Tables in Wonderland: Benefits, Tips & An Actual Savings Report

Tables in Wonderland is a membership card that gives you 20% off of your ticket at most restaurants in Walt Disney World. When I say your entire ticket, I mean it…you get 20% off of food, drinks and alcohol. Yes, alcohol.

TIW Savings Card
While many of you may have already left to go purchase a TIW card at the mere sound of discounted alcohol, I will continue on with the rest of the benefits.

Epcot Canada Beer

It is available to Florida Residents, Annual/Seasonal Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. Unfortunately, membership rates recently went up. But hey, isn’t that how Disney works? Currently, it’s $100 for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members and $125 for Florida Residents. You can find a list of current restaurants participating in TIW by going to the following page:

http://www.tablesinwonderland.com

The card also comes with a small booklet with the current participating restaurants and other benefits, so you can always have that info at your fingertips.

Tables in Wonderland-3-2This past year was our second time using TIW. We definitely benefited from having the card the first time, but we didn’t keep a detailed list of our savings. I just knew what amount we needed to spend to break even and once we reached it, I stopped keeping track and just kept spending, spending and saving.

We purchased our TIW card last year when it was only $75 for Annual Passholders and DVC members (and $100 for Florida Residents). That meant we would have to spend $375 pre-discount and pre-tax to break even and recoup the cost of the membership before it was truly pure savings.

($375 x 20% = $75)

We purchased it at the beginning of May 2012 and it expired June 30, 2013, so we got about 14 months of use. We went on 3 trips to Walt Disney World during that time. Normally, we would have gone more often, but we took a little hiatus after our son was born.

Here is the breakdown of our cost savings each trip and in total:

Tables in Wonderland Savings Chart As you can see, we saved more than we spent to purchase the card and came out ahead by $71.27. While it’s not the most astronomical savings, that was just for 2 adults and I’ll take any discount I can get!

Via Napoli 2

Here are some of our thoughts and tips regarding Tables in Wonderland.

Pros

  • The obvious and main benefit is the savings. 20% is a pretty good discount, especially since it’s on everything, including alcohol. So if you prefer to eat at table service restaurants or like to run up your adult-drink tab, than you should break-even in no time to start raking in the savings.
  • It can be used pretty much everywhere, including some food courts at the hotels…so you can get a discount on your resort refillable mug and anything else you can purchase in the food court.
  • This is a great option for those of us that don’t want to do the Disney Dining Plan or want to get an additional discount on non-DDP items, like alcohol. We are Annual Passholders, so we never get the option of free dining, because we already have tickets and wouldn’t book a Magic Your Way package needed to get free dining. We also like the flexibility of TIW, as opposed to the DDP. We think that the DDP would force us to eat much more food than we’d want. With TIW, we can almost anywhere we want and order whatever we want (including alcohol and dessert) and get 20% off.

50s Prime Time

  • You get free parking at the parks for dining purposes only and free valet parking at resorts. Just don’t be like me and forget that you get this benefit. We paid for valet once and then forgot we had it another time…trust me, this seems like the longest walk EVER after a buffet meal.

Beach Club

  • A Lapu Lapu at the Polynesian? A margarita at La Hacienda de San Angel? A Shandy at Rose & Crown? A glow drink at…well just about anywhere? 20% off…bam!

Glow drinks

  • It makes tipping easier. Since it automatically adds an 18% tip (20% at Victoria & Albert’s), I don’t even think about a tip. You have the option to tip more if you want to. No tip is added at participating counter service locations.
  • The discount can be used for up to 10 people on the same ticket. This benefit is perfect for large families. I’m sure the savings on a family ticket is huge, let alone a year’s worth.

Cons

  • We often found ourselves TRYING to make ADRs for as many table-service restaurants as possible in order to maximize our TIW savings. Sure, we love eating at table-service restaurants and more times than not we’d rather eat there over a quick-service (or counter-service) location, but I wonder how much more we actually spent on meals because we were trying to eat at more expensive table-service locations as opposed to quick-service. Lots of table-service meals means much more time revolved around eating and less time for park fun. Of course, that’s not always a bad thing, but definitely something to consider.

1900 Park Fare Breakfast

  • The price increase. At the AP and DVC rate of $100, we would now need to spend $500 pre-discount to break even:($500 x 20% = $100)

    Florida residents would need to spend $625

    ($625 x 20% = $125)

  • Some locations still don’t accept it. Some places I can think of include Contempo Café in the Contemporary Resort, Rainforest Café, T-Rex and most quick-service locations. My tip is to always ask the cast member when you’re checking out. My usual question is “Do you offer any Annual Pass or Tables in Wonderland discounts?” The cast member will never ask you if you have either of those. Why would Disney try to give you a discount if they didn’t have to? I used to ask “Do you offer any type of discount?” but they would always respond with “Like what?” and I would have to specify. So I changed my question to save time and effort. After all, I have more fun and shopping to be had!
  • There are blackout dates: Mothers Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
  • No renewal discount. Each year, you have to purchase a new membership at full cost.
  • There is a $50 replacement fee for the card. Wow…do NOT lose the card.

So whether you choose Tables in Wonderland, the Disney Dining Plan or just plan to wing it, I hope you enjoy every bite of that delicious Disney food!

Cape May Cafe Shortcake

First Disney Trip-317.jpg

Lynn Svenson blogs over at ThePhotographersWife.com, where you can read her most recent Disney World trip report that includes LOTS of photos. While you’re there, you can check out crafts, recipes, parenting of a future Disney-fanatic, reviews and giveaways. Join her as she just tries to survive until the next Disney trip!

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