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3 Things You Can Expect From Walt Disney World's Newest (Proposed) Parking Fee

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... 

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There are 18 comments.

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.

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).

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.

We also are APs and enjoy going to many of the counter services in hotels. If I must pay to eat at a CS (where you can't make a reservation) then I won't be eating there. So this could be bad news for the CS on non-monorail hotels. The monorail hotels you can easily go to for a CS, by parking in TTC, but that means I'll be taking up a theme park space simply because I want to have lunch at Grand Floridian. The problem is Disney hasn't been making the expansions to keep up with the crowds, so now they're overpricing to help keep crowds down!

I agree. As an annual pass holder who lives only a couple of miles from the parks, we often eat at the self service hotel restaurants. As if everything at Disney isn't expensive enough, this may be the straw that breaks the camels back! I will NOT pay parking to eat at their resorts.

I think that the parking fee is outrageous on top of the 100. to get in. I know it cost a lot to run the park but come on- it is costing too much for the average person.10 would be a reasonable amount if needed. Greedy is the word. Always loved taking people to see the hotels but now would be unable to. Give us a break Disney, people should not have to go in debt to visit!

It is only $100 if you are buying a one day theme park ticket....and if you're only there for a day why would you waste any time at a hotel you're not staying at?

The statement about the refurbishment actually had me wondering if this was really more about security. Unfortunately in today's world security is a major concern. First they added metal detectors at the parks and now redoing resort entry. A fee system connected to the MagicBands which connects to specific people... Well, just a thought.

Parking at the Contemporary hasn't been allowed in years, unless you have a reservation for Chef Mickey's or the California Grill, because people will park there and walk to the Magic Kingdom. There is a guard at the entrance who checks for your reservation before allowing you to enter the parking lot.

I never knew that this was a problem, but, I am not surprised. People will try to get something for nothing. Although I am an annual pass holder, I have not stayed on site in over 4 years, since my nephew has grown and I never use Magic band fp+. I usually go solo, now and stay at my fav hotel at Disney Springs. I agree that this is a problem and measures have to be implemented to be fair to all on site guests. Keep up the good work.

They'll see how this affects friends wanting to visit guests at the hotels. This would not be a good move by Disney.

So explain this then.....if the parking is for the resort guests, don't those same guests not really have a car cause most are using Disney Magic Express to get from the airport to the resort which disney started to keep their guests from driving off property to other theme parks and get them to use exclusively disney transportation.

And what happens to those people visiting resorts guests who they are friends with!!! Now more than ever I am glad I do Universal Studios rather than disney anymore.

Annual Passholders should be exempt from these parking fees as parking is included in our passes and next renewals all passes include parking. We are at the resorts to spend more money, not skip out on paying for parking.

I would hope there'd be a pass-type arrangement for residents who frequent shows, like Yeeha Bob Jackson at PO Riverside, as well as the shops and the restaurants. As a Passholder from Ohio, I've noticed this trend to avoid the parking fees, much like the abuse of the soft drink dispensers that led to the chipped drink cups, and the multiple dining concurrent reservations that led to a charge for no shows.... I've never had problems with following the set procedures, it's a shame so many try to do so.

This is a terrible idea! We visit the resorts all the time just to walk around and enjoy the ambiance. We also frequent the Ft. Wilderness campfire and eat casually on property. One of the best things about Disney was that they encouraged guests to spend time (and money) at their resorts without it being an expensive ordeal. I guess I won't be doing that anymore!

While staying at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort last summer, my wife encountered a local family who showed up at one of the local pools. She overheard their plans for that day. They planned to hop a Disney bus, spend some time at the Magic Kingdom, then come back to the resort to swim before heading home for the day. Definitely not the first time they've done that. It's a shame when a few people spoil it for everyone.


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