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Old 02-22-2013, 07:49 PM   #1
Tigger1021
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Disney Dining Plan VS. Tables in Wonderland

Hey all,

We are planning a trip to WDW for November and are weighing DDP vs TIW. In the past, we have always used the DDP, but our last trip, we debated back and forth whether it was worth the cost. The more I look at things, the more I feel like the TIW card is the way to go. Figuring the cost of the DDP for 7 nights for 2 adults and 1 child was coming out around $900, and I just can't help but think that we would be spending far less on the TIW plan... Thanks to all in advance for your thoughts!
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:11 PM   #2
Wendybird55
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I'm figuring that very thing out now. I have TIW - got it in Oct. along with AP when our 4 day trip became 9 thanks to Sandy...now I'm making ADRS for our 10-day trip in August...we're renting DVC points so we have a bit of time to decide which dining plan to get....

TIW is good for only TS meals - so if you eat alot of CS it's not as good a value. We're thinking of getting DDP and use TIW for extra TS meals, appetizers if we want them and alchohol.

If on DDP you can use your TIW discount for any items not included on DDP such as alcohol and appetizers. Plus the snack credits and refillable resort mug you get on DDP are good values as you can't use TIW for those. DH gets up early and enjoys using the refillable mugs to get his morning coffee plus we do use them when we hang out at the pool or come back to the room.

We have usually done DXDP simply because DS is a picky eater and his favorite meal is breaksfast so we tend to have a sit down breakfast almost everyday as it's the one meal DS fills up on and enjoys and DH enjoys a TS dinner so we need to TS meals a day and DXDP with all the other extras was worth it, but always too much food. But now with TIW I think the better value is getting the DDP and use TIW for the extra breakfasts and such.

You can always go to allears and check out the menus to get a sense of how much your TS meals would cost if you paid OOP with TIW....With TIW add up the items, deduct the 20% discount and then add 0.65% tax to that number and that's what it will cost. DDP covers meal and tax. Gratuity for both TIW and DDP is based on the original total and that you pay for...the only difference is TIW automatically adds 18% gratuity.

I just figured the cost of our 9 breakfast ADRS using the top price listed on allears for the buffets with the TIW discount and the cost of the DDP plus those 9 extra TS meals on TIW is less than DXDP.

It all depends on the types of meals you want and enjoy. Most people tend to go less on breakfast, but I can't do that as that's the one meal I know my son will enjoy, eat and get his good nutrition for the day, so I need a meal plan as it does save for me.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:25 PM   #3
chloelovesdisney
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We've used the TIW card on the last 3 trips. I don't find the DDP to be that good of a deal anymore, more like just a prepaid food plan. Unless you order the most expensive item on the menu each time and dessert, you might as well just pay OOP imo. Since I like chicken and don't care for dessert with most meals, it's no deal for me.

We like to get salad with dinner and often a drink with dinner, so the TIW discount works well for us.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:26 PM   #4
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Via Napoli, Sci Fi, The Plaza, LTT for lunch, etc., come out to be not that much more expensive than a CS meal with the TIW card as well.
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:26 PM   #5
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glad you brought this up...have been trying to decide the same thing. biggest issue is when you save 20% but they automatically add back 18% for tip how long does it take/how much would you have to spend to make back the original investment of $125 plus saving any money on the meal?
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Old 02-22-2013, 08:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilQueenT
glad you brought this up...have been trying to decide the same thing. biggest issue is when you save 20% but they automatically add back 18% for tip how long does it take/how much would you have to spend to make back the original investment of $125 plus saving any money on the meal?
But wouldn't you pay around 18% tip regardless?

We have been thinking of doing TIW for our next three trips too. While we don't have a TS every night, it's almost that. For us we break even the first trip and gain the benefits in the next two trips.

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Old 02-23-2013, 12:45 AM   #7
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You will save more with Tables in Wonderland and you will be able to order whatever you want and not be limited to what is included on the dining plan. Yes...18% tip is included but you would tip anyway in addition to the dining plan so that should essentially be a wash. It would be a different story if tip was included with the dining plan but those days are long gone.

