Disney doesn't want YOU to be their Guest
Regarded by many as the “Happiest Place On Earth”, Disney has made a ton of money off getting people into their resorts. Their practices leave a lot to be desired for visitors who don’t want to sell and arm or a leg to stay on the premises.
Going to Walt Disney World comes with certain expectations, among lots and lots of planning. When you’re planning, you’re thinking about where you want to stay, where you want to eat and how much you want to spend. Staying on site, for a family of four can cost as little as $2000 (not including food costs) up to well over $10000. If you happen to be not flush with that sort of cash, you end up renting a house off site for around $500–600 dollars and buying tickets for around $1050 (7 days, no hopper and 1 infant). Both price points are 7 day stays, you save roughly $400–500 dollars by staying off site.
Staying on site comes with certain perks. The newest is that you get your tickets in the form of a “MagicBand” (pictured above), and it also holds all of your FastPass and Reservation information. The guideline on the Disney website is that you can make Reservations for Disney restaurants up to 180 days in advance.
While Disney says you can make reservations up to 180 days in advance, what they fail to tell you is that people who shell out the cash to stay on the resort property get extra days to put in reservations (up to 10 days). This makes the more popular dining destinations much harder to get into, because by the time someone staying off the resort is able to put in reservations the spaces are either very limited or completely unavailable. This takes your expectations for your family’s vacation, as well as the rules Disney has put in place for reservations (180 days), and just completely craps all over them (depending on the venue at which you want to dine).
Beauty and the Feast
Because of this insane perk for resort visitors, one Disney Dining experience is next to impossible to get into for the general public. Be Our Guest opened to much fanfare in December of 2012, and has been nearly impossible to get into since its opening unless you stay at a Disney resort (a $400–500 premium). There are “tricks” and such to try and get in (within 72 hours of your visit), but these “tricks” just add undue stress to your vacation and diminish your experience.
From personal experience: Don’t even attempt to try and get a reservation at 6am EST for this Restaurant 180 days prior to your visit if you’re staying off site; You won’t get one. If you’re planning a visit to the “Happiest Place on Earth” and you really want to include a dining experience at (Don’t) Be Our Guest then you have to decide if its worth an additional $400–500 (on top of the cost of the food whilst dining there).