Disney cast members are amazing. They go above and beyond to create the best experiences for guests. Some of these cast members earn a good portion of their salary from gratuities, so it is important to consider this and come prepared and informed to make decisions about what gratuities to offer. Here are twelve great tips for tipping during your Disney vacation:
12 – What are the situations where tipping is customary?
Not all cast members, roles, and services warrant any kind of tipping, but there are various experiences that it is customary to provide a tip for excellent service. The experiences and service roles that are customary to tip for at Disney are table service restaurants, valet, bell services, salon services, room service, and Mousekeeping (Disney’s housekeeping services). If you encounter these services, it is usually customary to offer some form of gratuity.
11 – Tipping at table service restaurants.
For table service restaurants, the gratuity is not included in the bill unless you are a party of 6+ at the same table or you are dining at a dinner show. If the gratuity is added in those scenarios, it is automatically added at 18%, and then you can add more if you wish to do so for stellar service. I would make it a habit to check the total and line items to validate if gratuity has been applied or not to be sure. In all other cases where gratuity hasn’t been added, it is typical to consider between 15-20% for gratuities based on the level of service that is received.
10 – Tips are not included on dining plans.
Editor’s Note: Disney Dining Plans are temporarily suspended. However, Disney has confirmed that they will return for vacation packages beginning January 9, 2024. Those packages are now on sale.
If you are using a Disney Dining Plan, the gratuities are not already included. You would still be expected to budget and pay for these gratuities separately. This can be done using your resort room charge to your Magic Band, a different credit card, or cash if you wish.
9 – Tips are automatically included on certain discounts.
If you have discounts, the gratuities will typically automatically be included at 18%, regardless of party size. The 18% is calculated against the original amount of the meal before the discounts. Note that some types of discounts may not include discounts on alcohol, so you may not see a discount on alcoholic beverages depending on what you are using. If you are using a discount, be sure to double-check if the gratuity is included. If your service is outstanding, you can always tip on top of that.
8 – Tipping for valet and bell services.
Valet and/or bell services are available at all of the Walt Disney World resorts. The bell services are the team that will help get bags to your room or help them get downstairs for checking out. It is typically customary to tip them around $1 per bag that is brought up and then again when the bags are brought down and loaded where they belong. For valet, it is usually customary to tip $2-5 for pick up and again for drop off back to the front of the resort.
7 – Tipping for salon services.
The customary tip amount for the various salon services across Walt Disney World is to give 15-20% of the cost of services rendered. Be sure to review your receipt at checkout, as some locations automatically add the gratuity. If you utilize the Annual Passholder discount, a 20% gratuity will automatically be added. If you are going to Harmony Barber Shop on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, don’t forget to bring cash. The way their system is set up, they don’t automatically add gratuity, and they can’t add it to the receipt!
6 – Room service gratuities.
If you order room service at any of the resorts, the gratuity is already included in the total price. This is also true if you use your Dining Plan entitlements, the gratuity is included with the use of the entitlements, and you don’t have to pay anything additional. Usually, It is customary to give the individual who delivers the food $1-2 for getting it up there to your room. We tend to definitely follow the extra tip guideline if the food is delivered within the time range that we were given for delivery.
5 – Tipping Mousekeeping (and those fun envelopes).
Mousekeeping seems to be the most controversial service to tip for among various Disney social media groups. There are differing opinions on how much and if tips should be given for the service. I think it is a nice gesture and should be considered in your tip budget. They work really hard and often even try to provide fun extras for your room, like towel animals, extra supplies, etc. We typically do $1 per person in the room per day. Don’t save it all up and give it at the end, since the person who cleans the room will likely change daily. You may have heard about the notorious Mousekeeping envelopes! These are the envelopes that families put the tip money in to leave out for their housekeeping staff. Many families decorate these together before coming on the trip so that they can place the tip in them, and Mousekeeping will know that the envelope is for them. It’s a great way to get prepped and build excitement for your trip with the whole family.
4 – What to do when staying Club Level.
If you are staying at Club Level while on property, you may feel compelled to tip the amazing staff that assists you in the private lounge and concierge desk. Well, that may not actually be the best idea. None of the staff there can accept cash tips or gifts of great value. If you offer it three times, on the third time, they will accept it, and then it is supposed to be turned over to their manager to go into a fund for a team event. If you want to contribute to that, then by all means. If you want to recognize the individual cast member, you may think about making cards or gifts prior to your trip that you can give out to some of your favorite cast members. You can also seek out to find their manager on duty and give them recognition for amazing service so that it will hopefully benefit them in their career and reviews.
3 – Recreation activities with cast members present.
If you are on one of the cruises, fishing excursions, or other recreational activities where a cast member is present for the entire experience, it is typically customary to tip 15% of the cost of the excursion. Be sure to bring cash for this tip, as you may not have the opportunity to add it later via charge.
2 – Tipping cast members.
There are likely going to be cast members all over Walt Disney World that you would love to recognize and give them a little something for their tremendous service and magic. If the cast member isn’t in one of the roles that we already covered, they likely can’t accept any gratuities. If you push it enough, they will, but they are obligated to turn it over to their manager to collect all tips for other events for the team. One way to reward and recognize these cast members while you get your family pumped for vacation is to get creative and make small inexpensive gifts. You can bring them with you, and if you have an amazing cast member encounter, you will be prepared to recognize them. Don’t forget to acknowledge above and beyond service and encounters to their manager, Guest Relations, or via a review after your vacation. They always appreciate the recognition.
1 – Budgeting for tips.
Based on all of this information, you will definitely want to budget these tips and gratuities. Disney vacations can be costly, and you don’t want to feel like your budget is too tight for souvenirs and other items. Planning ahead and setting aside a dedicated tip budget will make your stay much less stressful!
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