Posts Tagged ‘tips’

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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    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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    Disney World Tips for Making Rope Drop with Young Kids

    by on July 10, 2015

    Magic Kingdom Welcome Show


    Rope Drop: A term referring to the time at which a Disney theme park opens.

    Making It To Rope Drop With Young Kids: The seemingly unreachable goal attempted by many enthusiastic parents visiting Disney World.

    See also: crying children, stressed-out parents, the impossible dream

    If you are planning a Disney World vacation you’ve probably already heard the all important tip…”If you do nothing else, you must make it to Rope Drop!” Frequent visitors to Disney World will tell you that those first two hours of the day in the parks are absolutely critical to maximizing your vacation fun. If you are anything like most of us parents after you heard this, you thought to yourself…”How the heck am I supposed to get my entire family up, ready, fed, out the door, and to the park so early in the morning? This is never going to happen!” Well, stress not, fellow parent! Follow these simple tips for an easier morning and an awesome viewing spot up front at the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show.

    Now, I’m going to assume since you are a reader of TouringPlans that you are not opposed to planning. I sure hope so, because making rope drop with young kiddos in tow takes a fair amount of effort in advance. But believe me, when you walk right on Peter Pan with no wait, you’ll be so glad you did the work!

    Preparing For Rope Drop Before You Leave Home

    Believe it or not, making rope drop starts before you even leave home. Some good advanced prep work and packing is the key first step. Now grab yourself some Ziploc bags and let’s get busy!

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    5 Outdated Disneyland Tips and Tricks to Avoid

    by on January 21, 2015

    My mother always told me to not believe everything you hear. This is definitely true when it comes to things you find on the internet. Searching for an answer to any of your questions on the web will take only seconds but is it the correct answer? Is that answer up to date? That is the thing about looking for information on the internet, once you find an answer to your question, you always have to double and triple check to make sure that it is the correct one. The same thing goes for looking for tips and tricks for Disneyland.

    If you search up “Disneyland tips and tricks” on any search engine, you will discover hundreds of different lists and suggestions on the subject. Now, are all these tips and tricks you just discovered true, out of date, or just plain false? Well, I am here to help you weed through the five most popular outdated and false tips that I have seen around the web. These five tips come up frequently, and I wanted to set the record straight so that all of you know which tips are simply fools gold.


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    Disney’s Aulani Resort: Small Tips to Make a Big Difference

    by on September 18, 2014

    Aulani back view

    Photos by Sarah Graffam

    One of the benefits of being a frequent Walt Disney World visitor is starting off a vacation at the World with virtually no learning curve. Knowing ahead of time exactly what plans need to be made before visiting and being able to navigate the entire resort and every park make it easy to become immediately immersed in the magic. So, although my family felt that familiar Disney welcome when we arrived at Aulani this summer, we knew ahead of time that it would take some time to get familiar with the ins and outs of the resort.

    This article shares a few of these ins and outs in the hope of helping future visitors to Aulani ease into their vacation a bit faster. Because, believe me, everyone who stays at this gorgeous resort will want to enjoy every moment and relax at every opportunity.

    Shopping for groceries, sundries, and souvenirs. Before settling into their room on the first day, many Aulani guests want to pick up at least a few basic grocery and sundry items. Aulani’s Kālepa Store has lots of Aulani/Disney souvenirs as well as a limited selection of groceries. Some of the grocery prices at the Kālepa Store aren’t too bad by Hawaii standards, but if you are looking for more selection or better prices, there are a couple of off-site options. These include a shopping area in Kapolei with stores such as Target and Costco about 10 minutes from Aulani. If coming from Honolulu, take H-1 West to Exit 1, or if coming from Aulani, take HI-93 East to Exit 1A.

    Another option is Island Country Markets (an ABC Store) within walking distance of the resort. This small grocery store also offers souvenirs, beach items, beer and wine, and more. The prices for some items seemed good while others seemed a bit high, but (after an initial stop at Target) we made a couple of visits here during our stay and found everything we needed. Hawaii-themed baseball caps were a bargain at only $12-15, and goggles for the pool started at $3.99. In addition, the store had good-quality waterproof smartphone pouches for around $20, which allowed us to use our phones to take many fun photos as we floated along Aulani’s lazy river or cruised down the two water slides.

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    Five Simple Ways to Save over $500 on Your Next Disney World Vacation

    by on August 21, 2014

    Save Money On A Disney World Vacation

    Follow these simple tips to save some of these!

    There are several ways to save money on a Disney World vacation. The most obvious are getting a great deal on your airfare, traveling during the off season, choosing to stay at a less expensive hotel, using the Disney Ticket Calculator to purchase your admissions and eating at economical restaurants. But what do you do if you’ve done all of this and you still need to cut your budget? Well, I’ve got you covered, my friends! Here are five simple and painless ways to save over $500 on your next Disney World vacation.

    Before We Begin

    For each of these five tips, let’s assume we are a family of four traveling to Disney World for a one week (seven night, six day) vacation. Our sample family includes Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, little Susie (age 6) and little Tommy (age 3). We’ll first do the math for full price at Disney World and then compare it to the math with our tip in place. Prepare to be amazed!

