Oldies and all other folks put quite a lot of time making decisions about many things before embarking on a Walt Disney World visit. One of these items is dining, after all, everyone has to eat. I’m going to give you some numbers to give you an idea what the Disney Dining Plan (DDP) costs per adult per night so you can compare the benefits of the DDP to the Tables In Wonderland Program.
The DDP includes 1 table service credit, one counter service credit, and one snack credit for approximately $46 per person per night. The Deluxe Dining Plan (DxDP) takes this to 3 table service credits and two snack credits per night and brings the cost to $79 per night. You may add the Wine and Dine package giving you 1 wine entitlement per night per room for an additional $40 per night. So if you like table service dining and go the whole route, the cost is approximately $99 per person per night (and does not include cocktails). Depending on your dining and beverage preferences this can add up quickly. Please remember that Disney Signature Restaurants require 2 credits per meal.
Enter Tables In Wonderland (TIW) which costs you a total of $100 ($75 if you are an Annual Passholder). What does this get you? You get a full 20% discount on food and beverage (yes alcohol too) purchases in most Disney Table Service Restaurants and many of the lounges. It is also important to note that in resorts with no table service restaurants the TIW discount of 20% also applies at the food courts. You can find a (lounges too). The discounts apply for the TIW card holder and 9 additional people. Technically, there can only be one guest check but you MAY be able to sweet talk your server into two if that’s how it works for you. Another important point, if you use TIW they automatically add an 18% gratuity based on the non discounted price of the meal (not at the food courts) after all, the server and staff have to work just as hard to serve a discounted meal as a discounted meal so in my opinion they should be compensated that way. Dinner Shows are also included but only for the last scheduled show of the day.
If you don’t eat at Signature restaurants and are disciplined enough to stick to only using the allotted dining credits on your visit then the DDP can be very economical. I do not have that kind of self control because there are way too many amazing dining experiences to be had at Walt Disney World. We have used TIW before and will be using it again on our October visit. It offers some distinct advantages that the DDP’s do not have. If you enjoy a cocktail as well as wine with your meals – 20% discount. If you enjoy Signature restaurants there is no penalty (no credits involved) – 20% discount. You are not forced to have extra food that you might not want, you order exactly what you want, no more or no less – 20% discount. I guess the only complaint I hear from people is that you don’t really get a 20% discount but only a 2% discount because of the included tip. I tell those folks that they will likely tip in the 18% range even on the DDP’s because that is the industry standard for the type of excellent service you get at a Disney Restaurant. I hope you find this information helpful and as always, enjoy your visit to Walt Disney World!!