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Disneyland Dining Reservations with Dustin from Mouse Dining


Show Summary

Learn the ins and outs of getting the most popular dining reservations with Dustin Checketts, co-founder of MouseDining. We'll help you navigate the culinary delights of Disney, with insider nuggets on what you need to know before you book your sit-down dining reservations at Disneyland.


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0:02 Intro


Show Transcript

Welcome to the park Magic podcast, your place for insider tips for your next Disneyland Adventure. Whether you're a first timer or first time in a while visitor, we're here to unwrap the secrets to creating and simplifying your dream Disneyland vacation.


Robyn:
Introducing Dustin from Mouse Dining

Welcome back to the Park Magic Podcast. I am so excited! I've got somebody who knows more about dining reservations at Disney than most people on the planet. I've got Dustin Checketts, one of the co-founders of Mouse Dining. If you haven't checked out Mouse Dining, it's an amazing tool.


Sometimes, grabbing some of those reservations can be a little overwhelming if people are getting up at six in the morning, if you're like me and only get up at six in the morning. If something crazy is happening, then you can use bounce dining to help you get alerts of when maybe a reservation to Blue Bayou or Goofy's Kitchen is available, and it will save you a lot of stress and allow you to get those last-minute dining reservations. I've been able to get things like Blue Bayou with a week's notice.


So Dustin, first off, thanks for CO founding such an awesome tool.


Dustin:

Oh, you're very welcome. Thank you.


Robyn:

Your whole family has a strong affinity towards Disney. Can you share a little bit so people know that you're not just? Yeah, who I pulled off the street.


Dustin:

Okay, sure! Thanks for having me Robin, I appreciate it. This is fun. We've talked about doing this for a little while so it's fun to finally be here.


So, my Disney years, I will rewind back to my childhood. I grew up closer on the West Coast, in Utah. And so, Disneyland was our home park. That's just what I knew of Disney growing up, and that's where my love of Disney began. Today, I live in Georgia, so I'm closer to Walt Disney World. And that's where I spend most of my time now. But I always love and cherish the times going back to Disneyland because it's just nostalgic. So much has changed if you're there, but then you go back years later, you're like, oh, that really hasn't changed that much. But really, Disney first made a big impression in my home when we would watch Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Lion King, and all of those amazing animated films. And so, I grew up and I was determined to be a Disney animator. I was really young at the time when I would draw a lot. And I do remember making a trip to Walt Disney World young. I would sit in Hollywood Studios that were MGM Studios at the time, and just watch the animators draw, and that's still something I enjoy doing.

I follow a lot of different artists. I just find it fascinating that people are so talented that they can just pull something out of their imagination, throw it on a page, and I fall in love with it. That's the origin story of me and Disney but since then, I've really enjoyed getting to better understand the parks and walls, and definitely the food.


Robyn:
Going Beyond Pizza and Hamburgers

So I took a friend to Disneyland for the first time because she was like, 'I don't get you Disney adult people.' And so I was like, 'You have to experience the way I experienced it.' So she came with me. And she said, 'I really just thought it was going to be hamburgers and bad pizza.' And I was like, 'Oh, we have that. We 100% have that, Alien Pizza Planet. I'm looking at you.' But some of my favorite foods are at Disney. And there are some places where you're going more for the ambiance, and you're going, there's some places that they legitimately have delicious food that I like crave even outside the parks.


Dustin:

100% agree. Yes. What are some of yours actually?


Robyn:

Okay, so you have to request in advance. I'm gluten-free, so you have to request in advance by emailing special diets. But the gluten-free Monte Cristo sandwich, and I prefer Cafe Orleans because while Blue Bayou has an amazing atmosphere, I feel like the service is not always the greatest and it is like buffet food. So I kind of like Cafe Orleans because I've done Blue Bayou several times. I love it. I think it's great for the first time. But I really like people watching and then the case of Berea tacos at Cosina Cucamonga is so good. I love those. And then my other one is the popcorn sundae that they have at Carthay Circle alfresco dining. They have vanilla ice cream with chocolate and caramel, but they interleave caramel popcorn into the sundae. Wow, it is so good. I have ditched my smoke jumpers. And I was like, 'You have this. I'm gonna go have lettuce wraps and get a Pimm's punch.' And so those are some of my favorites.

