is no longer accepting responses.

Park tickets

Weekly newsletter

New attraction reviews

News archive