Tipping at Walt Disney World. It's one of the things that I get asked about quite a bit. Who should I tip? Should I tip this kind of person? Should I tip this person? It can be a little bit confusing about who to tip and who not to tip. So, what I thought we'd do is to talk about who you should tip and who you don't need to tip.
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Let's start with who you should tip, and roughly how much. You can do more, but you should tip probably it needs to be at least this much. The luggage handler is the first person you should tip, they are first person you're going to come in contact with, if you fly, that's somebody that handles your luggage.
Who you should tip
You can carry your own luggage back and forth and not have anybody else touch it, that's fine (you don't have to tip yourself, but you can), but if you use the services in the airport, the guys that have the carts that push your luggage. If you go on Disney's Magical Express and you leave your bag with the bus driver, if you go in a taxi, any time somebody handles your luggage, including the Magical Express people that take your luggage when you're getting on the plane to come back, you should tip them one dollar or more per bag. Two dollars if it's a big heavy bag. So, luggage handlers, even the guy that drives the shuttle to the parking lot at your local airport, one dollar per bag.
At table service restaurants, the restaurants where you sit down, they take your order, they bring you your food, take what are considered Disney's table service restaurants. The normal amount now, used to be 15%, but now it's gone to 18-20%. If you're in a group of six or more,18% is going to be put into your bill. So groups with six or more are going to automatically have that in their bill, but if you go to a table service restaurant you should tip 18-20%.
Mousekeeping, housekeeping, whatever you want to call it, this is one that for years nobody did, but it's kind of become standard that you should tip one dollar per day per person in your room. That means if you have five people in your room, that's five dollars a day.
The way to do that at Disney is to put it in an envelope, a lot of people make cool envelopes, but put to put the money in an envelope every day, every day, not just once during the week. Put it in an envelope every day and leave it somewhere where people can see it, where the housekeeping will know what it is, make it very clear this is for them to take. So one dollar per person per day, and pay every day, because you're not always going to have the same person doing the housekeeping, the Mousekeeping every day.
Next comes personal services. You go to the spa, you do something with a boat and there's a boat driver, you get instructions, tennis instructions, something like that. Any kind of personal service like that, typical is 15% or more if they do an outstanding job, 15% or more of the total bill. All of these are before tax, any time you can look at the bill before the tax and 15%, 18%, 20% before tax. So personal services should tip 15%, this is kind of the same as you would do at home. I go get my hair cut, I go to the haircut place, I tip. So it's kind of the same as you would do down there.
Who not to tip
Now, let's talk about who you don't need to tip, who you probably shouldn't tip. Quick service servers, so if you're at a quick service restaurant, Casey's, Be Our Guest for lunch, I was very surprised. We went to Be Our Guest two weeks ago, we were there for lunch, and those servers do a little bit more, they bring the food to your table, there's a little more interaction, it's not like Casey's Corner where you pick up your food, you go to your table, you get your own stuff, you get your own drink.
At Be Our Guest at lunch, yes you get your own drinks, but there's a little more interaction with the server. So we thought it would be nice to tip the server, and we talked to her about it and she said, "No, we don't accept tips at lunch. We have to take them and we have to put it in a, and we don't see it. It just goes to Disney." So, the quick service people including Be Our Guest at lunch you don't tip.
The concierge desks in the hotels, those people you can offer them, it's standard to offer concierges, when they do something for you, to offer them a tip. Typically, they're not supposed to take it, so they won't take it, but the concierge desks in the hotels, now, if we're talking about the concierge services, if you're in a suite where they make reservations for you and things like that, yes, those people should be tipped. We're talking about the concierge desks at the hotels. Bus drivers, boat, monorail drivers, just the regular day to day bus drivers, Magical Express, if they carry your bag then that's a separate deal, but the regular bus drivers you don't need to tip. They won't accept a tip in fact.
Cast members, another one is cast members around the park. They can actually be fired for accepting tips, so it's one of those, while you think it's nice to offer, talk to them before you actually offer them money so somebody doesn't get the wrong idea. Ask them if they can accept tips. If there's any question just ask, "Do you accept tips?" Then you can tip.
How to thank them
So, those people that you can't tip, what can you do for them? You want to thank them, you want to give them recognition. There is a way that you can give those people recognition, even though you can't tip them, and that is through what's called guest communications.
There is an official comment card for cast members at all the park's guest services location. You get that comment card, fill it out, make sure to get the cast members right off their name tag, get their name and their home town, fill out that comment card. That does more for them, most of them, for the non-tipping ones, that is what shows management that their doing a good job. They get a lot out of those good comments.
So, do when somebody does something above and beyond, get their name, get their home town, fill out those comment cards. Wait till you get home, when you get home you can write. There's an address, we'll put it down in the comments, there's an address you can send it to, and just send a comment. Be sure you've got the name, where they were, describe what happened, and name and home town, and send it into Disney. That really helps those cast members. Disney does pay very close attention to those kind of comments, and it really can help them. Helps them get promotions, all that kind of stuff.
Dad's Bottom Line
The bottom line is tipping is important, who you can and who you can't tip. The people you can tip, they depend on that for their livelihoods, they don't get standard minimum wage, or their wages are reduced for expecting those tips. So it is important to tip those people that do services for you, it's a great way, just be generous, be happy, you're at Disney World! And in life, it's just the attitude, as I hear a lot, the attitude of gratitude. Be thankful when people help you out, it's just a good thing, be thankful.
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