Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping At Walt Disney World

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One of the most frequent areas of confusion for Disney guests is the topic of tipping. International guests may be unfamiliar with American tipping in general. There are some Disney travel situations where guests tip differently than at other travel destinations. And some folks are just plain miffed that they have to tip at all.

With an aim at reducing anxiety, here are some frequently asked questions about tipping at Walt Disney World.


I’ve arrived at Orlando International airport, do I have to tip anyone here?

At the airport, and throughout your trip, you should tip anyone who handles your luggage for you in your presence. The rule of thumb is that you tip about a dollar per bag, or two dollars if the bag is extra heavy. If you’re claiming your bags yourself and taking them to a cab, rental car agency, limo service, or Magical Express bus on you own, then you won’t need to tip anyone while you’re in the airport. If you use a porter to assist you with moving your bags from the luggage carousel to ground transportation, then you tip the porter.

No need to tip your inter-park bus driver.

I’m taking Magical Express to my Disney resort, do I have to tip the driver?

You’ll see a sign at the front of the bus telling you that driver will accept tips. If you’re just hopping off and on the bus, you shouldn’t feel obligated. However, if the driver is helping your store luggage under the bus, go by the dollar per bag rule.

Did you notice that I said you should tip anyone who handles your bags “in your presence”? If you’ve used the yellow Magical Express luggage tags and had Disney take your bags directly to the hotel for you, then you won’t see the person who’s doing your luggage transport. In this situation, you’re off the hook for tipping.

I’m taking a shuttle to an off-site hotel. Do I tip the driver?

It’s the same situation as Magical Express. If the driver helps with your bags, offer about a dollar a bag.

What do you mean “about” a dollar a bag?

Assuming that you have normal weight bags, aim to tip a dollar a bag. However, it’s good manners to round up, and poor form to ask a bellman or porter for change. This means that if your family has three or four suitcases and all you have a five dollar bill in your wallet, give the porter the fiver.

I’m renting a car. Do I have to tip anyone?

Not at the airport, but maybe later.

I’m taking a limo service or town car to my hotel. Do I tip the driver?

Depending on the agency you’re using, the tip may be included in the price. Be sure to ask this when you set up your booking. In general, plan to tip about 15% of the fare. If the driver has done something extraordinary for you, such as making an extra stop or assisting with car seats or colossal amounts of luggage, tip more.

I’m taking a taxi to my hotel. Do I tip the driver?

Yes. Taxi drivers also get about 15% of the fare. Again, if the cabbie does something above-and-beyond, tip more.

Does the taxi tip level remain the same for shorter trips?

Generally, yes. For shorter trips on WDW property you may end up with a ride that costs seven or eight dollars. In a situation like this, it’s often easier for both you and the driver if you round up to ten dollars. It’s considered poor form to tip the driver in coins. Always round to the next higher dollar in your tip.

Taxis are one situation where asking for change for the tip is OK. For example, if your cab ride is $11 and you have a twenty in your wallet, it’s perfectly acceptable to say to the driver, “Here’s a twenty, can I have six back, please.” This tells the driver that you’re paying the fare and giving him a $3.00 tip.

What was that “maybe later” you said earlier with the rental car tipping?

All the Disney resorts have self-parking which is free for guests. No need to tip anyone if all you’re doing is self-parking your own car or a rental car.

The deluxe resorts also have valet parking available for a fee. If you use the valet parking service, in addition to paying the daily rate (currently $14), you’ll need to tip the attendant each time you get your car. A dollar or two will suffice.

Do I have to tip the bus/boat/monorail driver who takes me from my Disney hotel to the theme parks?

Nope. This is a no-tip situation, but a smile and a cheery “thank you” would be nice.

Is there anyone special I need to tip when I’m leaving Walt Disney World?

If you use the Resort Airline Check-In service at your Disney resort, you should tip the agent who tags your bags. These folks are not Disney employees. Consider them in the same way you would porters at the airport and give them about a dollar a bag. Remember, Resort Airline Check-In is responsible for getting your luggage onto your plane. It’s better if they’re happy.

You do tip the folks at Resort Airline Check-In.


Ta da! I’m at the hotel. Who needs a tip first?

Much of the tipping at your hotel is centered around luggage assistance. Yet again, if someone touches your bag, they should be tipped about a dollar a bag. If a bellman not only takes your bags to your room for you, but also provides additional information about the hotel or the workings of your room, then a bit more may be in order.

You’ll also give a dollar a bag to the bellman who helps you with luggage when you’re leaving the hotel.

All this tipping for moving my bags is really adding up. How can I economize?

You can avoid a lot of tipping if you transport your bags yourself. This may not be feasible for guests with medical challenges, copious amounts of luggage, more small children than adults, or owners of non-wheeled luggage. However, if you’re able-bodied and each member of your party can handle their own rolling bag, then by all means deal with your own luggage and circumvent the tip stream.

What’s this I hear about tipping mousekeeper housekeepers?

Yes, this is a thing.

It’s polite to leave about a dollar per day, per person in your party, as a tip for the cast members that make up your room. If you’re a family of five, this means a five dollar tip for your housekeeper each day. You’re supposed to leave the tip separately each day, rather than at the end of your stay, because there likely will be different cast cleaning your room over the course of your visit. You’re also supposed to leave the tip in an envelope with a nice note that says “thank you.” This makes it clear to the housekeeper that the tip is indeed for her, and not just a bit of cash that you forgot you left on the dresser.

Many guests make fun projects for their kids based around decorating the housekeeper tip envelopes. A quick Google of “Mousekeeping Tip Envelopes” will give you lots of links to people who are more creative and patient than I am.

Now it’s time for Erin’s true confessions: I rarely tip the housekeepers. If the housekeeper does something special like make towel animals or arrange my kids’ stuffed animals in a Mickey-centric Last Supper tableau, then yes, I’ll leave a few bucks in appreciation. Also, if my kids have been super messy (um, the sand was supposed to be wiped off your feet before you got to the room), I’ll leave some cash to assuage my guilt. But otherwise, I usually don’t.

Clearly this is some glitch in my programming because I go absolutely insane with rage when people undertip at restaurants. A housekeeper is clearly working just as hard in a service job as a waiter. Do as I say, people, not as I do.

Even if your Jungle Cruise driver is so good he makes you cry, he still doesn’t get a tip.

Do I tip those random helpful people at the hotel?

Generally not. Disney has greeters and random helpful, cheerful souls all over the place. They don’t expect to be tipped for answering simple questions, opening doors, or pointing you in the right direction.

Are there exceptions to this?

If someone actually does something for you, offer a tip. For example, if you call down to housekeeping for more pillows or towels, give the person who brings them a few dollars. If a bell desk cast member calls a taxi for you, give them a dollar or two.

What about the concierge?

Every Walt Disney World hotel has a concierge desk where you can ask directions, pick up tickets, get assistance with dining reservations, etc. For basic requests, there’s no need to tip. If you find a concierge particularly helpful or if they make multiple meal or recreation reservations or solve a thorny problem for you, offer a tip of $5-10. Most likely this will be firmly, but politely, declined, but it’s kind to offer.

If you’re staying at an off site hotel and a concierge there provides you with assistance, you should tip $5-10 for simple requests, and $20 or more for complicated requests. This most assuredly will not be declined.


Is there anyone I’m supposed to tip at a counter service restaurant?

No. There’s no need for tipping at counter service venues.

Restaurant tipping information is provided in several languages.

How much am I supposed to tip at table service restaurants?

I’m just going to say it: You should be tipping 18-20% at table service restaurants, possibly more if you’ve had truly exceptional service or have lingered at a signature restaurant.

Eighteen to twenty percent? Really? I though I was being generous by tipping fifteen percent.

Yes, really. The 15% thing is just so 1990s. No flames, please.

I super-double-plus promise you that I’m not making this up. 18-20% is now the tipping norm in U.S. metro areas (of which Orlando is one).

To keep everyone on the same page, Disney restaurants often place a little card about tipping in the bill presentation folder. The card says: “We are often asked about gratuities. No gratuity has been added to your bill. Quality service is customarily acknowledged by a gratuity of 18% to 20%. Thank you.”

Many of the questions we receive on the Walt Disney World Moms Panel are related to tipping. To keep myself educated on the topic I’ve been collecting articles about tipping for the past four years. I have sources ranging from the Wall Street Journal to the most recent edition of Emily Post’s Etiquette that will back me up: you really should be tipping at least 18% at table service restaurants.

In all cases, remember that you’re tipping on the bill, not the bill plus tax.

OK, that’s what I should do, but is it what I absolutely have to do?

Of course it’s really up to you to decide how much you want to tip. If you’ve taken root in the land of 15% tippers, then it’s up to you to decide if that’s where you want to stay.

There are, however, a few situations where the 18% tip is mandated. These are:

  • Parties of six or more. The 18% gratuity will be assessed regardless of the age of the guests (babies are included) and regardless of whether the bill is broken up into separate sub-checks.
  • Guests dining at prepaid restaurants and dinner shows including: Cinderella’s Royal Table, Hoop Dee Doo Review, Spirit of Aloha Luau, and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ.
  • Guests using the Tables in Wonderland discount card or Cast Member discount.

If you fall into one of these categories, take extra care to look over your bill. You’re certainly welcome to add more to your tip if you received exceptional service, but you don’t want to inadvertently double tip.

I’m eating a buffet. Do I have to tip the same amount as at a regular table service restaurant?

In my experience, the servers at Disney’s buffets work just as hard, if not harder, than those at traditional table service restaurants. There’s a lot more clearing and refilling than at other meals. However, if you feel that buffets are in a different category of dining, then it’s up to you to decide your tip level. But remember, if you’re a party of six or more, an 18% gratuity will be automatically added to your bill.

Most Disney restaurant bills include suggested tip amounts.

Do I have to tip if I’m using the Disney Dining Plan?

Yes, you do. Many years ago, the tip was included with the Dining Plan. It’s not any more.

If I’m paying with Dining Plan credits, how do I know how much to tip?

If you’re on the Disney Dining Plan, your bill will include a notation about how much you would have paid had you been paying cash. Tip based on that amount.

If you’re a big eater on the Dining Plan, your tips over the course of a vacation can end up being quite substantial. Be sure to factor this into your budget.

