Tips on Tipping at Walt Disney World: Transportation, Restaurants, Hotels, and More

by on March 4, 2016

IMG_9618-1-300x200-300x200A frequent area of confusion for Disney guests is the topic of tipping. International guests may be unfamiliar with American tipping in general. There are some Disney travel situations where guests tip differently than at other travel destinations. And some folks are just plain miffed that they have to tip at all. Nonetheless, gratuities are a part of life when you travel in the United States.

To answer all your Disney World tipping questions in one place, here’s an overview of all the situations where you have to tip, and where you don’t have to tip, on your Disney vacation.



Disney table service restaurants provide information about tipping.

Disney table service restaurants provide information about tipping.


  • Luggage Handling: At the airport, at your hotel, and throughout your trip, you should tip anyone who handles your luggage for you in your presence. The rule of thumb is that you tip about a dollar per bag, or two dollars if the bag is extra heavy. Round up, and don’t ask the porter or valet for change. If you’re claiming your bags yourself at the airport carousel and taking them to a cab, rental car agency, limo service, or Magical Express bus on you own, then you won’t need to tip anyone while you’re in the airport. If you use a porter to assist you with moving your bags from the luggage carousel to ground transportation, then you tip the porter. If you’re at a Disney hotel and using their Resort Airline Check-In service, tip the luggage handler their just as you would a porter at the airport. If hotel bellman assists with bringing your bags to/from your room, tip a dollar or two per bag. If a hotel bellman also provides you with a resort tour or other help, tip a bit extra. If you’re looking to economize, you can avoid a lot of tipping if you transport your bags yourself. This may not be feasible for guests with medical challenges, copious amounts of luggage, more small children than adults, or owners of non-wheeled luggage. However, if you’re able-bodied and each member of your party can handle their own rolling bag, then by all means deal with your own luggage and circumvent the tip stream. This is an easy way to save cash.
  • Transportation, Magical Express Drivers: You’ll see a sign at the front of the bus telling you that driver will accept tips. If you’re just hopping off and on the bus, you shouldn’t feel obligated. However, if the driver is helping your store luggage under the bus, go by the dollar per bag rule. If you’ve used the yellow Magical Express luggage tags and had Disney take your bags directly to the hotel for you, then you won’t see the person who’s doing your luggage transport. In this situation, you’re off the hook for tipping.
  • Transportation, Limo or Town Car Drivers: Depending on the agency you’re using, the tip may be included in the price. Be sure to ask this when you set up your booking. In general, plan to tip about 15% of the fare. If the driver has done something extraordinary for you, such as making an extra stop or assisting with car seats or colossal amounts of luggage, tip more.

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Trivia Tuesday: Why Stay at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel? + Video

by on January 5, 2016

Copyright 2010 Claire NatI can’t wait to delve in to this week’s Trivia Tuesday topic!

Why should you stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel?

Have any ideas for future Trivia Tuesday’s? Write ’em down in the comments!

A look into the future: Walt Disney World 2025 – part 2

by on December 13, 2015

A lot can change in 10 years. In part one of our peer into the future of the Walt Disney World resort, we looked at changes in the theme parks and ticketing (hint: ticket prices will rise). In part two, we look at the resort hotels, Disney Springs, and Disney transportation, which has a more exciting future than you might imagine. We know that the Disney company is planning to develop more land on property, due to this report on a request to increase the amount of land it will restore on its preserve to offset wetlands development. Ultimately, any additions will be focused on accommodating ever-increasing crowds and growing revenue.

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Expect more well-themed value and moderate resorts in the image of Art of Animation. (Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols)

New resort hotels: Rising attendance and demand will continue to drive the development of new resort hotels in Disney’s never-ending quest to keep as many travelers in the Disney bubble as possible. Recently, high-end additions such as the Polynesian bungalows have stirred talk that Disney is catering to the “1 percent,” and neglecting middle-class travelers. To counter that notion, future development will include well-themed value or moderate resorts along the lines of Disney’s Art of Animation. The new resorts will offer more variety in room sizes, responding to a demand for larger family suites. As more “Star Wars” sequels are released, a Star Wars-themed resort will  capitalize on the success of Star Wars Land and become an attraction that draws visitors beyond the parks. The success of Pandora-The World of Avatar expands attendance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, creating demand for additional rooms near that park. Perhaps an Asian theme would complement the African-themed Animal Kingdom Lodge, though likely without the live animals of that resort. Alternately, if next year’s animated feature “Zootopia” is a big hit, Disney may opt for a more cartoony version of an animal-themed resort.

