There are legitimate ways to avoid paying the parking fee on a per-visit basis - upgrades to season or annual passes and on-site hotel stays to name a few - but the parks are perfectly entitled to charge what they wish for parking. Theme Parks are not a necessary commodity. You can choose not to visit if parking costs too much for you. Doing so will send a message to the parks that their parking rates are too high. You can choose to take advantage of free parking offered legitimately (onsite hotels, etc.). But encouraging theme park visitors to "steal" parking is no better than encouraging them to avoid paying the high cost of admission by jumping the fence, or the high cost of souvenirs by shoplifting a t-shirt out of the gift shops.
I have to say, I'm really surprised that this of all blogs would stoop to that level. I expect it from some, but not from TPI.
Oh, and to those cheapskates who park in the cast parking lot, shame on you. It really started my day off poorly when I see a family pulling up in a rented mini-van and having 12 people slide out, stealing a cast parking space. I really felt like asking when their shift began. And it happened almost every single day. We're here to bring you magical memories, and you're here to steal some of our very meager parking?
Have you no shame?
And I'd never lie to a toll booth operator to get into a parking lot free. If I don't have business at a hotel, then I'm not going to use its lot as a free parking place for another location. Frankly, paying the parking fee is a worthwhile convenience for me.
That said, using the Downtown Disney lot for short trips to Disneyland and California Adventure is perfectly legitimate. You're patronizing Disney and not getting charged a different rate than someone going to Downtown Disney. And if you don't get out in time, you'll pay more than if you parked in Mickey and Friends. To me, that's perfectly fair.
The Disney World back door is, well, a loophole. So long as Disney keeps it open, I say that folks shouldn't feel bad about using it. (Frankly, I'd rather pay and park at Epcot, then take the monorail over to the MK, but that's me.)
Somehow I don't think that disney will think that if park attendance is down, it OBVIOUSLY is from people refusing to pay $14 to park.
Actually I think they are more apt to lower parking from reports of people so-called "stealing" it. But I also think they would block the entrances if they were that upset about it.
If it bothers you, don't do it.
As for cast lots, the MK lot isn't even connected to the park. And the other 3 cast lots are past the parking booths. You have to flash your pass several different times to get into the cast lots. I don't know how this would even be possible.
If you don't like the parking fees don't go! I don't like the parking rates either however if I was going I would either stay in a on-site hotel or a hotel that provides a shuttle. But providing readers with ways to steal or take advantage of the industry you are here to support is very ironic to me.
Also most restaurants over there offer at least a 10% discount on food.
I agree with a few of the posters above who commented that Disney will probably close that loophole soon. I suspect they knew about it but figured it was only known by a handful of savvy locals. Now that it's gone public it will probably go the way of other loopholes Disney closed once they became more widely known about. That "loophole" is/was a cast member entrance and back door to the MK Resorts, and it used to have a security booth. It wasn't built with a "shrug, oh well, so a few people will sneak in this way" attitude. It was built as a secured entrance for cast and guests of Fort and Wilderness that required an ID check to use. When staffing was cut, so was the ID check guard booth.
I will say it again - attending a theme park is NOT a necessity in life. You won't freeze to death or lose your job or die of infection if you don't go to a theme park. If you can't afford the $14, don't go. It's really that simple. If you do plan on going, budget that in as a necessary expense.
Consumers don't get to protest high prices by stealing the items. They can protest, as I said, by not making the purchase (or making the purchase for less elsewhere) but stealing the item is theft and is against the law.
Oh, and one more comment about the other loopholes (Downtown Disney, the resorts). Those locations have limited parking that is set aside for guests who are using those facilities. Parking in DTD, even for a "few hours" takes spaces that are already severely limited away from people who are legitimately shopping or eating there. And resort parking is only a few hours for a "visit" because that's the average amount of time one needs to eat at that resort's restaurant and look around the grounds. Parking there and agreeing to visit for 3 hours, then staying all day, is still stealing. Sorry, but it is. And be careful where you do it, too. Disney has and will tow cars that are there longer than the limit. I've seen them do it!
I really agree about cast parking too. I hated it when I was driving up and down aisles over and over, worrying that I'd be late for work, only to see a family pulling a stroller out of the trunk of their car in a cast spot or a whole gang of people in shorts and Ts heading not toward the cast locker room entrance but the park gate. Most of those folks actually are cast members, not heading to work but in to play, and not wanting to be bothered with guest parking lots. Problem is, cast parking is limited, and there often weren't enough spaces for those who actually were working, let alone for all those playing on their day off too. Add a few lost tourists who wandered in accidentally (many of the cast lots are attached to the guest lot in some way) and you had no place to park for your shift.
Anyway, I stand by my rant (both the previous anonymous one and this one). I also find advocating exploitation of an obvious loophole and theft of service a rather odd choice for a blog/blogger who claims to be a journalist. As I said before, I expect it from some of those forums where line jumping and other forms of rule breaking exploitation are passed from person to person all over the place, but not from a blog like TPI or a blogger like Robert. Sorry, Robert, but you were wrong to post that as a journalist. Advocating theft is never good reporting.
The mark up alone on anything you buy in Disney will offset the cost of you using their buses and by using a bus instead of your car you will be helping the environment.. You folks think a bottle of water cost $2.50 or a $5 turkey leg is not profitable. Hahahaha
It could cost you as much as 2 hours! So, probably not worth it unless you want to go to DD too.
We didn't drive our last visit in Aug, but for fun we had several multi-mode trips. Internal WDW travel includes Monorail, buses and boats (well, the monorail and boats are fun anyway...)
I speak with authority as the son of a CPA! Peace!
I am not saying WDW should follow suit. I am saying that WDW is NOT making multi-million $ improvements to their parking services nor is the cost of operation of these services up from 09 to 2010 by >10%.
Again, it's their right to make money, but let's call it what it is, it's an increase to their bottom line. And, I will pay it...
We are thinking of making a quick/spotaneous trip to Florida in the spring. Tickets for our family of 5 for 7 days at Universal would only be $500. It would cost us $400 for 1 day at Magic Kingdom. We would like to spend 2-3 days at Universal and 1 (maybe 2) at WDW.
That said however, being able to navigate a path that avoids the toll booths for parking fees is not a loophole. I can easily avoid the check out registers at my grocery store and make it out the door if I wanted to, but I don't think they'd accept the explanation of "loophole" for not paying.
So what we're saying here is, since Disney isn't specifically stopping people from being dishonest, it's okay for them to be? Nice.
But again Disney California Adventures opened in 2001 and are currently going through a $1 billion renovation/construction period so that is A LOT of parking fees and admission tickets to achieve what people want, "Disney quality." If you want the quality pay the prices. Personally I don't need "Disney quality" to be happy with a theme park so I don't go to Disney very much because of there prices. But it is still supply and demand, they have the majority of the top ten visited parks, its all capitalism.