Do I have to pay my restaurant tip in cash?

No. You can use any acceptable form of payment at Disney World to pay your tip. Cash, credit card, debit card, room charge and Disney gift cards all work well.

What happens if I have really bad service? Can I stiff the waiter?

Personally, I have never had truly horrendous service at Walt Disney World and have only had semi-bad service a handful of times in upwards of a thousand dining experiences. The likelihood of you having a horrible server is minimal.

However, if you do encounter service that’s sub-standard, the best thing to do is speak to a manager at the restaurant. They can work with you to rectify any negative issues. It’s better to get the problem fixed than to walk away angry.

Also, remember that your tip is related to your service, not to the food. If you’re unsatisfied with your food, speak to the manager, don’t take it out on the waiter.

Only a few dining experiences have the tip included in the price of the meal.

I’m having a night-cap. What do I tip the bartender?

If you’re just having drinks, one to two dollars per drink is the right amount. If you’re also getting food, go with 18-20%.

I’ve had looong day in the parks. We’ve decided to get room service. What do I tip?

The In-Room Dining menus state, “A $3.00 delivery charge, applicable sales tax, and an 18% service charge will be added to all orders.”

It’s not obligatory, but if the server who brings your food to your room is extra nice or helpful, you could hand him $3-5 to be extra nice back.


I’m a mover and a shaker. Can I tip the cast member at Soarin’ a sawbuck to sneak me into the FastPass line?

Um, no. But you get points for creativity. Cast members doing their regular job in the parks are not allowed to accept tips/bribes/grift/etc. If they are seen accepting tips, this is grounds for dismissal.

A cast member has completely made my day. She (pick one or more) helped my child find her favorite character, got me a new ice cream cone after I dropped mine, let me drive the Jungle Cruise boat, told me about the high-value Toy Story Mania targets. Can I tip her as a thank you?

You’ve got your heart in the right place, but still, no tipping for regular parks cast.

But I reeeeaaally want to thank them properly.

Some super sweet guests carry a small bag of thank you cards or tiny treats from their home town when they go to the parks. They’ll offer these to cast members who have shown them a special courtesy. Cast are allow to accept these de minimus tokens.

While giving a kind cast member a Statue of Liberty pencil sharpener is nice, what’s even better is giving the cast member some documented props. Guest comments weigh heavily in cast member performance evaluations. Your positive remarks can help good cast members get promoted into better jobs. To make an official comment, pick up a comment card at the Guest Services office at the parks. If you’d rather wait until you get home, you can send comments to:

Walt Disney World Guest Communications
PO Box 10040
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

The e-mail address for Guest Communications is:

Be sure to include the cast member’s name and hometown (both noted on their name tag), as well as a description of the cast member’s good deed and approximately where/when it happened.

Is there really no one at the parks to tip?

There are a few small exceptions to the “no tipping in the parks” rule.

You can tip cast involved in your personal beautification at the Harmony Barber Shop, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, or Pirates League. For the Barber Shop, tip about 15% of your bill. At one point tipping at the BBB had been prohibited, but in recent years this rule seems to have been relaxed. If you feel so inclined, you may offer a 15% tip to the Fairy Godmothers in Training or the Pirate tutors.

What about tour guides? Do I tip them?

Not the Walt Disney World tour guides. They’re not allowed to take your tip. If you’re with a private tour group, a tip very well may be expected. Speak with your tour carrier for guidelines.


Outside of the parks there are plenty of relaxation and recreation opportunities. These activities are often outsourced to contractors. For example, Nikki Bryan Spas runs the spa services at the Grand Floridian and Saratoga Springs resorts and Sammy Duvall runs the water sports centers. Contractors generally are allowed to accept tips.

We’re treating ourselves to a massage. Do I tip the masseusse

Plan on tipping 15-20% of the bill for any personal care or grooming service. Massages, manicures, haircuts, facials, and those poolside hair wraps all merit a tip of at least 15%.

I’m taking my beloved out on the town and we’re leaving the kids behind. Do I tip the sitter?

The cast at the Disney childcare centers (Neverland Club, etc.) will not be expecting a tip. If you’re using Disney’s in-room sitting subcontractors such as Kids Nite Out, then a tip should be offered. This could range from rounding up the bill by a few dollars to an extra $100 or more if the real-world version of Mary Poppins has tamed your unruly mob. For a normal, competent sitter, a tip of $10-20 is a nice gesture.

I’m going water skiing at the Contemporary. Do I tip the boat driver?

Offer a tip of at least 15% for any specialty recreation. This includes boat drivers, waterski instructors, parasailing guides, tennis instructors, and the like. For golf instructors and caddies, use standard golf club etiquette on tipping.

Tips for your water sports guide are welcome.

I’m still lost, what do I do?

When in doubt, ask other guests, or ask at the Guest Services offices in the parks. They’ll give you the scoop on tipping norms.

If you had one piece of advice to give me overall, what would it be?

Carry a lot of singles.

That’s it?

When in doubt about tipping, remember the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words if you, or your parent, or child, or best friend were in a service role, how would you want them to be treated. Tip accordingly.

And at the risk of getting all soapboxy here for a sec, if you’re traveling with kids, think about the example that you’re setting for them. Do you want to teach your kids that it’s OK to stiff the waiter?

With that in mind, you heard it here first, I vow that from now on I will leave a tip for the housekeepers and will teach my kids to do the same.

I’m bizarrely intrigued by all this. What were some of those resources you mentioned about tipping?

Ask and ye shall receive. Here are some places to learn more about tipping:

So fellow travelers, what are your thoughts on tipping? Do international guests think we Americans are crazy? Have you made any tipping gaffes that are keeping you up at night? Let us know in the comments below.

Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel at, a regular contributor to, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obession - Broadway theater. Erin can be reached on Twitter @MsErinFoster.

169 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions About Tipping At Walt Disney World

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    Great post. The only thing I didn’t see mentioned were the specialty cruises, like the Wishes Cruise or Illuminations Cruise. (Unless those were included in “specialty recreation”?) Those folks definitely do accept tips, and I’m never quite sure how much to give them.

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:48 pm

      When in doubt, go with 15-20%.

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:24 am

        Wow, that’s $50 tip. Gulp.

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    The housekeeping tip thing is very, very variable in my experience. Outside of the Disney fan community, I would guess that the vast majority of people staying in ordinary American chain hotels do not tip housekeeping staff at all. In luxury/5-star hotels, it’s probably more common. Personally I never tip daily unless the housekeeper does something extraordinary. I follow the old rule of tipping at the end of the stay. Yes, I know different housekeepers clean the room each day. But the person who “turns” the room at the end of the stay does a LOT more work, so they win the tip lottery for me.

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      The housekeeping tip is the area that does seem to have the most variability. And I definitely agree that tipping hotel housekeepers does happen more regularly at Disney and luxury destinations.

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    Thank you. Lots of useful info and reassuring to know I’m doing it right.

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks! (And whew!)

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    No flaming here on the 15% thing. I’ve always tipped 20% baseline (post tax even) since I paid my first bill at a restaurant. Tipping well is something I was taught at a very young age by my father whose family was supported in large part by the tips earned as a waitress by my grandmother.

    But I do have to say I find it frustrating that the standard for tipping has increased so much *as a percentage*. Yes, cost of living has increased over the last twenty years… but that includes the cost of the meals upon which tips are based. The lovely thing about a percentage is that it scales with the economy. If it raises 5% every twenty years… our kids are going to be paying as much in tips as they do for the meal itself, hahaha!

    None of this is a criticism of the column or the writer of course, more a lament of how things have progressed.

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:52 pm

      I hear you.

      In much of my research on the topic I found mentions that the expected tip rate in super posh city restaurants is now approaching 25%. Oy.

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

        I never understood the “tip a percentage” thing. I can go to my local coffee shop & order breakfast, pay $20 for myself & 2 kids, & the tip is… $4? Or go to ritzy place, meal is $100 & I tip.. $20? Yet the coffee shop waiter did much more work than the one at the Ritzy. Understand, I’m not arguing, but just never understood it. I tip 30% or more at coffee shop & 15% at Ritzy. Sorry.

        • March 22, 2012 at 10:32 am

          To clarify: I always tip more for stellar service & am happy to do so.

        • March 22, 2012 at 10:33 am

          I do the same at coffee shops! I always overtip them. And bartenders. I feel so silly tipping just a couple of dollars when they worked so hard.

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    Great article! I’m notorious for overtipping mainly because I’m too lazy to break down the percentage on bills, etc – especially at a place like Disney!

    I’m also big on tipping at least $5 each day for Housekeeping when travelling (usually it’s no more than two adults in a room and we aren’t messy at all). I put the bill flat on the pillow so it’s obvious that it’s for them. We’ve even had someone leave a note thanking us for the generous tip so I’m thinking they don’t always get it on a daily basis.

    • March 22, 2012 at 10:31 am

      Divide the bill by 10 & double that (for 20%) or divide bill by 10 & add half of the result (for 15%). For 17.5%, split the difference. It really isn’t hard. Should be able to do it in your head in about 2-5 seconds, yes? πŸ™‚

  • March 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Great article! Tipping anywhere can be confusing, but with all the activities going on at WDW, it is even more so. We tip $5 per night (leave in an envelope addressed to “Mousekeeping” on the sink vanity).

  • March 21, 2012 at 3:22 pm

    Great post! One of my biggest pet peeves in poor tipping. I’ve even been known to go back and leave more at restaurants when my MIL undertips.

    I do think that there is no excuse for not tipping housekeeping. They’re in the service industry just like bellmen, servers, hairdressers etc. and most likely they work harder and make less than any of those positions. The only reason why I wouldn’t tip my housekeeper was if they did a poor job and there were cleanliness issues. Just look at it as one of the necessary costs of getting to go on a fabulous trip πŸ™‚

    Also, leaving one tip at the end of your stay is really not cool when you’ve had (likely) numerous attendants over the course of your stay.

