Disney Dining Plan or Tables In Wonderland? Help me decide.

michelleiada

DIS Veteran
Joined
May 12, 2006
Our next trip is in the making, May 10 - 20th. There will be myself and my husband, my daughter (26) and her newly wed husband, and my younger daughter (24), and her boyfriend. We always do the Disney Dining Plan and love it, however, some have suggested Tables In Wonderland may be a better option. Now that the kids are adults, the last few trips we spent a lot of money on alcohol and purchased some appetizers which were not included in the dining plan. We always pay for everything. We also very much enjoy signature dining and would love to try Shula’s which is not included in the dining plan. Would love to hear what others think would be the best option given our circumstances. Would it be worth it to do both the dining plan AND Tables In Wonderland?
 
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DisneyCowgirl

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jan 16, 2004
I run the numbers every trip and almost never find the dining plan to be the best deal. But what I really like about using TIW instead is that I can order whatever I want instead of being restricted to entree and dessert. I usually prefer an appetizer over dessert. Sometimes I want 2 appetizers and no entree. Sometimes I want the cheapest thing on the menu and the dining plan would make me feel guilty about that.
 

mort1331

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 15, 2012
Remeber you have till 48 hours before check in to decide. If you know where your eating you could run the numbers and see.
 
  • gillep

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Oct 12, 2009
    Much prefer OOP with TIW. We can eat what we want where we want and not worry if the location accepts the dining plan or if what we want to eat is included. I prefer appetizers to entrees, specific alcoholic beverages that are not included on the plan such as wine flights or bottles, and lounges to most of the TS restaurants, so paying OOP works better for us.
     

    Sandisw

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2008
    Given that there are 6 of you and TIW is good a year, I’d go with it over the dining plan, especially given the fact you said you spent money on alcohol last time.
     

    Dean Marino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2015
    And one thing to remember..... do NOT split up, with TIW. The cardholder must be present - and he/she must pay the bill. What happens afterwards is the cardholder's choice :).

    DW & I have had TIW for a decade plus. But it's value also depends on WHERE you prefer to dine. We destroy the system by going to SIGS, every night :).
     

    kshark1958

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    May 26, 2011
    Switched from DDP to TIW six years ago and never looked back. Saved my receipts from every meal on my first two trips with TIW as compared to DDP and definitely did better with TIW. We always have at least four people in our group sometimes six. We go for seven nights every other year. You have six people in your group I would definitely do TIW. The only sad note about TIW is that most QS restaurants in the parks don't take it. Even with that sad note you still save more money then DDP.
     

    ScubaCat

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    May 12, 2008
    Another thing to keep in mind is the signature restaurants now restrict what you can order, some pretty significantly. (see "enhancements" on the dining forums) That's another major negative to the dining plan that wasn't a factor in the past.
     

    k_hase

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jun 18, 2002
    Even with just two adults we do better on TIW than on DDP. However, if you aren't a drinker or a sit down meal family I would run some numbers. We also try to go on 2-3 trips every other year, making it much easier to get our value out of the card. The first $750 on wine/food is just getting your money back on the cost of TIW, after that you are saving money. With 6 adults I'd imagine that won't take long!!! I wish I had a specific set of numbers, but I'll estimate: In August we ate at Jiko, Skippers, Spice Rd, as well as the bar at AKL and Beach Club, and Flame Tree BBQ; At each meal we had several plates (usually two apps and dinner, or 1 app and 2 entrees, or at spice rd, 4-5 apps), a kids meal, and two bottles of wine. Those meals would have cost me on the DDP b/c they don't fit the parameters and I would have paid full price for wine.

    We're going back in Nov, but won't get much from the card--our one dinner is Monsieur Paul, but we'll stop at the AKL bar for sure.

    In February we're going with another couple, with three dinners planned, and the rest remaining to be seen. Having vacationed with this family before, for sure 3 bottles at dinner, plus multiple apps.
     

    Edna K. Mode

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jan 21, 2019
    TIW for sure with your party size and dining habits. The discount is good on everything, including alcohol, at participating restaurants. Check the list of those participating to see how many locations you would plan to dine at, then add up what your likely bill would be at a few to see what you would potentially save. Even with the automatic 18% gratuity added for TIW, you still save money, the TIW pays for itself quickly. My family of 6 paid for the card and started into savings on a 9 day trip in May/June. You can order what you want and still save. We find the DDP too restrictive, we’ve used it 2 times in the past, but have found it to be too confusing, too restrictive and we usually ended up with lots of unused snack and QS credits at the end.
     

    Maistre Gracey

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 23, 2002
    Booze included, even if only going to the bar.
    Add in free valet parking....

