My very first job was working in fast food, and I hated almost every minute of it. People can be downright rude, and it makes you wonder why you’re still standing there for minimum wage while some stranger is screaming at you about ketchup. That being said, today, I’d like to talk about tipping at Walt Disney World. (I know, weird segue, right?)
Should you be tipping the counter service employees? No, but that doesn’t mean that the table service employees don’t put up with the same stuff that the counter service employees do. Disney parks may be magical places, but guests do not always bring their best manners with them on vacation, and if it’s hot and there are crying children involved, it only gets worse.
If you are on the Disney Dining Plan and have table service credits, they do not include the tip. You will have to make sure that you add the tip on yourself when it comes time to pay for your meal. My husband is the math genius in our family, and usually takes on the tipping himself. If the server was especially nice and attentive, they’re going to get a better tip than the server who came by only when absolutely necessary and we had to flag him or her down just to get a drink refill. We also tipped better when our daughter was young and messy. We left a little extra once when our daughter fell asleep at the table and missed dinner completely because she was too worn out, and left pixie dust from her hair all over the table.
Servers are not the only employees on Walt Disney World property that deserve a tip. On my very first trip to a Disney hotel, my grandmother (a frequent traveler) came by the room I was sharing with my two sisters and one cousin and she told us to call mousekeeping and ask for an extra pillow or blanket, and then she gave us a few dollars to give to whoever came by the room. She did this every time she stayed in a hotel in order to ensure good service in her room. Fifteen years later, I don’t remember if it had much of an effect for our room, but I do know that she wouldn’t have kept doing it if it didn’t work, and I also know that my grandmother made sure to leave another tip at the end of the trip because, in my mother’s words, the room was a disaster with the four of us staying in there. We don’t always tip at the very beginning of the trip like my grandmother, but we always try to leave an envelope for the mousekeepers at the end of the trip.
When it comes to the other employees on Disney property, tipping is not allowed. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t thank them. We had an awesome server at Cinderella’s Royal Table once. Not only did we make sure he got a good tip from us, but we also went to Guest Services at the front of the park and filled out a comment card to make sure that we let them know that he had gone above and beyond for us. Any guest can go and fill out a card for any Cast Member that you think did an extra special job. There are also people who carry small, generic, thank you cards with them. There are plenty of cards available out there on the internet that are specifically for thanking Disney Cast Members, but any card will do. It’s the thought that counts, on both sides. It is a way for you to tell the Cast Member right then and there that you appreciate what they’ve done for you.
So, the next time you visit a Disney Park, bring some thank you cards, and create your own Disney magic by bringing a smile to someone else!