New Overnight Parking Fees for Disney World Hotels
Walt Disney World has announced that it will charge hotel guests for overnight parking. Rates will vary by resort tier, with Vale Resorts charging $13/night, Moderate Resorts will be $19/night, and Deluxe Resorts $24/night. Valet parking at Deluxe/Villa resorts will increase to $33/night. Disney Vacation Club guests staying on points or paying cash at Deluxe Villas will not pay for overnight self-parking.
Note that this does not impact free parking for Annual Passholders at the theme parks, nor does it impact those visiting a resort hotel for dinner or shopping. (Although we wouldn’t be surprised to see purchase validation soon required for resort visitors.) Guests staying at campsites in Fort Wilderness will not pay for overnight parking. It’s presently unclear whether drivers with valid disability parking permits will be charged (we’ll update the post later about this once we receive clarification).
The new Walt Disney World parking charge applies to guests who book reservations on or after March 21, 2018. The one positive in this news is that if you book a reservation today or in the next week–even for a trip in December–you won’t be subject to the new parking cost. So that’s at least one way to postpone the sting of this new fee for a little while longer.
Walt Disney World has indicated that this change is to bring their Florida hotels more in line with industry standards. Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels, the Swan & Dolphin, Universal Orlando on-property hotels, and most Orange County Convention Center area-hotels charge for overnight parking.
During our recent stays at the Disney Springs hotels, we noticed pricing around $20/night (+/- $5), which was fairly surprising given the surplus of space. The swamps of Florida are not exactly San Francisco or New York City, where the space is limited and has a high per square foot real estate value.
Known for its “blessing of size,” Walt Disney World fans have long thought that there are certain lines Disney wouldn’t cross, with parking and resort fees being one. We can empathize with the many fans who are frustrated by this, but to them we’d also say that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is basically a license for Walt Disney World to print money. We’ve said that before, but perhaps it needs to be reiterated. It will draw historic crowds to Florida, many of whom will be first-time visitors or lifelong Star Wars fans willing to pay just about any price to live out childhood dreams. As demand is about to soar, you can expect prices for just about anything at Walt Disney World to increase.
This is particularly true with supply-limited items, such as hotel rooms, parking, and theme park capacity (tickets). Obviously, we’re not fans of paying more to visit Walt Disney World, either, but it’s a reality we all must face.
While we’ve historically been quite averse to Walt Disney World’s various cash-grab up-charge offerings, we’re actually becoming a bit amenable to them, as they represent optional ways to pay more, rather than necessary ones that impact all guests equally.
If Disney management has certain revenue projections that they are attempting to hit (and they certainly do) through a mix of optional and mandatory price increases and upcharges, we prefer the ones we can avoid. This is sort of where we’re at with the parking fee: it makes us cringe, but at the same time, if it’s in lieu of an across the board hotel rate increase of, for example, $10/night, we’ll take it.
Since Walt Disney World operates by the same laws of supply and demand and consumer price sensitivity as every other business, it stands to reason that this fee will impact both future rate increases (slowing them slightly) and guest behavior (pushing more people off-site or causing them to skip rental cars). The latter means a decline in hotel demand–but that will be more than offset by the coming increase in demand once Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens.
As such, we’re sure there are still significant hotel price increases coming between now and 2020, but minimizing those to the greatest degree possible via optional fees (in other words, not resort fees, which are anti-consumer and really should draw more scrutiny from the FTC) would be our preference.
We’ve written articles (here on page 2 and here) that delve into the current hot economy and its impact on Walt Disney World, so we won’t rehash those here. Suffice to say, record-high consumer confidence and new projects that will be huge guest draws is a perfect storm for higher prices at Walt Disney World.
Interest in those additions is unlikely to subside until well after Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary in 2021, but the same cannot be said for the economy. That cooling off has its own set of negative ramifications for guests, but one silver lining is that it will also cool off Disney’s pricing trends.
Other than that, we don’t really know what else to say about this news of overnight parking fees for Walt Disney World guests. It’s understandably frustrating, especially for long-time fans who have experienced a noticeable shift in policies and practices. While Disney has always been a business, there’s was a time when it felt like a responsible one that tried to balance shareholder interests with guests ones, adding value that was commensurate with added costs. Maybe that was never the case, and maybe it still is.
