Yesterday, news broke that Disney is considering adding yet another fee to it’s ever-growing roster. WDWNT, as well as several other news sites are reporting that Disney is testing a new system that would require guests not staying on property to pay for parking at Walt Disney World hotels. This new fee addition was recently tested at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and will be tested again in the very near future at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Though Disney has not commented on this proposed new fee, we’d imagine that if these tests are successful, a resort-wide parking charge will be rolled out resort-wide in 2016.

Though we don't know much at the moment, here are three things guests can expect in the coming weeks and months in regards to this potential new fee. 

1. This is likely a response to unauthorized parking attempts by guests

The vast majority of Walt Disney World guests going to a theme park follow the regular park procedure and park their vehicle at one of the four lots designated for theme park use. However, there is a growing number of guests that have been knowingly going against this policy, instead parking at Disney’s on-site hotels and then taking Disney transportation to their park of choice.

There are two main reasons why guests do this. The first (and most obvious) is to avoid the $20 daily parking fee that all non-resort (and non-annual passholder) guests have to pay to park at the theme parks. Though it can be argued that paying a parking fee equal to 20% of one day’s admission to a theme park is ridiculous all by itself, the fact is that Disney makes the rules, and if you want to visit its theme parks, you have to abide by them. However, these fee dodgers aren’t the only ones that are abusing Disney’s free resort parking. 

On busy days, many guests find that they can gain access to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot by parking at these parks’ respective resorts. On days when the Magic Kingdom parking lot is reaching capacity and guests are stuck back in the lettered section of Ursula, many find that simply parking at the nearby Polynesian Village Resort or the Contemporary Resort and then walking over to the Ticket and Transportation Center saves a lot of time. Similarly, guests wanting to go to Epcot, especially during the Food and Wine Festival, often park at the Boardwalk and then walk through the International gate at the rear of the park to avoid the crowds at the front gate, gaining these guests immediate entry at the World Showcase. 

Though the logic behind these moves is certainly sound, the Walt Disney World resorts have limited parking, and paying guests who are staying at the resort should be prioritized over those trying to dodge fees or get to the park faster. However, though its most important for resort guests to get a parking spot, it is very likely that Disney will be making some allowances for a select group of non-resort guests to continue to park for free... 



It makes sense given that Disney restructured its transportation a couple of years ago to discourage guests from avoiding parking fees by parking at Boardwalk or Disney Springs for free and hopping on a bus straight to their theme park of choice (now they have to stop over at a hotel, which can add significant time and wait to the trip).

I wonder if this new setup will encourage nonresort guest to park at resorts. Since they will be paying a fee no matter what might as well park at a resort closer to the parks than deal with the crowded theme parks parking lot.

There are a few issues with this. First if people have to pay everywhere to park they will be more willing to park at the hotels. They will think "I am paying so I can park where ever I want." So people parking at the Contemporary and Boardwalk will go up. It is more convenient at MK to do that. Secondly it will drive more people to Disney Springs who will then walk to Saratoga and clog their busses.

If Disney looked at the opportunity cost of most people that have to pay to park they would cut the cost of parking to $5 - $10. This way people would be more willing to pay and park where they are supposed to. That would help steer people back to the theme park lots and away from the hotels.

Yes they should charge for parking for some I don't think twenty is the right price but some fee is necessary

As an annual passholder, I visit the resorts often. Obviously this is not to dodge parking fees, as we do not pay for parking anyways. I hope this will be taken into consideration as well. For example, I love to walk around Port Orleans just for fresh air and relaxation, I think it is a very pretty resort. Also, at Christmas time, we typically make a day of traveling to most of the resorts to photograph the kids with the decorations, etc.
I definitely understand the policy of being more restrictive at resorts like the Contemporary (we only park there if we have dining res), but in general, I hope they can be quite flexible with this policy or they will just tick a lot of locals/passholders off.

View More Comments

Add new comment

About Theme Park Tourist

Theme Park Tourist is one of the web’s leading sources of essential information and entertaining articles about theme parks in Orlando and beyond.

We are one of the world’s largest theme park guide sites, hosting detailed guides to more than 80 theme parks around the globe.

Find Out More About Us...

Plan Your Trip

Our theme park guides contain reviews and ratings of rides, restaurants and hotels at more than 80 theme parks worldwide.

You can even print them.

Start Planning Now...