What is Tables in Wonderland?
Tables in Wonderland is a Walt Disney World discount dining membership offering 20% savings on food and beverage, including alcohol, at most table service restaurants, and even some quick service locations. Note that an 18% gratuity is automatically added to your bill when you use Tables in Wonderland at Table Service locations and Bars. The automatic gratuity may make it seem like you are really only getting a 2% discount, but since most of us tip between at about 18% anyway, this just is not the case. Note that no gratuity is added at Quick Service locations.
The Tables in Wonderland membership is only available to Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members for $100, and Florida residents for $125. This is up from $75 and $100 as of 2013. Since you must buy into this program, it is best suited to those that make multiple visits per year and dine regularly at Walt Disney World. However, even if you only dine at Walt Disney World a few times a year, it is still possible to quickly recover the purchase price and start seeing real savings if you dine with larger groups (up to 10) or dine at the more expensive restaurants. To save you the arithmetic, the break even for AP and DVC members is $500 and for Florida residents, it is $625. Anyone who spends much time dining at Disney World knows it does not take long to spend that.
The Main Benefits of the Tables in Wonderland membership are:
- 20% savings at almost every Table Service location in Walt Disney World.
- 20% savings at some Quick Service locations, including Flame Tree BBQ in Animal Kingdom, and the food courts at ALL the Value Resorts
- 20% savings on alcoholic beverages
Some additional Benefits of the TiW membership are:
- Complimentary Resort valet services if dining at that resort
- Complimentary Theme Park parking if dining at a participating restaurant in the theme park
- Members only special events, such as happy hours, dessert parties and dinners
- Note that when dining at QS locations you get a “Bonus” discount since there is no gratuity added
Not only do you get the above listed benefits, but in our experience TiW is just simpler to use and more flexible than the DDP. Unlike the Disney Dining Plan, using Tables in Wonderland goes something like this:
- Go to a participating location
- Tell your server you have Tables in Wonderland
- Order whatever you want.
- Eat, drink, and be merry.
- When the bill comes, hand your server your Tables in Wonderland card. When your server returns, the bill will be slightly less and will now include gratuity. Enjoy paying without having to get out your tip calculator.
- IMPORTANT: When the bill comes back it will show the included gratuity, however, there is still a place for you to add additional gratuity. The first time I used the card our server got about a 35% gratuity. You have been notified.
As an example, one evening we went to Hollywood Brown Derby near closing time just for drinks and dessert. We had a Grand Marnier Flight and two desserts. None of that would have been covered on the Disney Dining Plan, but with TiW we enjoyed a 20% discount.
Compared to the Dining Plan
This is not the case for everyone, but for us the Disney Dining Plan simply does not work well on a typical trip. It is usually more food than we can eat so we either don’t finish our meals or desserts, or end up with leftover credits at the end of our trip, which wastes money. Additionally, when on the dining plan, in order to maximize savings, we often find ourselves looking at the menu more for the most expensive items versus the items that may be more appealing to us. We also enjoy ordering just appetizers or simply relaxing and enjoying some of the unique adult drinks. Neither of those scenarios are covered at all by the DDP. If you are not big eaters, or if you like to have appetizers (or even dessert!) as your main course, then Tables In Wonderland may be a better option for you.
It can be difficult if your family splits up during the day and each group wants to use the card, or if the person whose name is on the card is not going to be eating with the group. In the past, restaurants were fairly strict about making sure that the card holder was present, but in our last few trips this has not been the case. To get an additional card for a spouse is $50, which means your break even point goes up another $250. A possible drawback of Tables in Wonderland for me is that the gratuity is an automatic 18%. There have been times when our server did not deserve an 18% tip. However, in this case, we could always just not use the card and then not leave a tip.
Where to Get It
The Tables in Wonderland membership can be purchased at Guest Relations at any of the four theme parks as well as Downtown Disney. You must be at least 21 years old.
The Fine Print
Block-out dates for Tables in Wonderland are Mothers Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. The Disney Website states that the membership is valid for one year from date of purchase.
However, every time we purchase it, it has been good until the last day of the month one year from the month after purchase. Confusing? So if we bought it any day in June 2013, it would be good until the end of July, 2014.
For official details regarding TIW, see the Disney TIW web page. This page is intended for Florida residents only and it may ask you for a zip code. Here is one that will work: 32801. You can also go to http://tablesinwonderland.com