Planning a Walt Disney World trip? Learn about hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotels Reviews page. For where to eat, read our Walt Disney World Restaurant Reviews. To save money on tickets or determine which type to buy, read our Tips for Saving Money on Walt Disney World Tickets post. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips post takes a unique look at clever items to take. For what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride Guides will help. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
What do you think about the new overnight parking fees at Walt Disney World? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!
Been regular 2 week vacationers at Old Key West from UK for the last 20 years. Only missed one year through illness. No more. The so-called “parties” were the first sign of the new grab culture at Disney; throwing everybody (whose paid full admission) to the Magic Kingdom out at 7pm and then charging another group an extortionate amount for a lame and crowded experience. Parking charges are the final straw. Pure greed on Disney’s part. Thoroughly disgusted. Will go elsewhere in future.
I think they’re trying to get richer people to stay. Disney hotels are full anyway, so might as well be filled with people who’ll spend more. That’s why all the newer experiences they design are clearly aimed at bigger pockets. Same thing goes for the parks. Who cares if people who can’t afford to spend inside the park can’t shell out 100+$ to get in? Disney would rather have 40.000 big spenders who’ll have a better time in a less crowded park (and thus spend more) than 60.000 poorer guests bringing homemade sandwiches into the park
They charge a lot more to park at a Deluxe resort than they do at a Mod and Value, so they clearly think people that are willing to spend more to stay at the nicer resorts must also be willing to pay more for parking. Now that’s ridiculous. A parking spot is the same at all resorts, so they should charge the same. Fortunately, we always use Magical Express and don’t rent a car.
Possible free resort parking hack? We recently returned from 7 days at Disney and we stayed at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Since that is considered a deluxe resort, I had to pay $24/night to park our rental car there. That added up to $168 by the time we left.
When we first arrived at the resort we had to stop at the guard shack and they verified our reservation. I suspect at that point it was entered into the system by the guard that we had a personal vehicle because no one at the front desk asked us whether we drove a car or arrived via some public transportation. The parking fee was just added to our daily total of charges.
Here’s my hack idea. Suppose someone initially takes a Disney Magical Express bus from the MCO airport to their Disney resort, checks in and the next day takes a Magic Express bus back to the airport and gets a rental car. No having to stop at the guard shack on the way back to the resort because you’re already checked in and you’d have free parking for the remainder of your stay. Would it work?
Probably not. In order to take Magical Express back to the airport, you’d have to have an actual reservation, with ticket, flight number and airline. As for renting a car, you can rent one right on Disney property. Not sure if that would be the answer though as you’d still have to go through the security gate and check with the guard.
You could make a meal reservation at your hotel (if it has a restaurant), which the guard would check. You could then leave your car there for the duration of your stay. Not sure that would work either.
You could park in a public lot off Disney property and Uber to your hotel. I wouldn’t be comfortable with that though. I like to see my car now and then.
There are ways to try to fool with Disney’s parking fee, but getting caught would make me feel like a fool. Plus, if you’re traveling with children, it isn’t exactly the greatest example for them.
So, in essence, I was of no help in trying to skirt the parking fee.
Here’s what I do, and have been doing long before Disney started charging simply because if I’m staying on property the Disney transportation is so easy to use, plus I do not want to pay for a rental car that I’m not using. Of course this only works if you have a rental car, not personal car, so if you drove from home to Disney sorry you have to eat the parking cost as part of the stay.
So when we arrive the first thing we do is check into the resort and get our room key. In the past we didn’t bother telling the front desk but now you will have to inform them that you are turning in your rental car and not parking a vehicle. So once again after you are in your room and all your stuff is dropped off do any last things you would need the car for (i.e. grocery shopping, suntan lotion, etc)…
One important factor is to make sure you rent from Avis, Hertz, Dollar, Budget or Alamo. Every one of them has a return center within walking distance to Disney Springs (Avis being the closest right across the bridge at the Hilton down by the Lego store). Once you have finished using your rental car, simply return it, walk back to Disney Springs and hop on a bus back to your resort! Not only do you avoid paying for parking but you avoid paying for a rental car to sit in an expensive parking lot not being used. Of course if you need a car during your stay you can call Uber/Lyft or simply reverse the process and rent a car for the day returning it when you’re done.
Presto, you just saved a lot of money and you didn’t even have to change your car insurance to Geico!
