This week, Dad got a really important question:
Do we have to add tips to everything?
Disney World restaurants expect a 18-20% tip. Photo by Disney Photo Snapper
Dad’s Yes Indeed Answer
The big, scary, controversial tipping question. Are you ready for this? Short Answer: YES you need to tip. Long answer: Not always and that’s where it gets complicated.
Let’s get all the messy stuff out of the way first. When dining, YES you need to tip at all table service restaurants and buffets. It is expected in the state of Florida (because serving wages are very low) that you will tip 18-20%, or more if you feel it is deserved. I know that might be higher than where some folks are from, but a well-mannered traveler adapts to where he or she is visiting. Parties of 6 or more will have tip automatically added.
If you are on the Disney Dining Plan, YES you are expected to tip on what the meal would have cost you. That means if you go to Le Cellier and order a $52 filet mignon, a $11 nanaimo pie, and a $6.79 pot of tea, your $70 meal needs a tip in the neighborhood of $12.50-14.00.
At quick service locations, tips are not expected. But, at lounges and pool bars, they are expected. Tips are also expected on room service (watch the bill, sometimes it’s included).
Now, you asked if you need to tip on EVERYTHING, so I assume you meant more than dining? You don’t HAVE to tip Mousekeeping, but it’s a nice thing to do. Some folks tip their housekeeping staff at hotels (anywhere, not just Disney) so that’s a matter of personal preference. If you do, $1 per day per person seems to be the going rate. If you do tip, make sure to leave it in an envelope clearly labeled, otherwise they won’t take it.
You don’t need to tip the front desk staff, the concierge, or the Disney bus drivers. You don’t have to tip the Magical Express drivers (they are employed by Mears) but you can. You should tip the bell services staff if you use them at $1 per bag.
You should tip at the spa. You don’t need to tip Cast Members you encounter in the parks. A good rule of thumb is that if it’s somewhere you would tip “in real life” it’s appropriate to do so at Disney World.
If you want to get into the nitty gritty, Dad’s pals over at TouringPlans.com have a great article that gets in to all the tipping details you could possibly imagine.
Dad’s Bottom Line
is really important at Disney, Cast Members provide outstanding service and deserve every penny they make in traditionally tipped positions. Make sure you know who to tip and how much, and include it in your budget.