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  • On Apr 17, 2008
    Kristine from FL Asked

    Hi Erin! Your answer to a previous Disney Dining Experience question was so helpful...I just have one additional question for you. I read somewhere that Disney now charges 18% gratuity for all parties-is this true? Are the savings still worth it?

    Yikes. I almost answered your question wrong because I thought you were asking about tips for the Disney Dining Plan (DDP). Good thing I reread and saw that the question was about the Disney Dining Experience (DDE) card, discussed here

    WIth the DDE (rules are different for the DDP), Disney does add a gratuity fee of 18% to all bills.This 18% total is calculated on the total price of the food and beverages. You do not tip on the price of your meal taxes.

    18% is a standard tip level for good service. The etiquette books I consulted recommend 15% to 20%, with even more for extraordinary service or an elegant restaurant. I think 18% is a fair gratuity for the service you will normally find at WDW. If for some reason you have terrible service that you didn't feel warranted an 18% tip, it would be perfectly within your rights to speak to the restaurant manager about having the tip removed or reduced, but I very much doubt that this will be the case.

    If you were paying cash for your meals without the DDE, you would still need to add a gratuity. Let's say I'm paying cash and my meal costs $100. I will then add a tip and pay the restaurant $118. If I have the DDE, my meal costs $80 ($100 minus a 20% discount). Then, when I add an 18% tip (based on the original meal cost), I end up paying $98. I've saved $20! I would rather pay $98 than $118 dollars for the exact same meal.

    While the DDE card does cost $60 for annual pass holders like me (prices sometimes change), you can see that in just the example above, I saved $20. Four more meals like that and I've made back my investment and the real savings begin. During my most recent WDW vacation, we were a party of seven that ate lots of table service meals. We found our DDE savings to be very substantial.

    Hope this helps.
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Meet the Panelist: Erin, New York

I have three teenage daughters. We're DVC members obsessed with Disney travel. We've been to Walt Disney World countless times and have visited Disneyland & Disneyland Paris. We've taken several Adventures by Disney and Disney Cruise trips. Learn More About Erin

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