Dustin:
Pros and Cons of Blue Bayou

Great, spot on with the Cafe Orleans over Blue Bayou. So, for me, it was the ambiance and the experience of going to Blue Bayou. My dad was always excited to take us to Blue Bayou, and when we go there, he's like, 'Look, it's like Pirates of the Caribbean.' And it's quiet. It's always night time there, and you can hear the frogs and everything. And that was several great memories growing up as a kid, but as we've gotten older, we're like, 'Oh, they also have the Monte Cristo sandwich over at Cafe Orleans. Let's go try it there.' And the same amazing sandwich, always as good as I remember. But for my wife, it's the palm fruits that you can get at Cafe Orleans as an appetizer before you start. Our kind of tradition is the Monte Cristo sandwich with some palm fruits. And, same thing, we enjoy people watching. So, sitting outside at Cafe Orleans and just being around all the people hustling and bustling is really fun. But spot on, 100%, you could have described me, on how I feel about the Blue Bayou and Monte Cristo.


Robyn:
Dining Reservations at Disneyland Have Never Been In Higher Demand

And just a side note, the whole point of this podcast is advice for normal people: make sure that you're watching the mealtime that something is available for it. There's not a lot of menu items that are like that. But there are some people who have been freaking out about dining reservations for Disney World for probably a decade. But I remember as a kid, you would just walk up and make a walk-up reservation at the beginning of the day for Blue Bayou. I would say it's probably just been since COVID.


Why Too Many Dining Reservations Can Sink Your Trip

The dining reservations have been really big for Disneyland. I see the people on the boards and in Facebook and Reddit, and they're like, 'How many reservations do I need?' Personally, since I grew up in Southern California, and we thought going into the $2 T-shirt store was like living at high, we didn't really do a lot of dining reservations, especially when my kids were little, we did no dining reservations. Usually, now that we have a little bit more discretionary income, I personally don't like to have more than one dining reservation a day. And usually on a trip, I might only have one or two because they do take up quite a bit of time. I feel like every dining reservation needs to be planned at the minimum an hour, but I've been stuck in Blue Bayou for two and a half to three hours.


Dustin:

Yep. So I think that's wise advice. Part of what I do is, like, lurk in a bunch of different communities online on Facebook and Reddit, and other places. And I see some folks that just have their trips planned down to the minute, and they have three large sit-down table service restaurants a day. And I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, that is so much food, especially in the summer when it's hot, and it's so much money.' And so, 100%, I'm with you and just say, 'Hey, like, it is very reasonable to have one table service meal a day, usually lunch or dinner, if you're in the breakfast with the character dining. Those are great experiences. I have young kids, and they absolutely love them. But pick one and then just coast through the rest of the day and find out what's available.' With my memories growing up with my father and my family, not just my father, but my father, it was his thing to take us to Blue Bayou and treat us, so long as you got to the park and walked to the Blue Bayou post in the morning. You could just request and get a table that afternoon. And it's not been that way, at least since post COVID, for sure, but probably a little prior to that as well.


Robyn:

And just to compare, I can get two turkey legs and three corn and feed my family of four for less than 40 bucks. Blue Bayou for a family of four, you're looking at least 200 bucks, probably by the time you get everything done, especially if you have an adult beverage, that can add up pretty quick.


What Locations Need Reservations At The Disneyland Resort

Let's talk about what kind of restaurants you need reservations for. It would be the character dining, which would be Storytellers and Plaza Inn, and Goofy's Kitchen. And Goofy's Kitchen is the only character dining that's available at a not breakfast time. So if you wanted to do that the first day you came into town, you could do Goofy's Kitchen. And then there's the bar, so Oga’s Cantina and Trader Sam's, which is my chef kiss, one of my favorites, but you cannot spend more than 90 minutes there unless you want a really good headache. I agree. Those kinds of things cover the big things, right? So it's pretty much any time you have a waiter.


