Brits abroad! advice on tipping please!


this is my first visit to this forum, and it’s great! I’m so glad to have found so much info to help me plan my family’s trip to California!

I have a question about tipping, which will probably make me seem really daft, but i’m gonna ask anyway! In the UK we really don’t tip for service very often, i.e we’ll tip in restaurants for good service, or maybe tell a cab driver to keep the change, but generally when it comes to staying in hotels, we don’t do it unless a particular aspect of the service is exceptional. I think this is partly because the salary for bar / restaurant / hotel staff is generally better than say, the U,S. it could also be because we’re … mean? haha probably!
SO! When I get to the Grand Californian at Disneyland with my family, who do we tip, how much and when?? Seriously, I have no clue, and I would hate to appear rude or mean! I am assuming we give a tip to porters, but after that i’m in the dark!

I hope I don’t appear weird (!) or mean, because generally I try to be a generous tipper, but I know that you’re supposed to give tips for lots of things in the U.S, so could someone please help me out with a little guidance?

Thanks very, very much!

Cariad x x


First off, welcome to Disney Central. It’s a pleasure to have you here. Tips vary in the US. Here are some guidelines:

Restaurants = 20% of the total bill or higher for exceptional service
Bars = $1 - $2 a drink or more for a round if you are with a party
Valet = everyone seems to do that different here. I tip $2 at drop off and $5 at pick-up
Porters = $1 per bag
Housekeeping in the hotels = $1 per day per person left everyday
Towncar or Taxi = 20% like restaurants or whatever you are comfortable with

That about sums it up. Enjoy planning you DL trip and again, Welcoem to DC>


Welcome, maid of the valleys. I was in exactly the same position prior to my first US trip back in April. Don’t worry too much. You will get the hang of it. As a rule, tip between 10 and 20 per cent depending on the service you get (which is usually great all over the place - Disney and outside). It’s only Monopoly money anyway so you won’t miss it!! :wink:

By the way, when you go to Epcot, visit the UK area and visit the shop called ‘The Spirit of Wales’. It sells a great variety of kilts, bagpipes and the like. Think I’m kidding? Wait until you see!! These Yanks are right on the ball!! :wink:


lol Towncar T …they are going to California …thats clear on the other side of the U.S. … and no Epcot there.
Welcome to DC Cariad, and a pre-welcome to the U.S. I do hope that you have a wonderful experience. I my self am dreaming of a trip to Southern England some day when I win the lottery and can afford the QM2.


DOH!! We English are obviously on the ball too!!! :whistling


Thanks everyone, and thanks Dana for the figures - I will remember to keep lots of dollar bills with me!
I didnt realise you should leave tips for the maid everyday, so thanks for the heads up!



lol thats ok … lots of americans dont know there is a difference between WDW and DL … which makes us hard core Disney fans insane :biggrin:


Well in my defence, I have to say I’m not that thick. I just missed the bit about California!! :redface:


Awww, well it’s great to meet someone British here Towncar T!! Do you visit Florida rather than LA then? I’m not sure why we made the choice to go to LA. I just liked the idea!!
I have no idea what the weather will be like in November, and I have been told different things about Disneyworld in Florida, and Disneyland in California. I get the sense that Florida is much much bigger, and a lot more British tourists go there, whereas Disneyland is the original Disney park, and perhaps Brits don’t generally want to fly that far unless they have other things to do as well.

And on that note, if anyone has some good ideas on how to fill our second week there, let me know! We were thinking San Diego and Palm Springs. We have a 3 yr old boy, so he has to be kept happy too! sand an a bucket is usually enough :o)


I think we just followed the crowd, but there seems to be a lot more available in Florida generally as well as WDW. For your second week maybe you could go into downtown LA and play ‘gang spotting’.

What you do is you try to guess what gang a youth is a member of by asking to see his tatoos. There would be a forefeit to pay if you got it wrong. But then you could play ‘guess the calibre’ or ‘spot the undercover cop’ or any one of a million such ‘fun for the family’ games that I imagine would be very popular over there if the TV is anything to go by. Just a thought. No offence :whistling :rolleyes:


What would the forefeit be - your life? :dry: As for what to do - you could rent a car and drive to San Diego to visit the zoo. It’s amazing. You could also take in Universal Hollywood Park, which is also an amusement park in LA. Whatever you choose, have a wonderful trip!


Or you could visit the Getty Institute where my friend’s brother, Sir Kenneth Robinson, is an adviser or Director or something! I think it’s Santa Monica way. Is that near LA? I believe it’s a superb place if you’re into art and that sort of stuff. Sir Ken’s a Scouser too, so if you met him you’d be OK for a laugh!!

Also, don’t they do those tours around Beverley Hills and places to show you where the Stars live. I imagine that might be interesting? :cool:


Some further clarification on the percentage tips used at restaurants (this from experience on both ends of the transaction):
15% is really the normal “minimum”, signifying standard satisfaction with the service, but nothing special; it’s a bit on the low end. Going below 15% is a statement about poor service. A 10% tip would show either fairly serious dissatisfaction with the service, or that you are cheap --or “mean” as you Brits put it! Leaving less than 10% would really come across like an enraged statement about the service; servers are paid so poorly aside from tips, you would be aggressively docking their pay to do so. Leaving 20% shows happiness with the service, 25% is being thrilled or very generous. Going above that will really make somebody’s night.

In handy-dandy list format:

Tip ‘meanings’:
30+% = I am just overjoyed with the service, due to very special treatment, helpful handling of a serious problem, or I just won Lotto!
25% = I am thrilled with the service, due to special treatment, helpful handling of a problem, or I’m generous.
20% = I am happy with the service, pleasant, helpful, attentive
15% = The service was OK, nothing outstanding, but got the job done reasonably well, perhaps not quite attentive or friendly enough (this is the low end of OK)
10% = The service was poor, surly and/or inattentive. This is a penalization of the server.
0% = There was some awful incident with the server that probably involved complaining to the manager. If you haven’t spoken to anyone about the problem, you may well find someone chasing after you to see why/remind you that you forgot the tip. This is an outright punishment of the server.

Hope that helps! I was a bit horrified to see a 10% tip getting recommended as in the OK range! Yoooooouuu crazzzzy Brits!! :biggrin: :mickey:


No Dear Heart your not thick at all :slight_smile: no one with your ability could be considered thick !


There is so much to do in CA with a 3 year old!

Near Disneyland Resort, Knott’s Berry Farm is about 15 minutes away. They have Camp Snoopy there.

To the north you have Universal Studios, which is worth the visit, but more for the adults. If you can get a babysitter, you might want to take in a taping of a TV show. (They don’t allow children to tapings) We’ve done this a few times and it’s quite an experience! That, to me, would be the ultimate LA experience. Maybe go see Leno or something. Be sure to get your tickets well in advance.

In LA you also have everything that is Hollywood…

To the south - definitely where to go. It’s far enough though that you might want to move hotels down there - a 2 hour drive each way from Anaheim. You have Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Wild Animal Park, and Legoland! We usually stay at the Hyatt Regency Islandia when we go - it’s right next door to Seaworld. San Diego is a great way to spend your 2nd week or at least a good portion of it.

Las Vegas is also something you might want to seriously consider…and maybe Palm Springs like you said for some R&R.

The weather will be beautiful in November. Cool but not cold, and prior to the rainy season. It will probably be too cold for any swimming, however… even in Palm Springs or Vegas. But it’s a great time to visit all of the above attractions, when the heat isn’t getting you down.

Hope that helps!