Travel Agent Didn’t Tip Walt Disney World Server, Both Got What They Deserved

by SharonKurheg

One consistent mantra since COVID began is if you’re going to get food from a restaurant, even just as take out, you should tip (and hopefully tip well). Servers in the U.S. are only paid only a couple of dollars an hour and make the rest of their money with tips. Joe and I make sure to overtip right now, to help make up for those who are undertipping when picking up food, or simply because not as many people are going out.

Well, here’s a story about someone who went to a sit-down restaurant at Walt Disney World (WDW) and didn’t tip at all, and how both she and her server are getting their comeuppance.

A.S. Swanson (name changed) is a travel agent. But she’s not just any travel agent. She’s also a self-proclaimed “Disney expert” and sells dozens of “courses” about WDW, which range from $20 to $1000 (I’ve seen some of her courses – most are things you can find all over the internet for free, and some of her advice is actually pretty shady). She also has a few tens of thousands of followers on Instagram and a couple hundred thousand members in a Facebook group that’s about planning trips to WDW. Based on the frequency of her posts, she appears to visit WDW quite a bit. So it’s not as if she’s a Disney newbie.

A.S. apparently went to Epcot the other day and ate at Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzaria, which is a restaurant at their Italy pavilion in World Showcase.  It’s described as, “Classic Southern Italian dishes & wood-fired pizzas plus sangria served in a warm, airy space,” and has a price range of $$ – $$$ (“mid-range”) on TripAdvisor. But let’s face it – if you’ve gone to Disney even just once, you have some idea of prices and know that none of them are cheap.

Anyway, A.S. ordered a pizza at Epcot and her Piccante Signature Pie was $23. She got some optional toppings, which added to the cost, making her final bill $47 before tax. And when she got the bill from her server, this is what she wrote on the bottom of it:

Sorry not to tip
but this price is outrageous.

Now granted, $23 for a personal-sized pizza and $24 for five toppings on top of that is crazy expensive. And in her defense, sometimes even “experts” screw up. But what do most people do when that happens? They own up to their mistake, pay the bill, tip their server and continue on with their magical day. Lesson learned.

But no, she didn’t do that. Not only did she stiff her server out of a tip, she then proceeded to make a GoFundMe to recoup the price of her lunch!

a screenshot of a receipt

I accidentally spent all my lunch money for the week on one meal.

She put all of this, of course, on her social media. Well, that kind of backfired; people got mad at her for stiffing the server and trying to raise money to pay for her lunch, so she changed the narrative.

First, she altered her GoFundMe to close it down and say it was a joke.

a screenshot of a computer screenThen she changed her story (and the photo of her receipt on Instagram) to reflect that she, “read the menu wrong.”

a white frame with pink text

OK, I totally read the menu wrong. I had no idea I was ordering a $50 pizza

She also suggested on her Instagram musings that God told her that what she had done was OK (paraphrased, “the hate [she was receiving about this] is just the trial she has to go through for doing what’s right before God”).

Unfortunately, even that didn’t work very well for her. People said God would have told her to tip (my favorite response: “Don’t attach God’s name to your stupid.”), it wasn’t the server’s fault that she “read the menu wrong” and she still should have tipped.

So THEN she cooked up yet ANOTHER story (this was the third one) that she posted on Instagram.

For this version, an Instagram video this time, she claimed that she didn’t tip because her experience at the restaurant was a bad one and it was all the server’s fault. He only came by to take her order, deliver her food, and take away her plates when she was done eating. But he never came by mid-meal to see how she was doing. And the high price was part of her bad experience because the server had recommended she get the “$50 pizza” (Note: her Piccante Signature Pizza was the second cheapest non-salad entree on the menu before she added the optional toppings to it).

I dunno…in the age of COVID, I’m glad that a server avoids stopping by when I’m eating and therefore not wearing a mask. And if a server recommends something to me that I don’t like, whether due to personal tastes or price, I just don’t order it. But maybe that’s just me.

This whole story, meanwhile, has made it to multiple public and private areas all over online entities like Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, private message boards and Reddit (there may be more; that’s all I’ve seen so far). If she thought she had saved her name/reputation, well, that might be questionable.