    We do Tables. That said, we live here so we eat & drink at the restaurants a bit more often than the average.
     

    crazywig

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2001
    TiW is the only discount Shula's takes. With your party size, the discount on that meal alone is worth getting the card. The card is also good for 13 months so if you generally vacation at the same time each year you can get two trips out of it.
     

    Chuck S

    DVC Co-Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2000
    I've never gotten the Dining Plan numbers to work in my favor. I do look them over before every trip.
     

    Ms.Minnie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2004
    Another vote for TIW. We have been getting it for years and we always make out very well. We like table service restaurants for dinner and the occasional breakfast, the dining plan requires you get more food then we care to eat plus no alcohol. This year we will be there for 14 days and our DD, DSIL and 2 GC will be with us for the first week so it will definitely pay for itself plus I will use it again next year.

    Just remember that the tip is already included on the bill, the card holder has to be present while dining so if your kids decide to dine by themselves that will be on them.
     

    Chuck S

    DVC Co-Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Feb 6, 2000
    Another vote for TIW. We have been getting it for years and we always make out very well. We like table service restaurants for dinner and the occasional breakfast, the dining plan requires you get more food then we care to eat plus no alcohol. This year we will be there for 14 days and our DD, DSIL and 2 GC will be with us for the first week so it will definitely pay for itself plus I will use it again next year.

    Just remember that the tip is already included on the bill, the card holder has to be present while dining so if your kids decide to dine by themselves that will be on them.

    Just to clarify, the Dining Plan does now include 1 alcoholic beverage with a meal, in locations that offer them, but I still can't get the numbers to work.

    Beverages:
    Guests under 21 years of age can choose one nonalcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). Guests 21 and older can choose either one nonalcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one single-serving mixed cocktail, beer or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement. A single-serving nonalcoholic beverage includes items such as:

    • Artisanal Milkshakes
    • Fresh Smoothies
    • Premium Hot Chocolate
    • Soda, Coffee or Tea
    A single-serving alcoholic beverage includes items such as:

    • Beer or Cider
    • Wine or Sangria
    • Mixed Drinks and Specialty Cocktails
    Most beer, wine and mixed drink beverages included, some exceptions apply. Guests 21 and older must present valid ID to be served alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages may only be redeemed with a Quick-Service or Table-Service meal entitlement.
     

    CanadaDisney05

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 20, 2017
    While the DDP can work in some very specific scenarios, I almost never find it worth it. IMO it's like buying an extended warranty. While it does provide a hard cap (aside from tip) in how much you can spend, Disney is not dumb. They've run the numbers. The house doesn't lose. They know that more often than not, you will spend more on the DDP than paying OOP.

    What real benefit does the DDP give anyways. It just protects you from going over budget. But unlike a true all-inclusive package where the results can vary based on how much you end up ordering, the DDP limits the quantity you can order. Even if you do spend more OOP than on the DDP, its very unlikely that it will be by a truly material amount.

    If 90% of the time your going to spend less OOP, but that one time your only saving 10%, did you really gain anything?

    Edit: All of what I said above is true without TIW. With it, I don't see how it can even be possible for DDP to beat TIW
     
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    Ms.Minnie

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 29, 2004
    I stand corrected about the alcohol, this must be something fairly new. The last time I check alcohol wasn't an option. I still feel for my family TIW works out much better and I would recommend it to my friends and family if they qualify and especially if they can get more than one trip out of it.
     

    BillPA

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Sep 7, 1999
    With 10 nights and 6 adults the quick service plan will run, 2019 prices $3,150
    The standard 1 TS plan will run $4,529 and the deluxe plan will be $6,975.
    That's a lot of money for food. Plus with 6 adults if you have any adult beverages, TIW will knock off 20% on that too.
     
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    Dean Marino

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 3, 2015
    I will suggest a situation where DDP works well.....

    You have many little ones. The "Chicken Nugget" crowd, vs the "Filet" crowd. Children get hungry ALL the time... so, an argument for VOLUME, vs quality. Here? DDP can serve you well :).

    PS - not us. We are a Retired couple, children grown :). Even my eldest Son won't touch DDP :).
     

    Matty B13

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jun 13, 2016
    I will suggest a situation where DDP works well.....

    You have many little ones. The "Chicken Nugget" crowd, vs the "Filet" crowd. Children get hungry ALL the time... so, an argument for VOLUME, vs quality. Here? DDP can serve you well :).

    PS - not us. We are a Retired couple, children grown :). Even my eldest Son won't touch DDP :).
    We have 3 little kids, so the Dining Plan makes since, with the caveat that we use the kids quick service credits for only adult quick service meals and have the kids split the meal, that way we get an adult breakfast and an adult lunch for our 3 kids and are saving the other credits.
     

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