Tipping on the Disney Dining Plan

Being on the Disney Dining Plan is a great way to reduce travel stress by pre-paying for your meals. It's important to remember though that the service tip for your waiter or waitress is NOT included in your dining plan costs and will still need to be left at the time of your meal. The old addage remains at Walt Disney World - Don't forget to tip your servers.

Tipping on the Disney Dining PlanTipping on the Disney Dining Plan

Just like at the end of of any meal out, you will be brought a receipt once you are done. The receipt will show your meal and how much it would have cost if you were paying out of pocket. Located on the bottom of your receipt you will notice that Disney has calculated what you should add on for a tip at 18% and 20% of your bill before tax. It's a great tool that lets guests know how much of a tip it is customary to leave. Tips can be paid by using cash, credit card, or your Disney room charge.

Disney Offers Tip Suggestions on your ReceiptDisney Offers Tip Suggestions on your Receipt
Thanks to BuffaloBill For Sharing his Reciept on the Forum

If you would prefer to have an idea of what you'll be spending on tips even before you leave for vacation, I suggest doing a little research and pre-making tip envelopes. Over several trips I've noticed that I've begun using some standard tip amounts when traveling with two adults. $10 can usually more than cover buffet breakfasts, $20 for table service lunches and $40 for signature dining experiences. Though these amounts are on the high side, we usually order cocktails with our meal and want to make sure that there's enough tip to go around.

The Disney Dining Plan Is Easy But Don't Forget the TipThe Disney Dining Plan Is Easy But Don't Forget the Tip

How do I know what my meal will cost before I'm there? I figure out where I have ADRs and then look up the menus with current pricing on the Official WDW Website or at AllEars.net. Going through the menu of each establishment we'll be eating at I take a guess of what we'll order and add up the bill while I'm still at home. Once I know what that total is likely to be, I round up and stick about 20% of the bill in cash into a small envelope. It's easy and I enjoy diving into the Disney menus even before we get there. I then tuck tip money into envelopes and take only the envelopes that I will need along with me for a day of touring.

Disney Servers Try To Make Meals MagicalDisney Servers Try To Make Meals Magical

Servers at Walt Disney World are held to high standards and frequently go out of their way to make your time in their care wonderful. However, tipping is one of those a personal things, with every patron knowing what works best for them and what sort of service that they expect in order to leave their best tip. I won't say that there's a right or a wrong way to calculate a tip, but across America it's customary to leave between 15%-20% for good service. You should plan on an amount that will work best for your party, be the least intrusive in your planning, and still do justice to your heard working servers.

Kristina wrote on Wed, 07/11/2012 - 02:46:

Kristina's picture

I gotta add two things..... there was more then one time that we came across my first point......double check the math. We found that there was a significant difference between the real percentages and the one printed on the receipt.

Also, parties of 6 or more are charged gratuity. I think it was 15% and it is automatically tacked onto the bill.

James wrote on Thu, 07/12/2012 - 21:07:

James's picture

Just got back and had several meals with a party of 6. The automatic gratuity is now 18%.

Kristen K. wrote on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 13:19:

Kristen K.'s picture

Thanks so much for letting us know James!

JoAnn C wrote on Sat, 07/14/2012 - 01:21:

JoAnn C's picture

I will definitely be preparing my tips ahead of time again this year. It was nice knowing I didn't have to worry if I had enough small bills to cover the tip.

While calculating the tips, I also noted if I planned on ordering an adult beverage and included that with the tip money. I separated the money by meal and placed in order by day and put it all in one envelope. Then each morning before leaving for the parks, I took out what was needed. I put the lunch money in one envelope and dinner in another.

When I was preparing my tip money for meals, I also put in a separate envelope tip money for mouse keeping and the airport parking shuttle drivers.

Karen Marsich wrote on Sat, 07/14/2012 - 11:42:

Karen Marsich's picture

We will be at Disney World in less than a month. We have all of our meals planned. I was wondering if I could use gift cards as tips? I plan on buying a supply of $15 cards, can these be left as tips? We are on the dining plan.

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 07/16/2012 - 13:15:

Kristen K.'s picture

Tips should be left as cash or on your credit card.

