I should be able to start booking restaurants for our trip in a couple of weeks (yay!). I have a plan for most sit down restaurants to book but would love to go to Space 220 which doesn’t have a confirmed opening date yet. If I go ahead and book another restaurant for the day I’d like to go, then just go back and book Space 220 when it opens - can I easily cancel my original booking for that night or do I get penalised with a cancellation fee?
As long as you cancel at least 24 hours before the ADR, there will not be a charge. (Unless for some reason it is something non-refundable, but other than special tours I do not thing Disney has those at restaurants.)
It’s very easy to cancel using the website. I’ve cancelled many dozen as I try to get things I didn’t get on ADR day and adjust times. The only problem is if you get into 24 hrs, as the other poster said.
My understanding is the deadline to cancel is midnight the day before, not a full 24 hours. We successfully cancelled a lunch the evening before last week.
We did have a couple of ADRs that were 2 days, not 1 day (dining packages, I think) but it’s still pretty flexible. Just skim your terms when you book.
One last thing to be careful of, in case it pops up while you are planning. Special dining options - basically the ones that may require a payment in advance like a meal package or dessert party - sometimes require a 48 hour cancel to get the refund. Just look out for that if you book anything that requires and actual payment. Other than that the vast majority, where you just use a credit card to hold the ADR, are as everyone above has explained.
If you find yourself in a crunch, you can modify a reservation less than 24 hours out to a later date, and then cancel. Reducing the number of people when modifying can help. But you can’t do that with ADRs that are prepaid or special packages such as Fantasmic, ROL, etc. You can tell because they don’t have a modify button, only a cancel option.