Oh, I also forgot if you’re leaving out of MCO from your resort you can use the Magic Express as well, you don’t need to use it both directions, just make sure you tell the front desk you will be using it to return to the airport after your stay so they can book it for you.
We used this car trick both directions. We taken the Magic Express from the airport before, rented a car for the day to do stuff, returned it, then rented a car once our stay was over to leave Disney to drive south to visit family after our Disney stay.
The only problem, is that security does check the parking lots on a regular basis at night. I did notice the security ‘rounds’, but it was an employee who explained why they were doing it. Your room bill will be charged the parking fee automatically unless your Disney stay information says you came by the magical express (airport or cruise bus). I am not happy paying to park, but at least Disney doesn’t charge me extra for our over height wheelchair accessible van. Universal wants $75 per night for our van, because it is over height, and therefore MUST be considered a recreational vehicle. Now, that’s a problem.
I’d imagine you can be dropped off as well. We were just at Universal and returned the Avis car right at the lot. I explained to the bellhop that we would be dropping the car off after we went food shopping and he just took the keys and parked it for us until we turned it in. We didn’t have to pay for parking at all.
Disney has crossed the line of morally correct charges. That was just one of the perks of staying at an Disney resort was the fact that you did not pay for parking at the resort. You will park your car once and use Disney transportation for everything else. Technically now Disney transportation is not free. Disney has lost touch as to why Walt Disney World was created. It was supposed to be a nice place to go spend time with your family. Now the average american family will be simply priced out. Those parking fees that you have to pay could had went toward meals, meals, etc. you may want to purchase. I use to love staying on property, now I will find off property with no parking fees and believe me there is plenty. If you decide to go to WDW there will be no difference if you stay onsite or park in daily parking at the park there will be a parking fee. I do not understand that they look at Universal studios as their standard. They have to remember that the first resort there was the Hard Rock Hotel. They are comparing themselves to a brand that was not 100% controlled by them and now using that as an excuse to charge. Simply a pure shame on WDW.
Greed! Greed! I bet Walt would roll over in his grave seeing what his company has become.
If you stay at a disney resort do you still have to pay for parking at park
If you stay at the resort, you can park for free at the parks.
We love Disney and go every couple of years staying in resort hotels. We know that you can get a cheaper deal off site, but have always paid the extra cost to have the full Disney experience. As most UK guests stay for 14 nights this now adds $336 to the bill, just shy of Â£300. You can park in London cheaper than that. Looks like our next holiday there will be off-site. Sorry Disney, but no more.
“Walt Disney World has indicated that this change is to bring their Florida hotels more in line with industry standards.”
I CALL ABSOLUTE BS! This is nothing more than complete and utter GREED by Disney.
From what I’ve read and seen about Walt Disney I don’t think that this is what he had in mind or even approve of. That being said I could understand if u were paying $159 or $179 a nite for a room, but when your paying hundreds even thousands of dollars a nite like if u stay at the Grand Floridian or even the bungalows at the Polynesian which are $2600 a nite how in good conscience could u charge for parking. A boycott of disneyworld for 1 day of lost revenue would solve that problem immediately unfortunately u could never get everybody to do that and there are people who have the money to burn who just don”t care. I don’t want to hear about industry standards it’s plain and simple greed. Why make millions when you can make billions.
I was looking into taking the kids for vacation, read the policies, was floored they were charging $24 to park at the hotel which you already paid to be at (we’re not talking valet, either!) .
Out of distaste of their pure greed, I will never take my kids to any Universal park or hotel. They’re getting away with it because people are agreeing to it.
Dont mind paying for parking if a reasonable rate, like $5 – $7, not up to $24, think next time off site hotel.
Just because you can dosnt mean you should!
Been coming since 1992, this idea worst ever.
I made reservations for all star music for two rooms for 5 night Florida discount when added it up the two rooms than added the $75.00 for parking for 5 nights I cancel got a condo off site we had stayed before which was nice I saved 500.00 dollars over the two Disney rooms I stay off site from now on.
How on earth can they charge you to park at a hotel you are already paying to stay in? Holidaying from the uk, a fly-Drive is a must. I’m heart broken at this as a total Disney-phile. Seriously considering staying off property in future. My future Disney experiences have been ruined. Staying on property was one of the best parts!