I got Tables in Wonderland last October when I got an annual pass. The cost was only $75 at that time (I think it may be more now). It paid for itself in three meals for me and my family (four of us all together). I usually tip 20% but since the 18% was automatically added I didn't add any more (none of the service stood out as exceptional that made me want to add more...though I would if it was). So I actually saved money on the tips too. Keep in mind too that TIW is not accepted if you get a Fantasmic dinner package since that's already considered a "discounted" meal...so it won't work on that. There are a couple of counter service locations (at Animal Kingdom I think) that DO accept the TIW discount.

All that said...I still prefer the dining plans...deluxe dining specifically. I just find the convenience for me far outweighs the possible difference in savings. I also think that for ME the dining plan does end up providing savings because I tend to eat like the dining plan is designed and I also tend to order the most expensive items on the menu...not BECAUSE they are the most expensive but just because that's the sort of food I like to eat. I also like having the meals prepaid and not having to worry about a big credit card bill when I come home. I find it helps me budget better and not have to worry about balancing a budget WHILE I am on vacation.

So I think it's worthwhile to think about ALL of these things and how they can impact your vacation...rather than strictly the savings. For some people...these additional things will mean nothing. For some like me they mean a great deal. If I had not stayed off site with my family in October I would not have gotten the TIW card and would have gotten the dining plan instead. Now that I have it and am planning 2 more trips this year with my annual pass...I will just use the TIW card and not get a dining plan. But after that I will be back to dining plans. I figure I might as well get as much as I can out of the TIW card and buying the dining plan would be silly since I already have the TIW card and everything is straight saving since the card has paid for itself (as had my annual pass).

I don't know if it would be worth it to get a TIW card for one trip (though mine paid for itself in one trip...guess it depends on the size of your group). I also had an annual pass and anticipated going back again at least twice more within the year. But to upgrade to an annual pass just to get the TIW card...then you'd REALLY have to run the numbers to see if it actually saves more money and if it is worth the extra costs. For me it was definitely a good value especially since we were staying offsite and then saved money on the parking each day (and of course I didn't have the option of the dining plan since we were offsite so it wasn't a decision of which one to do). I hope that makes sense...I do tend to ramble and I understand that not everyone will see things the way I do.
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Old 02-23-2013, 05:48 AM   #8
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The "break even" point for the TiW card if you're paying $125 for the card (AP Holders get it for $100) is $586.85. This is assuming you would be giving the server an 18% tip.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:08 AM   #9
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We always tip 20%, so having 18% added is a savings.
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:12 AM   #10
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We made the switch from the DDP to TIW a couple of trips ago and much prefer the TIW, especially since you get the discount on alcoholic beverages too!
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Old 02-23-2013, 08:47 AM   #11
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We stopped getting the DDP and switched to the TIW card a few years ago and have never looked back.

It is nice not to be locked into credits and making sure everything is "used."
It is nice to sometimes want an appetizer but not a dessert (and sometimes neither)
It is nice to get 20% off alcohol too.

TIW is just plain nice!
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:03 AM   #12
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My family will be doing a combination of DDP and TIW. Our situation is a little different, in that we have 3 kids that will still be Disney kids and the cost of the kids plan is relatively inexpensive, especially since we are doing a lot of character meals. We plan on using TIW to buy an extra kid's meal for DD2, at the 2 TS restaurants that have menus , get a couple of apps, and pay for "grown up" drinks.

TIW can work out so much better for families with only one child or older children 9+ that don't want 'kid's" meals and adult only trips. The other plus to using TIW instead of DDP, is you are not beholden to parameters of the DDP at TS. If you plan on doing mostly CS meals, you will not be able to use TIW ( the only CS places that accept TIW are at AK, and the value and I think some moderate resort food courts.)
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Old 02-23-2013, 10:14 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cinderumbrella View Post
We stopped getting the DDP and switched to the TIW card a few years ago and have never looked back.

