View Full Version : Tables in Wonderland or DDP - Which is better value?

08-29-2012, 03:37 PM

Just planning ahead for next year. I'm thinking it might be better to upgrade our 2-day pass for this OCT to Annual passes since we are now planning a longer trip next Aug. We usually rent DVC and purchase dining plan. The last few years we did DXDP as DS loves character breakfasts and it's the one meal we know he eats and when figuring out cost of DDP plus OPfor extra st downs and DXDP - DXDP always seemed the better value...but it is WAY TOO MUCH FOOD! Plus the prices have gone up again - considerably - for next year.

So now that I'm looking at Annual Pass I notice TIW benefit and was wondering if that would be better than paying for DDP and some OPs..

In a perfect world..on most days we would probably prefer a sitdown breakfast (usually character buffet) and then snack in afternoon and sitdown dinner. Would TIW save us a good amount of money? Is TIW onl good for TS restauarants...can you use it in stores for snacks or at CS? DS loves his Mickey bars....

08-29-2012, 03:51 PM
Every family is different.

For us TiW is a better deal. Were are DVC so breakfast is in the room on most days. During our sit downs we share an appetizer get our meals and have dessert later that night so it does not pay. I would recommend that you look at the menus and price out 2-3 days of meals and see which one works best for you.

08-29-2012, 06:55 PM
Are all / most DDP restauratns also included with TIW? and what about CS. I know we would would order much less is not on DXDP...you just feel compelled to order it all since it's included. Usually we like to split and appie and dessert....or sometimes just have appies and no dessert. We also tend to do more buffet family style meals as they work best for my son and sometimes the choices on the kids menu don't work for DS where as there may be an appetizer or something else on menu he would rather eat.

I guess I'm just curious about CS as we don't want to eat TS all the time and what about nacks...are there any discounts there? We will stay DVC as well and can order case of water for room and snacks..I was also thinking of doing breakfast in room since we will stay DVC...but DS really enjoys the character breakfasts and being a picky eater it's the one meal I know he will eat...so we tend to do them...

Also...if I upgrade my 2-day tkts to PH the day we arrive in Oct. can I also purchase TIW then as well so I can use it on that trip as well?


08-29-2012, 08:00 PM
Almost all TS locations take TiW. Very few CS locations. You can see the list at www.tablesinwonderland.com.

08-29-2012, 08:08 PM
TIW works best for us. We mostly use TS. Usually have apps with dinner and never have dessert. Plus we like to have drinks in a lounge before dinner and drinks or wine with dinner. Sometimes drinks in the lounge after dinner :)

08-30-2012, 12:18 PM
Thanks for the link..there are alot of restaurants included which is great and the alchohol discounts will also helps as DH enjoys a glass of wine with meals.

Sorry to have so many questions, but here's another...in calculating the value / savings for us how do they apply the discount?

Do they discount the meal charges then apply taxes to the discounted price?
Say your bill was $100.00 - do they discount it to $80 then charge taxes on $80...or do they charge taxes on $100 then discount the total?

Also I am assuming that 18% gratuity is on the full amount as opposed to the discounted amount...and the cost is added afterand not before taxes...

So if the bill was $100...would this be correct:

$100.00 for food
20.00 tiw discount

$80.00 Food bill with discount
5.20 Tax on $80
$18.00 $18% gratuity for $100.

Total with TIW discount: 103.20 - Did I calculate properly?

Same without TIW would be $124.50 so a savings of $21.30 with TIW...


08-30-2012, 12:19 PM
I believe that calculation is correct.

08-30-2012, 12:36 PM
We are also doing TIW instead of DDP next trip June 2013.

I am excited! I won't feel obligated to eat meals if I do not want to like on DDP.

I have also done a lot of research on restaurant pricing. I even did a mini run through of what it would approximately cost at each restaurant, I estimated High on everything.

I plan to buy gift cards and charge meals to the room and then pay them off with gift cards. We are going to save most of our souvenir purchases until the end of the trip just in case we do not use some of the money on gift cards.

I got most of this advice from here on the DIS.


08-30-2012, 01:34 PM
Every family is different, so what works for me may not work for you.

I used the menus on allears.net and planned out what a few days worth of meals would cost us using TIW and then I compared that to what the dining plan would cost.

For us, TIW is a better deal. We eat TS at least once a day, sometimes twice. We usually do CS for lunch and my kids often share the CS meals.

