You’ve survived the “Are we there yet”s and “Don’t make me turn this thing around”s! Time to reward yourself by driving under the Walt Disney World welcome arch!
Now that you’ve got your car into the “Most Magical Place On Earth,” it’s time to think about the un-magical side of this Disney World vacation — PARKING.
If you’re taking your car with you on your Disney World vacation, you’re going to need to know about the parking situation ahead of time. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as just pulling into a Disney lot and calling it good. There are a few fees that can take you by surprise unless you are aware of them ahead of time to avoid that infamous Disney vacation sticker shock. (Or, at the very least, lessen the blow.)
Keep in mind that some of the prices we’re going to be talking about vary depending on the season, so don’t be caught off-guard if you go to Disney and these parking fees have fluctuated by $5-$10.
If You’re Staying at a Disney World Hotel
If you’re staying at a Disney World Resort this vacation…First of all, that’s awesome! Have an amazing time. The resorts are super fun and keep you immersed in that Disney setting we’ve come to love oh-so-much. (PLUS, you’ve got some NEW PERKS to enjoy!)
However, just because you’re staying on property doesn’t mean you’ve escaped the parking fees. If you’re staying at a value resort, you’re going to have to pay $15 per night to park your car at the resort. The same (plus!) goes for the moderate and deluxe resorts. If you’re staying at a moderate resort expect to pay $20 per night, and if you’re staying at a deluxe resort, prepare to pay $25 per night.
The only exception to this rule is if you’re staying at the Fort Wilderness Campsite — parking is free! But that’s good for only one vehicle and takes up only one parking space. Any more than that and you may have to turn out your pockets, if you know what we mean.
But for the other Resorts…YIKES, right? Those parking fees add up QUICKLY. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay to park at the Disney Parks on top of that. Resort guests only have to pay to park in the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lots if they want to upgrade to Preferred Parking, which is $20-$25 per day for the upgrade.
If you’re a Disney Vacation Club (or DVC) member, you can just ignore us completely if you are using your vacation points to stay at a Deluxe Villa or Resort hotel since your parking fees are included. (Bear in mind that if you are not using your points and are staying somewhere other than a DVC Deluxe Villa, you’ll need to pay the standard fees outlined above.)
A reader also kindly pointed out to us that if you stay at a Disney World Resort and have a valid disability parking permit, you do not have to pay for parking. They also shared: “In addition if you Valet Park, you do not have to pay for Valet Parking. But don’t forget to tip… They are usually very helpful with taking the wheelchair out of your car and putting it together. The reverse is true when you leave — they help take it apart and put it in your car.”
But what if you’re staying off-property or at a different Disney Resort and you have dining reservations at, say, Disney’s Polynesian Resort? (Those ‘Ohana Noodles must’ve been calling your name.)
If you’re just visiting a resort and have an Advance Dining Reservation at one of the restaurants to eat (and maybe do a bit of gift store shopping), you don’t have to worry about paying to park, either. The fees are just for the cars that’ll be spending the night in the resort lots.
In other news, Valet parking recently returned to the Disney Resorts! Hooray! This service at the Resorts is $33 per night.
If you own an electric vehicle, the only resorts that offer charging stations are Disney’s Coronado Springs (6 spaces), Disney’s Riviera Resort (2 spaces), and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge (2 spaces). Not a whole lot of options there — and you can’t request these spots in advance, either. Disney says these spaces are available on a “first-come, first-served” basis.
If You’re Staying Off-Property
So let’s say you decide to stay off Disney World property. If you plan on driving to the parks each day, guess what? You’re still going to have to pay. *Groans*
Standard parking for a car or motorcycle is $25 per day, and oversized vehicle parking (ie: a shuttle, limo, camper trailer, RV, Bus or tractor-trailer) is $30 per day.
Preferred parking at the Disney Parks for a car or motorcycle is $45-$50 per day.
Annual Passholders, though, don’t have to worry about paying for daily parking unless they want preferred parking, which will run them an extra $20-$25.
If you pay for parking at one of the Disney Parks, then you’re good for the day. If you start your day at Animal Kingdom and decide to later hop, skip, and jump on over to Hollywood Studios, you don’t have to worry about paying for parking again. Just show the Cast Member at the front gate your valid parking receipt to prove you already paid that morning.
Similar to the Resorts, there are only a limited number of electric vehicle charging stations at each of the four parks. If you need help locating one, just ask a Cast Member for assistance and they’ll point you in the right direction. (Again, these limited parking spots are first-come, first-served.)
But be warned — these stations DO cost money! They cost $0.35 per kilowatt-hour, with a “minimum service amount of $1.50.” To use these electric stations, you’ll need a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card. Charging will stop once the vehicle is fully charged, and the ChargePoint card will alert drivers when their car is ready.
You know which parks DON’T charge for parking? The water parks! If you’re going to hang out in Disney’s Blizzard Beach or Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon for the day, then your wallet is saved! (Now you can spend that extra moolah on a Sand Pail Ice Cream Sundae!)
If You’re Visiting Disney Springs
Unless you’re using the valet parking, which is $20 per day, then parking at the Orange, Lime, or Grapefruit parking garage is completely free! Woo Hoo!
(Disney assumes you’ll be returning the favor by purchasing copious amounts of merch. 😉 )
Just like the resorts and parks, the parking garages offer a limited amount of electric charging stations for all your electric car charging needs.
Taking a car to Disney World can get pretty pricey, but many guests bring cars anyway to avoid relying strictly on Disney World transportation. If you’re one of those people, make sure to set aside a separate savings jar for those lovely little parking fees.
Do you bring your car to Disney World? Please let us know with a comment!