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Walt Disney World Off-site Accommodations: Things to Consider

by on September 1, 2015

Main gate

While much of the focus of lodging when talking about Disney is upon the experience staying at Walt Disney World hotels, there are still throngs of people every year that for one reason or another choose to stay in off-site accommodations. There are several considerations in play with off-site lodging, both in terms of whether it is a good fit for you, and then what you should look for in selecting off-site accommodations. Let’s jump right in!

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Disney Hacks #1: Tips and Tricks for your Walt Disney World Vacation

by on August 16, 2015

Hey everyone! This will be the first in what I expect to be a series of articles providing little tips and tricks to make your Disney trips go more smoothly — a random smattering of bits of advice that might not individually warrant their own articles that I call “Disney hacks.” So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Stroller Tip #25: Making Your Stroller Visible

Best of luck locating your stroller!

For many Walt Disney World Visitors, strollers are a necessary part of a trip, and a necessary part of having a stroller is leaving it somewhere once you get to where you’re going. Unfortunately, even if you know exactly where it is, finding your stroller afterwards can be challenging, especially at night. You’ve got to pick it out of a sea of very similar-looking strollers, a problem that is compounded if you rented it from Disney or one of the more popular vendors. Moreover, Cast Members routinely rearrange and shuffle strollers to tidy them up over time, so even if you think you know where it is, there’s a decent chance it has been moved. The solution is to make your stroller stand out so you can look for something unique that happens to be attached to your stroller rather than looking for the stroller itself.  

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Horseback Riding at Disney? Yes please!

by on July 8, 2015

Sometimes I need a vacation after my vacation to Disney. Up at the crack of dawn for rope drop, running from one end of the park to another for fastpasses and character meets, staying up late for the fireworks or even the Kiss Goodnight; It can really tire me out sometimes. Luckily for me, all I have to do is take a breath and realize that this IS a vacation. I can go at a slower pace and not spend all day, every day in a park. The resorts and Disney Springs nee Downtown Disney area have just as much to offer if you merely look.

Tri-Circle-D Ranch

After a few days of hitting the parks hard on our last trip, we decided to slow it down and spend a day enjoying our favorite resort area: the Wilderness Lodge and Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. The night before our “break” we checked with the front desk at our resort for reservations for horseback riding at the campgrounds. They had two openings so we signed up.

My husband and I had wanted to go horseback riding for quite a while; It was part of my bucket list in fact. We had researched places in our home state to go, but why settle for an ordinary horse, when you could go horseback riding on a Disney horse? It just seems even more magical.

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FAQ: Disney World to Disney Cruise Line Transfers

by on June 4, 2015

You’re going a Disney Cruise AND you’re going to Walt Disney World – lucky you!

Land/sea combination Disney vacations are quite common; They’re a nice way to balance the frenetic excitement of a theme park visit and the mellow relaxation of a cruise. Here are some things to think about as you plan how to get from Part A to Part B of your vacation.

Should I take my cruise first or visit Walt Disney World first?

In the Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line, we recommend that guests experience the land (WDW) portion of their land/sea trip first. A visit to the parks is typically more tiring than a cruise (thus, the common refrain “I need a vacation after that vacation”). Most guest enjoy having the rest and recovery time that a cruise provides.

OK, I’ll go to Walt Disney World first. How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

If you’re going from Orlando International to a Walt Disney World resort hotel, use Disney’s free Magical Express service.

From Disney’s perspective, there’s no difference in transportation procedure between a Disney World vacation and a land/sea vacation starting at Disney World. At this point, use Magical Express and pretend that the Disney Cruise Line (DCL) portion of your trip does not exist. This is particularly important to heed when you’re getting your luggage ready for transportation. If you’d like to have your bags transported by Disney from the airport to the hotel, then use the yellow Magical Express luggage tags. DO NOT put the DCL tags on your bag now.

Is there a charge to get from the airport to my Disney World hotel?