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      Jami, I agree. I’ve worked a number of jobs at hotels, including housekeeping. It’s definitely the hardest job I ever had, and as a guest, one of the ones people notice the most if it isn’t done well. I often felt it was highly unfair that bellman (jobs that are overwhelmingly staffed by men) just push a cart around and chit-chat with guests and go home at the end of the day with wads of cash, while housekeepers (jobs that are overwhelmingly staffed by women) break their backs all day long and rarely see a tip. Yet whose role ends up being the one that you live with day in and day out during your stay?

      I *always* tip housekeepers.

      • March 21, 2012 at 6:56 pm

        You have me completely convinced. I’m DEFINITELY tipping the housekeeper.

        • March 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm

          Anyone who has to clean the loo deserves a tip!

  • March 21, 2012 at 3:45 pm

    What about if u order a meal to-go from a restaurant to take back to the room?

    Like I pick up a pizza from pizza hut and never paid a tip.

    But what about togo from outback or olive garden?

    Great article.

    • March 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      I hadn’t looked into this before since it’s not something I normally do. Based on some research, it seems that the prevailing wisdom is that if you pick up food from a restaurant that is mainly a sit-down establishment, then a tip of about 10% is the way to go.

      If you’re just picking up a pizza from a place that deals primarily in picked up pizza, no tip is necessary.

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:42 am

        Not trying to be a scrooge here, but if the purpose of a tip to reward the wait staff for service performance, I’m failing to see the purpose of a tip for carryout where you don’t deal w/ the wait staff. Is it guilt seeing the tip line on the credit card slip? πŸ™‚ PS And practically-speaking, who would such a tip go to – the person at the cash register? hardly seems right.

        • March 22, 2012 at 10:47 am

          This is also not something that would have occurred to me. When I looked into it, the rationale for tipping at pick-up is that usually it is a waiter who gathers the food and boxes it up nicely for you. While they’re doing this, they’ve been taken away from table work, where they would be earning tips. The tip at pick-up is to compensate the waiter for lost time at the tables. Again, I did not know this and have probably stiffed waiters in several food pick-up situations in the past.

          • March 22, 2012 at 3:11 pm

            I have never even once considered (nor would I really) tipping if I went out & picked up the food. Delivery? Absolutely, whether it’s delivered to my home, office, or my table at the restaurant. But a tip if I pick up the food? Really?

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  • March 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    I think one reason people aren’t likely to tip housekeeping, is that they don’t interact with the person. But they certainly are the staff that attends to my needs most, even if I never see them. Always make sure you place the tip on the pillow or bedsheets to make it obvious it’s for them. I always leave a tip daily (unless I’m out of one’s), and add an extra buck on the day I check out for the person who has to do the most work.

  • March 21, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Might I suggest, Seinfeld season 4, episode 12 for tipping advice.

    • March 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

      Ha! Love it!

  • March 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Great article, and I think it’s a terrific reminder that a couple of bucks can really make a difference to someone working hard for you.

    A quick question: if you valet a car, what are your thoughts on tipping – at drop off, pick up, or both?

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:08 pm

      When I valet a car (which is rare since I live in NYC and don’t own a car), I usually give $5 to the person taking the car and $5 when picking it up. That’s probably way too much but is what I do.

      • March 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm

        I live in the NYC burbs and valet in NYC and environs with some regularity. $5 for each end seems like crazy too much to me. But in general, you’re right to err on the side of being too generous.

        • March 21, 2012 at 7:57 pm

          I just realized that I neglected to mention that when I do valet a car it’s usually at a hotel for a day or two so I’m not constantly taking it in or out of the garage. πŸ™‚

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm

      When I was looking into this, I saw that you always tip at pick up. The experts were mixed on whether to tip at drop off. When in doubt, it never hurts to give a buck or two to the valet.

  • March 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    I’ve never seen anyone tip at Resort Airline Check-In, and prior to reading this article, I’ve never even heard anyone mention tipping there. It never even crossed my mind, maybe because I never use porters at the airport and of course, no one tips at the airport counter when you hand your bags over. I have to say, even if I had equated them with porters, I probably would have assumed they had a business arrangement with Disney and were already being compensated!

    • March 21, 2012 at 6:59 pm

      Interesting, I’ve seen many people tip at Resort Airline Check-In and always tip there myself.

      I also tip when I use curbside check-in at an airport because this is generally run by a contractor and not the airline itself. If I check bags inside the terminal, they’re put on the belt by an airline employee, then I don’t tip. I equate RAC with curb-side check-in.

      • March 21, 2012 at 10:58 pm

        Thanks Erin for opening my eyes. Embarrassed to realize I’ve been stiffing the RAC folks. πŸ™

      • March 22, 2012 at 10:39 am

        Yes indeed, always tip at curbside check-in at airports. The consequences of not doing so (at least in these parts) can be disastrous. πŸ˜‰ Never occurred to my to tip inside terminal. Good point about RAC, I may have missed that distinction. Kudos.

  • March 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    I have to say, my experience getting comment cards from guest services last summer was dicey. Most of the time, the people there were confused that we were asking for such a thing and didn’t have any at all.

    • March 21, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      I’ve seen them out on the counter from time to time. If you can’t locate comment cards, the email address works well too.

  • March 21, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    For our trip home the van driver picked us up at the FW cabin, two adults, two kids, four bags and a stroller and transported us to the Outpost. When we got to the ME bus to go back to MCO there was a mix up and when I turned back around the van driver had already left. To this day I regret missing the opportunity to tip him.

  • March 21, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I am adamant about the table service tips remaining at 15%. I do not understand the reasoning behind raising a percentage. A percentage is just that. The tip goes up as meal prices rise. The waiter makes more money based on the price of the meal and there is no valid justification for raising the percentage.

    • March 21, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Very much agree — not sure why “super-posh” cities expecting 25% (post above) should matter… I came of age on 15% standard service, 20% above and beyond – haven’t seen a reason why that should change.

      • March 22, 2012 at 8:28 am

        Well, all tipping is just a social construct. There’s really no reason to tip at all, except that’s what we’ve all agreed to do. In the US, waitstaff salaries are paid based on the assumption that because we’ve agreed to the social construct of tipping.

        Much of this is different in other countries. I was in Barcelona last summer. We had cake and cocoa at the counter of a small cafe. The bill was about 15 Euros. We tried to leave our server a 20 Euro note and she freaked. She truly looked shocked and told us that it was inappropriate to give her so much money. We did the “I insist” dance and she looked at us like we had six heads. She did NOT want our tip.

        In doing my reading on the topic, I found that the standard tip in the US in the early 1970s was about 10%. That was the social construct during that time period.

        Sometime over the few decades that crept up to 15%. That’s what you came of age on, so that’s what feels right to you. And barring the mandatory 18% tip situations (parties of 6+ etc.), you’re welcome to tip that amount.

        It seems that tips, like all social constructs, are a moving target. Take a look at show like Mad Men. Beyond the many indiscretions of the main characters, I find some of the most shocking aspects of the program to be some of the social behaviors that are different from now. Evolution is constant.

        No judging, just my two cents.

        • March 3, 2013 at 11:38 am

          This hasn’t been mentioned, so I’m not sure if any of you know. A waiters minimum wage is less than $3, many times after taxes they won’t get any money on their paycheck. Now I’m not sure how much Disney pays their waiters, but they are expected more. Keep in mind, they are doing YOU a service. I generally do not tip less than 20% unless they did a really bad job. And I will give more if they went above and beyond.

  • March 21, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    A loooong time ago, in a college town far, far away I worked in housekeeping. Hey, had to pay that tuition somehow… We all worked crazy hard and the money was dismal. Tips were very few and far between, but when they did happen they were hugely appreciated. I really think most people don’t know they should be tipping housekeeping… We always have a stash of $5’s when we travel for tipping the housekeepers.

  • March 21, 2012 at 10:02 pm

    As far as housekeeping goes… what about housekeeping in DVC rooms? They don’t come everyday and when they come on the 4th day, it’s just trash and towel. What’s the standard for tipping these mousekeepers?

    • March 22, 2012 at 7:57 am

      I’m a DVC member and often stay at WDW on my points. On the no-service days (days 1-3) there’s obviously no need to tip – a housekeeper is not even entering your room.

      I think a small tip would be merited on Trash & Towel towel day. If you’re lucky enough to be staying through a day-8 full service, then a more substantial tip would be in order.

      • March 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm

        Although we’ve had everything from wonderful to terrible mousekeeping when staying in a 1 Bedroom at DVC (Beach Club or Boardwalk), we leave a $5 bill each day (even though there are only 4 of us, and the only mess we leave is a pile of used towels), because there are really 2 rooms, and we feel it is more work for the staff than a just a hotel room.

  • March 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I am still confused about tipping when using dining plan credits at a dinner show like Hoop-Dee-Doo. I understand that the tip is included in the price, but is it covered by the dining plan? Should I be prepared to pay the tip there just as at other table service meals?

    • March 22, 2012 at 7:54 am

      I agree that this is a particularly confusing area.

      The Disney Dining Plan brochure distributed to guests very explicitly says that the gratuity is included. This means that for meals where there is a flat rate and gratuity included for cash guests, then it is also included for DDP guests. This makes the HDDR a particularly advantageous use of two DDP credits. Not only is the tip included, but you also get free tap beer, wine, or sangria included in your two credits.

      However, adding to the complications, there are also specialty alcoholic beverages available at the HDDR (margaritas, for example). These are not included in the plan. If you want one, you’ll have to pay for this out of pocket. While the plan does not explicitly say so, in my opinion, if you’re generating an additional charge, then you should tip on this charge.

      And of course, you’re always free to tip a bit extra if your server has gone above and beyond for you.

      • March 22, 2012 at 8:36 am

        Just to be clear: The DDP brochure says that the tip is included for the HDDR, Spirit of Aloha Luau, Mickey’s BBQ, Cinderella’s Royal Table, and in-room dining (room service). In all other cases, DDP guests must add a tip.

  • March 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    I am a true believer in tipping mousekeeping each & everyday. We noticed on our first trip to the World just how hard they work, so we started tipping. Next trip we took our niece (4) – oh my, each day she couldn’t wait for nap time so she could see what her toys had done while she’d been in the parks – Hehe. Plus our mousekeeper must have thanked us ten times that week, which leads me to believe many people do not tip. A few dollars to make 2 great gals happy – well worth the expense.