Though I have heard of people leaving gift cards, it's generally frowned upon. The cast members are not able to trade them out for cash, and as many people supplement their incomes with tips, a gift card is much less than optimal.

Dinah S. wrote on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 05:28:

Dinah S.'s picture

Just finished with my tip envelopes when I found this. My husband thought I was insane until I handed them to him and he said "Wow this will make it so much easier to just grab the envelopes we need for the day and go." I guess my compulsive Disney obsession has paid off. I have made a list of ADR's with estimated tip and a column for actual tip so I can keep up with what we spent where. We are good tippers for excellent service but made cash in different denominations so if need to adjust estimated tip it is possible. Also made a list of other people we will need to tip or pay cash..... spa attendant's, taxi ect. They all have an envelope! Now if the next 16 day would fly by I would be one happy woman!!!

Kristen K. wrote on Tue, 07/17/2012 - 12:49:

Kristen K.'s picture

Whoo ho! I love hearing stories from other folks who are obsessive about their tip envelopes! I always make mine about 3 weeks before vacation, so it's one of those milestones I check off getting ready for vacation!

James wrote on Sat, 04/19/2014 - 20:44:

James's picture

Great info but I do have a question.

As I don't like to carry cash and use my debit/credit card for nearly all purchases, if I have the dining plan and use it for my meals via the Magic Band, can I still use my actual debit card to pay the tip and if so, how does that work?

Still looking into things so this will be very helpful in my decision process

Thanks in advance

Kristen K. wrote on Sun, 04/20/2014 - 12:41:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi James!

I haven't traveled with the magic bands myself yet, however prior to that we were able to charge the tip to our room account or leave it on a debit card. You should be able to do that on the magic band as well, just let your server know.

LauraLou wrote on Fri, 06/06/2014 - 14:25:

LauraLou's picture

Hi! I am traveling to Disney this December and we have the dining plan. We have also accumulated many disney gift cards. Since the meals are pre-paid, our bill will essentially be $0. Can we use the gift cards to pay for the tips? We dont want to give the gift cards to the wait staff, but rather use them as a credit card to pay the tip. Thanks!

Kristen K. wrote on Sun, 06/08/2014 - 13:26:

Kristen K.'s picture

Hi LauraLou - I'm not sure if you can charge the gift card directly for a tip. However, what I know can be done is to charge the tip to your room and pay that with the gift card.

Jacque wrote on Mon, 10/20/2014 - 00:49:

Jacque 's picture

Got a question, when we made our reservations we put all four adults that are going all under one bill and we all paid that one person now when we get down there will we be able to charge our tips and purchases to our own magic bands so that we don't have to try to figure out every time we eat what our tips are going to be and try to pay that one person. Hope you can let us know if we can have separate billings once we get there. Thanks a lot!

Nichole wrote on Mon, 06/01/2015 - 11:31:

Nichole's picture

Thank you SO much for this. We are heading to Disney for the first time as a family in August, and I want it to be the best experience ever. We're using the dining plan, and I've already set up all our reservations for the entire week we'll be there. I think in the excitement of it all I sort of forgot about tips. I also kept reading that tip was included for parties of 6 or more, which in my mind read "no need to tip otherwise." I don't know what I was thinking, of course I need to tip! I will definitely be setting up envelopes in advance of our vacation for our restaurants as well as our maid service. Great advice in the comments, too!

blw wrote on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 05:57:

blw's picture

what is the right amt to tip the bus drivers, taxi drivers, bell boys for taking luggage to my room, or bringing room service to us and housekeeping for the room ? Are there anyother persons who expect tips?

Kristen K. wrote on Mon, 08/10/2015 - 14:36:

Kristen K.'s picture

I tip anyone who handles my luggage or cleans up after me, so Magical Express Drivers, Skycaps, Bell Hops, and Maids.

There is a tip included in your room service bill, just like any other waitstaff.

The general rule of thumb for skycaps and bell staff is $1-$2 per bag.

I tip the Magical Express Driver $5 - $10 depending on how many people I'm traveling with.

I tip Housekeeping $5 - $10 per day, depending on how many people we have and how large/involved our room is. Leave their tip in an envelope with a note on it for them every day, not at the end.

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