Dustin:

Yeah. So, table service is where you're sitting down, and you have a server serving you. There's a couple of different versions of quick service. But quick service would be: you pick it up, or you order and just pick it up and take it with you as you pay. There's, at least in Disney World, I know there's 'all a cart', where you can walk into an area, just throw a bunch of stuff on a tray, and check out, and they'll buzz each item as you exit and charge you a fee. Walt Disney World also includes what are called family style, like 'Ohana'. But those are still table service restaurants. But yeah, I think that covers it.

Robyn:

Yeah, and I don't think there is any family style. So if you're coming from Disney World, and you're looking for something like Liberty Tree Tavern, everybody gets the same meal. I don't believe that there are any restaurants that do that at Disneyland. They're all individuals. And then there's the other character dining that I forgot about was the Napa Rose Princess Adventure, which is $125 a plate. And that includes, if you have a three-year-old as well. From what I understand, the character interactions there are pretty intense and amazing. Could you discuss a little bit about what to expect at a character meal? I've seen some people disappointed because they thought they were gonna get 45-minute conversations with Mickey, and he's got a lot of magic to make around the park. So it's more of a drive-by, right?

Dustin:
Character Dining- Setting Expectations

Yeah, absolutely! And keep in mind, my experiences most recently, and definitely post-COVID, is with Walt Disney World. The last time I visited Disney was during COVID when they did their own kind of mini food and wine. I'm forgetting the exact name of it. So, it's been a couple of years since we've been there, and even that was really limited. They didn't have any of the rides operating, didn't get all; they just opened California Adventure and said, 'Enjoy the food, enjoy the ambiance, here you go.' But that was fun. My wife and I went to that, and it was fun.


But regarding the experiences with the characters, it'll vary because it is just quick; say hi, have a brief interaction, take some photos, and move on because the actors are in the character for quite a while they're out there. And so they're trying to hit as many of them as they can. And even sometimes they'll rotate out the characters, and you'll say goodbye to them. And five minutes later, you'll say hello to them. Better experiences are going to be found with the princesses. And it's been a while since I've been to some of the other kinds of seasonal events and some of the after parties. But I think I've heard I'd have to confirm this. But I think I've heard that those experiences are pretty good too.

But really, just the experiences that you should expect are really just characters walking by your tables, having a brief interaction with preferably each of your children just for a moment. But if you have one child or one child that really shows a lot more excitement than the other children, the character will spend most of their time with the one that's obviously reciprocating that interaction. I don't know if they're told this but only expect about a minute to two minutes at your table. And if you get more than that, feel lucky and grateful. Take that opportunity to take some amazing photos because that's what you're paying for. Generally, character experiences, I think I've estimated it to be about $15 to $25 additional. If you just look at the food and the experience minus the characters, you're paying an extra $15 to $25 per head at your table to have just that character experience. So if you were to try to get an equal quality meal in the park elsewhere minus the character experience, that's what in my head I have made that number to be for me and my family.


Robyn:

I think the other thing that's important to know before you buy a character meal is, so you might think they would have Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto at every location. At Goofy's Kitchen, you're guaranteed to see Goofy, and then it's going to be an assortment. Sometimes Minnie is there. It's very rare to see Mickey from what I understand of Goofy's Kitchen, or rarer.

Plaza Dining has probably the most characters; make sure you check to see what characters, especially if there's a specific one. If you want to see princesses, you would have to fork over the money to see the princess dining. There are locations that you can see in the parks where you can meet all of these characters with no additional costs. So it's not required. If your kids are really into characters, you don't have to do the character dining, but you should expect to be spending a little bit of time in line.

So, the benefit of the character dining is you get to skip the line of waiting for those characters.


Dustin:

Yeah, and I understand those. I think they call them meet-and-greets. And I'm sure that's, yeah, the same at both parks. But I think their character meet-and-greet is what you'll look for.


Robyn:

Yeah, I'd love to know your experience at Disneyland. What are the hardest locations to book? I have some anecdotal, man, I can never seem to get that dang one. Do you have any data you'd be comfortable sharing with us?


Dustin:
Hardest Reservations to Score At Disneyland

Oh, 100%. So, I share this publicly just whenever I get a moment or weddings seem interesting. I will post on Reddit. Mouse Dining has its own subreddit, and I'll post this whole list for a while, Disneyland and Disney World separated by Park. I haven't pulled that list recently. So I'm actually looking at raw data from Mouse Dining right now. And you talked about character dining being very difficult to get. But really, if I look at Disneyland, California Adventure, Downtown Disney, and the surrounding area there, Blue Bayou is by far the top of the list.


And let me backup; how I'm judging this is by how many Mouse Dining users have alerts set for these restaurants. This is just a total number of alerts that our users have set for these restaurants. And right now, Blue Bayou tops everything for both Disneyland and Disney World by a decent margin. So I don't know if they've done something recently or whatever has happened there, or there's just a giant surge of people trying to get in down there in California that tops everything.

For example, in Walt Disney World, the equivalent of that is like Space 220 and 'Ohana', that's beyond both of those.


Robyn:

So at Disney World, I wonder if it's because at Disneyland, there's only a couple places to get alcohol, and Blue Bayou and Oga’s are pretty much it, unless you're really fancy in your Club 33 membership, right? So I'm wondering because they're opening up River Belle, Cafe Orleans, and Carnation Cafe will be serving alcohol shortly. It will be really interesting to me to see if that changes the availability of Blue Bayou.


Dustin:

That's interesting. If I keep going down that list, you'll have to tell me, is Lamplight Lounge an alcoholic?

Robyn:

Yeah, they had alcohol there.

Dustin:

Yeah, so that's number two in Disneyland. Oga’s Cantina is number three. You guys like your alcohol, Trader Sam's Tiki Bar.

Those are the top four and number five, you get down to your Plaza in dining experiences. Let's see if I can keep going. Then you've got Goofy's kitchen, the princess breakfast at Napa rose Carthay Circle Cafe Orleans. Napa rose. And then we get to the Fantasmic dining packages, Carnation cafe, storytellers Cafe, and so on.

Robyn:

That would probably be a really interesting post the three weeks after, to see how that changes that dynamic.


Dustin:

And those are available. So, I published this list. Like I say, I sorted, organized on Reddit, and I just post it on a list the week of the year. So, you can gauge that. You can go back and look at the history, it's kind of see how it's changed. And sometimes that's interesting to see. In fact, after this podcast, I'll go ahead and publish this list so that your listeners will have something to look forward to. But you can reach out to me there, make comments on it there. And I'm happy to adjust that report or dive a little deeper if anybody finds it particularly interesting.

Robyn:
Reservations For Large Groups

And I'll make sure to put that link in the show notes, so you guys have it without having to dig too much. So, I think the other thing that I see people struggle with is they're like, 'I'm trying to go with 4-22 people, and I don't understand why I can't get a reservation.' Those locations, especially Blue Bayou with four people, are pretty easy to get a reservation for. But once you pass six people, it becomes very difficult to get a spot for you all together.

Dustin:

Yes. And I guess I'll speak to that because we've experienced the same thing, and we see the same thing. So, I'm not the type of person that just wants to use my gut and be like, 'Yeah, it just feels that way.' I want data to prove that it's that way. And so I actually have people in the parks now; they're gathering some information so I can definitively say how many two-tops, four-tops, and six-top tables a restaurant has, what's its max capacity, so that we can better understand throughput on tests. And I have spoken a few times, but he's the data scientist for the rides and wait times. I want to take that over for the food and dining and restaurants. So, we're gathering a lot of this kind of data that's not really published anywhere, but it's publicly available; we just have to go hunt and search for it. But in the future, we will know with certainty approximately how many people can get in and out of a restaurant in a given timeframe. And that it'll be hard to judge exactly and precisely because we don't know staffing or any other particulars. But in general, we should have some very good ideas about that. Specifically to your question, no, there's not a lot of tables that are six-tops or larger, and in some restaurants, the tables are bolted, so they can't even push them together or move them around. And we're learning that right now. And I hope to have some data to prove that. But I agree that with your gut and my gut, it's definitely true. I just want to find out how true it is and if there's any exceptions to it.

