Walt Disney World to start charging for overnight hotel parking

March 14, 2018, 12:05 PM · (Updated) The Walt Disney World Resort will begin charging an overnight parking fee at its on-site resort hotels, starting later this month.

The move brings Disney World's hotels in line with those at rival Universal Orlando and sibling Disneyland, which long have charged parking fees to their hotel guests. The new Disney World hotel parking fee will apply only to guests staying overnight at the resorts. Day guests parking at the hotels just for dining, shopping, or spa services will not be charged.

Given that Disney will not be charging all people driving in through the parking gates, this overnight parking fee seems a bit more like a backdoor nightly rate increase instead of an attempt to limit parking at the hotels. The rates will vary by resort level, as well. Here are the new fees:

The new fees take effect for reservations made on or after March 21, a Disney spokesperson confirmed to me. Disney Vacation Club members will not have to pay the parking fee when staying at Deluxe Villas. Nor will people staying in the Fort Wilderness Campground have to pay.

Universal Orlando charges $12-22 a night for parking for its overnight hotel guests, while it charges $24-45 a day for parking for people not registered at the hotels. That's to dissuade people from parking at the hotels instead of at the resort's parking structure, which charges $22 a day. Disneyland's three on-site hotels charge $20 a night for guest self-parking.

Replies (49)

March 14, 2018 at 12:21 PM ·

Logistically this doesn't change anything as none of the resorts had parking supply issues. This is a straight money-grab from a company already making it hand over fist. Also, I can see charging more for parking at the monorail and EPCOT area resorts (on the canals), but to simply charge more for parking just because you're staying at a more expensive resort is ridiculous. Animal Kingdom Lodge doesn't have any transportation advantages over resorts like Pop Century or Coranado Springs, so why should AKL guests have to pay more to park their car?

FWIW, non-registered guests at the Universal hotels can get parking validation if dining at any of the resort restaurants (not CityWalk though).

March 14, 2018 at 12:30 PM ·

Another way for Disney to make monies and not care about their guests..


Universal charges but that's because the Hotels are right at the park and folks will simply park for free and walk to the Theme park.
I still do not like UO charging but I understand it.

March 14, 2018 at 12:36 PM ·

It is outrageous and I won't stay at a Disney Resort again. Guests with handicap placards don't have too pay for parking which doesn't make any sense.

March 14, 2018 at 12:37 PM ·

I hate it when parks charge for both parking and the shuttle bus into town. It’s nothing but a hidden increase in the admission price.

Hotels have no excuse for overnight guests. Charging Day visitors I can understand.

March 14, 2018 at 12:39 PM ·

It's not a money grab entirely. It's a way to stop people from bringing a car so they can't leave the property. Disney doesn't want you driving in so you can stay with them for a few days and then hop over to Universal for the second part of the week. This will deter people from driving and keep them on Disney's transportation, which will keep them inside the resort.

It's super cynical and I hate it, but it's damn clever.

March 14, 2018 at 12:43 PM ·

Patiently awaits for THC’s comments...

March 14, 2018 at 12:55 PM ·

"It's not a money grab entirely. It's a way to stop people from bringing a car so they can't leave the property."

But isn't that a money grab too? Instead of letting guests bring their car so they can go to Wal Mart for groceries/sundries, to a less expensive off-site meal, or to a neighboring theme park, Disney is grabbing that money before it can leave their resort. It's not clever, it's ruthless. At least DLR and UO have logistical reasons for charging for parking at their on-site resorts, WDW doesn't (aside from maybe the Monorail and EPCOT area resorts, even though there doesn't appear to be any parking abuse).

The nickel and diming has got to stop!! If room rates are not enough to cover the costs of operating the resort, they should raise the rates, not tack on convenience fees (let's be real here, having a car at WDW is a nice convenience - don't have to rely on Disney Transport and can leave property whenever you want). Everyone knows that Disney is all about the bottom line, but these new resort parking fees just feel dirty.

"Patiently awaits for THC’s comments..."

As long as TH doesn't have to pay to park at the mall, it's probably all good. However, if Disney Springs starts charging for parking, he'll think even more adamantly that the mall is a theme park.

March 14, 2018 at 1:05 PM ·

An extra 100.00 parking charge for 4 nights for a family to park 1 car at The Polynesian when they are paying 750.00 per night for a 4 night stay won't stop them from staying at said resort.

March 14, 2018 at 1:17 PM ·

Ripoff! I refuse to pay for parking when I visit any establishment and go out of my way not to (of course some times it's inevitable). I was proud to never pay for parking when I had a Disneyland and Universal AP. I've never understood the concept behind it. "Please come visit our establishment we're happy to have you... Oh and by the way you'll have to pay a parking tax since you had the nerve to drive here!" lol. There's so many hotels with free parking so I'll never stay at one that charges, unless there's some serious benefit attached.