  • March 22, 2012 at 8:31 am

    Great Article – thanks!. Any chance you could write one for the Disney Cruise Line? I’m taking my first cruise this summer and don’t know what to expect.


    • April 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

      Hope you don’t mind if another Paul jumps in to answer this one. πŸ˜› DCL tipping is much much simpler than WDW. On the last night of your cruise, you’ll be given a sheet with recommended tip amounts for four specific people: your state room attendant (equivalent of mousekeeping), your restaurant server, your restaurant assistant-server (takes care of your drinks), and your restaurant’s head server (oversees all the other servers). The amount of the recommendation will vary based on the length of your cruise. They’ll also give you four small envelopes. You have two options on what do do with them: 1) put cash into these envelopes; 2) fill out the form and return it to the Guest Services desk, and they’ll charge the tips to your room and give you little slips of paper with the amount printed, and then you put the papers into the envelopes. Then that final night, give those envelopes to each of the four people.

      Note that when you order a drink from a bar or lounge, the tip is *included* on the receipt. Feel free to write in an additional tip amount for outstanding service, of course, but don’t feel the need to.

      • April 13, 2012 at 1:09 pm

        Thanks – Paul! How about the people who handle your bags – embarking and disembarking?


        • September 3, 2012 at 9:09 am

          I’m probably too late to comment on this for the OP but in case anyone was wondering. On embarkment there is a small chance you see the person unloading your bags. I will say my wife and I saw the one in our hallway and he looked and acted as if he was having a particularly bad day. I threw him a 10 dollar bill and I have to say my baggage seemed to have extra care taken to it as we got a knock on our door when some of it had arrived. Goes to the saying it never hurts to tip people that you see handling your baggage. I will also say I later saw that young man working in two other parts of the ship and various hours. He greeted me with a smile both times so I hope he remembered my generosity. On disembarking I highly recommend taking your own luggage if you are capable. If you are not, you leave your bags out the night before and I don’t think I would feel comfortable leaving money out in the hall. Just my thoughts on that for cruises (and rules could have changed in the years since I have been on one).

  • March 22, 2012 at 9:09 am

    Enjoyed this article, thank you πŸ™‚ .. tipping is very different here in the UK (I can only think of restaurants and hairdressers that we’d tip, and that is at 10%) – so I’ve had to learn who to tip, and how much, when in the US.

    About the tip envelopes, I’ve found that many Cast Members seem to really like them! On our last trip, I gave a bell-hop one with a few dollars in it.. and he came back to us to say ‘thank you’ for the envelope, in 20+ years of working there, he’d never seen anything like it! πŸ™‚

  • March 22, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Interesting article. As a Brit (aren’t we known for being tight?) we have different rules at home. Generally here if service is bad you tip zero. Good 10%. Better = more. In Disney my rules change. I tip $2 a day for 2 of us to mouse keeping unless they do something extra then I might tip $4-5 a day. I think service at somewhere fancy e.g. Flying Fish can warrant a 20% tip but at a buffet I’m unlikely to give much more than 10%. Magical Express drivers will normally get $2-3 but we will carry our own stuff. It would never have occurred to me to tip many of the others listed except spa treatments and taxis which would get c.10% ish too.

    So…am I tight?

    • March 22, 2012 at 1:55 pm

      I don’t think so – and frankly I think most of the US is also like what you describe. Only in more large urban / tourist areas have I heard of these ideas.

  • March 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    What I don’t like is how the owners in the service industry use tipping as an excuse for not increasing wages with inflation. Had wages increased with price of living indexes, then 15% could have remained as a reasonable standard. Instead, they can not increase their menu prices as much (which is good marketing for them) while instead setting the “norm” of 18 to 20%. What I really, really don’t like is that many restaurants have implemented a tip pool practice, wherein all service staff are expected to turn over their tip money, and it is then distributed amongst all the service staff. If customers end up not tipping, the managers still require the wait person to provide this money from their own pocket to put into the pool (assumption being that the wait person is otherwise trying to pocket the cash themselves, or should be punished for poor service). So, in that case, you could have an excellent wait person, but for whatever reason, a customer decides not to tip at all, or only tips a small amount. The waiter/waitress then has to make up the difference from their own pocket. Tipping is supposed to be discretionary, even if it is customary. I always tip a standard 15% with a bit of rounding up, leave a dollar person per day for housekeeping when I travel (with a note), a few extra dollars for the taxi driver, and a $1 per bag if I am leaving my bag at the hotel after checkout, when I pick it up, not when I drop it off (feels like paying twice).

  • March 22, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Regarding bellhops, what about this?
    Scenario 1: You drive up to check in and your room is not quite ready. so the bellhop takes your bags and stores them (usually the bags are put on a roller cart and the whole cart is stored). Then an hour later you call from your room and a bellhop (you don’t know if it will be the same or a different guy) brings the bags. Do I tip the first guy AND the second guy a dollar a bag?

    Scenario 2: Same thing at checkout. I had the bellhop gather my bags before checkout time but I had a few hours to kill before my ride to the airport. Do I tip the bellhop that picks up my bags AND the bellhop that brings them out of the storage area? Meanwhile that second bellhop does not do much since the cab driver will usually go out of his way to grab the bags and put them in the taxi himself.

    • March 23, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      Jeff – we travel frequently as a family and my husband travels a lot for work and in both scenarios you set forth, we would tip both guys. Generally speaking, I find that the nicer the hotel is, the more people there are for you to tip!

    • March 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm

      I agree with Dawn. In both situations, etiquette would likely call for you to tip on both sides of the equation.

  • March 23, 2012 at 6:41 am

    Like someone said earlier, we always have $5s for housekeeping, at WDW or any hotel we stay at. First morning we ususally leave a larger tip then $5 each morning even though there is just two of us.
    I find that the extra towels, coffee, shampoo, etc & spic-span room make it worth the small investment.

  • March 23, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Great post, it really helped me. I’m from Europe and find tipping in the USA a little confusing, we usually do not tip that much and in so many situations.
    However, for me, more confusing are the taxes. Here in European Union is mandatory by law that all prices include taxes, when visiting USA I always find myself doing some math to find the final price.
    What’s the best way to know how much are the taxes for each state?

    Sorry for any mistake. English is not my first language

    • March 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm

      Taxes really are confusing here. There’s actually a slightly different tax rate at the Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge than at the rest of Walt Disney World, because the AK is in a different county with a different tax rate.

      I live in the New York City suburbs, which has a different tax rate than the City itself. To make matters more complicated, there is no tax on certain food items purchased in a grocery store, but there is tax on something like shampoo or batteries purchased in the same store. New York has no tax on clothing purchases up to a certain amount, but then there is tax after that. And sometimes during certain months, there is no tax on clothes (usually for back to school shopping).

      In the state of New Hampshire (and I believe one or two others) there is no state sales tax.

      In most places the tax rate is between 5-8%. When in doubt, estimate the tax being 10% and then consider anything less than that to be a happy bonus for you.

    • March 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      And your English is great, by the way. No worries.

  • March 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    This thread is going to get way off topic, now… πŸ™‚

    State taxes are pretty straightforward (FL is 6%), but several states allow counties or smaller parts to add their own tax rates, or on specific things (like hotels/resorts) Typically they make them small enough so most people won’t notice, except if you want to accurately predict. Best practical way is to buy something small in the same place you are, figure the rate, and that should get you pretty close going forward (except for those category exceptions, like hotels)

  • March 23, 2012 at 5:36 pm

    I have a question. If there’s an expected level of tip, no matter how good or bad the service is, then why don’t they just include that in the cost of the thing that you’re doing and pay the person a higher wage directly?

    • March 24, 2012 at 5:05 am

      Because it will cost the business more. This way any ‘under tipping’ can be blamed on the ‘meanness’ of the customer. Sneaky really.

  • March 24, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    Just a quick “tip”, for those cast members that do a great job and you aren’t supposed to tip, leave a message at guest relations. (Make sure you get the name and work location of the cast member.) It lets management know cast members are doing a good job and sometimes that cast member may get some type of recognition for it.

  • March 25, 2012 at 12:29 am

    Thanks for the advice!! I’m always wondering how much to tip and feel silly asking.

    One exception though to the counter service rule of no tip required is Wolfgang Puck Express in Downtown Disney. We always leave $5 for the staff because they bring you cutlery and refills on soda. Off property, Pei Wei is similar, we make sure we leave a few dollars on the table before we leave. Thanks for a great article!!

  • March 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Great blog thank you. I am afraid I hate tipping however. Being a Brit (and a minimum wage employee) I could never afford to tip that much! It took so so long to save for the holiday and would have taken at least another year to save enough for all that tipping. I am sorry to say I must have re-enforced the ‘tight Brits’ stereotype. We only tipped people who were wonderful, not average or simply doing their job. But then if I were tipped at my work I could afford to tip others, but I dislike the idea that a tip is due or owed to the server or driver. I really wish there were a sensible minimum wage and tipping was a true reward instead.

  • April 11, 2012 at 9:42 am

    Love this topic, and I have to say, I’ve only ever “undertipped” once at Disney. We were at the bar at POR on a very slow night, and between my friend and I, four magical cocktails each meant a bill with a suggested 18-20% tip that almost surpassed my mousekeeping tip budget for the entire visit! Considering that I actually got one round of drinks at the bar myself, I stuck to my usual drink-tipping habit at home ($1 per drink). If we had ordered food, or if it had been a busier, I might have felt differently, but having waitressed myself, I just didn’t feel that the service provided justified a $15 to $20 tip.

  • April 20, 2012 at 7:34 am

    I live in a country that doesn’t tip either, this is because they actually get well paid. I think I have learnt that in the USA they don’t and to make a decent living tipping is required. I will say adding the tips makes eating very expensive in the usa

  • April 21, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    I just thought of another tip question. How much do you tip at Palo on DCL? I never know how much to leave because 20% of the cover charge seems way too little. Anyone know?

