The Ultimate Walt Disney World Tipping Guide For Brits
The British guide to tipping at Walt Disney World.
Who to tip at Walt Disney World is a common question and concern, especially for British guests. This guide will show you where you need to tip and where you don't need to tip at Walt Disney World. Love it or hate it, there is a tipping culture in the USA that isn't all that present here in the UK. While nobody likes the extra cost that tipping creates, it's proper to respect the culture of the country you're visiting.
At Walt Disney World, there are some cast members you should tip and others who cannot accept tips. The general rule of thumb is any member of staff who serves you or touches your property, you should tip accordingly.
At Walt Disney World, you do not need to tip:
Cast members can (and often) go above and beyond for you, and as much as you'd like to tip them, they'll most likely decline. To show your appreciation to a cast member you can go on the My Disney Experience app to give a cast compliment where they get recognition. However, cast members can accept small gifts. Some guests give cast members little gifts and trinkets like handmade keyrings as a little thanks. These can be accepted, and characters can accept these gifts too.
- General Cast members & characters in the theme parks & hotels
- Cast members at the resort concierge and check-in desks
- Disney resort transportation cast members including bus drivers, monorail pilots and boat captains
- Cast members at quick-service restaurants
- The cast members who show you to your table at table-service restaurants
At Walt Disney World, you should be tipping:
- Servers at table-service restaurants
- Servers at bars & lounges
- Transportation to Walt Disney World (taxi driver, coach driver, limo driver)
- Private taxies around property (including Minnie-Van drivers)
- Resort porters (anyone who carries your luggage)
- Resort luggage assistance (where you leave your luggage for free)
- Resort valet
- Resort spas & recreation (boat hire, etc)
- Mousekeeping (housekeeping)
Table-Service Restaurant Tipping
You are only required to tip at table-service restaurants (including buffets) - not quick service restaurants. A table-service restaurant is a restaurant where a server takes your order and your food is brought to you. A restaurant where you go to a cast member at the till to order is a counter or quick-service restaurant, no tipping is required at a quick-service restaurant.
The norm for tipping at a Walt Disney World table-service restaurant is between 18%-22%. Parties of 6 or more have this 18% tip automatically applied to the bill. However, you can argue this with management if you believe the service to be subpar. You cannot split the bill to get around this policy.
It is also the norm to tip at buffet restaurants just like a table-service restaurant. While a lot of the time you are getting up and getting your own food, your server deals with your drinks and clears your plates, so tipping at buffets is treated the same as table-service restaurants.
Tipping More Or Less
You're not obligated to tip the suggested 18-22%. In my experience, it has been rare that I'd ever need to tip lower than that, but if you feel that your server was not to an acceptable standard, don't just leave a low (or no) tip. Speak to the manager and get your issue sorted. 22% of course is not a cap either, you can tip as much as you'd like. There are times we've tipped more when we've had incredible servers.
When it comes to tipping, most people have an idea in their heads of how much they generally tip depending on the quality of service they receive. These are the tipping ranges I tend to use personally:
- 10% - subpar service (+ complaint to manager)
- 15% - Does a adequate job and is polite enough
- 18% - Good service
- 22%+ went the extra mile
Tips Get Shared
Also keep in mind the amount you tip is often shared between the other serving staff you might not even meet, for example, the bar staff and the staff that bring you food. Leaving a poor tip affects the other staff members who might have been working hard for you, which is why it's important to speak about issues rather than just leaving a poor tip.
Over the many years I've been visiting Walt Disney World I've only had one experience where I felt the need to complain and leave a low tip. This was at Mama Melrose Ristorante Italiano at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Never again!
Bad Food Is Not Your Servers Fault
Remember, don't blame your server if the food is bad. If you have an issue with your food, tell your server and they will sort it for you. They may do a really good job and go the extra mile to make it right for you.
Disney Make It Easy
At Walt Disney World, the bill (or check) gives you a breakdown of tips and the amount it'll cost. Remember, your tip should be based on the pre-tax amount, not the full amount including tax! Tips don't have to be paid by the same method you used to pay the bill. However, if you are using the Disney Dining Plan, you'll have to pay the tip a different way anyway and that can be cash, card or charged to your room.
Tipping At Bars
Disney's official policy on tipping bar staff is the same 18-22% policy as the restaurants. Although most of the USA generally expects $1-$3 per drink, I would start with that and work your way up to the 18% mark depending on how good the service is. Remember, this applies to takeaway drinks, too.
Transportation To Disney World
Whether you're travelling in a taxi, limo or coach, tipping is expected. The norm for tipping taxi services is 10-20% and coach driver tips should be based on the number of luggage they handle for you. Around $1/$2 per bag is the norm.
Taxi Around Property
You do not need to tip any of the cast members who drive the Disney buses, boats or monorails. You only need to tip if you get your own taxi, Uber, Lyft or Minnie Van. 10%-20% is again expected. Now these are all done in the apps, it's super easy to add a tip.
The general rule of thumb for anyone handling your luggage should be tipped about $1/$2 per bag.
Resort Luggage Assistance
Walt Disney World resort hotels have luggage assistance facilities where you can leave your bags for free. However, make sure you tip when picking your bags up at the rate of about $1/$2 per bag.
A lot of people don't or even don't think about it, but it is the norm to tip Mousekeeping. It's expected to leave around $1/2 per person each morning before you head to the parks. Make sure you mark this cash clearly, as they won't just take money if its laying around the room. We have a full separate guide to tipping Mousekeeping which you can find in our article Mousekeeping Tipping Guide At Walt Disney World.
Resort Spas and any other beauty service should be tipped at 10-20%, this includes recreation activities that include boat rentals. For boat rentals, I tend to tip around $5 to the person help bring our boat in and assist us with disembarking, but a lot of the time I never get the feeling it's expected.
You might notice that quick-service Kiosks - like Joffrey's - use these new iPad terminals which ask you to tip. These are popping up everywhere, but it's still not expected to tip at quick-service locations. It's up to you if you want to tip, but unless a cast member is doing something above and beyond, I don't tip for anything I go up and order and pick up myself.
To return to our full guide, navigate back to our Walt Disney World Guide page.
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