How to Avoid the New Disney World Resort Parking Fees

Please note this site has financial relationships with American Express and this post may contain affiliate links. Read my Advertiser Disclosure policy here to learn more about my partners.

Fees are seriously trying really hard to take some of the fun out of travel. Travelers hate them, those selling travel apparently love them, and sites like this one aim to help you navigate and avoid or at least reduce them whenever possible. Now the much beloved Mickey Mouse and his line-up of Walt Disney World Resorts are adding a fee to their assortment of pixie dust. For the first time ever, the Walt Disney World Resorts will institute a parking fee for those who park cars overnight in their hotel resort parking lots. You know, the very same parking lots that already exist and until now have been included in the nightly rate.

The Hilton Honors American Express Business Card

Walt Disney World Resorts Introduce New Parking Fee

Following in the footsteps of most hotels on the Las Vegas Strip, beginning with reservations made from March 21, 2018, onwards, the following nightly parking fees will apply to those who park cars overnight at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels.

  • Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night

I know you can do basic math without my help, but for a five-night family trip to Disney World, that will ring it at or above an additional $100 just in parking fees if you park at moderate or deluxe resorts. You can buy a lot of Dole Whip ice cream for $100, so let’s jump right to how to avoid this new Walt Disney World Resort fee.

Not quite as magical with added fees.

Avoid the New Disney World Resort Parking Fee

Book Now

The most temporary but easiest way to avoid the new Disney World resort parking fee is to make your Disney resort booking before March 21, 2018. If you have been dragging your feet booking a Disney World trip, stop stalling and starting booking if you want to avoid the new parking fees. As long as you book your trip by March 21, 2018, you won’t have to pay to park at your Disney Resort this time around.

Who is Exempt

If you are staying at the Fort Wilderness Resort campsite, you can park one motorized vehicle at your campsite without a fee.

Disney Vacation Club owners will not pay parking fees when using their vacation points at Walt Disney Resort hotels or when staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa, regardless of whether or not they are using vacation points or cash.

Deluxe Villa at the Disney Polynesian Village Resort

Rent DVC points?

The next obvious question is whether those renting Disney Vacation Club points will be able to avoid the new Disney Resort parking fees? I don’t think we know yet for sure, but for now, the answer has to at least be maybe. There are already parking fees in effect at The Villas at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort and Disney’s Aulani in Hawaii, and those staying on rented DVC points are exempt from the self-parking fees for up to two vehicles. I’m trying to get a solid answer to this question as soon as I can.

Skip the car and use the Magical Express Bus

If you are flying into Orlando, the Disney Magical Express Bus was already a solid option to avoid needing to pay to rent a car at all. This (as of now) still-included service to and from the airport for those staying at a Disney Resort will allow you to not only avoid the new resort parking fee, but also the cost of a car rental. I know that our days at Disney are so full that we don’t need to add driving around in a car to our list of to-dos, so the Express Bus was a good option for us. When we do want our own transportation, Uber, Lyft, or the new Minnie Vans will be our go-to ground transportation options on most trips.

Stay Elsewhere

You can, of course, stay somewhere other than a Disney Resort to try and avoid the parking fee, but beware that many area hotels already charge parking fees. As an example, the on-site Disney Swan and Dolphin both charge not only a $32 per night resort fee but also a $20 per night self-parking fee. Other area properties largely have similar parking and resort fees.

However, if you happen to have Hyatt Globalist status, you can avoid paying not only resort fees, but also the $22 per day self-parking fee at the nearby Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress when you are on an award stay. You would also then have access to their Club Lounge with your Globalist elite status, which may now look even more attractive given that the Disney World Resorts have ventured into the world of fees. I know that won’t help everyone, but it is an option for some.

Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

I’m sure they know more than me, but I really think Disney is making an error creeping into the world of fees. One of the magical aspects of staying at a Disney Resort is that there weren’t then add-on resort fees, parking fees, shuttle fees, etc. The price for a night of lodging might have been higher than I wanted, but it was an all-in price. In doing away with that model, they are doing away with some of the magic. They aren’t having any trouble drawing crowds, but like with everything, there has to be a tipping point at some threshold. If history is an indicator, dipping a toe into the world of fees is usually is only the beginning of what is to come.

For now though, you can still avoid the Walt Disney World Resort parking fees via a few different strategies, that I will do my best to keep updated as we learn more.

Editorial Note: The opinions expressed here are mine and not provided, reviewed, by any bank, card issuer, or other company unless otherwise stated.


  1. As a DVC member myself, I would bet DVC point rentals will also be exempt from the parking fee. DVC doesn’t really make much of a distinction between a reservation where the owner is present or not.

    • DVC parking is covered as part of the annual maintenance fees, so those renting points would effectively be exempt as well since they’re effectively paying for it already in the rental cost.

  2. I think that the fees are a questionable decision in terms of how much revenue they will gain from parking versus lose from ill will. Also, graduating the parking fees for higher-priced hotels seems like a bad idea (“I’m paying $400 a night and they want me to pay $24/night for a car, too?”).

