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Visiting Walt Disney World is expensive. The most popular theme park resort in the world carries a stiff price tag, and the cost of a meal onsite is never cheap. While it is the happiest place on Earth, Walt Disney World is also the mecca of all tourist traps. Trying to feed your family without going broke on vacation can be challenging. Tables in Wonderland is a program that can help you mitigate some of the expense of a Disney meal.

1. What Is Tables in Wonderland?

Image © Disney

You are probably wondering what Tables in Wonderland is. The program formerly known as the Disney Dining Experience is a discount card you can purchase if you are a member of the Disney Vacation Club, a Disney Annual Pass holder or a resident of Florida.

The card entitles the user to a 20% discount at certain table and quick service restaurants at the various Disney properties in Orlando. In exchange for the discount, a gratuity of 18% is automatically added to the bill. Think of Tables in Wonderland as a 2% discount with tip already paid. Is that a good deal for you? The answer depends on your personal vacation behavior.

Tables in Wonderland will provide a discount for up to 10 guests, as long as one of them presents their membership card during the meal. In addition, it entitles people who are not staying at the park to free valet parking if you eat at a Disney resort. If you are eating at a Disney theme park, your parking will be validated after the meal. Again, all you must do is show your membership card in either instance.

Tables in Wonderland even provides an advantage over the Disney Dining Plan. That program does not include appetizers or alcoholic beverages in its pricing. With Tables in Wonderland, your 20% discount applies to the entire meal including appetizers and alcoholic beverages. If you enjoy your potent potables, it is the clear choice between the two programs.

2. What’s the catch?

Image © Disney

Tables in Wonderland is not free. Like many entertainment discount cards, there is a fee to purchase a membership card. Florida residents are charged $125 for an annual membership. DVC and annual pass holder members receive a discounted rate of $100. If that sounds like a lot of money for a 20% discount, you should take a moment to consider how much a table service meal at Disney costs.

3. Who benefits?

Image © Disney

A family of four, presuming two adults and two children, is likely to spend over $100 for a table service meal. Tables in Wonderland would save the family $20 every table service dining experience. Five table service meals effectively becomes the breakeven point for such a family. If you only travel in a party of two, the breakeven number is ten. If you ever dine in a party of 10 adults, you will probably earn back the initial cost of the card in savings after just a pair of meals, three at the most.

So, there is a lot of variation depending on the number of guests at your table. There are other factors as well. The number of days you spend at Walt Disney World is a key determinant. If you spent a lot of time in the park, the savings add up quickly. This is presumably why Florida residents are asked to pay more.

Over the course of a calendar year, you make the most out of a Tables in Wonderland membership by using it constantly. This statement also explains why the card is so popular with Disney Vacation Club members. People who own a lot of points are the out-of-towners who visit Walt Disney World the most. Tables in Wonderland effectively rewards them for their loyalty by providing a discount on Disney’s finest dining every time they eat.

What you have to do as a potential customer is determine how many days you will spend at Disney during a given year. Then, calculate if 20% of that total (factoring in gratuity) represents definite savings for you. For frequent guests who enjoy table services, the answer is almost definitely yes.

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Comments

Why would you consider this a 2% discount? I always plan on tipping at least 18% to 20% wherever I go. So, it's still a 20% discount card people. Clearly...you've never worked in hospitality.

We purchased our TIW card in August 2013 and it was good through September of 2014. Also, there are special dining events for cardholders several times throughout the year.

The name on the credit card used to pay for the meal must match the name on the Tables in Wonderland card. For example, not even the cardholder's wife can get the discount if paying with her credit card. Or a friend at the table cannot treat the cardholder to the meal and get the discount. This seems to be most strictly enforced at the buffets. At quick service or a bar no one really cares. Personally, I think this is an unfriendly rule, especially since it's advertised as being good for up to 10 people at the table. Otherwise, if you go to Disney a lot and eat regularly in table service restaurants, the card saves a lot of money.

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