Disney made waves earlier this week when they announced that from March 21st onwards, guests staying at Disney resorts would have to pay between $13-$24 nightly to park their car outside their hotel room. Though Disney is hardly the only hotel operator to charge guests a nightly parking fee, many saw this as a shameless money grab by a resort that is already enjoying record profits this year. However, though this has certainly become quite the controversial move among Disney fans, parking fees are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the ever-increasing cost to visit Walt Disney World...
Higher room rates are on the horizon
One of the questions cynical fans had after this additional fee was announced was why Disney didn’t just quietly raise the base non-discounted price of its hotel rooms instead of adding on a parking fee. After all, such a change would not have to be announced, and probably wouldn’t be noticed by the majority of guests with upcoming stays at a Walt Disney World hotel. However, there actually is a very good reason Disney didn’t go this route: they’re already doing this.
While hotel room prices fluctuate all the time, and discounts come and go, Disney has touted higher overall room rates as a big source of profit gains nearly every quarter in their financial results, and this trend shows no sign of slowing down any time soon. And speaking of trends…
Disney wants guests to use more paid options to get around the resort
Though the immediate benefit for Disney when it comes to adding additional parking fees is to get extra revenue immediately from parked cars, there is a secondary benefit here as well. As guests make adjustments to their travel plans to try and avoid this fee, fewer cars will be parked at hotels, which means more guests will be using Disney transportation. And though free bus transportation will remain an option, when you’re stuck at Coronado Springs Resort at 1:00 PM and need to be at the Magic Kingdom in an hour to make your Seven Dwarfs Mine Train FastPass+ reservation and there’s no bus in sight, you may find yourself considering another option: Minnie Vans!
Disney’s point-to-point transportation system (which recently rasied its travel rate, perhaps not coincidentally) is now available at almost every Walt Disney World resort, and with fewer guests opting to drive their own cars, it seems likely that more guests will choose to take advantage of this transportation option, especially since, in some cases, taking a Minnie Van is less expensive than parking a car!
And while it looks like paid transportation will continue to grow at Walt Disney World, there’s something else Disney guests may want to keep in mind about the future cost of a trip to Walt Disney World as well..