If you dine often at Walt Disney World restaurants, and are a Florida resident, Annual Passholder, or Disney Vacation Club member, there’s a money-saving card called Tables in Wonderland. I believe they call it this because only in Alice’s Wonderland could you save money at Disney by presenting a small piece of plastic. Normally, when you present a piece of plastic at the end of a Disney meal, the charges don’t mysteriously disappear, you just don’t have to pay them for about 30 days.
The Tables in Wonderland card offers a 20% discount off all food and beverage (including alcohol) for up to 10 people at most table-service Walt Disney World restaurants. While a charge of 18% gratuity is added to all Tables in Wonderland table service transactions, most parties are tipping at or around 18% anyway, so it’s not merely a “2% discount” as some people claim. (The discount is taken and then the gratuity is added based upon the pre-discount amount. The gratuity is not based on the post-discount amount, meaning that you do not “save” on gratuity, too.)
The Tables in Wonderland card is valid for a year from the month of purchase (as opposed to being valid for a calendar year), and it actually expires on the last day of the month one year from the month during which it is purchased. Meaning that if you purchased the Tables in Wonderland card on December 1, 2017, it would be valid until December 31, 2018. This means it essentially could be valid for ~13 months if you time it right.
Tables in Wonderland isn’t quite as magical as I might have implied above, as it does cost $150 for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members, and $175 for Florida residents and has some blockout dates (Mother’s Day, Easter Sunday, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, with some specific locations having additional block-out dates).
One of the big downsides of Tables in Wonderland is that a lot of newer restaurants don’t accept it immediately. So, if you’re a local or regular who likes to dine at the latest restaurants in the parks or at Disney Springs, that’s one bummer. For example, Frontera Cocina, The Boathouse, STK, and Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto do not yet accept the card. Recently, several popular new restaurants did start accepting the card, including Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen, Nomad Lounge, and Tiffins. These are several of our favorite new restaurants at Walt Disney World, so we were quite pleased by this news.
Unfortunately, Victoria & Albert’s no longer accepts Tables in Wonderland. There are the additional blockouts, which are applicable to 1900 Park Fare, Chef Mickey’s, ‘Ohana (Dinner Only), Cinderella’s Royal Table, Les Chefs de France, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, and Le Cellier Steakhouse. These dates are not available yet for 2017, but expect them to be around the busy holiday seasons (think spring break, Easter, Memorial Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas/New Year’s). We will update this once Disney releases the blockout dates for 2017.
Despite the cuts, most frequent guests will still get a good amount of savings out of the card. If you aren’t a Florida Resident, Annual Passholder, or Disney Vacation Club Member, the program unfortunately is not open to you. I guess that means it’s time for you to move to Florida?! 😉
In addition to the 20% savings at Table Service restaurants, a Tables in Wonderland card entitles you to the following benefits:
- complimentary valet (and standard) resort parking (if dining at the resort)
- complimentary theme park parking after 5:00 pm (if dining at the park)
- access to member-only special Food and Wine events, winemaker dinners, and celebrity chef dinners, and other events throughout the year
In addition to the above-mentioned blockout dates, it is also important to note that some Disney Springs restaurants don’t accept the card or only offer a 10% discount with it. Also, some Counter Service restaurants (Flame Tree BBQ, for the win!) offer a Tables in Wonderland discount. As these restaurants change yearly based on the contracts signed with each restaurant, it’s best to refer to Disney’s Tables in Wonderland page before your trip to determine what discount you’ll receive at each restaurant you visit.
Since you could find the above information in a multitude of places online, I’m assuming you’ve come here for our thoughts on the Tables in Wonderland card. In light of the price of the Tables in Wonderland card and the discount offered, the break-even point for a Florida resident breaks is $875 at Table Service restaurants, and an Annual Passholder’s break-even point is $750 spent at Table Service restaurants. If you’ve ever paid for Table Service restaurants at Walt Disney World out of pocket, you know that you can probably break-even within only a few meals!
With that said, you’re probably wondering how the Tables in Wonderland card compares to the Disney Dining Plan for saving money. My biggest criticism of the Disney Dining Plan is that it offers too much food for most people and is unnecessarily complicated. Nothing is as simple as paying out-of-pocket for the food you want, when and where you want it. The Tables in Wonderland Card works well for this “strategy.”
However, if the Disney Dining Plan (1 Table Service meal consisting of an entree, dessert, and drink, 1 Counter Service meal consisting of a combo, drink, and dessert, and 1 Snack per day for the standard plan) matches your eating habits, that might very well be better for you. For us, Tables in Wonderland works better because it allows us to “eat as we please.”
We can order an appetizer if we want, skip dessert, get 3 snacks per day, etc. We don’t feel as confined to a specific eating pattern and schedule with Tables in Wonderland. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer as to which is better for your party, so doing the numbers based on your specific dining style is a must.
You may find that even if you’re a frequent user of the Disney Dining Plan, there still may be value in purchasing the Tables in Wonderland card if you eat at Disney restaurants enough! This is because the card can be used on alcohol and appetizers, so if would order these items with your Disney Dining Plan meals, and you eat enough appetizers or drink enough alcohol, you can come out ahead. Just think of it as an booze “rewards” card for Disney! Plus, since it’s accepted at some restaurants where the Disney Dining Plan is not, you can benefit by using it in these locations.
Sarah and I actually first purchased Tables in Wonderland for a trip during which we’d be using the Disney Dining Plan! For our honeymoon, we wanted to experience Victoria & Albert’s and California Grill, in addition to using the Disney Dining Plan, but the former is not on the Dining Plan, and the latter offers poor value on the Dining Plan. Back then, Tables in Wonderland cost $75 (and this was not that long ago!) so it made complete sense to buy the card and use it a couple of days in lieu of the Dining Plan.
During those two days, we ate at Victoria & Albert’s, California Grill, and Beaches and Cream. The savings on our dinner at Victoria & Albert’s came close to paying for the card, with the savings at California Grill easily putting us “in the black” on Tables in Wonderland. We used the card again at Christmas, and again in May, and saved well over one-thousand dollars in those three trips by utilizing the card.
We have had it every year since, and seen the card gradually creep up in cost. Every year we have gotten enough value to justify the purchase (we do the math), but with the latest price increase making it cost $150 (for us as Disney Vacation Club members) after our last renewal, it’s going to be tough to justify buying it again. The break-even point is high, and as menu prices continue to rise to provide illusory value for the Disney Dining Plan, we find ourselves eating fewer and fewer table service meals.
Obviously, your mileage may vary on the Tables in Wonderland card, and you should really do the math to determine if it’s right for you. If you really love the table service restaurants at Walt Disney World, what’s better than an excuse to eat an extra meal at Flying Fish, Jiko, or Kona Cafe because you need to save more money?! 😉
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? If you’re interested in learning more about hotels, our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page is a good place to start. For where to eat, try out our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews page. If you want to save money on tickets or determine which type you should get, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. OurWhat to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at unconventional things you should take on your trip. Once you arrive at the parks, our Walt Disney World “Ride Guides” are great for determining what to do and when to do it.
For overviews of all of these topics and so much more, the best place to start is our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
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What do you think of the Tables in Wonderland Card? Is it worth the money for your traveling party, or do you go for the Disney Dining Plan (or something else) instead? Share your thoughts in the comments!