March 14, 2018 at 1:20 PM ·

I expect staying on Disney property to be more expensive due to the proximity but it keeps getting more ridiculous. It makes sense to charge at Universal or downtown in large cities where parking spaces are limited. That is not the case at Disney World. If there is a charge, it should be less than it is to park at the parks. $20 for one car up to a week is not ideal, but it would easier to swallow than this. Hopefully more people will stay off Disney property and give a company besides Disney some of their money for a change.

March 14, 2018 at 1:20 PM ·

Pure mismanagement of Walt’s gift of Magic to the World. This is the final straw for me as I now know that it takes just over 50 years to destroy what was left from the greatest showman. The resort should now be called Disney’s Nickel and Dime Club. Staying on site has become worthless. Magic Hours are a joke, once three hours without the special event threat, now an hour? What am I supposed to do with that? The once family friendly Studios now rubber stamps cheap computer duplicated and soulless episodes on a good day, and produces pure garbage on XD most of the time. Is anyone else also not disgusted that Marvel is being smeared over true works of art? The true magic of Disney World is leaving that (EPSN, ABC show trailers?) behind and entering a world of fantasy and tomorrow while relishing on the innovation of the past. I tolerated the Muppets, but I have had enough. Come on kids, we’re going to the Grand Canyon this year. Oh, by the way, they killed Figment.

March 14, 2018 at 1:21 PM ·

Money Grab. Sad excuse of one too. I also hate, but completely understand why UO charges for parking. This is shameful.

March 14, 2018 at 1:22 PM ·

Looking forward to the biggest money grab of them all...the dreaded resort fee. Las Vegas did these in reverse order, first implementing a resort fee and then came the parking charges. Good times.

March 14, 2018 at 1:23 PM ·

We need to start a Disney new motto campaign:

"Not only do we overcharge for rooms, you can now pay to park"..

March 14, 2018 at 1:45 PM ·

"I refuse to pay for parking when I visit any establishment and go out of my way not to"

I'm totally with you. Where I live (outside Washington, DC), you can find free parking in even the busiest parts of the city if you know where to look (and are willing to fight the occasional ticket because even the city doesn't know its own parking rules). I've even had luck finding free parking in many other cities around the country like NYC, Philly, Charlotte, etc... However, they built a new isolated development near me called National Harbor on the outskirts of the city (Disney actually owned some land here at one time that they were going to turn into a resort). National Harbor is not a city (it thinks it is), and has ample street parking (along with a many garages), but everything is pay to park. I've driven to the place a total of 3 times in the 10 years its been open, because I refuse to pay to park at a place in the middle of nowhere where parking is plentiful.

The question I have is this...Theme park parking fees are usually collected to maintain the parking lot/garage and staff needed to expedite vehicles in and out of the lots. At Disney, I would guess that the fees also fund the parking trams that are needed to help guests get from the Itchy Lot to the front of the park (most regional theme parks have only part-time parking trams, if they have any at all). However, parking lots at a resort/hotel are typically supported through nightly rates, and transportation within the individual resort and through the rest of the WDW property are also supported by hotel rates. So, exactly why does Disney need to collect this extra revenue, and what do they need it for? Is it paying for the gondolas, improved bus service, or parking lot expansion? Or are they just planning to put in their pocket because they can?

March 14, 2018 at 1:53 PM ·

Will they continue to let people who are staying on site get parking for free at the parks? While I stay on-site, I like to get a car because I prefer the convenience of not waiting for the bus at the parks after closing. Either way, for this reason, I see this as a downgrade of the benefit of staying on site.

March 14, 2018 at 2:20 PM ·

It's a rate hike. They could have done this, or a resort fee. Maybe, at some point, they will add that, too.

March 14, 2018 at 2:33 PM ·

Greedy and not caring about their guests, I see.... wow

March 14, 2018 at 2:42 PM ·

A lot of resorts are for vacation club members only ... I wonder if they will be ‘charged’ more points per night to compensate for not paying at the deluxe resorts ? I agree, pure greed on Disney’s part.

March 14, 2018 at 3:31 PM ·

Ladies and gents... we just have to stop staying at their resorts. But a bunch of people do and their running a business so what better way than to sneak some dollars more from customers accounts. I love the Disney parks dearly but their constant price increases all over the places have greatly reduced the amount of times I visit.

I've gone from going twice a year to either resort to going once every two years now. Voting with my dollars and I do not approve. But millions of people do, let the cash registers flow.

March 14, 2018 at 3:42 PM ·

I'm surprised it took them this long.

