Tips on Tipping at Disney World

As we were going over our "pre-trip" checklist, my husband asked a great question... "How much cash to I need to have on hand, specifically for tips?"  Instead of answering him like a normal human being, I ran off to my computer to blog all of the ins and outs of tipping at Disney World.  (Don't worry, I will send him the link when I am done.)

Tipping is a very personal and touchy subject for a lot of people. What you choose to do is your decision, but if you are unsure of what is customary, read on!  These are general guidelines, but you should let service be your guide.  As former waitress who only got paid a wage of $2 per hour, I can testifiy that a dollar here or there can make a huge difference.  Even though my darling husband never had to work for tips, he is still a generous tipper - and it is one of the many reasons that I love him!  So be sure to budget for some hard working folks that make your trip great!

Luggage Handlers
  • Airport - If you check you bags with a skycap, you should tip at least $2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional bag. 
  • Bell Services - It is not customary to tip bell services when you arrive at Disney World, as you luggage is frequently delivered in your absence.  If you request Bell Services to collect your bags prior to your departure, the $2/$1 rule listed above applies.  If you are an over-packer (and you know who you are!) and your bag feels as if it has been stuffed with rocks, be generous.
  • Magic Express or Shuttle Service - A few dollars for an enjoyable ride is a nice thank you. If your driver helps stow and remove your luggage from under the bus, consider them luggage handlers and tip $2 for the first bag and $1 for each additional bag.
  • Taxi Service - You should tip atleast 15% for satisfactory service.  Again, luggage handling rules apply if they help load your bags. 
  • Town Car / Limo Service -  20% of total bill.  If you purchased a round trip fare, divide the fare in half and tip 20% on each leg.
  • Valet Service - $1-2 per car, but I tend to be more generous if it is raining or if there is some running involved.
  • Disney Bus Drivers (Parks) - No tip necessary.
  • Housekeeping (or "Mousekeeping")
    • For the general daily cleaning, consider leaving $2-5, more if you are a large family sharing a villa (and leaving a messy kitchen).
    • For special requests $1-2 per item, including forgotten items and turn down service.
    • Consider tipping your attendant daily, as your room may be serviced by different people during your stay.  Also, make sure the tip is clearly marked, tucked inside the "Room cleaned by " card, or left under a pillow.
  • Concierge - $5-10 per visit
  • Table Service Restaurants - 15-20%.  If you are a large party and gratuity has been added, feel free to leave something extra for superior service.
  • Buffet Restaurants - 10-15%
  • Counter Service Restaurants - No tip required.
  • Bartenders - $1-2 per drink
  • Room Service - 15% of total bill
The Fun Stuff
  • Spa Treatments  - 15-20%
  • Main Street Barbershop - 15-20%
  • Bippity Boppity Boutique - Tipping is appreciated
Keep in Mind...
  • Some employees are not permitted to take tips.  If you tip is politely declined, consider taking note of the Cast Member's name and writing a note to the manager praising their service.  Hopefully, their "tip" will come in the form of a nice raise. In fact, I would recommend a nice note for great service whether or not a tip is accepted.  The management staff does take the time to publicly acknowledge employees who recieve such notes.  If you happen to see a manager near by, grab them and let them know, they will be happy to hear it!
  • You should tip on the pre-tax amount of your bill, prior to any gift certificates or vouchers being applied.
  • At restaurants, tip your server based on their performance.  If the kitchen is slow, or your food is not good, do not take it out on your server.  If your server is attentive, polite and keeps your drink glass filled on a hot day, take care of him/her regardless of the food quality or speed.
  • Plan ahead!  The husband is in charge of keeping small bills on hand to take care of our tips.  We also set aside envelopes for tips so we do not fumble around at the last minute.  Tipping our Mousekeeper, Bell Services and our Magical Express Bus Driver is a given.  I stuff and pre-label envelopes for each tip.  I provide my children with lots of stickers and allow them to "decorate" the envelopes as they see fit.  It is a perfect time waster on the plane!
I hope this helps answer some of the murky questions about tipping at Disney.  Now if you will excuse me, I have an email to send to my husband!

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