Robyn:

I'm a Blue Bayou. They push the tables further back. So, if you want to be on the water and you have more than a four-top, you're not going to be on the water; you're going to be further towards the back of the restaurant, at least to the middle, because they don't push tables together at the waterfront from anytime I've seen going in there. I have not seen them do that at Disneyland, at least. So, what I usually recommend to people is, let's say you have a group of eight, book two tables of four. And then you can very nicely ask if it will be possible to maybe sit close together. But no, that might be a big ask, and the answer might be no.


I have one really picky eater. So, what we might do is say, 'Okay, you really want to ride Casey Jr. I would rather do lots of other things in the world rather than ride Casey Jr. So, let's have you go with somebody who doesn't mind riding Casey Jr. We'll get you guys some quick serve.' So, you need to split up your group. Or you can break it up into two groups. And then no, you might not sit together. But if you have a group of over 10, I would really just recommend that you do quick serve because those bigger tables take even longer.


Dustin:

Yeah, and I have data to prove that. So, in the availability that we see, 97% of all availability is for parties and tables of six or fewer. So, if you're trying to get a table for seven, or eight, or nine, or 10 or more, just know that you're looking for a needle in a haystack. Your suggestion of splitting your party is exactly what we tell our users when they come to us with that question or concern. But Disney honestly hasn't done a good job. And again, I'm focused most heavily on Walt Disney World, but their website will tell you if you want to try for a party of 10 in the Blue Bayou, and they'll let you look for that. There's never going to be any availability.


Robyn:

And if you do get that you should go buy a lottery ticket like that moment.


Dustin:

Yes, that's not a bad idea. But yeah, we have data to support that. And so just know, parties larger than six, even if you're six and you have a child with you, I would still recommend including that in your party, because Disney likes to account for the bodies that they're putting at the table, and not necessarily how many are going to order food. And it's more a spacing and fire safety thing than just money and logistics. So keep that in mind.

Robyn:

So, if somebody's like, 'Look, I don't really want to use Mouse Dining.' I use Mouse Dining when I go, and there's a free version and a paid version. In the paid version, you get texts, so especially if you don't work with them. If you have a job where you're like looking at your email all day, then the paid version can be really helpful. But if somebody's like, 'I don't want to use a service, I just want to do it myself,' I don't usually get up at six in the morning, 60 days out. I usually go in, and I would just keep looking over and over again. And if I'm going with a couple of other people, I'll show them how to do it. And everybody just checks back often. And you can get them that way. But then you have to be somebody that will remember on a regular basis, or just set up alarms to go back and look over and over again.

Can you talk a little bit about how people use Mouse Dining, because they can use it for a short period of time? And just score those reservations? And then you have five alerts for free? Six, six alerts?


Dustin:
How Mouse Dining Works

Well, yeah, I'll talk a little bit more about the service just briefly, but Mouse Dining? I'm glad you brought up the question. First of all, because it made me think of something that we usually don't talk about. So I'll speak to the free experience. First, I'm of the opinion that I want to prove to you that our service works before I ask for your money. And so we launched as 100% free service; there was no cost to it whatsoever. We were sending texts, we were sending emails and doing all the things; it was fine while we were small. But as we grew, our texting bill became significant. And so that's when we had to start charging for it.

Over the years, we've played with that, and we think we found we struck the right kind of balance of what free users get versus what paid users get just before COVID happened. So this was like October 2019. And so we felt pretty good about it, but then everything shut down. And that was, we didn't know what was gonna happen at that point.