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The Epcot That Never Was

by on May 28, 2015

(c) Walt Disney Company

Model of EPCOT, (c) Walt Disney Company

Epcot is one of my favorite parks at Walt Disney World. I never get tired of seeing Spaceship Earth, or watching the dancing Fountain of Nations in Future World, or doing a little shopping in World Showcase; but what I’ve recently discovered is that the Epcot that I know isn’t exactly what Walt Disney had in mind when planning Disney World. You see, back in the 1960s when Disney World was being planned, the Magic Kingdom wasn’t what Walt was most excited about. In fact, when Walt introduced television viewers to his plans for Florida, he said that EPCOT would be the “heart of everything we will be doing at Disney World.” Walt also said that it wouldn’t be a park at all, but rather a community of the future where you could live! So what was the Epcot supposed to be like? What happened along the way? Well, keep reading because for today, I’m here to tell you all about The Epcot That Never Was.

Walt’s Original Vision for EPCOT

One of Walt’s many interests was city planning and finding solutions to the everyday problems of the cities of the day, such as traffic, slums, pollution, and crowded conditions. He had learned a lot about planning, building, and construction when creating Disneyland, and he now felt that he could provide some solutions to the problems he saw in the real world in the form of a working community called EPCOT.

EPCOT stood for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, and it would be an example to the country and the world for how to build and run better cities. It would also serve as a sort of testing ground for new technology, products, materials, and ideas from America’s industries and corporations that would serve to improve our lives.

EPCOT wasn’t just some idea or possible plan for the distant future of Disney World. Walt fully intended to build it, had many plans and diagrams, and intended it to be the focus of his Disney World on the East Coast where 20,000 residents would live and work. Pretty cool, huh?

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Ideas for Entertaining Kids On The Plane

by on May 20, 2015

Photo - DisneyFor some, the thought of flying on a plane with kids is simple and carefree.

For me, not so much.

Don’t get me wrong – I have an amazingly easy child who travels very well. Still, I would be lying if I didn’t admit prior to flying with her, I become a Nervous Nelly.

For those of you who can relate to my anxieties, here is a list of ideas and items for entertaining your child on a flight to Walt Disney World, Disneyland or anywhere else. Although who are we kidding, why go anywhere else when you could go to some of the happiest places on earth? 😉

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Where to Find Walt at Disney World

by on May 17, 2015

Walt and Mickey

Walt and Mickey

When comparing the Disneyland Resort to Walt Disney World, one of the biggest differences that always comes up is that Disneyland was Walt’s park while Walt never lived to see Disney World completed. While this is true, that doesn’t mean you still can’t find Walt’s attractions and touches on the East Coast. So keep reading to discover just a few of many places where to find Walt at Disney World!

The Hub: One of the most popular places to take a photo at the Magic Kingdom is in front of the statue of Walt and Mickey with Cinderella Castle in the background. Known as the Partners Statue, it’s appropriately positioned at the center of the park known as the Hub, where paths branch off towards the different lands of the Magic Kingdom. Just seeing the statue at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. and at the park center brings it all back to Walt and his most famous creation, Mickey Mouse.  The Hub has undergone some changes lately, but you can still find statuettes of other characters that contributed to Walt’s success, such as Goofy, Donald, Minnie, and more.

101_3519Main Street, USA: Did you know that you can find Walt even before you enter the Magic Kingdom? When approaching the park entrance, you will probably hear a train whistle and the clang of a bell from up above as a train pulls into Main Street Station. This is because Walt loved trains! The Main Street Train Station, along with Main Street, U.S.A, provides guests not just a look at what Walt’s creations, but what was in his heart. Trains were one of Walt’s hobbies and he spend his free time planning and constructing a miniature train that he and his guests could ride on in his backyard. He called it the Carolwood Pacific Railroad. Once you enter the park, you have to pass under the Main Street Train Station; but I encourage anyone who’s interested in learning about Walt to check it out. It’s filled with nods to railroad history and Walt’s passion for this vintage form of transportation. Main Street, USA was inspired after Walt’s hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Walt loved growing up in Marceline and wanted to recreate his memories of the town in his park. He even included a few odes to his family and Imagineers in the names found on the windows above the street. Fun Fact: Walt has two windows of his own. One of them is on the Main Street Train Station and faces out at the entrance while the other is above the Plaza Restaurant and faces Cinderella Castle!

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