A while back, we talked about when to tip at Disney, and when not to. We also talked about how much to tip, but the last few weeks a disturbing trend has popped up among a lot of the Disney sites in regards to saving money, and I wanted to talk about that, and why it’s not appropriate to do. I’ll use one example I read about a few days ago.
A woman trying to budget how much she would need for meals wondered if the tip at Disney’s table service was automatically included in the meal price. A few people answered that when you were a party of 6 or more, then yes, 18% was automatically added, but you could go up, or down, as you thought. Parties of 5 of less, the tip was up to you to add on.
Quite shockingly, a large number of people said that because they thought the food was overpriced, they left no tip at all, or else, 5 – 10% of the bill. They admitted that the food was excellent, the service wonderful and they were happy with everything, but felt like because they were already spending so much at Disney on other things, including, in their minds, overpriced food, that it was perfectly fine to short the people who had been their waitstaff.
This is not okay.
I don’t care who you are, if you have the money to sit down at a restaurant, at any restaurant, then you have the money to tip those hard working men and women who take your orders, refill your drinks, get you this and that, and do it all with a smile, even though they are spending 8 hours running back and forth between multiple tables.
The argument that Disney food is overpriced was brought up time and time again, so I was curious (since we are mostly quick service people) and looked up a few sample menus.
From the Sci Fi Dine In at Hollywood Studios
Drive in BBQ Burger - our signature blend of beef, BBQ spice, brioche bun, house-made BBQ sauce, bacon, and cheddar served with crispy-fried jalapeno and onion straws $19
Chili Lime Salmon Fajita Salad - mixed greens tossed with roasted corn, peppers, shredded cheddar cheese, cilantro-lime vinaigrette topped with crispy tortilla chips and house-made avocado green goddess dressing; also available with grilled chicken $15.5; $16.5
Flame-broiled New York Strip Steak - with red wine demi glace, creamy-four cheese macaroni and cheese with bacon-panko crust and seasonal vegetables topped with onion straws $32
From the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom
Freedom Pasta - grilled chicken or sauteed shrimp, pasta, artichokes, mushrooms, and tomatoes tossed in a roasted red pepper cream sauce $23
Our Tavern Keeper's Favorite - pot roast served with mashed potatoes and garden vegetables $20
These seem pretty similar in price as to what you would get at any casual sit down restaurant, like an Applebees, Chilis, or Red Lobster. Even the more expensive meals, are on par with what you would pay at a more upscale restaurant.
Disney is known for having some of the finest chefs, the best ingredients, and service that is second to none. It isn’t right to go and expect such quality, and not be willing to pay for it.
Disney’s menus and prices are all over the internet. If you aren’t sure if table service is for you, time wise, or price wise, I encourage you to look over the menus, add in the gratuity, and see if it’s something your budget allows. If it’s not, then either save a little by bringing in your own drinks to the park, or having snacks or a meal form food you’ve brought in but for goodness sake, don’t skimp on your server’s tip! They work hard and deserve it, just like you work hard and deserve your paycheck. It’s not the staff’s fault how much something costs. It’s up to the patron to decide if they want to buy the service, or skip it. If you've spent a few thousand on a Disney vacation, is spending another hundred more to tip accordingly, really going to put you in bankruptcy?
There is never a reason to not tip your server.