Meanwhile, there was another person in this whole incident – the server, who was stuck with no tip from A.S. Fortunately, the same internet that was scolding A.S. decided to come together to help the Disney Cast Member who had been stuck serving her and getting no tip in return. A GoFundMe was made for him, and as of this writing, they have over three times as much money as they were hoping to get (the goal amount was determined based on how many times A.S. had said she had gone to WDW since it had reopened, multiplied by the $8 and change she should have tipped the server. Yeah, I dunno…I didn’t make the GoFundMe, folks LOL).

a screenshot of a website

All people who work in the service industry deserve our respect and support. The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating to many. As businesses reopen, it is important to show our support through gratuity. Therefore it is disheartening to see an individual who is advising thousands of people on how to “save money” on their Disney trip to stiff their server. See the cover photo and compare to the Instagram stories posted by NAME REDACTED. Stiffing a server because you didn’t understand the menu is never OK. Spreading this behavior to thousands of followers is even worse.

On this particular meal she should have tipped at a minimum the 18% of the subtotal that Disney adds to parties of 6 or larger. That’s $8.46. Let’s assume this happens often. She says she has been to the parks 15 days since they reopened. Assuming she stiffed every server (maybe she tipped a few but who knows), that’s $380. Let’s collect these missing tips and get them to the hard working servers that deserve them.

The person who set up the GoFundMe account apparently knows the server from a past restaurant experience and plans to gift him with whatever the final total is, on his next visit to Via Napoli, in about a week and change.

So it looks as if, for the server, there will be a happy ending to all of this. And for A.S., maybe not so much. Because what goes around comes around. And karma.

Feature Photo: Loren Javier / flickr

#stayhealthy #staysafe #washyourhands #wearamask #tipyourservers

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary


Remy September 28, 2020 - 12:12 pm

Is that the Smart Moms Planning Disney chick? I read about her – she’s bad news!

marymoo3 September 28, 2020 - 6:13 pm

Ding ding ding! You win! 🙂 And you are absolutely right!

Katarina December 21, 2020 - 1:53 pm

I think I was slow to get this, had to scroll back up to see what her initials were: A.S. Swenson (not her real name). A. S. S. is quite the monogram , and fitting! Hats off to the writer!

SharonKurheg December 21, 2020 - 2:11 pm

Me: I have no idea of what you’re talking about 😉
Also me: Taking a bow 😉

Michael September 28, 2020 - 12:31 pm

What trash. Honestly I don’t know what’s worse, the not leaving a tip or trying to find a way to justify the choice.

DT September 28, 2020 - 2:25 pm

Maybe entitled people aren’t so entitled.

Chris October 1, 2020 - 3:49 pm

The only part that I don’t agree with is tipping for carryout orders. I order carryout so I won’t have to tip. Why should I pay extra to get in my car and pick up my food? I pay for the food itself. The prices include ingredients and labor as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t cost $25 for ingredients for one pizza. I tip very well for table service and delivery but I will never give extra money for ordering food to go.

SharonKurheg October 1, 2020 - 4:47 pm

Under ordinary circumstances, we probably wouldn’t either. However these aren’t ordinary circumstances. Servers aren’t making nearly as much as they had been. If you’re in a position where you can afford to get take out food, it doesn’t hurt to add something to the bill right now, and help your fellow humans.

Chris October 1, 2020 - 7:42 pm

I spoke with people who do the “to go” orders. They are hurting badly. Aren’t getting tips still putting orders together and bagging them etc. Many lost hours too. Be kind and tip servers and to go order people.

Cristle Lynn Weissmiller October 1, 2020 - 10:00 pm

These are still waitstaff who have to check your order, bag it, bring it to you…. just because they bring it to your car instead of a table, they don’t deserve a tip? Disgusting. I hope one of them spits in your next to-go order.

Les Johnson October 3, 2020 - 7:09 am

So with this logic we should be tipping McDonald’s, Wendy’s and other fast food workers. They take our orders, bring our food, check it etc.

My point its, tableside is a premium experience where you don’t get up but your drinks are refilled, food served and so forth. To go doesn’t provide this experience so why should we tip the same? And why should to go order workers make more than others doing the same work but with a different “title”

Labor laws say owners must ensure minimum wage is met, so regardless, they all make the same

Jessica October 18, 2020 - 8:44 pm

The question is whether the person who is bagging up the food for to go orders is being paid a minimum wage or 2.13 an hour.