    • I cannot tell you how many co-workers were considering trips there this year and next and now said “forget it.” This is a deal breaker. People have had enough. I’ve already got a trip planned but future trips? I really don’t think so. My husband is fed up.

      • I agree,we are planning a fall trip and have already booked but won’t be returning anymore. We’ve put up with the yearly ticket increases, overpriced rooms, and expensive food but this is the last straw. It’s not like they built new closer parking or ran out of room (they own 40 square miles). You can’t compare Disneyland, which is surrounded, with Disney World. This is just Disney trying to squeeze more money from guests who are already overcharged. I wonder if this isn’t a way to keep guests from leaving the property and be forced to buy Disney’s food and souvenirs. If you don’t have your own transportation you’re at the mercy of Disney. There is nothing magical about greed and Disney is greedy.

  3. Also wondering how that works for dining reservations at those hotels. We often go to the Polynesian hotel to eat breakfast, will there be a parking fee?

  4. I like the “Stay Elsewhere” option. I’ve been to Disney many times and never stayed at a Disney hotel. They are overpriced for what they offer. I usually stay at the Waldorf Astoria which is very close to most of the attractions and as a Hilton elite member I get upgraded and treated really well there.

  5. This is officially the straw hat broke my mouse ears. The only way to have a pleasant vacation at WDW is to get a second mortgage. It’s official, Europe and Hawaii are more affordable vacations.

    • More affordable especially for what you get. Disney hotels are not the best–by a long shot. We paid more for convenience, perks (early hours and that’s gone by the wayside) and immersion into Disney–not because the hotels themselves warranted the expense. You’re right–go to Hawaii or Europe–way cheaper and Hawaii more beautiful and Europe more historical.

      Bye, bye Disney

  6. I’m glad to see that this won’t effect previously booked reservations, but so disappointed to hear of it at all. Parking was a factor in our budgeting when deciding to stay on or off site for our upcoming trip. We’ve watched prices increase a great deal over the last few trips and adding another extra hundred for parking is frustrating. Yes other hotels will sometimes charge for their parking, but their rate + parking is still usually lower than a night at a Disney resort.

  7. I don’t get it. What drives people to spend thousands of dollars to queue all day for rides that are subpar to their local Six Flags type park. For one day at WDW I can get my kids an annual pass to a nearby children’s playground with ball pits and trampolines and what not to amuse them for hours. If they really want to see castles and costumes, Europe is just a 7-8hr jaunt in lie-flats.

    • First off we don’t queue for rides, and in fact we do not even line up and wait, as we like to say (or stand in line or on line). There is is this magical fast pass system they put in place and it works very well. If you know how to work it. We are loca now, and make fast pass reservations the morning of and during the day and have never have missed rides we like. Done this before we lived here with similar results. My line limit is 15 minutes and have never waited longer than that….other than a stanky, dirty and scary six flags park we visited last year. And I am jealous your family can afford lie flats to see real princesses and castles in Europe. I am sincerely jealous and feel like a bad parent. Tell Rapunzel and Belle I said Hello next time you visit, please.

  8. I’m usually in the whine about new fees club, but for once I’m glad about this. Finally people will quit jamming up the lots and buses, etc. at the resorts to avoid paying for parking at the parks. I KNOW a lot of the people at the beach club and boardwalk lots are just parking there to walk over to epcot. All you have to do is say you have a dining reservation and they waive you right in. Sure, it’s another money grab, but people will complain, then they’ll go, and pay, and move on. It’s how it goes.

    • Mike, I’m not so sure since day guests still don’t have to pay. It’s just a fee for overnight parking.

    • No, you have to give your reservation number for dining. And if it’s filled, they won’t even let you do that. You have to have a room reservation. This is in no way a way to get rid of parking and walking to parks. It’s revenue for Disney pure and simple. Because it’s not just hotels that you can walk to a park that are charging, is it? Do the math.

      And it’s shameful.

  9. We are big Disney people, but this really rubs me the wrong way. People save up to be able to make a big trip here. If you fly, Disney will provide you with free transportation to the resort and then free transportation around the parks, both of which have real costs for Disney. If you can’t afford to fly (airline tickets for 4, 5, 6 people if you aren’t miles saavy!) or just prefer to drive you are now penalized for NOT using their free services??? For parking on their existing lots? This is one of the costs that has always factored in to our decision to stay on property – if you stay at a resort you don’t pay parking for the resort AND at the parks. That savings is gone now, tipping the scales more in favor of a close off-site hotel. This seems like an ill-conceived plan. And why do people at a deluxe resort pay more? That too is insulting. I know that charging for FastPasses is just around the corner. Disney, you are really disappointing me.

    • We have been travelling from the UK to WDW almost every year since 1982 and have been DVC members since 1994 , i think the car park fee’s are really going to effect everybody but you imagine the added cost to overseas visitors who because of distance travelled always stay for at least 14 nights , Disney are really being silly with this one or is it just pure greed !!!!!!!!!!!

    • I stay on site and always drive since Disney transportation is slow and inconvenient. Everything is around the corner: paying for buses, monorails, boats, housekeeping, Fastpasses, breathing. I’m so done if they don’t change their ways.