March 14, 2018 at 3:55 PM ·

@ Russell

I've thought about the same question and the answer is just because they can. It's an extra source of revenue just like lockers, photopass or stroller rental. I just find it extra insulting because in essence, you are literally penalizing me for coming to visit your establishment. Just for using your parking lot lol! You know its not a necessity for upkeep etc. because far less profitable places (everything from hotels, restaurants, shoppping malls to your local supermarket) wouldn't dream about charging parking. So ya you can deduce it's just because they can which is why I try to avoid it if at all possible and it's actually a fun game to me in trying to do so.

March 14, 2018 at 4:50 PM ·

How many people commenting here that they hate this fee (which I am one) have taken the time to contact Disney to express your feelings? OR did you just bitch on a blog?

March 14, 2018 at 4:54 PM ·

This a direct money grab from Florida residents! Am I supposed to fly in from Tampa to avoid having a car?

March 14, 2018 at 5:03 PM ·

I hope every person commenting here will take 5 minutes to email Disney

March 14, 2018 at 5:28 PM ·

Paying more, for a worst experience - insane crowds, less attractions - yes this make sense.

March 14, 2018 at 5:34 PM ·

For anyone who doesn't understand, the parking was never free to begin with. It was complementary that means as much as it's already reflected in the price of your hotel room, just like the costs for the "magical Express" and other transportation costs. All costs maintaining the parking lot, gardens and all exterior areas have always been included in those inflated hotel room prices. Unlike Universal where rooms are much cheaper and parking isn't included but added if you bring a car.
So Disney is adding another cost to something you already was paying for. But as long as people bend over and pay these ridiculous prices the mouse will keep treating you as a cash cow and milk as much as they can.

March 14, 2018 at 5:54 PM ·

Does anyone know how this will be implemented? At UO, you can't get into the lot without paying or swiping a key. Since day guests won't pay, how will Disney determine which cars coming through belong to a day guest and which belong to an overnight guest? If, at check in, I tell them I will not keep a car there overnight, then they can't charge me? Will they deactivate my magic band from opening the gate? Will the gate attendant not let me in?

March 14, 2018 at 5:56 PM ·

Don't waste your time emailing Disney. Just don't go. Between this and the new peeping room policy I'll never be at a Disney resort.

March 14, 2018 at 6:28 PM ·

Their Park Tickets also just went up this Feb 2018

March 14, 2018 at 6:42 PM ·

Why call this out in a separate line item? Just add the rate into the room charge again. People wouldn’t care and still pay rates. But now you clearly state the charge and people will complain. And to not give folks like pass holders even a discount on the rate is crazy. Hampton Inn here we come.

March 15, 2018 at 5:52 AM ·

Been at Silver Dollar City the last few days which is a terrific park with world class coasters, high quality shows, delicious food, and a solid collection of ancillary attractions and dark rides. And they have free parking + reasonable ticket and food prices. Plus a real cave tour as part of your admission. And it is only 3.5 hours from my house. It’s such a great park that I’m finding it harder and harder to set my mind to saving for a future Orlando trip. It’s just too expensive these days, regardless of the brand. If it wasn’t for Star Wars coming, WDW wouldn’t even be on my radar. Now they raise prices again and take away arguably one of the best onsite perks. It just strikes me like a slap in the face. Pretty soon they’ll want to charge me for fastpasses and train rides. It won’t end until enough people say, “No!”

Star Wars better get fantastic reviews, otherwise, I am done with Florida (unless I move there years from now).

March 14, 2018 at 7:38 PM ·

This new fee makes logical sense since UO paved the way by charging a fee.

As a share holder this new fee means a higher stock price.

For those that state it’s becoming harder to afford a Disney World vacation... let’s see how WDW does when the current round of construction dust settles. FACTS ARE FACTS!

March 14, 2018 at 8:42 PM ·

Do you get lube at check in when you pay the parking fee? or do they jam the gun into your ribs when they grab your wallet?

March 14, 2018 at 9:09 PM ·

Where is TH Creative? I could swear we had a bet going that this would happen one day.

March 14, 2018 at 11:16 PM ·

“Between this and the new peeping room policy.”

To be fair, being a manager of a hotel property, I can assure you management has every right to enter your room for any reason, and at any time regardless of a DND sign. All Disney did was clairify the wording thus reducing the amount of complaints as they can now point to policy.

For example at my property you can have your DND sign up a max of 7 consecutive days. After 7 days we will go into your room to perform a full clean and do a maintenance inspection. However we can enter your room at anytime if we suspect something is wrong/complaints/lots of activity. The reason most hotels don’t is because we don’t want to listen to guests complain, as well as the fact we are in a business where our job is to provide lodging and respect your privacy.

You are staying on the hotels private property. You are subject to their rules and regulations. Don’t like it? Don’t stay at a hotel. Every major brand follows nearly identical guidelines, and many smaller and boutique brands do as well. Best of luck in your search.

