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...