  10. So, for sure Disney said that people who have already booked prior to this announcement and/or will book by March 21st? I’m just wondering where you read/heard that because my Disney vacation planner hasn’t told me about that part yet and she does know about the parking fees Disney just announced.

  11. My wife and I just returned March 3rd after a week in Disney. My 5 day park hopper was not cheap, nor was the 22 per day parking fee I had to pay each day because I stayed at a non Disney resort. Once folks realize they will have to pay a parking fee off site, the extra fee at Disney properties will end up being a frustration, but not a deal killer. They get you every which way. I got caught on a toll road (i was paying attention) and went through a license plate reader toll booth I was not expecting. . I got right off the toll road, but my $1.01 toll fee came to $20.76 after Avis added their maximum $19.75 e-toll convenience fee onto the toll cost. Why do they call it convenience fee? it certainly was not a convenience to me 🙁

  12. Very disappointed with Disney to hear about this parking charge.
    We have been coming to Walt Disney World for many many years now, from the UK.
    We have always stayed at a disney hotel and enjoyed all of the guest benefits that go with it.
    This year we will be over in September and luckily won’t be charged this as we booked it last year.
    So next year if we stay at a Disney resort, we will have to pay $266 for our 14 night vacation.
    We have stayed for 3 weeks in the past and this would total at $399 !!!
    I think we will be thinking of changing our plans for next year and trying somewhere else.
    Walt Disney’s vision was to make magic and family fun accessible to everyone.

  13. My parents are season ticket holders for years. They drive from the midwest b/c my mom doesn’t like to fly (they drive about 20 hours total) and they always stay at one of the moderate hotels. They had just re-upped their season tickets prior to this announcement as well and already have two trips booked for this year. They usually go about 5 times a year–retirement is nice for travel.

    However, I know both of my parents get really irritated about fees and honestly wonder if they will continue going multiple times a year and getting their season tickets. Disney is expensive, obviously, but at least everyone felt like there was value in the expense. Adding an overnight parking fee just seems shameful on the part of Disney and fleeces families even more without any real explanation.

  14. Don’t know if this would work if you want to stay at a moderate or deluxe resort.

    Spend your first night at an All Star Resort. Take a cab or uber to your next resort the next morning and leave your car in the All Star Resort parking lot. Then when your trip is over, cab or uber back to All Star Resort to pick up your car. Don’t know if Disney would tow your car from the All Star Resort

  15. I only take my family to Disney World when we can get the free dining. Without that, the experience simply isn’t good enough for the price.

    We’ve always rented a car for the convenience — especially since we wind up going to lots of different hotels to use our dining plan (the transport system certainly isn’t geared toward getting you from one hotel to another).

    I suspect that the parking fee would be enough to convince me NOT to rent a car for our stay. The math just wouldn’t work. I suppose we could take the Magical Express to and from the airport, but that’s not without woes. On my last visit a couple months ago, I overheard a customer complaining that Disney was requiring her to leave at 4 am from our Disney hotel to get to the airport for her 7 am flight (MCO has had some bad delays recently). Ouch. So we might just Uber from the airport.

    BTW, how efficient is Ubering (or Lyfting) at Disney? I saw it “in action” last visit and it seemed like it might work OK. I’m guessing it’s going to get much more popular now. I’m also wondering if Disney will impose a new fee on those rideshare services to get through the Park gates!

  16. We are season pass holders, and have been for many years. We have no choice but to drive to Disney, since we are too close to fly, but yet far enough that we need to book rooms. Disney is really screwing people in this situation. They need to add Florida resident, season pass holders as part of the exempt group from paying parking fees, especially if they decide to allow DVC people to be exempt. We spend a lot more money than what many DVC people do, and get no extra perks. How about doing a rewards program on how much you spend in Disney? Also, I can park in the parks for free, because of my season pass, but not at the resort? The local news was saying Universal does it, so Disney said they need to do it too. Universal outsources their parking lots, they are not run by Universal (and this is why we won’t stay at Universal). Disney owns their parking lots! If Disney would up their room rates for all by $5 a night and don’t charge parking fees, they wouldn’t have to penalize the people who have to drive to get to Disney!

  17. This is the last straw for me. No more Disney. Ticket prices raised this year, the hotels on property are not worth the price, parks are over crowded, and food is outrageous. We just got priced out of Disney.

  18. The easiest way to avoid the parking fees is to book your Disney vacations for 2018 and 2019 NOW before March 21st. Disney has stated that they will grandfather ALL vacations booked for the next 2 years before that deadline with still including complimentary parking. So my suggestion… book now for your summer, holiday, spring break and summer 2019 vacations to avoid the nightly fee for your car. All Disney vacations can be changed or modified without penalty so even if you’re unsure of which resort or dates you’d like to travel, book now to save yourself the frustration and adjust your vacation later accordingly.

  19. We’ve been going since 2004 from UK and year after year we’ve been getting fleeced by Disney. No longer vfm and $2 cheaper to drive in than stay on property! That’s another perk lost. No longer an option, the next holiday WAS going to cost around $14k but we’ll be spending that money elsewhere thanks to this parking charge. As an earlier poster said the straw that broke the camels back.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *