One of the amenities noticeably missing since the Walt Disney World Resort reopened following its closure due to COVID-19 last spring were the parking trams that transport Guests from the parking lot to the entrance of Disney theme parks. While their absence did not cause too many problems when the parks first reopened and capacity was very limited (since fewer Guests means more opportunity for a closer parking spot) Guests are becoming increasingly frustrated that parking trams have not yet started operating again.
Currently parking trams are still on the list of “temporarily unavailable” attractions and amenities on Walt Disney World’s official website, and we do not have any confirmed details for when they will be coming back. In the meantime, this has left Guests on foot heading into all four Walt Disney World theme parks (or to the monorail or ferry boat in the case of the Magic Kingdom). As you’d imagine, or perhaps have experienced firsthand, this can be an incredibly tiring scenario for many Guests, especially after a long day in the parks.
Additional job postings for parking Cast Members were posted on the Disney Careers website in August, so we at least know that staffing is likely a large part of the issue with getting the trams up and running again, but Disney is working on that. It is important to note that it is not simply a driver that is needed to operate a parking tram at Walt Disney World, a whole team of Cast Members is required for the trams to operate safely, so while it may seem like an “easy” fix relative to other staffing situations in the parks, there is really more to their operation than meets the eye.
We wish we had an answer to the frustrations we’re seeing Guests express on social media, but unfortunately until Disney announces something official it looks like we’re sharing the pain of that long walk back to the car together. It’s certainly not an ideal situation, but here are some things you can do in the meantime…
Get to the parks early. The earlier you arrive at a Disney theme park, the closer your parking spot will be. In “normal times” we could recommend walking over taking the tram if you are parked close enough where the walk feels doable anyway, because you will likely beat the tram to the entrance.
Pay extra for preferred parking. Preferred parking is still available and it will get you closer to the entrance. It’s more expensive than the standard parking fee at Disney theme parks however, so it may not be high on your to-do list. (Standard parking is $25 while preferred is $45-50.)
If you or anyone in your party has mobility issues, use a courtesy wheelchair. Courtesy wheelchairs are available in parking lots at Walt Disney World to assist Guests who would be renting a wheelchair or ECV inside the park with getting to the entrance. A lot of Guests do not realize they are available for use to help you get through the parking lot (for free) so if using one would help be sure to grab one! If you do not see any nearby, ask the nearest Cast Member and they will be able to help. On a similar note, if you have a handicapped parking placard for your car, remember to bring it when you visit the parks!
Share your feedback with Disney. Without any “insider” parking knowledge, we can at least chalk this up to a staffing issue, which while frustrating, is something that Disney along with nearly every other business within the hospitality industry has been working through since reopening. Parking at Walt Disney World is not free, so if you feel you are not getting the full experience you’re paying for, it is reasonable to share your feedback with Disney. If you do decide to reach out to Disney, remember to be polite in your conversation.
Cast Members have been dealing with all kinds of stressful situations especially as the general public seems to have….worsened their attitudes toward the entire service industry for lack of better phrasing, over the past year, and while Disney does welcome feedback, there is no need to be rude or hurtful in your delivery of it. If you would like to share feedback with Disney, we recommend doing so by emailing WDW.Guest.Communications@disneyworld.com.