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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Disney Cruise Line Adds Auto-Gratuity Payment System

Disney Cruise Line is adding auto-gratuity payment system.  Guests coming on board any Disney ship will have gratuities automatically added to their shipboard account for stateroom host/hostess, server, assistant server, and head server.

So what does this mean?

Well, if guests are using a credit card for any on-board charges, the gratuities of per person per night of sailing will be charged to the credit card upon boarding, or shortly there after.  Guests’ using their credit card to pay for gratuities has always been an option, but guests needed to go to Guest Services to charge the appropriate amounts and get the little slips to go into the tip envelopes that are typically given to Cast Members the last night of the cruise.

Guests may also select to pre-pay gratuities when paying for their cruise.  This option has been available for some time.

Guests wanting to pay gratuities in cash, will need to go to Guest Services and have the auto-gratuity removed from their account.  Then, it would be my understanding that the cash tips would still be given to Cast Members the last night of the cruise.

Why make the changes?

Other cruise lines have already instituted a pre-pay gratuity system much to guests’ satisfaction—one less thing to worry about.

Also, if a guest “forgot” to tip that will no longer be an issue, as tipping will be handled automatically.  Guests will possibly feel more comfortable making Palo/Remy reservations for the last night of the cruise knowing that the tipping of the servers at their rotational restaurant is being handled for them.

It may also mean less visits or shorter lines at Guest Services for this particular issue.  Not tipping will require a visit to Guest Services and become a more conscious act.

I’m baffled when I hear about the folks who board the ship planning never to set foot in one of the main dining rooms.  They plan on eating at the quick service locations on the top decks or use room service (which requires tipping).  I hear reasons such as “don’t want to have to eat at a specific time,” or “the dining time interferes with shore excursions,” or “traveling with children and the main dining rooms seems so formal” or “we’re not foodies.”  All excuses in my opinion for avoiding tipping of the server, assistant server, and head server, as all of the reasons listed can be fixed! 

If you need a different dining time, ask for it at the time of your reservation.  If it isn’t available, use a wait list option and check back, or attempt to make the change once on board. As far as children go, the crew has vast experience with them in the main dining rooms including an excellent menu with tasty choices for children.  Our child likes to order and try items from the adult menu.  We aren’t “foodies” either, but we do enjoy trying something original when we cruise and the bonus is if we don’t like it, we can order something else, without paying extra.

Here’s our plan to handle the auto-gratuity system:
            Either we will pay cash up front or take cash with us and have the auto-gratuity removed from our on-board account.  For our cruise last summer, I already had the tip amounts for each person in an envelop, so it was easy to transfer those amounts to the tip envelopes provided on the ship.

Not sure how much to tip? Check out the Cruise Tip Calculator.


  1. Were you able to have to auto gratuiry removed? Were there any issues with that?

    1. Zach Evans--yes, we were able to remove the auto gratuity so we could pay cash. Though the tips have already been added on for our next cruise and I appreciate that they will be paid in full prior to us boarding. Thanks for reading the Williams Family Blog!