Jack Darby October 20, 2020 - 3:12 pm

Finally someone that “gets” it

While I don’t generally have much good to say about the large fast-food chains, one can rest assured that workers are getting paid in accordance with appropriate labor laws and are not being paid “server” rates, with the difference to be made up by tips; that’s why the giants like McDonald’s don’t allow “tip” jars. At the end of the day, they are doing the “right” thing and on the rare occasions that I visit a large chain, even if my order isn’t up to par, at least I don’t have to see a feeble attempt to guilt me into doing what the corporation should be doing – paying their employees a reasonable wage

Ell September 28, 2020 - 4:30 pm

The kicker for me was choosing not to tip $8.50 and then spending over $30 AFTER not tipping for the pizza on several snacks at the Food & Wine booths. She specifically bought a dessert priced at $8.25 to ‘cheer herself up’ after spending so much on the pizza. That’s money she should’ve have tipped her server! This was all documented on her Instagram. Not very “smart mom” of her. 😏

FF78 September 28, 2020 - 5:04 pm

This story is but only one of the many reasons that I avoid Orlando like the plague. What a tourist trap.

What’s truly amusing is that I made this EXACT Pizza at home on Sat. for like $7 in raw material.

Ted October 3, 2020 - 9:31 am

You have a wood fired pizza oven at home? That must have cost a fortune

Margaret October 19, 2020 - 5:19 pm

I would love to have a wood fire pizza oven. It would look cool too.

Deylan September 28, 2020 - 5:07 pm

She’s NOT a travel agent. She OWNS a travel agency but has never worked as an agent a day in her life. Like an onion, her history has layers. She wrote snd sells a $100 book on how to save money on a Disney trip yet the book contains MANY points that are sketchy, outside Disney policy or flat out illegal. She is damming her followers and they are too naive to know better.

John Doe October 1, 2020 - 9:36 am

A slightly confused it’s not OK for her to put the cost of her lunch back on her social media outlet but it’s OK for the restaurant industry to put the idea of a tip in our mind to make up for the low wages that the restaurant industry pays servers???? Confusing. What a conundrum we find ourselves in as the poem who don’t make the decisions on these types if things. Who has the power to pay the server’s more??? Why do I have too. Why do I have to bail out companies that don’t save for rainy days or lay their employees fair wages??

SharonKurheg October 1, 2020 - 9:44 am

Other countries pay their servers well and they don’t need to reply on tips. Our culture is that of tipping, whether we like it or not. It would take a herculean effort to change. I’m not for or against either side; just that for now, when tipping is an expected part of a served meal, it should be given.

Bobbyo October 1, 2020 - 10:20 am

No, it would take everyone not tipping to change it. Law states that if a server doesn’t make at least minimum wages in tips the business has to pay them minimum wage for their hours worked.

SharonKurheg October 1, 2020 - 10:25 am

Which would mean every single table would have to not tip, all night long, every single time they went out to eat. Like I said, It would take a herculean effort to change. Plus, I don’t know about you, but we make sure that our tips ensure the servers get more than just minimum wage.

John doe October 1, 2020 - 12:02 pm

So where is the money going? For the 50 dollar pizza. Share the food cost and proposed over head. The problem is not the tip or the server not making enough. The problem is the perception we are morally responsible for this when the situation is being created by those receiving the profits at he end. 50 dollar pizza??? There is enough in there to pay the sever a fair wage and not put the burden of morality on The customer just for patronizing their buisness they choose to offer to the public. Just food for thought….free no tip needed.

Mike October 1, 2020 - 4:35 pm

It would be nice if Disney determined how much servers were making in tips and added that to their pay. Then Disney announced what they had done and let everyone know that the staff at eating establishments in Disney made enough that tips were not expected.

CharleC October 1, 2020 - 10:53 am

In many states law requires servers get at least minimum wage as their base pay. Tips are super bonuses in these situations. In seattle, that’s $16.50 or so. Take care of 3 tables in one hour, and with avg bill of $100, and at 18% tip, that’s $54 extra. No wonder many servers dont want tipping model to go away.

SharonKurheg October 1, 2020 - 10:56 am

Unfortunately, here in Florida, minimum wage is roughly half that of Seattle. 🙁

John doe October 1, 2020 - 12:03 pm

Your point?

Jeff October 1, 2020 - 2:08 pm

Let’s be honest with ourselves for a second, the good Samaritan who’s making the fund for the waiter… Yeah they’re going to take a cut. That’s just the normal narrative for that. Might even use what they can to pay for their trip to give the money.