DH & I enjoy wine with dinner, so TIW helps there.

08-30-2012, 01:47 PM
I believe the break even point for savings on the TIW card for an AP holder is a little less than $350 spent on meals. The expert, Cheshire Figment I believe, puts it at a little under $350 when you calculate taxes and all but they have a very mathematical approach to determining the exact amount spent on actual meals that the TIW card is paid in full and you begin to reap your discount. If you do a search you may find some of the threads where they have detailed this information.

As for TIW discounts at CS. The ones that definitely take it are:
All the CS in AK except I think the one connected to Yak & Yeti.
Food Courts at all the All Star resorts, Pop Century, Art of Animation, PORFQ & Artist Palette at SSR.
I also received the discount at Cooke's of Dublin last year. This is the CS attached to Raglan Road at DTD and is not on the official list.

08-30-2012, 01:49 PM
We are a dining plan family. But after this next trip one of our kids will be 10. So I doubt we will do the dining plan. She eats very little, our 4 year old eats more than she does. I think it depends on your family. I just like the $$ done ahead of time one less thing.

08-30-2012, 05:49 PM
The dining plan has skyrocketed in price so much in the last few years that I swore that I would use the TIW card .....but I still think that the dining plan works well for our family. I usually have 2-3 cups of coffee and 2 other drinks per day and with the refillable mug included that adds up to a savings of $10/day. Since we usually go on cruises or all inclusive vacations, we are accustomed to eating well on our vacations. And since we walk a lot at WDW we work up an appetite.
We dont save much, but I like the freedom that the plan gives us.

08-30-2012, 09:42 PM
After this past trip (just got back last wek) even though it more than paid for itself DXDP was WAY too much food...even with using the majority of snack credits for water as it was hot in the parks...plus looking at the price increase for next year...forget about it.

We're doing DDP in Oct for our short 4-day trip as we get free dining so why not?

And looking ahead to our possible 10-day trip next Aug. - I think upgrading in Oct. to AP will be a good deal especially with TIW as I agree with others it's nicer to choose how you want to order off the menu..sometimes an appetizer is enough for a meal....and many times I prefer to order an appetizer and entree and skip dessert plus you're not concerned about making sure you use all your credits and that your child has to order from the children's menu.

Thanks for all the info...it's been very helpful!

Ro Z
08-30-2012, 10:04 PM
A friend of mine gets free dining for all 4 adults in one room at CB. I think that is a good deal for them. But we have 3 adults and get an AP discount of say $120 a night and use TIW . I think this is a better deal for us. Because we don't always get dessert, or maybe split one. Ect. I think on the DP you actually pay more in tips! We also don't like to be tied down to ressies every night. Depends on what you are looking for. And if you drinkit is always gonna help you save $$!

08-30-2012, 10:37 PM
Wendybird..we're deciding the exact same thing. We rent DVC and purchase the dining plan...but the prices keep going up every year. Next year the dxdp is almost $100 per day per person. Next year I will be purchasing an AP and TIW. With TIW we can order whatever we want and won't feel the need to make sure we're getting our money's worth. We usually do dxdp but this year we are doing regular because it is too much food with food and wine festival. But now the problem lies with..dbf is an appetizer kinda guy and probably won't order dessert. So, we'll still be paying oop for appy's. I never had a problem with not making the full use of the plan but the prices are becoming ridiculous. I think we're going to try TIW next yr and just put aside the amount of money we would've spent for the dining plan and use it to pay for meals...and see which way works out better. Not to mention...the discount applies to your alcohol also.

08-30-2012, 11:53 PM
We've used TiW for many years, even before it was called TiW! For the way we eat as a family it is a much better deal for us. We like to have appetizers, sometimes share entrees, and hardly ever get dessert. We also like to have wine with our dinner sometimes. TiW gives us much more flexibility than the DDP would.

The one time we had the dining plan (got it for free), it was a lot more record keeping than I cared for.....planning what was 1 credit vs. 2 credits, etc. We also ended up with a lot of food that we just weren't able to eat. We took many desserts back to our room and accumulated them in the refrigerator. At the end of the trip it was a shame to see what we had to throw out. ::MinnieMo

08-31-2012, 09:43 AM
Yea, I use to enjoy the dining experience as part of my trip and as I still do, it's just getting to be too much food and the dining plan is getting expensive and with all the ADR planning to intrusive on our trip. Because you pay so much you feel onbligated to order all items and eat all credits because you want to get your money's worth and I just felt like a stuffed suasage this entire trip! Plus I am preferring spending the $ on other things like a fishing trip or mini golf or illuminations cruise...

