Tipping at WDW


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I love this Touring Plans blog post on tipping:


Playing devil’s advocate here…

I googled median salaries for a handful of jobs (accountant, carpenter, nurse, teacher) and the numbers run from $20 to $35 per hour. These are medians, not starting salary / not advanced degree salaries. Americans are expected to tip servers because their employers do not pay them a living wage. Isn’t it reasonable for us to pay them for their time? The time they are giving us?

If it is, then a tip based on a living wage * the amount of time we take up the table should be reasonable. Much more reasonable than basing the tip on a percentage of inflated food prices

If I tip my server $20 for a one hour meal, and he is currently servicing four tables who do the same, he just made $80 in an hour.



But are you still supposed to tip at 18-20% for meals (table service)?

Yes. You at least have the advantage of knowing how much the meals cost before you go and can budget for the tip as well. Just as you consider your available budget for resorts-value vs mod vs deluxe-you should account for tipping in your food budget and make Adrs accordingly. The US tipping system is far from perfect, but it won’t be changing anytime soon, so we have to work within it’s parameters.


Question: does Florida have a state income tax? Can I assume even if they don’t all servers will receive a W2 that reports an expected amount of tips annually? Servers in wdw like Massachusetts pay that tax regardless if they get the tip or not?


Not another tipping thread (I think this is the third this week)… These never end well.

The US “standard” for restaurants is 18-20% of total bill, before tax. It doesn’t matter if it’s a regular TS, CM, or buffet. If the service was amazing, you might want to go higher, if it was really bad, then you might want to go lower. It’s that simple.

If you don’t like this, you have two options: (1) If you’re American, write to your elected officials and lobby to get the minimum wage system fixed or (2) if you are not American accept it as a “hidden cost” of coming to our country.


No, FL does not have a state income tax.


They would still get the W2 and have to pay federal tax?


I have no first hand knowledge having never been a server, but my understanding is that in FL an “assumed” tip amount is added to their income, whether they get the tip or not. I think it’s 15%, so if you tip less than that, the server is actually loosing money. Personally I consider it to be a seriously f…d up system, but it’s what we have…


Yes, that was how it was when I was a server. Thanks


It is 8.45% of gross receipts taxed to servers so on every $100, they get taxed 8.45 % whether you tip or not. That does not include what they need to tip out to bussers or bartenders.


Does anyone question what part of room and ticket prices goes into which pockets of people we never see ?


Tips have nothing to do with the political hot potato “living wage”. Certain professions around the world (it is not an exclusive US practice) are tipped and some are not.


There is no reduction in expected tip because it is a buffet. Beside the fact that is pointed out endlessly that servers have more frequent trips to tables, they dotes over kids, they wrangle up characters for folks and people park endlessly at buffet character meals so turn over is very low. And no Princesses aren’t part of the tip pool. Princesses have no need of money.


I was not trying to be political. The phrase “living wage” is in common usage and widely understood. I was just considering the OP’s question from the perspective of an accountant, and also as someone who worked as a cocktail waitress many moons ago and made an outrageous hourly rate in tips. Just sayin’!


No, they don’t.


I find it interesting / suspicious, that in none of these tipping threads has anyone managed to come up with hard data on what servers at WDW actually take home each year.

If it’s $12,000 for a 35 hour week, then I’m very glad to be tipping at 20% (which, despite all my complaining about the policy issues, I paid on every meal at WDW this year, regardless of the quality of the food, character or servers). On, the other hand, if it’s $120,000 then they earn vastly more than I do, and I’m keeping my money.


One should be able to deduce that if there is high turnover among the servers and they’re all young kids working there for short terms, then they are not making good money. But if you have CMs that have been waitstaff for 5 or 10 or more years, it’s probably a decent living.


“Living wage” is commonly used and widely misunderstood. You base your living standard on what you earn and not expect an employer to pay you a wage so you can lead the lifestyle you believe you are entitled.
“Outrageous” wages for a cocktail server tells me you haven’t slopped drinks. It is a brutal profession with few benefits and a few good years.


It is no more your business what they earn than it is them knowing what you earn. Few WDW servers are full time and a substantial number of WDW guests hose them every shift while they still get taxed 8.45% of your bill whether you tip or not.