Let’s talk tips! I know what you are thinking, that I am going to give you tips and tricks on how to navigate the park. Nope. We are going to talk about tipping in Disney. Don’t cringe, we have to do it! Hubby and I are people watchers and when we travel, especially to Disney, like to watch people. How they interact, how excited they are, how not excited they are, and one thing that we notice and have also experienced in that people seem to think that tipping is different in Disney than on other vacations or even just other restaurants. I’m here to set the record straight for you. It’s not.
The people in Disney, if they are working in the service stations, especially sit down restaurants, valet, bellhops are all working just as they would not on Disney property and those folks work for tips. I was listening to a vlog and scrolled down to read the comments and one of the comments was that this one person doesn’t tip in Disney because the whole thing is just so expensive.
If you can afford to go to Disney, you can afford to tip in Disney. I don’t want to come across as lecturing because that is not my intent, but as someone who worked in the service industry all through college, after college to pay bills, while working another job and all throughout my internships and 20’s in order to get by, I can tell you, tips are expected and to not tip is to tell someone that you don’t appreciate the hard work that they are putting in. It is expected, regardless of the cost of your vacation that you have budgeted enough to include an 18-20% (20% is customary these days) for your experience.
I understand that Disney is expensive. Hubby and I go to Disney a lot and we know that the prices in Disney are higher than prices not in Disney. That is simply not a reason to not tip for services who are essentially paid in tips.
According to Glassdoor in 2016, the annual server in Walt Disney World made less than $24,000. That is below poverty level. Servers and bartenders do not make a typical wage, or even minimum wage. The service minimum wage is lower that a typical minimum wage because the bulk of a server/bartender salary is made in tips. Therefore, to not tip, you are telling your server, who just worked really hard to give you a magical experience, that they worked for free.
Let’s talk who to tip in Disney because I do believe there is a gray area here and a lot of confusion. So, who do you tip?
Servers and or bartenders should customarily receive an 18-20% gratuity for their work. This number should be based off of your entire bill. It is not customary to take off beverages when calculating a tip because servers tip-out, or give a percentage of their sales to the bar staff at the end of their shift, at most establishments.
Valet attendants should also be tipped. There are ways to do this as well. If you know that you are not going to have a stack of one’s or five’s on hand, ask if you can tip one time and have it split up. Sometimes this doesn’t work because there are so many people on staff but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Customarily, it is best to tip at least $1 for every car retrieval a valet does.
Bellhop: If you are having packages brought up to your room by the resort, it is customary to tip. Even if it is just a couple dollars.
Counter service: I don’t think most people tip counter service cast members at Disney and I think that this is fine. Typically, these folks make more than a service wage and it is not necessary to tip. Some also won’t accept tips.
Another great tip is that is someone goes above and beyond for you, a little tip is a great way to say thank you. Castmembers are constantly going above and beyond for the people visiting the parks. Yes, that’s their job, I’m sure that is literally in their handbook, but it never hurts to show someone you appreciate them with a little tip at the end of an extra magical experience.
Here is the best words I can give you when it comes to tipping in Disney, or on any vacation, for that matter. If you were going somewhere in your everyday life and came across this situation, would you tip them? If you were at a restaurant in your home town, would you tip your server? If you were on a business trip and you had a valet, would you tip that person? If you would tip someone in everyday life, you should be tipping them at Disney.
That’s it for this post! What are your thoughts on tipping in Disney? Anything that I left out? Would love to hear your comments and if you have encountered this on your travels! Thanks for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse!