Dealing With Early Morning Dining Reservations at The World

It’s one of those classic Disney conundrums: What do you do when you have an early morning breakfast reservation at another resort but you don’t have a car? Without question, one of the trickiest aspects of getting around Disney World is the fact that there’s no resort to resort transportation, forcing you to treat the parks as transportation “hubs” from which you transfer to other resorts. This usually poses no problem at all, but what do you do when the parks aren’t open yet? Well, you get a little crafty.

Probably the easiest solution is to take a cab, but it’s also the most expensive option, at around $25 for a ride anywhere on property. The good news is that it’s a direct route, so you’ll get there a lot faster. This is ideal if your family is like mine and likes to lollygag in the morning. Even better, because Disney is always looking out for guests, you can be assured that cab drivers who are allowed to operate on Disney property are fair. Nonetheless, make sure you establish a price before you get into the cab. Tips are welcome but not required.

The more complicated solution is to take Disney transportation. As noted above, since there’s no resort to resort transportation, you’ll have to take a bus (or boat or monorail) to the park nearest to your destination and then go from there. Officially, Disney transportation starts running 60 minutes prior to park opening, which isn’t at all reassuring when your reservation starts at 8:00 and the park opens at 9:00. Worse still, you have to allow time to get not only from your resort to the park and then to the other resort! The good news is that Disney “unofficially” runs buses sporadically about 90 minutes prior to opening. The bad news is that part where I mentioned the word “sporadically. I’ve been late more than once to a reservation because I missed the one bus that was running that early.

So what’s the solution? The best way is to make sure you tell the desk the night before that you’ll need transportation prior to park opening. Some guests want to arrange this prior to their stay and they’ll call the resort with the intent to do so—sadly, you’re most likely talking to a main switchboard in another town and not the actual resort staff, so you’re better off making these plans face to face when you get on property. While I’ve found this method to be pretty foolproof, if you miss the bus, make sure you contact the desk immediately rather than lose your reservation and potentially pay a penalty on top of it. Quite often you’ll be given a ride in one of the resort vans.

Keep in mind that there are some restaurants for which using Disney transportation first thing in the morning is just not an option. The fun character breakfast at Cape May Cafe, located in the Beach Club, is just a short walk from Epcot, but it’s the ultimate “you can’t get there from here” scenario. In these situations, it’s better to spring for a cab or make your reservation for after the park opens. Finally, remember that Disney’s suggestion that you allow yourself 90 minutes travel time to your dining destination is a practical one, especially for these early morning reservations. Better to be a little early than late.

Have you ever been in this situation? What did you do to make it work? What would you recommend to other guests?

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