  • May 11, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    Interesting and well written article.

    i feel robbed. We had a WDW Tour Guide on New Years Eve actually ask us for a tip and we gave it to him. Now I read they are not allowed to accept tips. Then again, at $10.oo a person (our group had 10 people) I guess the $100 tip was worth it especially since we skipped to the head of all the lines on all attractions on one of the busiest days of the year at the Magic Kingdom and our seats(yes actual chairs) for the Christmas Parades were phenomenal,

    • May 11, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      That’s the thing that bugs me, Paul. If, when you paid up-front for the tour guide, and that wasn’t paying for his service, then what were you paying for? The special viewing areas are roped off and the chairs laid out as part of the package. We’ve even been invited in there for free before. That wasn’t something special he did – that was what you paid for. I would’ve reported him, if I were you. One of the nicest things about Disney is that you’re not having your sleeve tugged the whole time, and that’s why that rule is in place.

  • May 30, 2012 at 3:10 am

    As an international visitor (from Australia) I will concur: America’s tipping culture is nuts! Out here, the idea is that you tip for great service; your wage is the reward for standard service. That said, I will be tipping as advised here. When in the Italy Pavilion, do as the Romans do.

  • July 25, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    I absolutrly agree with all of this. We always tip Mousekeeping daily, and 18-20% really is the typical rate these days and I don’t even live in a major metro area. I would only tip 15% if I was dissatisfied. I am always floored by the mom’s panel Q’s where people are so angry about the rule of 18% for parties of 6+. Like, would your large party have elected not to tip otherwise? Servers make very little money before tips and its a tough job! This is a great resource for people… I always find the baggage side of things the most confusing! And valets… Mostly becuase I am rarely organized enough to have a 5 in hand when arriving somehwere.

  • July 31, 2012 at 9:36 am

    When we were at Disney we asked one of the waitresses about cash vs. card for tipping. She stated that obviously they get cash that day but with cards (keys to the world card especially) they would have to wait until the end of your stay before your card had the full charge place on it for your entire trip. So for someone that waits on you your first day of a 2 week trip they may have to wait several weeks to see the tip. She also indicated it was difficult for her to be sure she was getting all of her tips as well.

    So I am planning on carrying cash to tip with from now on.

  • October 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    This is very helpful! I wish I’d seen it before our trip. We’ve always been good tippers at restaurants, but we had not idea about tipping bell services or mousekeepers. I was never taught that growing up. Is it tacky to send a tip later if you know the cast member’s name? I will definitely plan ahead for tips on our next trip.

    • October 24, 2012 at 4:12 pm

      As a former waitress, barmaid and hotel cleaner, I would like to iterate that there is definitely no such thing as tacky when it comes to tipping more!

  • November 29, 2012 at 6:05 am

    We are visiting WDW in January 2013 and as we come from Germany we weren’t so sure about who to tip and not, this website has helped us a lot! In Germany it is quite common to give gratuity of 10% to a waiter but not more. Different culture, different customs I guess πŸ˜‰

    • November 29, 2012 at 6:16 am

      I spent two weeks in Germany and Austria this past summer. I was as confused by the customs there as many European guests are confused by the US traditions. I think I accidentally mess up tipping protocol every time I leave the country. But I’m try to learn and that’s what really matters.

      • November 29, 2012 at 6:31 am

        I hope you enjoyed your time in Germany and Austria! I’ll also try my best adjusting myself to the US traditions, not just on tipping the waiters but on other things as well! It is my totally biased opinion, but generally Americans are more cheerful and customer-oriented than most Europeans are, so I guess I won’t have any problems giving them the gratuity they deserve! πŸ˜‰

  • December 26, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Oh my goodness – glad I read this – I had no idea about most of this!

  • January 12, 2013 at 5:52 am

    My husband is going to be doing the Exotic car ride along that is available as part of our Platinum dining plan. It took me a lot of searching and I found the price listed as being $105, BUT it also said that the driver you ride along with is a former Formula1 driver. As a contracted service provider according to the article he should be tipped, but I think it would be a little bit embarassing to turn around and hand someone like that a tip. Maybe it’s just me but I would feel like no matter what we were giving him it was an insult.

    Also, what about the Dolphin interaction program at the aquarium? Are we really supposed to tip every person involved with that? If so it will end up costing more than the participation fee by the time we are done.

    Thanks for your time!

    • January 12, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Can’t help you about a car ride…but…
      there is NO tipping for Aqua Tour, Dolphins in Depth, or Divequest in Epcot Living Seas. These are professionals. Aqua Tour and Divequest and Dolphins in Depth sponsored by NAUI Worldwide with NAUI Professional Divers. (BTW, you are only allowed to bring you own swim suit, and possibly your own mask if you have one – they provide everything else. Bring proof of ID/receipt for tour/Epcot admission ticket, but that is it. Everything gets locked in a locker.) Your experience is “all included” in your prepaid/prearranged tour in the Living Seas, Epcot.

      As for a driving experience, suggestion: if in doubt, ask when you schedule your time slot. They can answer the tipping question.

  • January 14, 2013 at 1:02 am

    Great suggestions. What about tipping the front desk person?

    • January 14, 2013 at 10:34 am

      No need to tip anyone at the front desk of a WDW hotel. If you’re staying offsite and getting help from a front desk concierge, you should be tipping them.

  • January 15, 2013 at 10:49 am

    Tipping – Ok, your not going to like this. I leave around $ 1.00 per person eating. Eating a Buffett or over any over prices meal which defines my tip by a % is not fair to me. Now if the waiter does something besides take my order, refill a drink and bring food then I will increase it. Usually double. So this means when I have a buffett which costs me $ 75 – $ 100 for a family of 4, I dont tip 15 – $20, I leave $ 4.00 – $ 8.00 (4 more than 8).

    As I tell my relatives who work in the service industry, if you dont like it, find a real job, get an education, and do something productive. That being said, I have left $ 20 tips for waiters/waitresses who go above and beyond, and thats per person. But if all they do is the take the order, deliver the food dance, I can get that service at a $ 6.99 buffet outside WDW. I had one waiter, who would do the normal, do a magic trick or two, give a full review of desserts, etc. He got $ 20 a head.

    And just so you know, I bar-tended (a lot). I worked for my tips by doing more than everyone else. You didnt just get a drink, you got an experience.

  • January 27, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    As a visitor from the UK I find the practice of tipping to be a rip off. Pay staff properly in the first place. If I get exceptional service I will tip. If I get the level of service I would expect I see no reason to tip.

  • February 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    Just got “home” from a busy day in the parks. We left our pre-decorated envelope with tip out for housekeeping this morning and my parents in the room next door forgot to leave a tip. We came home to find a towel swan and about 4 bottles of shampoo. My parents? Nada, just a clean room and one shampoo. This research may not be Testa quality but I know for sure we will be leaving a tip again tomorrow LOL!

  • February 27, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    You say 20% of your bill so potentially 50 bucks to someone who only brings you food but your magical express driver who keeps your family safe and entertained for an hour deserves nothing if you did not bring a bag and only a dollar if you brought one bag. that’s ludicrous. Tip your driver at least a dollar per person just for the ride. and a tip if you want your hotel to be the first stop a five or ten at the airport in addition to the normal tip will make that happen.

  • March 2, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    Great post! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site.
    Keep up the good writing.

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  • June 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

    This has been very helpful, thank you! Must say it’s a bit strange for us in the UK, am ok in the restaurants but its the bag handling and things like that, we get a bit uncomfortable with the face to face times, cultural difference I guess! Hmm, rambling! We usually go off the receipt on the dining plan as disney work out the tip for you, take it this is before tax as didn’t know that rule. Thanks!

    • June 28, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Should also say we always leave money for housekeepers but leave it at end of stay, didn’t occur to me that all tips aren’t split evenly across whole team, learning lots!

  • July 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

    My philosophy on tipping doesn’t jive with “etiquette” in this country. If a person’s income is based on tipping (ie, most wait staff) I tip a minimum of 15% unless service is dreadful, in which case, I speak with a manager about why I leave no tip. I leave 18-20%, or more, for better service. If a person gets a regular wage or salary for their job, I will tip if pleased with their service, if they do more than expected, etc. Housekeeping doing their normal cleaning, no I am not going to tip. Housekeeping doing something special to contribute to the Disney theme, or if we are messy guests, yes I will tip. I don’t see the point of the crazy tipping culture we have. It is getting to be too much in my opinion.

    • August 5, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      I can agree with you to a point, but how do you actually know how the person is paid (regular wage vs counting on the tip for their survival)? We know servers count on their tip money, but you don’t know for certain about the other jobs.

  • July 23, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    It already costs me 10x more to get to WDW because of exchange rates and I’m paying for a 20 hour flight. Tipping like this is just not plausible for me. Its a US social construct, granted. But an 18% tip actually costs me 180% of my bill when I work it back. As a foreign visitor I just cant afford that for each service engagement!

    • August 7, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      If you can’t afford the customs of the United States, then stick to vacations you can afford. Please and thank you.

      • August 7, 2013 at 3:46 pm

        Jenny-Lee – please keep-in-mind Jess does not reflect all (and hopefully most) of the people here. The United States does not have many monolithic “customs” as regions vary greatly. Coming from the Midwest and going to places like Miami, LA, etc is almost like going to a different country, culturally. WDW has prided themselves on being open to all and intentionally positions itself to transcend cultures. (You aren’t eating at a Kissimmee mom-and-pop eatery) If there are problems that are caused, from people insufficient tips rec’d, I am sure they can figure out ways to address… Personally, I tip a base amt of 10-12% pre-tax on restaurants, and go over that only for excellent service (maybe 20% of the time?) Round up for taxis; insist on carrying my own bags, that’s about it. Only hotel I’ve ever tipped for maid service is WDW (and quite well), when they helped clean up an “accident” by my two-year-old. Cheap? probably yes when compared to Miami, NYC, etc – but we live in a vastly different economies! I’ll get off my soapbox, but I think when you can make it to WDW, enjoy yourself and tip what comes naturally

        • August 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

          I agree with jess, I factor in tips when budgeting a trip. 10-12% is just disrespectful. Especially after you saying you have a toddler, it’s just way too low.

          • August 8, 2013 at 10:29 am

            A report on tipping from our visit 24/8/13 to 6/8/13
            Taxi Driver: tipped 15%
            Buffet meals:
            Crystal Palace, Boma, Hollywood and Vine and Chef Mickeys No tips
            Artist Point 19% for exceptional service
            Le Celler 10% food excellent, new server being trained.
            Mythos 10%
            Captain Jacks no tip
            T-Rex no tip
            Be our guest 10%
            Chefs de France no tip.

