Disney World Moves to Shut Down Third-Party Dining Reservation Sites

September 24, 2015, 3:59 PM · Walt Disney World is moving to shut down third-party services that helped visitors book on-site dining reservations for an extra fee.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that the operator of Disney Dining Buddy is shutting down the service at Disney's request. Disney Dining Buddy was one of the services that monitored Disney's reservation system then notified clients when a desired reservation became available. Other services actually operated like a ticket broker ("scalper," if you prefer), booking reservations as soon as they opened, then holding them until clients paid to obtain the times. We reported on these third-party dining reservation services last month.

There's been no announcement from Disney about the shut-down, nor has there been word if Disney will be making any changes to its dining reservation systems to alleviate the frustration that drove many visitors to these third parties.

Disney World dining reservations open 180 days in advance, but that long window frustrates people whose vacation plans are not settled six months in advance. And tables dropping back into the system due to the inevitable release of cancellations and reserve inventory frustrate people who tried and failed to make reservations far in advance, since Disney does not put those guests on a wait list.

Replies (11)

September 24, 2015 at 4:20 PM · Hope they carry through on this to eliminate all of those scalping type services. When "all" reservations are closed within seconds of the opening time on the 180th day at prime restaurants, that definitely indicates there is something rotten in Denmark (or is that Norway?). It's bad enough you have to reserve that far in advance. It's even worse when you can't get a seat even though legitimate guests haven't filled up the reservations.
September 24, 2015 at 6:33 PM · This is great news. My family and I are pleased Disney is moving in the right direction. I think all the press from all around and commentary helped Disney put a stop to this mess.
September 24, 2015 at 6:55 PM · Disney resort guests should have first priority for Disney dining reservations.
September 25, 2015 at 3:53 AM · This is definitely a step in the right direction. For some people, trying to plan the perfect Disney vacation is already a bit of a tedious task. These scalpers are only gonna make things harder.

Also, I know some wise guy is probably gonna say this, so I'll say it for them: "No one rips off our guests except me!"

September 25, 2015 at 5:36 AM · This is some great news. Obviously, the hope would be that in addition to shutting down these slimy services, that they also make changes to the ADR system to make it more fair accessible to all guests. The best thing I think Disney could do would to reduce the ADR time down to 90 days, and provide a greater advantage to those booking with secured on-site resort reservations.

Nonetheless, it's great to see Disney address a real problem.

September 25, 2015 at 4:21 PM · Disney dining buddy was not scalping reservations. They made no reservations. They only alerted the client when a table was available. There are numerous ordinary people who make multiple reservations for the same restaurant and then cancel. How Disney handles this needs to be addressed
September 25, 2015 at 8:52 PM · Services like this would have never been created/needed if there wasn't already a problem with booking ADR's. These services saw a need and met it. It will still be next to impossible to get ADR's b/c Disney's servers are slow and there process is awful.
September 26, 2015 at 12:48 AM · I say all disney needs to do is get credit cards for reservation and authorize them. Hold people money and they will make only what they need and no more because there money will be tied up and they won't have it to spend.
September 27, 2015 at 11:02 PM · Am I the only one who misses the old days, or were we just oblivious? We never made reservations. We just went with a general idea and ate where we pleased when we pleased. I wish this were still possible.
September 28, 2015 at 8:31 AM · " Disney dining buddy was not scalping reservations. They made no reservations."

This is technically correct, but they were charging customers for something that should be free, and were controlling the marketplace to a certain extent by holding valuable ADRs and releasing them to the market at select times provided to their clients.

If the 3rd party people didn't exist, perhaps experienced guests wouldn't need to sit on multiple reservations only to cancel them at a later date. I'll admit that I did it on our most recent trip, because it was easier to have 2 reservations at the same time and adjust later than it was to have no reservations and then scramble at the last minute only to get stuck with something we didn't want.

Ultimately, the ADR system is a broken one that needs a serious facelift starting first with the amount of time guests have to book their reservations. However, getting rid of the 3rd parties that are profiting from their deliberate manipulation of the system needed to happen. Disney's probably about 10 years too late addressing this, but at least it's a start. Hopefully more changes are on the way.

September 29, 2015 at 5:24 PM · A step in the right direction, now they just need to bring the window for reservation to 30 days or less.

Apart from maybe helping them gauge predicted attendance, ad even then I'm not sure how useful restaurant bookings would be for this. I can't see any advantage of accepting booking so far out. It simply penalises those who book late, or like to wait to firm up plans, or even the radical ideal of being spur of the moment - which park do you fancy on the morning.

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