Before you even register, you don't even have to register to visit the site and go look around. You can search for Blue Bayou, some of the restaurants we've been talking about, and we'll show you a nice calendar. We'll show you current availability, and you just have a little drop-down, and you can say I'm looking for a party of two, or three, or four, or five. And we'll show you with a great amount of accuracy, not 100% accuracy, but we'll show you with a great amount of accuracy, anything that's available right now. And we'll give you a link and say here, just go to Disney and book it, you don't pay us anything, you don't owe us anything. Just this is a better way to look at Disney's availability data. And here, have it. Beyond that, if what you're looking for doesn't exist, that's when the next step is okay, we can help you get that reservation that you want that's not currently available.

But in order for us to help you, you'll need to register for an account because we've got to save some things and better understand what you're looking for. And then you can create an alert. And that alert, it collects what date you're looking for, what mealtime you want, at your party size, and if you have any very specific time you want to go, and then we'll save that alert. And we'll monitor Disney's website for you and notify you via email for that free account if something comes available. And that service is 100% free; you just have to register an account, so we can save some things for you and know how to notify you when we find something.

The final step in that is okay, you're using that, maybe not having success, or you need more than the six alerts, that's when we can say, hey, if you want that and a few other things, you can pay us $9 a month. And that will activate text messaging. So I love your example. Like if you're not in front of a computer all day long, like text messaging, it's just really convenient. But it is very costly for us. Second thing is you can create up to 50 alerts. So that way you don't have to finagle and constantly be like deleting alerts and adding alerts; you can just set them all up once and just let it do its thing. You get 50 alerts; the texting supports international numbers so they can get their alerts internationally as well and help you in that search. And you can add more numbers as well when you pay and more email addresses. So if you have a party of five or six, I would always recommend having everybody get the notification because one of you is going to be faster than the others. And that increases your chances of getting that reservation.

That's really the service in a nutshell; that was a little longer than I wanted. But I think we have everything feeling pretty good at this point. And the last point I will make is that we have a mobile app that we'll be releasing probably in the next 30 to 60 days that will enable push notifications as well.


Robyn:
Last Minute Reservations Are Usually Available

That's really awesome. If you're older like me and you remember listening to the radio, and you know the dial in, you got to be listening for that little alert and then you got to dial in right then. And that's why it's also important to look at yourself. People be, like there's no hope, there's no reservations. There are people that book 12 reservations for their two-day trip, and then they cancel the ones they don't want. Now, I don't particularly love that strategy because it stops other people from being able to get reservations. But people cancel all the time; we're going to do another episode on walk-up reservations, getting into the walk-up line as well. So that is also an option that maybe you might want to consider.

I messaged you saying, 'Hey, could you build this for me?' and then somebody else did a post on them using Mouse Dining for this and I was like, 'That's exactly what I wanted.'


Using MouseDining.com to See If Reservations Have Dropped

So if you go to Mouse Dining's website and you go into the interview at your restaurants, it will show you which reservations have had availability in the past. We're recording this in August; there was a big hubbub because Goofy's kitchen was not making new reservations, even though it was well within the 60 days. And then we found out recently that it's because they're doing some sort of funky Halloween thing, right? So people were losing their minds thinking that they had missed their opportunity to get Goofy's kitchen. So you can use Mouse Dining. I'm gonna include a video of that in the show notes as well as do Bobby's workshop and Droid depot and stuff too. Right? We do. Can you tell us for Disneyland, what time right now are you for the 60 days in advance of the day? So if I'm going to be there on December 10 and December 11 then the December 10 will open up for me exactly 60 days and December 11 will open up exactly 60 days before December 11. Which is different from Disney World, right?

Dustin:

Yeah. So I'm going to be Geoffrey Rush from Pirates of the Caribbean and just say, 'Oh, those are more like guidelines than rules.' But yes, that's the plan. That's what they aim for. But certainly, that does not happen all the time; we have immense amounts of data that can prove that they drop when they drop.