            I never felt pressured and the server never shot me a filthy look.

            Do not feel pressurised not tipping

          • August 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm

            Yvonne – and it looks like I am generous compared to Mark Turner (below). i guess that is the point I was making is that it is all relative … you shouldn’t feel unwelcome at WDW as Jess was implying because your culture is different – that is just being a rude host.

          • August 8, 2013 at 12:39 pm

            In no way should you feel unwelcome. But you know the custom, why act as if you don’t, as an excuse?

          • August 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

            And why even question it? Read the bottom of your receipt at EVERY SINGLE table service establishment. Disney clearly expects you to tip the customary 18%. They do the math for you!

          • August 9, 2013 at 9:06 am

            If it was an expectation, it would be included in the bill. It is a suggestion; I would classify it as suggestive selling. In any event, I’ve never seen it, as I’ve never been to WDW table-service as an adult – really pushes the cost up – Much rather fix a meal in Ft Wilderness Cabins. There are 10,000 different ways for people to enjoy a WDW vacation…adjusting to some peoples’ specific tipping norms shouldn’t be a litmus test, whether you believe one is “acting as an excuse” or not.

        • September 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

          Servers have to tip out a large percentage of their tips to other workers. Is it a bad system. Probably, but there it is. Servers depend on tips to make a livable wage. If you cannot afford to tip, you cannot afford to eat at a table service restaurant at Disney or the United States. Be prepared for your trip, and if you can’t afford it, plan a different trip.

          • January 4, 2014 at 2:16 pm

            We go to Disney a couple times a year, and use the Disney Dinning Plan. Disney has jacked the price on this plan over the last few years. What has really tickes me off going to sit down dinning is these servers are more interested in telling you about the tip than what is on the menu.

            I haven’t gotten nowhere near a 3% raise in the last ten years, and they base their tips on the inflated prices of the food. I think as a patron of their park that I should not have to subsidize their employee payroll.

    • October 12, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      I totally understand! I am quite shocked at the percentage for tipping as well! We are from Canada, so tipping is done here, but more like 15%. We don’t eat out much because to factor in all those costs (and our taxes are 13% of every meal as well) is outrageous. We never order fountain drinks as each one factors in an additional $3.50 to the price tag, and the money we make on the farm is less than that of a waitress/waiter in our area. I don’t know the salaries of the wait staff in the USA, but I’ve always assumed it is similar to here. We do tip… but only at full service establishments (not buffets, fast food, etc) and only if we’ve received good service. I can tell you that at least 1/4 of the time we go out (which is not very often, we eat out at sit down restaurants maybe once a month or less) we get very poor service… no refills on drinks unless we flag someone down after they’ve been empty for awhile, food coming out cold, no asking how our meal is… and they expect tips. It is almost as though they look at us, figure ‘they won’t tip cause they ordered waters’ and then give us poor service. It is shameful. Sorry, I’ve started ranting a little. I don’t know how the table service is in WDW as we only went to counter service restaurants the one time we went, but from what I’ve heard, the service is excellent and would definitely warrant us tipping the staff! Even though the end cost is quite high. That was one of the reasons we stuck to counter service. The food was still great, it was faster so we were able to take more in at the parks, and we didn’t have to worry about our toddlers needing to sit and wait. I’d take a look at the counter service options and perhaps stick to only one or two table service for the trip. We only did one (and that, a buffet) on our trip, and the price of the one meal after tip cost more than a whole day’s worth of food on the other days… and the food wasn’t that much better, the wait was so long (even with reservation), and we didn’t really find that it was ‘our thing’. That’s just us, though. πŸ™‚

  • August 5, 2013 at 1:33 pm

    The need to tip is a myth. I am here now and have hardly tipped in 14 days except for exceptional service. Don’t be pressurised. There is no need to tip.

    • August 8, 2013 at 11:30 am

      You are a very rude person to deny a hardworking server the tip they work so hard for. Servers RARELY take home a paycheck. They rely on those tips. You should be ashamed of yourself for so brazenly broadcasting to others to follow in your cheapskate shoes. When I was a server for many years (during college and medical school) it was people like you who could really spoil a great night. Let me assure you, servers work their asses off and deserve the 18% that is customary in America. Factor it into your budget, don’t be a jerk.

      • August 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

        I tip for excellent service. I do not reward mediocrity. If I spoilt an employee’s night then tough. I am there for my benefit, not that of the server.

        Nobody forces people to take the job. If people need to rely on tips then they mst take the rough with the smooth.

        If their service is mediocre I will not tip. If I have to fetch my own food (buffet) I will not tip.

        Do I care about the server? They have a job. So many do not. Do it well get paid.

        • August 8, 2013 at 12:33 pm

          Jess – it’s no use trying to reason with ignorance, why bother. This man obviously thinks he’s entitled to make his own rules in regard to this matter. I always tip at least 18%, and if service is wonderful then even more. Mark should realize there are many factors that contribute to a nice experience at any eatig establishment, many of which are completely out of the server’s control.

          • August 8, 2013 at 12:38 pm

            Thanks Jake! Hahaha! Reading this guy’s last post, I’m in total agreement. He thinks he’s quite entitled disney he? Lucky they have a job when so many do not? Is he for real?

          • August 8, 2013 at 8:56 pm

            Yes, I do make my own rules in ths matter. Tipping is not a legal requirement and is a matter of individual judgement.

            I am reliably informed the USA is a free country. You are free to tip or not.

            All I am doing is pointing out to those of similar opinion to myself that they do not have to tip.

            Please do not call me ignorant. It is not ignorance, it is exercising my right to make a free, independent choice in a free, independent country.

          • August 9, 2013 at 9:59 am

            Then Mark, tell that server BEFORE service begins about your rules. That’s fair, right? Lets see how good your service would be then. Get my point? Servers are only legally obligated to take your order and bring it to you but they go out of there way to make your experience enjoyable. Why? Because its customary that they will expect a TIP FOR IT.
            YOU KNOW THEY EXPECT IT, and play along, the while time knowing you aren’t going to compensate. You ARE IGNORANT and a cheap jerk.

        • August 9, 2013 at 11:05 am

          Jake- following your words: “they go out of there way to make your experience enjoyable. Why? Because its customary that they will expect a TIP FOR IT.” Mark said he tips for excellent service and not mediocrity. I’ll make a (not) large leap and say Mediocrity is apparently not enjoyable for Mark. If so, and server doesn’t recognize this and provides mediocre service that is not enjoyable for Mark, why should he tip, according to your rules?

          • August 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

            That is a great point Jake! Tell the server you don’t tip, before service. Scott, I can assure you by looking at Mark’s tip report that he in fact is an unfair cheap bastard. Mediocrity at nearly every single dining establishment? What kind of service is this jack hole expecting? is he freaking royalty? Honest to God, you people who refuse to tip and make poor hair splitting arguments to justify it are simply ridiculous. Thank sweet baby Jesus that you are the MINORITY of patrons. Read some Emily Post. Learn some manners. Hope karma comes and bites you both in the ass. Wonder if Mark has the nerve to actually be a REPEAT customer anywhere? Doubt it. Uncouth, and classless. Glad I married someone who tips generously, we enjoy being regulars at a few of our hometown Boston restaurants. And I also tip well on vacation. If I couldn’t afford to tip, I’d stick with counter service.

          • August 9, 2013 at 12:35 pm

            Jess – to follow the line of arguement, Mark shouldn’t say that he doesn’t tip, rather to test he should say he tips for only excellent service; I would imagine the service level improves, and some of those restaurants would have received tips, and that would be a “fair” thing to do. But that still puts the priorities wrong – at least in how the vast majority of consumer culture, it is the establishments responsibility to find/meet customers’ needs: In your world, would you pay auto-dealer salesmen, who primarily work on commission (tips), for his best attempt to find a car for you, but for whatever reason hasn’t? Because some people have higher expectations, should they be culturally forced to pay for expectations not met? Seems ridiculous when applied to most industries. What about restaurants should cause them to be different? I don’t find ‘not meeting expectations’ as “hair-splitting” – I find that the core of the argument. That said, I also married someone who tips generously – I usually err higher when I’m with her… bending to social pressure πŸ™‚

          • August 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm

            Jess and Jake – It’s pointless to respond to these unintelligent boys. Clearly they’re ignorant and will seemingly stay that way.
            To compare a car salesperson (higher pay rate and a commission, that is not a tip, by the way) to a server (that makes less than 3$/hour before tips and is SERVING YOU) clearly shows how ignorant that one is.

          • September 4, 2013 at 11:57 am

            At the risk of flaring the back up, Yvonne says commission for car sales are nothing like tipping at restaurants. Most car salesmen I know work solely on commission (though are guaranteed a minimum wage, as FL wait staff is – see She’s post below), and they receive a set % for standard service. Under your’s and others’ assertion that tipping should be a standard % for standard service, it seems very much like how other pure commission jobs work. If the contention that myself and some others support is true, that tipping is up to how well a specific customer’s expectations are met and are truly at the discretion of that customer, then I would agree tipping is not like normal commissioned roles. Which way is it?

        • January 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

          That is another one of my pet peeves at DW. At the buffet dinners such as Chief Mickey’s or the Grand Floridian, you serve yourself and then when you receive your check they want a 18 to 20% tip. For just bringing you drinks and taking away the dishes, unreal.

        • January 17, 2014 at 5:18 pm

          Wow. While it is true that tipping in the USA is not a law, it is a custom in this country. Like it or not (and for the record, I do NOT either), servers are NOT paid by the establishment, but rather by tip. I think it is silly myself, but THAT’S HOW IT IS.

          You certainly have the right to punish TERRIBLE service with a limited tip, but standard or exception service warrants a proper tip in this country. Period.

          I travel extensively, and always do my research in order to adhere to local customs. To ignore these customs is not only impolite, but rude and shameful.

      • February 13, 2014 at 3:40 pm

        Jess you must obviously work for Disney. I am a Disney Vacation Club Member and go to Disney a couple of times a year. My wife and teen-age kids argue on what a tip should be and it does come down to the service.

