Entrepreneurs have made a cottage industry of manipulating the Disney dining reservation website, and profiting from their ability to secure and re-sell the prime bookings. But Disney has taken steps to end the practice.
According to a story in the Orlando Sentinel, Disney lawyers have sent 'cease-and-desist' letters to a number of websites which were obtaining Disney restaurant reservations and selling them for profit.
The article recaps the tale of Disney Dining Scout, a site which used 'web scraping' techniques to mine the restaurant reservation data. When openings appeared that met the designated criteria (location, date, party size, etc.), an alert would be sent to the subscriber, allowing them to secure a reservation.
Other sites offered similar services with at least one actually booking reservations and then transferring them to other parties for a fee.
The owner of Disney Dining Scout--Matt Voss--cited demand for his service and claims he attempted to establish a formal business arrangement with Disney. The company reportedly declined.
Disney Dining Scout generated approximately $13,000 in revenues over its six months of operation.
In 2013, the website DVCApp.com used similar techniques to scan for Disney Vacation Club room reservations and alert subscribers when vacancies appeared. The site was apparently shut-down by Disney and later replaced with the similar Resort Availability Tool on the official member website.
The Orlando Sentinel story sites four other Disney restaurant reservation websites which appear to have ceased operations within the last month.
For additional details, see the original story on OrlandoSentinel.com.