Last week, Disney made waves when it hiked parking fees up to $25 per car for standard parking, and a whopping $50 for preferred parking. And, while it wasn't widely reported, Universal Orlando Resort also used this opportunity last week to increase their parking fees as well, matching Disney's standard $25 parking fee and pulling their own preferred parking fee up to $40.
And of course this trend when it comes to hiking prices on parking isn't new, as earlier this year Disney stunned guests when they announced that they would be charging guests between $13-$24 per night to park at their resorts.
While the goal with these parking price increases is almost certainly to make a little extra money from nickel and diming guests with these additional charges, with parking fees growing at an increasing rate, Disney (and Universal) could be making a fatal error here...
The value of ride-sharing for non-local guests
If you are a Walt Disney World or Universal guest from somewhere in Central Florida (and you are either staying on property or don't have an annual pass), the easiest way to avoid a parking fee is to take an Uber or Lyft to Disney. Though the math might have not made taking this transportation option feasible in the past, from most points in Orlando, a Lyft or Uber ride to Disney Springs or Universal CityWalk is around $20, and from there guests can take a bus or walk to wherever they need to go.
And while this may seem like a convenience only available for locals, if you are driving to Central Florida with a car from another state, you can take advantage of public parking lots near the airport or in Orlando, which offer long-term parking for between $6-$15 per day, which is a lot less than the $25 for standard theme park parking or $13-$24 per night parking fee at resorts. And again, while the math on using these public lots may not have worked out before, when you're looking at paying nearly $200 in parking fees for a weeklong stay at a deluxe Disney resort, slightly inconvenient (but much cheaper) options start to look more attractive
So with this in mind, we can't help but wonder if Disney (and Universal) are pushing things a little bit too far with this latest parking increases. As alternatives continue to pop up (and Disney continues to increase their own prices), is this one area where we could see revenues actually decrease as prices grow?