        My beef is this it might be customary for a 18-20% tip, but Disney is basing that tip on inflated prices, and as you know this plan has been increasing every year. Don’t give the bull if you go to Disney you should have to follow the suggestive tip. We usually give the suggestive tip, but an interesting thing happened when we just returned from our Christmas trip.

        We received our bill from Disney e-mail, and their was a 27 dollar charge at the Prime-time. We charged our appetizers to the room. When my wife inquired about the charge they said it was a tip. I always pay my tips in cash, they did give us credit for the charge. This made me really mad about the situation of their suggestive tips and the spot to write them in even more on debate with my family.

        Point is the economy is bad Disney should be glad people are showing up at the parks. I have been a Disney Vacation Club member since 97, and the prices have increased faster than the rate of inflation. Get your act together DISNEY!!!

    • September 4, 2013 at 11:15 am

      It’s very easy to justify being cheap and rude. I hope you don’t have children who can learn from your actions.

    • February 12, 2014 at 10:56 am

      Servers make between $2.13 and $4.95 an hour, depending on the state’s minimum wage. The expectation is that all guests will tip them so that they can make at least a minimum wage. Most servers do not even get a paycheck as the taxes on their rate of pay plus tips usually are equal to what they get paid. You should tip your server something. When I was a server the rule of thumb I used is that you should be tipped $1 per person dining for decent service.

  • August 7, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, such as you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you could do with some percent to pressure the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

    • August 16, 2013 at 8:52 am

      If you add a tip to the bill at WDW who does the money go to? – does it all go to the waiter ie the person who takes the order or is it shared with the person who shows you to your table and the people who bring your food out – who usually seem to be all different at WDW restaurants. Does anyone know what WDW actually pays it’s waiters as an hourly rate and does that vary between restaurants? Thanks Steve

      • February 12, 2014 at 10:59 am

        It depends on what the state minimum wage is. All servers make a percentage of minimum wage. In Illinois minimum wage is $8.25 and servers make $4.95. Most restaurants make servers tip out the bus person and sometimes servers assistants. The people who bring you your food if it is not the server. Some also require tipping out the bartender. This means that the server has to give a percentage of their tips to these other positions.

  • August 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Jenny I can assure you I speak for EVERY SINGLE WAITSTAFF person you encounter. Ever. Tipping 10-12% is NOT acceptable in the Untited States. Ever.

  • August 9, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Also, %19 percent at Artist Point? Are you kidding me ? E couldn’t cough up another %1 to make it an even %20? Bet he one of those tools who takes a calculated and mulls over the check for three hours too….. What a tool.

    • August 9, 2013 at 12:46 pm

      If the bill was $84, leaving a $16 tip makes an even $100, and an after-the-fact calculation of 19% Not sure why that makes him a tool, or even why you’re resorting to name calling to make your argument.

  • August 18, 2013 at 6:18 pm

    I am at WDW now and the service at all the resturants has been fantastic. My first job was a bus help, then a hostess, and finally a waitress. I always tip over 20 % for great service. My hubby also worked as a bus boy and waiter for his first job. When you are young you have to get job experience and I think the service field was great. My hubby and I used the tips to pay for education to get better jobs. Now we make great money and spend money which boosts the economy. Thanks to people who cared to leave tips for our hard work!

  • August 19, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Ok…the idea of waitstaff taking home nothing intrigued me and ASTOUNDINGLY enough it is a myth/lie/falsehood.

    I for one, won’t be tipping much next time around at Disney. The founder himself, did NOT want tipping in the parks. As long as they are guaranteed minimum wage, there is no reason to tip. When was the last time you tipped your retail cashier?

    see below:

    The Florida minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.65 per hour, higher then the federal minimum wage for tipped employees of $2.13 per hour. The Florida tipped wage applies to employees like waitresses, waiters, bartenders, valets, and other service employees who earn more then $30 in tips a month.
    Including tips and cash wages, all tipped employees must still earn at least the Florida Minimum Wage of $7.79 per hour. If a Florida employee does not earn at least $7.79 including tips in any given hour of work, their employer must make up the difference in cash.

    • February 12, 2014 at 11:01 am

      The employers do not like paying minimum wage differential which is what it is called when they have to pay the difference. They do not believe that a server would not get tipped. As a restaurant manager I have been told by my bosses to “get our money back.”

      • February 12, 2014 at 11:34 am

        And you highlight, Hilary, the insanity of the issues. It is not the owners’ money at that time. It is the customer’s money first, to decide how they want to use, next it should be the employee’s money they earned, w/ owners having what is left at the end. But w/ owner’s having to guess/factor how much staff “should” make from tips – there is all kinds of room for abuse, as noted in your other posts about splitting w/ other people involved in the restaurant.

        Through all of these posts, still haven’t seen a reason why restaurant staff shouldn’t be paid like most other staff that deals w/ the public: a straight wage possibly with commissions and/or bonuses for a consistently good job, negative consequences for not doing a good job. That would give price certainty for consumers, more predictable base wage for the employees, more predictable expenses for management, and take out most friction mentioned in these posts.

  • September 4, 2013 at 11:40 am

    Tipping is an American custom. I leave a dollar per person at table, unless there is extremely good service – otherwise that’s it. Dont like it, find a job that pays better. Disney is a bit of a rip anyway, and adding in the tipping part is just ridiculous. Disney can pay its people better (most of which are here on a visa anyway!)

  • September 6, 2013 at 7:03 am

    I usually budget $20 per table servicewhen I go and I factor that into my budget. I leave $3-$5 on the nightstand for mousekeeping. I do the same tips regardless of where I am because my fiancΓ© is a big eater and we usually make a huge mess with our clothing. If people don’t want to tip that is fine. I’m sure that there are enough people tipping generously to make up the difference.

  • September 6, 2013 at 7:04 am

    I usually budget $20 per table service when I go and I factor that into my budget. I leave $3-$5 on the nightstand for mousekeeping. I do the same tips regardless of where I am because my fiancΓ© is a big eater and we usually make a huge mess with our clothing. If people don’t want to tip that is fine. I’m sure that there are enough people tipping generously to make up the difference.

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  • December 6, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I really hate the tipping culture in USA. It’s a hassle that doesn’t make any sense to me. If it’s expected for every one to pay 18% in tips, and those who don’t pay it are terribly frowned upon, then just add it to the prices. If a hotel expects us to pay tips for, let’s say, 5 people per day, than add 5~10 dollars to the daily rate. I’m not against the charging of a service fee, but I’m totally against the “you don’t have to do it, but everybody will hate you if you don’t” and the “the prices are already high, but somehow we can’t pay a decent salary to our workers and you’ll have to do it for us, and if you don’t, they’ll hate you” attitude of the tipping culture.

    I also don’t like this idea of making tips be based on the price of stuff. If they bring me a plate with a hamburguer or a plate of the finest foie gras, the waiter made the exact same effort to bring it to my table, so why should I pay 2 dollars for him bringing me one but 20 dollars for bringing me the other?

    But I’ve never been to USA, and I never experienced this tipping culture, since the other countries I visited didn’t have one, so maybe I get used to it when I get there.

    • December 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

      From the perspective of a long-time restaurant chef:

      To all those not from the US: We have a “tipping” culture here. Like it or not…that’s how it is here. If you don’t like it…don’t follow it. Just remember that it’s usually Americans that are viewed by the rest of the world as the rude foreigners who have no respect for the culture they’ve come to visit (and I will generally agree with this!). Also, I know that in many other countries (of course, not all) hospitality workers usually have higher wages than we have here. Also, in some countries, being a good server in a quality restaurant can actually be an esteemed job. One which commands respect and a high wage. That’s not really the case here. Sure, some servers can make a LOT of money here…but they really do work their ass off for it. Those high end server jobs are also quite hard to come by…and you only get them if you’ve paid your dues working in the trenches for peanuts beforehand. Also…these are people who, at virtually every moment, are dealing with children. Some are well behaved…some are complete nightmares. I would guess that there are more of the latter.

      In restaurants…I tip on the high side: 20%. Unless something goes really wrong…20% every time. This isn’t bragging or putting myself on the high ground. It’s just what I do. I saw above that Florida’s minimum wage is $7.79. The poster said that since they got minimum wage, that no tip was necessary. I can see the absolute logic in this…but let’s be honest here. $7.79 x 40hrs x 52wks = $16.2K/yr. No, of course it’s not our duty to support these people who have taken these jobs voluntarily. Not our duty…but wouldn’t it just be nice to help someone out whose working to “make all our fantasies come true!”

      Seriously…we’re talking about taking vacations that cost thousands of dollars to go see someone dressed in a mouse costume. Wouldn’t it just be a good thing to do a human being to leave behind a few extra bucks?

      As far as the hamburger vs. the foie gras…try that logic with anyone who works for any type of commission.

      • December 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

        …an also…I’m pretty sure that any character in any Disney movie who doesn’t tip wold most certainly turn out to be the “bad guy”.

        …and ANOTHER THING!!! Virtually NO U.S. restaurant servers are offered ANY type of medical benefits, paid time off, or retirement benefits. We say the French are rude?? Most of their servers get all that plus a respectable salary.

        …ok…I feel better now. thanks.

      • December 17, 2013 at 4:02 pm

        I just want to agree in on this as a foreigner (Australian, in this case). Look, for those of us on the outside, we can all see the tipping culture is messed up. (And the US has known it now for over a century; the first anti-tipping laws were created back in the early 1900s! And overturned in 1920 or so.) There’s ugly sides to it on all fronts.

        But that’s what the wait-staff have to work with right now. You want to change it? By all means, write Disney an email. Implore them to change their policies and raise their staff’s wages, and impose no-tipping rules. Heck, I’m going to do that myself now that I think about it. But until such a time comes? When in the Italy Pavilion, do as the Romans do.

      • January 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm

        I didn’t say anywhere that I’ll not tip. I just said that I hate the concept. But I guess it won’t bother me too much, since almost all my meals will be done in counter service restaurants. I’ll have to deal with it mainly with taxidrivers. And housekeepers. And bellmen. And bartenders. And the Magical Express driver. Did I miss anyone?

        • February 12, 2014 at 11:05 am

          Don’t forget that waiters work all holidays and weekends and it is tough to even try to get time off for your own vacations, birthdays, etc.

        • February 13, 2014 at 3:57 pm

          Like I mentioned before I go to Disney a few times a year. You mentioned tipping other people in Disney. One area where you see if people tip or not is on the Disney Magical Express, these have to be the most abused people working for Disney. You see these drivers lifting heavy bags onto and off the bus at the resort or airport and some people do not give them a cent. These are the guys that should get 18-20% tip.

  • December 26, 2013 at 6:14 pm

    Wow, this article really helped clear up the confusion for me, that is, until I started reading the comments!!

    I am from Scotland, and I have worked in hospitality in my younger years, and as such, I do tip here in restaurants as standard, but yeah the percentage is much higher in America, however, the pound is stronger than the dollar, so I am currently getting just over 1.5 dollars to my pound.. through this, I can justify the added extra percentage because although I am paying more in %, its not that different in terms of how much cash I am parting with, because of the exchange rate, at least thats the way I look at it.

    Its not the tipping I have a problem with, its just trying t understand *when* to tip! It seems like some of the situations where I would are not considered the norm and when I wouldn’t they are! But like I said, this page helped overcome that to a degree!

    I understand that some people who are doing disney on a budget would think ‘why should I have to tip’ but I think that anyone who has ever had to work long hours in a service environment would be hard pressed *not* to tip. As a waitress and a bar person, I was always grateful for any tip I received but in the more expensive eateries when you have fell over yourself backwards to assist a table and they leave a measley tip, it does leave you thinking that they need to get their head out of their bottoms and realise how arrogant that makes them look.

    I have factored in my tips, all divvied into enveloped ready for my vactaion as I don’t want to worry about it whilst I am there!

  • January 2, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    18%? You’re ridiculous. It doesn’t take any more effort to bring me a 10 dollar burger than it does a 35 dollar porterhouse. If the server has been good and kept my glass full, he gets a 5 at the end of a meal.
    Buffet waiters get a dollar per person, at the most, since their not even bringing me my food. 15% is the standard for generous people, and anyone saying 18-20% are the types of folks only useful as a pair of hands and a pulse. Deal with it or make yourself more valuable.

  • January 5, 2014 at 8:51 am

    Tipping 20% is absurd and should only be done when the service surpassed all expectations. We tip 15% when the service is good and 10% when we’re not please with what we receive be it food or service.

    We tip housekeepers once every three days, 5 bucks.

    I don’t understand tipping taxi drivers either, aren’t they already making money from the ride?

  • January 20, 2014 at 11:50 pm

    People who have worked in industries where tipping is prevalent are often pro-tipping because of the self-interest in doing so.

    While the tip is generally goes directly to the paycheck of the servers who worked with you (though sometimes it goes to others who did not), this is an arrangement between the server and the restaurant. I am not a party to their agreement and no none of the terms except that my server is making at least minimum wage for their time. Often they accept the position at risk of making additional money because they expect tips.

    But the real winner is the restaurant owners. They get to increase consumption by advertising lower prices on food while minimizing their pay by having their workers take the tip risk.

    As a consumer, having a wait and kitchen staff is the value proposition that is driving me to eat at the restaurant in the first place. Even with part of the costs hidden, food at a restaurant costs more than eating it myself or going with a lower level of service. I’ve already paid for your service by giving you business. Expecting more money beyond the advertised price for the agreed service is unreasonable.

    That said, I will tip at places I plan to eat more than once, since I don’t like the taste of spit.

  • February 3, 2014 at 7:55 am

    I say tip what you think is appropriate. I hate when the tip is automatically included. Yes if I’m out with my kids and they make a mess I tip more if service is bad less. Just dont be insulting. If your bill is over 100 and your server treated you like you were their only guests dont leave a 5. And dont just complain to management if your service was excellent let them know that too.

  • February 3, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Servers have to claim their tips for tax purposes. Often your entire “paycheck” disappears in the face of paying the government, so yes servers (everywhere, not just WDW) often only get what is in their pocket at the end of the night.

  • February 10, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I am disgusted at so many people’s comments on this thread. This article, as far as I know, was meant to serve as a tipping policy for foreigners visiting our country as well as to give hints to people who don’t travel often what to tip the bellhop etc. It quickly turned into a forum about how to pull one over on the wait staff at WDW. They don’t care, they still smile when I leave…OH REALLY??? You think that your waitress can come and tell you what a cheapskate you are to your face? You know you are cheapskates regardless of how you all break it down (inflation, hamburger vs. porterhouse, buffet vs sit down, its not my job to pay their salary) If your family ate at sit down restaurants and you treated them like this all week, I can gaurentee you’ve made someone cry. You’ll never know because they could be fired from the job they’re apparently so lucky to have if you ever see anything but a smile on their face.
    But lets break it down-

    Inflation- You can afford a trip to disney world, so you are educated enough to make a decent salary to pay for this extravagant vacation…so you probably can also figure out that it wasn’t your server’s idea to raise prices…but you’re going to make her pay for something you knew going in…you knew when someone came to take your order while you sat on your butt that this was a tipping kind of meal and not a mcdonalds kind of meal…so you decided to take up your problems with the CEO of a bazillion dollar company with a single mom? probably a good choice…let me know when the prices go back to normal and i’ll thank you for your stinginess

    HAMBURGER VS. PORTERHOUSE- really…if you can’t tell the difference between a place that sells hamburgers and a place that sells porterhouses, than you should save the money and just dine at the hamburger place because you won’t be able to taste the difference either. But if you opt not to, here’s a general hint: if the dress code requires more than a tank top, fanny pack, shorts and sneakers, you don’t belong here bc your wallet can’t afford your waitress…

    BUFFET VS. SIT DOWN- remember, you choose where you dine. Your waitress at the buffet brings you drinks clears your plates and makes a big deal about your kids bday just like any other restaurant would.

    My personal favorite- ITS NOT MY JOB TO PAY THEIR SALARY- then don’t! But don’t make them serve you. Go to a counter service dinner. Or don’t be a coward. Tell them upfront your political views and that you do not believe in tipping. You’ll eventuatlly eat, because it is their job to feed you, but she will make sure she puts the majority of her time into people who will pay her salary…wouldn’t you? Then, go home, write to congress, and lets make the restaurants pay servers a decent salary…of course, this would completely ruin the inflation bit because the cost of food in restaurants will sky rocket as restaurants would have to now pay their employees a decent salary. But this is what you wanted, remember!?:)

  • February 23, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Mmmmmm tipping
    I tip 10% when eating a sit down meal, this is the UK norm. I have saved up for almost three years to go to WDW. I will tip what I think is right but I simply cannot afford 20%.
    I am not a cheapskate, I have saved, worked extra shifts at work to get this once in a lift time holiday. I have 6 people in my party and I will not be pay the automatic 20%, I cannot afford it. I appreciate the service and time but it will be a balance of tip 20% or feed my family.

    Sorry but that is just the way it is.

    • February 23, 2014 at 5:24 am

      I obtained the disney dining plan for free as part of my booking, to use my credits I obtain 1 counter and one sit down meal per day.

      • April 1, 2014 at 5:59 pm

        So you along with 5 people will be dining for free and still will not be tipping properly according to us cultures? You should probably tell your server that when she comes to take your order so she is aware to give 10% service to you. I can sympathize with you picking up extra shifts to pay for vacation. I once was a waitress in the wdw area during the uk’s holiday and had to pick up extra shifts to afford my rent for the month because we only got paid $3.17 per hour. I was not able to get free dining for my family for our upcoming trip, but did get the dining plan. I’m not thrilled to be spending extra money on our meals for tipping, especially since the food is so highly priced, but this is how they pay their bills. Not vacation bills…actual bills.

    • March 10, 2014 at 11:52 am

      If you can’t afford the 20%, do not punish the waiter. Go to a quick service restaurant where you do not have to pay a tip.

  • March 8, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    It will be added to your bill if you like it or not you will have to pay it unfortunately. I say do two tables and tip what you want. It cost us 400 dollars in tips for two weeks holiday thats just for restaurants. In crystal palace the server gave us our bill before we had even finished our main meal. When I go back in august I will tip what I want. Hope you have a great time.

  • March 9, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Tipping is a very personal experience. If you recieve good service, leave a good tip. If the service is great, provide a great tip. Finally, if the service is exceptional, offer an exceptional one. The converse applies as well!

  • March 10, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I am absolutely AMAZED at how many people think it is actually acceptable to not tip at a restaurant! I was raised with the mindset that if “you can’t afford to tip, you can’t afford to go out to eat.” Like stated above, servers generally make FAR less than minimum wage, so they are depending on OUR tips for their wages. I understand that a vacation to Disney is insanely expensive. But, even if you are on the dining plan, be a RESPONSIBLE adult and add tipping into your budget prior to your trip. If I were to go visit France or Poland or China, I would be a respectful tourist and learn how they treat their waitstaff, and then I would follow that custom. This also needs to be done by visitors of the US. If your service is bad, as the author of this article stated, tell the manager! I will admit, I have left 15% for exceptionally TERRIBLE service, but that is the bare minimum on a rare occasion. 99% of the time I leave at least 20%, and sometimes even more if service was great. I will say it again, if you can’t afford to tip, DO NOT GO OUT TO EAT. Go to a quick service restaurant in the parks then.

  • April 1, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I stumbled on this and thought it would be good to get some tipping amount facts, at least as far as Square sees it (with some caveats: data is across all kinds of tipping – not just restaurants; Square merchants may not be representative of restaurants on the whole – I have to believe square merchant food establishments are a higher proportion of roadside/temp booth-style where tipping isn’t customary; cash tips not incl ).

  • May 8, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Thanks, Erin, for such an informative discussion. Just recently came to my attention that quite a # of people never even heard of tipping housekeepers. Actually another extreme I just heard was mandatory 5. per day, regardless of how many guests or what level hotel.

    All this conflicting info has made me realize I am not such a terrible person. Always tipped generously @restaurants, and where I live we tip at takeout as well (1. or so-no big deal).

    But I always waited til end of stay and tipped 1. per day per person, so thanks for relieving my guilt ,after I heard about this 5. night thing. And I will do the every day tipping f now on, never thought about that b4. thanks.

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