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    Surviving the Magic – Keeping Kids Entertained while Waiting in Line at Disney World

    by on August 8, 2014

    Waiting in Line at Disney World


    “Picture if you will”…you arrive in Disney World ready to make some special memories with your kids. You have visions of smiles and laughter in your head. Then the doubts slowly creep in. Will these smiles turn to tears and tantrums once your angels see the lines? One thing that everyone can expect to do while in Disney World is to wait in lines. There are queues for everything including restaurants, shows, shopping, transportation, attractions and even restrooms. Depending on the time of year that you visit and whether or not you have a touring plan, your waits could be long and grueling or short and painless. Let’s hope for the second option, but just in case you find yourself stuck in a long queue, here are some helpful tips to keep your kids entertained and yourself sane while waiting in line at Disney World.

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    Taking Disney World by Storm

    by on July 20, 2014

    First of all, I am not a meteorologist. I don’t even play one on TV.

    That being said, I have thirty years of experience in Orlando weather, including doing extensive research on hurricanes.

    The 2014 hurricane season has begun, and the year marks the tenth anniversary of Orlando’s “Year of Three Hurricanes”. In this article, I’ll cover the issue of hurricanes and Orlando’s famous thunderstorms as well as how to avoid them and vacation around them.

    Orlando street view the morning after Hurricane Charley in 2004.  Photo by Thomas Cook

    Orlando street view the morning after Hurricane Charley in 2004. Photo by Thomas Cook

    Officially known as “tropical cyclones” but colloquially as hurricanes, the massive summer storms are one of the most powerful and dangerous natural events on earth. The amount of energy released in one day by an average cyclone in producing rain (which is 400 times greater than the wind energy) is equal to the yearly energy production of the U.S.

    So you’re thinking hurricanes and Florida go hand-in-hand like Vermont and snow, right? Well, sort of. Florida is a big state. Not only in terms of square miles, but it’s long. For instance, it takes 12 hours to drive from Key West to Pensacola.

    Of course, every mile is a potential hurricane target, but Walt Disney World is only some 40 miles square. Additionally it’s in the center of the state, relatively far from the Atlantic or the Gulf of Mexico. This means every time your local news tells about a hurricane in Florida, it’s unlikely to be passing close to Disney world.

    The U.S. government started regular tracking of tropical cyclones in 1851. Looking at those statistics gives excellent news: The frequency of a hurricane passing through the Walt Disney World area in any year is 1 in 10. A 10% chance each year is all local have to worry about. Want even better news? If you’re visiting for a week or two, you have an even smaller chance of having to deal with one of nature’s super storms.

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    The Happiest Place on Earth: Disney World Tips to Avoid a Meltdown

    by on July 2, 2014

    Disney World Tips to Avoid a Meltdown TouringPlans Blog

    Avoid becoming Grumpy by following these simple tips!

    It has happened to all of us. You’re in the grocery store, and you hear a child having a tantrum. Perhaps it’s your kid on the floor screaming; because you didn’t agree to buy the Lego set that is so conveniently located right in the check-out line. Now you’re heading to Disney World, and you’ve heard it’s the “happiest place on earth.” Is it possible that this Disney magic you’ve heard so much about is going to prevent this from happening on vacation? What about yourself? Are you going to be able to handle the crowds and the chaos without losing your cool? Let’s hope all goes smoothly, but just in case, here are some tried-and-true Walt Disney World tips for avoiding meltdowns by the young and old alike.

    • Manage Expectations – We’ve all seen National Lampoon’s Vacation, right? Nothing will kill a vacation quicker than unrealistic expectations. Walt Disney World is enormous; about the same size as San Francisco. You wouldn’t expect to see everything a large city has to offer in a day or a week, so give yourself a break. Create a reasonable touring plan to follow, and then try to relax and enjoy each moment. When looking back on your vacation, it won’t be about how many attractions you experienced, but rather about the special memories that you made.

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    Pro Tips: Low and No Cost Ways to Improve Your Disney Vacation

    by on June 30, 2014

    t_logoLast time, I brought you quick tips. This time, we’re talking pro tips. Maybe you’ve been to Walt Disney World a few times now and are ready to plus your experience. Presumably, you’re already subscribed to and are saving time and money by using tools like our mobile app, Crowd Calendar, and customizable touring plans. If not, why not? Anyway, read on for some ideas to start with for enhance other areas of your vacation. Here are some of our Walt Disney World tips:

    Note: Any product we recommend is one we have used and purchased with our own money. We haven’t received compensation of any kind (no money, no freebies) for mentions in this article. 

    Pro Tip 1 – Enhance Your Accommodations

    This doesn’t mean bring your scented candle and special blanky with you. One, candles in a hotel room are a fire hazard. And two, bag fees are high enough without bringing extra stuff with you. No, what I mean is get the same or better accommodations for less. You could sleep four to a room at Pop Century. Or you could get more space by either renting a house off site from a company like All Star Vacation Homes or renting onsite from a Disney Vacation Club broker such as David’s Vacation Club rentals. If you really want to go pro, consider an Owner’s Locker (though you probably won’t keep a laser printer in yours like we do for our TouringPlans mobile office).

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