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.

 

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.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Comments

  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.

      • First off. We are British , and have been coming to Disney since 1980. It stops this year. Greed will be the down hill slippery slope for Disney Never a fast pass for Best rides.. Avatar etc. 3 hour lines. we

        Disney will lose in the long run. We are going to stay in Europe.

  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.

    • You can get into the hotel lots without a reservation. They just say they want to visit the hotel, or shop or try and get a stand-by reservation. People do it ALL the time at Polynesian to get close to TTP, at Bay Lake Towers to walk to MK and at Beach Club to walk to Epcot. And, as was stated, they still can with these new fees. The fees are for the overnight guests. Daytime guests visiting the “hotels” park for free and move on into the parks if they so choose.
      The fees are shameful and as an AP holder I have actually made decisions in the past regarding staying on or off property because of off-property fees. Disney just leveled the playing field about my decisions a little more.

    • Unfortunately this parking fee does not address concern at all. It is tied to the resort stay, not resort reservations.

      You are right, plenty of people abuse the adr excuse to use the lots at park resorts like Beach Club and Contemporary. HOWEVER… I noticed that now the instead of getting waved in, guests are asked which other resort they’re staying at when trying to park in a different resort for dining. I think this is a first step in WDW curbing the abuse you see.

  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.

      • I am done now, we have a spring break trip planned in April and that will be the last for a very long time. We are a family of five and have been to WDW at least once every year for since 1998. Although, the money is not that much in terms of what the trip costs, I am mad about it. So mad that I have decided to take my family to the UK next summer rather than visit WDW. I hope a Disney executive actually sees some of these post because I am voting with my money. Now Disney will not get the $7,000 dollars. It will instead be spent on a UK trip. I guess I could buy a lot of parking for seven grand but I want Disney to know that they can no longer take me for granted as a customer.

        • Hi Big E. We live in the U.K and come to Florida most Years.

          It has Now stopped. Parking fees. A JOKE. $10 for a dry hot dog at the Magic Kingdom. Laughable. Try Disneyland Paris.

    • FYI: They already offer Fastpasses for a fee. If one has a club level reservation you can pay a fee and not only get more fastpasses but you get to make the reservations 90 days out.

    • I have vacationed at Disney World since 1979 almost every year (give or take a couple of years), it breaks my heart that in the past few years that have started to nickel and dime thier customers. They have steadily raised their ticket prices, food price are ridiculous, take away early morning openings, now resorts are charging for onsite overnight parking. It is pure greed at this point. My question is WHY..you already rake in billions of dollars, rethink your decision, this is no long a family affordable vacation! I know this will be my last year visiting Disney…bye bye bye bye bye!

  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!

    • As a DVC member, I can tell you we pay dearly for our membership. Initial $40,000.00 investment with YEARLY dues of $2000.00. I’ve had our room decorated by Disney every yr for my granddaughters birthday along with a custom made birthday cake. I usually take her to the Grand Floridian for the spa to celebrate her special day. One yr I met a fellow DVC member in the spa who told me she flus from NY monthly to visit her daughter and spends the weekend at the resort( she must have purchased a lot of pts , bet near the $100,000. mark). I bought 8 annual passes this yr as Christmas presents, the ones that have all parks, water parks, and golf courses included with no blackout dates. So,please don’t wish any parking fees on DVC members, Disney gets enough of our money!

      • I’m very sorry, you made the poor decision to buy into DVC – a time share with no stake in real property. It was your choice to “invest” your money (where is there profit in that depreciating investment?). However, you have no right to complain about the cost of said purchase or claim exclusivity as a member of a protected class in such a manner. You paid what you paid because Disney asked you to, and you foolishly chose – absent due diligence – to do so. You are not entitled to any special treatment because of your faux “ownership,” and there’s no reason you or anyone else should be exempt from fees. If they’re going to charge Disney guests, then all Disney guests should be charged.

  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.

  20. I’m sure Disney was prepared for a bit of a backlash on this, but I think we would all be well-served to make sure they really know our feelings, just in case they aren’t mining the internet for all these comments.

    I intend to send a letter directly to Mr. Bob Iger, the C.E.O. at:
    Walt Disney World Communications
    PO Box 10040
    Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830-0040

    I am so disappointed in this fee. We just got back from a 5-day trip at Disney and were so excited to be able to stay on property this time. Next year we’ll be visiting the beach. The cost of a Disney vacation is getting out of hand.

  21. We try n go monthly. Love staying at Disney hotels but going forward I’ve talked to my husband about just staying on international drive it’s cheaper and no parking fees We are annual pass holders have the Disney credit card and I don’t believe we should have to pay to park. That’s just like when Daytona started charging to park on the beach (which we grew up driving on ). I still don’t pay to drive or park on the beach

  22. I am insulted by the fact that ONLY after proceeding to check out and make a deposit through their website, you are sadly informed (after you paid and reserved) that there is a parking fee involved in the final charge.
    It’s a misleading and a very deceiving way to inform customers after you paid WD hefty room prices that more charges are awaiting for you.

    I will be contacting Mr. Bob Iger at robert.a.iger@disney.com.

    • While I applaud you wanting to make yourself heard, take a moment first to think of and plan something better to make yourself heard.
      Bob Iger is the head of a multi-million dollar company. Resorts is only a drop in that bucket. His email is likely a dummy account and even if it is being read it wouldn’t be by him.
      A more appropriate course of action would be to write to the executives of Disney Travel or to guest.services@disney.com
      Writing and sending feedback to those persons are a far more likely way to get yourself heard and for your opinions to matter.

  23. The real crime here for AP holders is that they just reduced a benefit in now charging for resort parking. With the AP you get free parking into the parks but now that is almost or entirely wiped out depending on what resort you are staying in. They need to include AP holders into that mix of exemptions. AP users are the ones, just like DVC owners, that have made a commitment to the organization and you can generally count on them for recurring revenue.

    Make sure to complain to guest services online and in the parks as well as let the check in host know of your displeasure. There are many more revenue streams they could have targeted to increase their daily take. I get that all of this construction and attractions cost money to build but eventually the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in as you lose people.

    Bad decisions by money hungry executives generally do not end up well in the long run. Hopefully if enough people raise their concerns over this someone will come to their senses. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

  24. Have been to Disney 3 times since parking fees went into effect, and haven’t stayed on property. We stayed at Disney Springs resorts all 3 times sure it’s not a Disney resort but the parking fee…$10, after all math including eating out we saved over $100. Glad I stayed in them before the greed kicked in now we just dining reservations at the Disney resorts and we are passholders (for now).

  25. As first time pass holders after the kids WORKED for 2 years to pay for their own passes, we feel hijacked by the promise of free parking at the parks. It feels like a false perk having to pay at the resort when I can park at the park for free. So , the question I was hoping to see asked/answered is: Can I just park at a park and pick up my car at the end of my trip?

  26. Hi D. You most probably will be able to Park at a Theme Park for your stay. But you will then have to catch Buses Monorails etc. to save on Resort Parking. I guess You are staying for a short while?

    Security may question why a car is left in the same place at a Park every night.

    Typical Disney they want Resort guests to use the Hotels with no car. Then you will stay on Disney Property spending all of your Hard earned Money on Disney Junk food and Gifts etc. and no way of exploring other Orlando eateries , shops etc.
    We Have been going to Disney resorts since 1999. This year we are boycotting and we will stay off site.

    Good luck

  27. As a an annual pass holder of 5 yrs and coming each year to stay for a week. I will be booking a hotel off property which means no dinner plan either ..we will leave the park eat and come back. Doesn’t hurt me to drive my car.

Leave a Reply

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