Disney Planning 101 – Tipping at Walt Disney World
Tipping is a personal choice, based upon both the practice of an individual and the quality of service provided. Since tipping refers to paying a gratuity for services rendered, and no one concentrates more on providing great service than Disney, you might consider this when preparing your budget. I am often asked for advice about tipping at Disney so I thought I would pass along my own practices. Because of the wide variety of services provided, I have addressed each one below. Of course, the choice is yours!
Disney’s Magical Express
Disney has contracted with Mears Transportation Group to provide this free transportation service to and from the airport. The bus drivers are not Walt Disney World employees so tipping is permitted. I would typically give the driver a couple of dollars, unless he has assisted me with my carry-on luggage, in which case I would add another dollar to it.
If we carry our own bags to the resort room then there is obviously no need for bell service. If we have our bags delivered to the room, however, we pay $1 per bag to the bell hop. Some people tip more, some less, but a tip is appropriate if you use bell service.
I know people who never tip housekeeping staff no matter where they vacation. Because this position often does not pay very much, I always tip mousekeeping. Some people tip each day of their stay and some wait until the day of checkout and leave a tip for the entire visit. I personally leave the tip daily because I have no way of knowing whether the staff on checkout day will be the same that I have had during each day of my stay.
As a personal rule, I tip $1 per person staying in my room. So, for my family of 5, I tip $5 per day. One of my family members tips $1 per bed each day; so a room with two queen beds would be $2 per day in that instance. As I have said, this is a personal preference.
Disney Transportation Drivers
No matter what type of transportation you use around the Walt Disney World Resort: bus, monorail, tram, ferryboat or friendship boat, the drivers are employed by Disney and, thus, are not allowed to accept tips. Since tipping is not necessary but service is sometimes outstanding, we offer cast member thank yous to our favorite drivers.
No tipping is required at Quick Service restaurants. At these counter-service establishments, you serve yourself. At table service restaurants, however, it is customary to tip. In fact, you will notice that there is a place at the bottom of the ticket where they have listed the appropriate tip at 18% and at 20% of your bill. This is for your convenience only since most of us do not carry calculators or even pen and paper into the parks. It does not mean you have to tip 18 or 20%. If you normally tip 15% and your service was not exemplary, it is perfectly acceptable to leave 15%. If your normal rate is a certain amount, feel free to do the same that you would at any restaurant at home.
I have usually found my service to be exemplary at these restaurants but the tip amount should be service-appropriate.
A couple of things to note: 1) If you have a party of 6 or more, there is an automatic 18% gratuity charged to your bill; and 2) For Tables in Wonderland, there is an automatic gratuity of 18% added to your bill, no matter the party size.
Concierge service usually warrants a tip of $2 to $20 depending upon the type of services requested. The most being if reservations for restaurants, tours, etc. were taken care of for you.
I hope you have found these “tips” helpful (I couldn’t resist). Most of all, I hope you will have a fantastic time on your trip. The service I have received at Disney has been exceptional on many occasions. As a matter of fact, I have spent years trying to figure out how I can get on Sal’s bus again! So far I haven’t found him, but I have checked and he is still around!