It is nice not to be locked into credits and making sure everything is "used."
It is nice to sometimes want an appetizer but not a dessert (and sometimes neither)
It is nice to get 20% off alcohol too.

TIW is just plain nice!
We are switching to TiW for these reasons for our upcoming June trip. Our Kids are 11 & 16 and considered Disney Adults and while DS 16 eats like an adult DD 11 does not. She can share from our plates and be satisfied. We also do not want all the desserts on the dining plan. It is not our style. We prefer to get dessert in the parks.

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Old 02-23-2013, 10:34 AM   #14
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I tend to agree with catra121...TIW is good if you enjoy TS meals, but the DXDP is just as good a value.

DS is a pickey eater and breakfast is his favorite meal and we go to the buffets instead of CS as there is the most variety and amount for DS to enjoy. So with that alone DXDP is better for us...plus we enjoy appetizers more often than desserts...and a big secret with DXDP - yes it is alot of food, but you don't have to eat or order it all. You're still ahead of the game if you order 1 or 2 appetizers to split (depending upon size of group) and 1 or 2 desserts to split instead of 1 of each for everyone.

I just made my breakfast and dinner ADRS for our 10 day trip in August and am still debating on DXDP or DDP and TIW...Based on my calculations from the menus listed on allears...my 9 breakfasts, using the higher of the listed price range and including the TIW discount and sales tax will cost around $600 for myself, my son and DH. We will be going in August and with DDP we do get 1 snack each, but you can use them up quickly just on water in that hot weather so I figured another $100 for the 10 days for additional snacks such as water.

So when I figured the cost of the DDP plus the cost of OOP meals with TIW and additional snacks it was only $185 less than the cost of the DXDP for all of us. When figuring out TIW you must also consider the snacks and refillable mug you get with DDP & DXDP...especially if you're there when it's very hot, they come in handy and get used...and TIW doesn't offer discounts for this. Plus TIW is not good for certain specila meals. In Oct. we couldn't use it for the Fantasmic dinner package at Mama Melrose. Only for the wine ordered.

Every year as the diningp rices go up I always do price comparisons with DXDP and other plans or OOP and I always end up with DXDP because it offers the most flexibility and variety and I NEVER have to lay out any money for food the entire trip. I like the fact that I can purchase it before I leave and my food is all paid for before the trip and I won't be laying out money throughout the trip for food or getting credit card bills when I get home. And I never have to worry about where I make ADRS or eat or the prices of what is ordered.

Last year we had DXDP and we usually do CS for lunch...one afternoon DS wanted spaghetti for lunch and we were at Boardwalk area...there is no CS that offers spaghetti..but with DXDP not to worry...we went to Via Napoli they had availability for a walk in, we got seated right away - DS had his spaghetti and we had pizza..and DXDP paid for it all.

I never figure in tips with any of this, because no matter how you pay, you always have to tip so that's even across the board. We tend to tip 20% so the required 18% with TIW is no big deal...in fact we probably save some money as the tip is a bit less than we would usually leave.

Chances are we will go DXDP again this year and use TIW for alcohol. Yes, we can spend less on food at Disney and there are many things to do to save. Plus we are staying at 1 bedroom DVC so we have a kitchen. But when it comes to vacation, I prefer not to cook, we enjoy going out for meals and trying new places and the dining experiences are part of the Disney magic for us, so it's worth it to purchase the DXDP. For others it may be total overkill. What it comes down to is what you prefer when you travel. I find these boards and allears great resources for helping me figure out the best value for my family.
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Old 02-23-2013, 12:24 PM   #15
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Someone posted a great website with a spreadsheet that figured out how much money you could save with one vs the other. And I can't find it now...
But according to that, the dining plan would have cost of us more out of pocket, but TIW ended up saving us almost $200. We only eat dessert at the restaurant about half the time, my dad and I are big on soup and three of us only drink water, or sometimes I'll order alcohol.
Plus, my dad kept calling it The Wonderful Magical Tables Thing, which made it worth it on its own
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