And staying at DVC we have the option of having breakfast in the room in the morning....though I must admit breakfast is my favorite meal on vacation.

And because we tend to eat so much at our meals I haven't had the chance in the past few years to enjoy some of the yummy snacks in the world as I'm way too filled to eat them. At times I would rather have a Mickey Bar or rice krispy treat or try a dole whip in the park than a dessert at a meal. And we are planning a longer trip this summer because we want to relax and enjoy a slower pace..hit the parks in the morning get out by 11-12 then enjoy an afternoon at the pool or mini golfing or DTD or whatever...and yes I agree having to worry about making ADRS can be annoying. Plus this past trip (Aug 19-23) we ended up changing some of our dining plans and were able to get new ADRS and even walk ups easily. Got a walk in at Viva Napoli for lunch (good thing we were on DXDP then as I think this place is overpriced) and also got a walk up at Portobellos even though when I called WDW Dine I was told there was nothing available.

So I think I'm leaning towards updating 2-tkt to annual pass when we arrive in Oct. this way I have PH options for 3 days and can enter park as early as I want on day we arrive as we only have MNSSHP tkts that day and I hope I can purchase TIW at that time as well as since this is partly a B'day gift for DS we have some extra ADRS at his favorite places (such as Chef Mickey's) so the 20% will help and since DDP we have is free who cares if we don't use some CS credits.

Sometimes I feel like an accountant figuring out all the pricing, tkt and dining options available when planning a disney trip.......

08-31-2012, 11:07 AM
Can I use DDP and TIW together? For example, if I order appetizers or adult beverages along with my entree and dessert, can I apply the DDP towards the items that are covered and then used my TIW discount for the things that aren't like the apps and adult bevies?

08-31-2012, 11:16 AM
We were in the same spot trying to decide what to do. We are DVC members and buy APs but we used to always do dxddp we decided this trip to just do tiw because for us we've decided we want to eat how we want. Maybe it won't work out but maybe we will find we love it and will never go back to the dining plan either way it is worth a shot to know. Good luck with your decision and have an amazing trip!!!

08-31-2012, 01:32 PM
Can I use DDP and TIW together? For example, if I order appetizers or adult beverages along with my entree and dessert, can I apply the DDP towards the items that are covered and then used my TIW discount for the things that aren't like the apps and adult bevies?

Yes you can. Just let your server know you want to use the TIW toward what isn't included in the DDP.

08-31-2012, 01:45 PM
It totally depends on how your family dines. The DDP is not a good fit for us. Too limiting with choices, too much food, we don't each have a dessert twice a day etc......the TiW will be a much better fit for our family. :thumbsup2

08-31-2012, 02:09 PM
TIW fits how we eat when we are at Disney. We eat breakfast a few times and TS lunches and maybe a snack in the evening. We rarely eat deserts and sometimes just have an app and a drink at a TS location.

08-31-2012, 02:25 PM
I had written about the TiW card on my blog, you may find it helpful, I went over the pros and cons to the program, break even points etc. We have the TiW card and use it all the time. http://wp.me/p1RJwY-2b

08-31-2012, 03:15 PM
do you get a discount on character meals???? thanks in advance

08-31-2012, 03:35 PM
do you get a discount on character meals???? thanks in advance

Yes. Www.Tablesinwonderland.com previously posted lists the locations.

09-05-2012, 12:48 PM
Yes you can. Just let your server know you want to use the TIW toward what isn't included in the DDP.

Thank you!!!:goodvibes

09-05-2012, 03:44 PM
My family is using TiW for the first time next trip. Its good for us because we stay off site so we don't have a choice of the DDP. Also, since my winter trip will be offsite and my spring trip will be onsite, it will keep saving us money!

Its not unusual for my family's dining bill to be close to $300 (there's 7 of us immediately..and we usually bring friends to the world with us so it adds up super quick!)

I actually spent a few hours one night pretending I was on the dining plan. I looked at the places I would eat at, and checked out the menus. If I paid out of pocket without the TiW card I would be spending less money than the DDP...so I figure going the TiW route would be a big money saver for me (especially since im fitting two trips on it!)