New reservation policy at California Grill


While making a dinner reservation this afternoon for the California Grill, I was told by the WDW-DINE cast member that my reservation needed to be guaranteed by a credit card. She told me that if I cancelled the reservation less than 24 hours from the appointed time, my card would be charged $20.

A long and heated discussion followed with a supervisor, who was perhaps the rudest CM I’ve ever spoken to. She gruffly explained that the new policy is designed to prevent guests from double- and triple-booking reservations. I certainly understand the problem, but people who double-book reservations are a fact of life in the restaurant business and certainly not unique to Disney. There’s no other restaurant in Orlando that I know of – not even wildly popular Emeril’s – that has such a restrictive reservation policy.

DW and I love the California Grill and eat there fairly often, but I don’t love it enough to allow Disney to charge me if I have to cancel a reservation if something unforeseen happens.


I would just refute the charge with my credit card company if that happened.


This is a tough one. The CG is a little different than Emeril’s in that it’s not in a foot-traffic area and if a number of people cancel, that could substantially hurt revenues for the evening.

But, I was under the impression that Disney Dining purged “double-book” ADRs.

Is that no longer true?

As far as disputing charges with a CC company. It IS something that you can do, but I agree, it’s something that I’d rather not deal with.

PH, perhaps you can call back and see what the policy is if someone calls to cancel <24hrs to explain a scenario that’s out of one’s control. Surely, being Disney, they couldn’t enforce this 100% of the time. That wouldn’t be like them.


As a business owner I completely understand why they are doing it. Obviously they had an extraordinary number of cancellations. No (food) business can sustain that over an extended period of time.
Of course emergencies happen, but we all know that the majority of time, people just don’t think nor do they care what happens to a business. It’s all just them, them, them.
I am sure that $20.00 rule does not apply in cases of genuine emergencies.

I think it is about time that people are being held responsible, and not just at Disney


Is the food worth the trip?


That would be enough to keep me from booking there. I’ve never been, but it was on my list of places to try. If they keep this policy, I won’t bother. There are plenty of other wonderful places to eat at WDW.


I think that’s exactly what they’re hoping.

The $20 isn’t meant to be a punishment. It’s meant to be a deterrent for people making reservations “just in case.”

I have twice had reservations at California Grille with every intention of going, but both times I cancelled, once about 3 days prior and one that morning.

I’ve never not shown up for a reservation at Disney, but I have called to cancel the same day a number of time, deciding instead to eat somewhere else. It’s often a result of weather or crowds that interfere with plans.

More likely than not, this is an experiment that they’re trying to help make the business at CG a little more predictable.


Hi Boss! (Faithful Leader of the Eagle Fanbase on DC)
The food is worth the trip, not to mention the view–especially if you go around fireworks time at the MK!! :tongue:


Matt, I believe I will take your suggestion and ask them about what happens in an emergency. As for losing business, I’ve probably eaten at the California Grill at least 20 times over the years and I’ve never, never seen a night when there were empty tables and business was slow.

As for Emeril’s, unless you’re willing to eat in the bar area, you’ll have a hard time getting in for dinner without a reservation. It’s one of the tougher reservations to get in Orlando. Interestingly, though, Emeril’s deals with reservations a little differently than the restrictive new policy at WDW. Emeril’s requires that you call back by 3 p.m. on the day of your reservation to confirm. If you don’t call by 3 p.m., the reservation is automatically cancelled.


Calling and cancelling like you did is the right thing to do and no one is going to fault any one for that.
They are dealing with a whole bunch of ill mannered people whose bad manners make this sort of thing necessary, that’s all – I think.


Without arguing the policy, all of the WDW dinner shows, the Fantasmic package, Candlelight Processional, Cinderella’s Royal Table and the Princess Breakfast in Epcot (among others I am surely forgetting) all require confirmation by credit card, and a penalty if you don’t show up or cancel. For Cinderella and the dinner shows, you now have to pay in full at time of booking. Don’t be surprised if you see this happen to more and more restaurants at WDW.

Oh, and this policy has been in effect since Mid-October.


I was getting concerned about reading this tread. We have two adr’s at California Grill coming up, so I called and was told that we were fine and the “new” system would not bother those. That sound right? Also Park Hopper, concerning Emeril’s we have ressies for that and the Tchoup Chop. You are saying that I need to call on the same day before 3:00pm to confirm?


When I made my ADR, the CM told me it would be a $20/person charge if we didn’t show or cancel 24 hours in advance. Did the CM you spoke with say $20 total or $20/person? I’ll feel much better about our ADR if its $20 total, if something beyond my control causes us to miss our ressie and its a $20 loss, I could handle it. But an $80 loss! :eek:


Franco, it’s hard to tell what the CM meant by saying the “new” system wouldn’t bother your California Grill reservations. Did you make two reservations planning not to honor one of them or do you plan to eat twice at California Grill? As long as you didn’t give them a credit card number, though, they can’t charge you if you don’t honor them. Of course the proper thing to do would be to cancel the reservation you’re not going to use.

As for Emeril’s, yes, you do need to call and confirm your reservation by 3 p.m. otherwise the reservation will be cancelled. I don’t know what the policy is at Tchoup Chop, but I suspect it’s probably the same. I would call and check to be safe.


The CM I spoke with said it would be a $20 charge. She didn’t say anything about $20 per person. I can’t believe they would have the audacity to charge $20 per person.


oh wow. thanks for the news. it’s something to know about for the next time we go to WDW. thanks for the heads up.


No ParkHopper, I meant that we have two different days that we are eating there. And what I meant was I made these 90 days out before the new rule. I was told I was ok with them, but I will invest one more call today to be sure. As for the Thchop Chop they confirmed our ressies but Emeril’s would not until the day of ressie.


Franco, I think you’ll enjoy Emeril’s. DW and I were there a couple of weeks ago and had a fabulous meal with service that even surpassed anything at WDW.


In the case of a true unforeseen emergency WDW will usually not charge you. We had reservations for HDDR on Christmas 2005. Five members of our party did not get there in time for the reservation as a result of a 6 hour plane delay and WDW credited us the charges for those who couldn’t make it. I was expecting to just have to loose the money- but the CM helped me out and we had our four person dinner instead of 9.


I ahve no problem with giving a credit card to hold a ressie. We have eaten at the CG before and yes it is always full, but it is also a very popular place. Maybe Disney is having problemswith same day cancellations.

We were at Disney for hurricane Charley. I was there with my DD and my husband was supposed to come down and join us for the rest of our trip. We had a reservation with the Fantasmic dinning package. Well anyhow due to the Hurricane DH never made it to Florida and we had to cancel his part of the Dinnig package. Disney did allow us to.
So I am pretty sure that in real emergency situations…Disney will help out and not charge your CC for a cancelation.