Now, my limited knowledge of the kind of internal workings of Disney restaurants and dining reservations is that some of the different restaurants just have proprietary systems. They're stuck using a kind of Disney system, or they have their own system that then injects into the Disney system. So, it really does boil down to an employee or another system making the data available and then publishing it. But then there are all these events that get in the way—special events, changes in park hours, private events in the evening—and so it really does throw a wrench in things. That's probably what you were experiencing.


Honestly, with Goofy's kitchen, we had some communication with customers that were asking about that very particular thing. The data suggests that those just drop when they drop. You shouldn't be looking that day, or maybe even like a few hours before they're supposed to drop. But if they don't drop, that's when a service like Mouse Dining can be incredibly handy because you'll be notified the moment they do drop.

When Do Reservations Become Available for Disneyland Resturants

So, for example, if your trips are not for six months, you can set the alerts now and just walk away and forget it. Then, once you get that first email, you're like, 'Oh, look, reservations drop. Now I can actually try and go book something.' There are a lot of different ways to use Mouse Dining. And the other way, I mentioned it already, but just to address your question: some people just use Mouse Dining because it's a better view of current availability.


When our family is at the parks, we just pull up Mouse Dining and they're like, 'What's available? Is there anything available at these restaurants over the next three days of our trip?' And sometimes the stuff we may really want to get into is booked. But we'll just keep going down our list of stuff we like and stuff we'd like to try, and surely there's going to be something available. We use it because it's a better view, even on Disney. I have a brand new website that went live yesterday; you can still only search for one day at a time. So you have to go in for each day of your trip. If you're going to spend three or four days at the park, you have to check for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, all individually. With our service, you can just look at the calendar and be like, 'Oh, there's something available Tuesday.


Robyn:
Use OpenTable for Downtown Disney Locations

Disney's website is not always the easiest. One thing I also want to note is if you're trying to get into Downtown Disney restaurants like Tortilla Joe's, Napoli, those kinds of places, also check OpenTable. OpenTable has much more availability for those restaurants. And they don't talk to each other.

If you misjudge your arrival time or your departure time, and you're trying to get something not in the Disneyland hotels but in that Downtown Disney space, then definitely look at OpenTable. Additionally, there's a place called Anaheim Packing House, which has this amazing assortment of all these really cool restaurants. It's about a 15-minute Uber. But if you like foods from different ethnicities and you'd like to be a little adventurous, that can be a fun place to go as well.


Dustin:

Yeah, great tip on the OpenTable. The way I understand it is that OpenTable has a designated number of reservations that they're allowed to fill. Then Disney has their reservation system. So you're right, you can go to Disney's site and see that Ralph Brennan's Jazz Kitchen is booked up. But then you go to OpenTable and think, 'Oh, there's six tables available.' So great. 100% agree.


Robyn:

I really appreciate you making the time. I know you're really busy helping people get awesome tables at lots of different awesome restaurants. Thank you for co-founding such an awesome tool that I think is a real help to the community, especially people who are just planning their vacation. So, the idea of checking back every 20 minutes for reservations on top of everything else they have to do for their Disney vacation can be a little overwhelming. We have a link in the show notes to MouseDining. You can also go to parkmagic.com/mousedining or you can go to mousedining.com. So, Dustin, thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing that detail of which ones are the most booked. It was really interesting.

Dustin:

No problem, and it changes all the time. So, we should do it again. This has been great. Thanks, Robin.


Robyn:

This has been another episode of the Park Magic Podcast, where we help you plan your magical Disney vacation, and we hope that you'll tune in for our next episode.

Thanks for listening to this episode of the Park Magic Podcast. For more tips and planning tools designed to help simplify your Disneyland adventure, visit ParkMagic.com. If you enjoyed today's episode and want to hear more tips, be sure to subscribe to the Park Magic Podcast. And don't forget to leave us a review! Your feedback helps us spread the magic even further. Leaving a review could also help you; each month, we will be selecting one reviewer to win a one-hour planning session with Robin. Winners will be announced at the end of the first episode of every month.

Thanks for tuning in, and remember that we are here to help you have a less stressful and more magical trip to Disneyland.


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