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Tipping at Walt Disney World

by Dad
(The Office)

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. 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.

Dad's Ultimate Walt Disney World Tipping Cheatsheet

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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.

Destinations to Travel

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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disney world parks

disney world parks


disney hotels

disney hotels


the fire pit at 'Ohana



Comments for

Feb 01, 2019 tour guide
by: debi

how much for a 5 h tour should i tip to guide in Disney world tour

Jan 15, 2019 An honest question:
by: Anonymous

I will go alone to WDW, should I tip the Mousekeeping 2 dollars each day? I am from Brazil and overall we don’t tip, it’s a cultural thing. But going overseas I always try to adapt myself.

Nov 20, 2018 We did not follow the 18% rule
by: Anonymous

We recently came back from Disney world. We were on the deluxe dining plan. Some of our table service meals came out to $160… We were not going to leave a $32 tip… Especially when the prices are inflated for Disney.

Our plan was if the service was bad, $0, good $10, amazing $20… There were two meals in which service was bad, and we left a $0 tip. And only one that was exceptional and got a $20 tip.

Actually one of our best meals was outside of Disney, at a steak and shake restaurant… Our bill was $18… Our server was hilarious… Had us laughing the entire time… We left him a $10 rope, which would be 50%

Now he worked just as hard as the servers in Disney, prob gets paid a similar wage… So why would i be expected to leave a $32 tip in Disney yet only $4 at this other resteraunt… Same service, just different priced food.

Call me cheap, but I will never tip based on what I’m told is expected from me. And if the server hints that to I should be giving 20%….they will be getting 0%.

Oct 18, 2018 Tipping Table Service with Meal Plan
by: Anonymous

How would you tip for Character Meals that are part of the Disney meal plan – not knowing the value of the meal (i’m assuming this, i really don’t know if we would know the total?) – so how do you determine amount to tip? or do you still get a bill that is just zeroed out so you do know the tip amount?

Dad Answers

There will be an amount on the receipt even on the Dining Plan.

Dec 02, 2017 housekeeping
by: Anonymous

Here we tip well – we again like with dining, are an easy family I make up the bed we put wet towels in a pile we remove all our toiletries off the sink and tub area so they have access to everything.

By the end of our vacation they adore us, they thank us they make towel characters and we don’t have little children either. They practically want to tip us for keeping such a clean room.

Believe me, we’ve walked by some rooms that the door is open and people create a disgusting pig stye food on the floor crumbs everywhere.

If your a messy family give $2-3/person they are housekeeping not your personal maid they have a LOT of rooms and deserve some respect from the guests.

They earn their tips and it must be backbreaking work to do as well!

Dec 02, 2017 15% at Buffets
by: Anonymous

We have a small party never over 3 people and we are very easy no extras for the wait staff – all they do is bring us a beverage.
I hardly think that 18-20% is necessary for one cup of soda and to clear a plate from each of us.
Sorry, not being cheap but let’s be realistic here.
They aren’t taking individualized specialty orders.
We aren’t ordering fancy cocktails and multiple rounds.
We order a soda and get a plate of food for ourselves.
If we wanted multiple rounds and many plates that would be different but for us 15% is just perfect.
I think they would appreciate a non-stressful family that puts no wear and tear on them. They always fawn around the big parties and we are hardly noticed since it’s just the three of us…they figure go big serving the big table naturally by number a bigger tip…it’s ashame really because then they give us worse service since they know inherently our bill will be smaller and thus the tip smaller.

Dec 02, 2017 Housekeeping
by: Anonymous

One dollar per person per day is standard for housekeeping everywhere in the US, not just at Disney.

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