SharonKurheg October 1, 2020 - 2:15 pm

I suppose that someone who’s cynical, or who doesn’t know the person doing the fundraiser, might feel that way. Or maybe it’s projection. Anyway, I know someone who’s friends with him and apparently that is, by far, not the case. The guy who’s doing it already tipped a server at Whispering Canyon 100% (video of him doing it is on theGoFundMe page) and he’s going to present the money to the Via Napoli server live on video, as well.

Jennifer October 1, 2020 - 5:20 pm

As a member of the FB Group Extra Ranch, thank you for this – we have been horrified by this ladies’ actions and have been following. Thanks for the informative article! I donated and shared the Gofundme info so we can spread the love.

Charlene Espinoza October 2, 2020 - 10:30 pm

This blogger does NOT frequent WDW as much as she says she does. Why you ask? Because first of all you don’t go to the parks with only $50 for food FOR THE WEEK. Either you buy it from a fast food place outside of the park or YOU MAKE YOUR FOOD and bring it in. And finally if she has been there as much as she claims then she should know that when you are on a food budget YOU DONT EAT ANYWHERE IN WDW THAT IS TABLE SERVICE.

But what do I know I have only been to WDW just under 500 times since opening day in October of 1971. Im somewhere between 475 and 486 visits as of October 1, 2020. I plan on making my 500th visit next year on WDWs 50th birthday.

LINDA H. October 3, 2020 - 12:31 pm

SELLING information about disney??? this is NOT what travel agents do!! DISNEY should ban her from the parks and sue her!! what a POS and then to NOT TIP – this is awful!! i am a LEGITIMATE travel agent – this makes me so MAD!

TDono October 5, 2020 - 2:26 pm

Tipping is not a right, it is a courtesy, And it is not the Customers fault that the restaurant is so crappy that they do not pay the staff. When that server took that job they knew that tipping is not mandatory! Americans are the only ones who act so entitled that they deserve a tip. If people didn’t go to that place then they wouldn’t have a job either! I HATE WHEN PEOPLE THINK WE SHOULD TIP FOR EVERYTHING!!! IT IS OUT OF CONTROL!

SharonKurheg October 5, 2020 - 4:51 pm

Tipping is customary in American culture; that’s not entitlement, that’s just part of going out to eat at a place that offers table service. If you don’t want to tip, go to a quick serve place or cook at home. But you’re right, it is indeed a courtesy – customers have the courtesy to tip more for good service and less for bad service. She also didn’t tip because of bad service (that was excuse #2 or 3, wasn’t it?). Her original reason (so you’d think that was the true reason…until everyone got bad at her) was because the price of the pizza was too high. That wasn’t the fault of her server. As for things being out of control…shut your caps lock off 😉

Mashdagas85 December 24, 2020 - 3:12 pm

That means it’s optional though. It isn’t required. So expecting something that is entirely optional is in fact entitlement. The cost of the service is included when you pay for the meal. The tip is nothing but charity for doing your job.

Colette February 18, 2023 - 8:03 pm

Well said MashDaga585 TIPS ARE OPTIONAL

SharonKurheg February 19, 2023 - 6:58 am

They may be optional but in the US they’re also expected. If you can’t afford to tip, or just won’t because of reasons, stick to fast food and quick serve, where tips truly are optional.

The SATURDAY SIX Spends a Night in a Cabin at Disney’s FORT WILDERNESS RESORT & CAMPGROUND - Disney by Mark October 10, 2020 - 8:47 am

[…] Bacini is constantly on the lookout for cattle rustlers, eBay pirates, varmints, Instagram Influencers who don’t tip at restaurants, evil oil barons, vloggers, and other ne’er do […]

The SATURDAY SIX Spends a Night in a Cabin at Disney's FORT WILDERNESS RESORT & CAMPGROUND - Blog October 10, 2020 - 8:48 am

[…] Bacini is constantly on the lookout for cattle rustlers, eBay pirates, varmints, Instagram Influencers who don’t tip at restaurants, evil oil barons, vloggers, and other ne’er do […]

Frugal October 11, 2020 - 7:12 am

I agree with no tips for take out.

Scott December 19, 2021 - 7:59 am
You are all liars. You must make minimum wage in your state or your employer must make up the difference nobody works for less than minimum wage ever. This is why you never have to tip.

SharonKurheg December 19, 2021 - 8:15 am

No one *has* to tip. But in the United States, it’s accepted as the norm to tip your servers.


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