A majority of the visitors to Walt Disney World come from different states, different countries, and even different continents. Disney has a wonderful transportation system that will transport you for your entire vacation without ever having to drive a car (unless you venture by the Tomorrowland Speedway). However, there may be times that your family decides to rent a car while they are in the Orlando area, or your family may decide it is cheaper to drive the family car to Disney World as opposed to flying. If you fall into that group, these ten parking tips are just for you!
10 – Parking Can Be Expensive – if you are not staying on-site at one of the Disney resorts, parking is $17 per day. People who are staying on-site can either avail themselves of the Disney transportation system or they can park in the parks for free. On-site guests must display their parking pass given to them at their resort. The parking attendants will need to see that to verify that you are a registered Disney guest. Be aware that if you are staying at the Swan, Dolphin, or Shades of Green, each resort does charge a parking fee since they are not owned by Disney.
9 – Remember Your Camera – since Disney World is the number one theme park destination in the entire world, it is safe to assume that when you visit, there will be other people visiting. The parking lots are HUGE at each of the parks and are divided into several different lots and rows. It is helpful that when you get to the end of your parking row if you snap a picture of where you car is parked!
8 – Parking Can Be An Aerobic Experience – given the size of the parking lots, there is a good deal of walking that can be required (especially if you get stuck at the far end of a row). Disney does offer courtesy trams from the parking lots to the front of the park. All guests are welcome to use this service and there is no cost associated with it, but sometimes (especially in the morning), the lines can get long and it may be easier and quicker to just walk to the front of the park (this only can be done at Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom).
7 – Be Careful – Disney engineers have spent a lot of time streamlining the parking process so they can get people in the parks as quickly as possible, but also so they can get as many cars as possible into a finite space. Be aware of the fact that cars will be pulling in next to you and possibly behind you. When exiting your car, be sure to walk to the front of the row you parked in, so you aren’t in the way of oncoming traffic.
6 – Know Where You Want to End the Night – when my family visits Disney, we generally park hop between two, sometimes three parks. We don’t want to have to keep moving the car when we move between parks, so we usually decide where we are going to end the night and park the car there. We will then use Disney transportation for the rest of the day to get between parks. It is a free method of getting between the parks and it is also a great way to explore some areas you don’t necessarily see when you are just in the parks. If you decide to drive between parks, make sure to get a receipt to show the Cast Member at your next park (you only have to pay the parking fee once per day).
5 – You Can Park for Free – Disney offers a variety of different programs that allow you to park for free. Annual Passholders are allowed free parking as part of their annual passholder perks. If you are a Tables in Wonderland cardholder, you are given complimentary valet parking when you are dining at resorts. You must let the attendant know that you are dining and show your Tables in Wonderland card and present them with your card and receipt after dining to receive this benefit. At a certain point in the evening parking is generally free at all of the theme parks and you won’t be directed to a spot, you will have to roam the lot to find a spot and fill in the holes where guests have left earlier in the day.
4 – Water Parks and Other Fun Things – parking is free at both of the water parks, as well as at the miniature golf courses on property. You can also park for free in certain areas of Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs).
3 – Go Green – Disney does have a small number of electric car charging stations located at Epcot. There is a charge of 35 cents per kilowatt/hour and a minimum required charge of $1.50. Hopefully Disney will extend the charging stations to other parks and other areas of Disney World!
2 – Oversized Cars – my father-in-law drives and extended cab truck and generally we are required to park on an end space (and it always ends up that we have the park on the far end of the lot). Unless you need all the extra space for your family or for what you are transporting, be wary of getting a big car if you want to avoid excessive walking.
1 – Disney Security – the parking lots are patrolled by members of the Disney Security team. They are also available to assist you if you have any issues with your car like a flat tire, accidental lock-out, etc.
Parking can be a trying experience, especially while you are on vacation at one of the top vacation destinations in the world. Keep these tips in mind to keep your frustration and aggravation to a minimum. What are you favorite parking tips or tricks when you are visiting Disney World?
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