March 15, 2018 at 6:02 AM ·

Putting this into perspective ......... if I stayed at the Old Key West (deluxe) resort for 7 nights it would cost me $168 for parking. I have my Cedar Fair platinum pass, which gets me free parking, and it cost me $172.
Hmmm ...... Different animals I know, but when will this ever end with Disney? Paying for parking at the Disney Springs theme park :), must be getting ever closer. Tourists just keep going to Disney .... it's amazing. You would think by now that everybody on the planet would have been, but no, so many people are first-timers ... truly incredible.

March 15, 2018 at 6:24 AM ·

@Jon Rosensweig - My understanding is that hotel guests will be charged for parking when they check out. That means guests will need to declare that they have a car when they check in, and will be given a pass (just like they are now). That pass will allow the vehicle to be identified during an overnight sweep of the resort parking lots to remove any unauthorized vehicles and will give resort guests parking privileges at the theme parks. If you don't let the resort know you have a car when you check in, you won't get a parking pass, meaning you will have to pay for parking at the theme parks and risk being towed while your vehicle is parked overnight at your resort.

Hypothetically, this parking charge can still be cheaper than paying to park at the theme parks since guests are being charge per night, even if you're staying at a deluxe resort. If you're paying $24/night for a 3-night stay, you could leverage that 3 nights of parking for 4 days of theme park parking with a savings of $8 on your trip over an off-site hotel. However, if you don't go to a theme park every day of your vacation (spend a day at the pool, water parks, golf courses, or Universal), you may end up paying more to park at your resort than you would to park at the theme parks.

March 15, 2018 at 12:48 PM ·

I'm going to play devil's advocate here.

Why shouldn't Disney charge for parking at the resorts?

They built the parks and resorts we all enjoy, so why shouldn't they charge what the market will bear?

Does anybody here believe that with all of the improvements to the parks that they're doing that attendance is going to go down because of a relatively minor parking fee?

This isn't an increase in the cost of groceries or the rent or health care. This is an optional recreational activity. Keep it in perspective.

March 15, 2018 at 1:47 PM ·

That's definitely one way of looking at it Tim. However, I had always considered that Disney was already charging resort guests for parking. The cost to maintain the resort parking lots and transportation within and beyond the individual resorts was part of your nightly rate (just like your EMH, magic bands, pool access, and earlier access to FP+ reservations). Obviously there are costs with guests parking cars overnight at the resorts, so Disney was covering that somehow (either through resort revenue or park revenue).

I think what infuriates people with this is that Disney continues to nickel and dime its guests more and more, employing tactics that are already widely employed and bemoaned across the travel industry. With such fierce competition, companies within the travel industry (hotels, airlines, resorts, theme parks, etc...) have to look as attractive as possible on an online search. When prospective guests go onto travel booking websites to view prices, they see flat rates that often do not include additional fees. Airlines tack on bag fees, early boarding fees, carry on fees, etc... while hotels tack on resort fees, parking fees, breakfast fees, in-room safe fees, etc..., all so their base fare/rate is the lowest. However, not until you tack on those fees (not displayed on an initial search list) are you actually comparing apples to apples, which can be a complicated and arduous process. Disney seems to be jumping on this bandwagon so their base rates can be more comparable to off-site hotels and resorts.

In my mind, though, Disney is and always will be different. Guests book Disney hotels for the Disney experience, and are often willing to pay a premium for that. They don't go on Orbitz, Expedia, or Travelocity to compare Disney hotels to off-site hotels, so having the costs associated with parking included in the base rate doesn't matter. What this does is make Disney just like all the other hotels out there that charge all of these ridiculous and usurious fees so they can advertise a lower base rate. However, you won't see Disney lower their nightly rates to compensate for splitting out this parking fee. Ultimately, people will pay this because what choice do they have?? Those that have been going to WDW for years would keep going even if prices doubled year over year for the next decade. Disney will continue to market to deep pocketed guests that have never been before for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation that those travelers want at virtually any cost. A nuisance parking fee tacked on after you show up with your car is not going to cause you to cancel your trip.

Disney didn't need to do this. If they couldn't cover the cost of maintaining the lost and transportation network, they could have simply increased the rates. Instead, they are targeting those that drive to WDW to pocket a few more sheckles into their already overflowing money pit.

March 15, 2018 at 1:48 PM ·

I already booked my spring trip, but my family is done with Disney after this. They take both their Disney College Program participants and their fan base for granted. I will spend my travel money somewhere that cares more about providing a "magical experience" than earning the "almighty dollar". Dangerously crowded buses, dirty bathrooms in the park, miserable college employees, rude full-time employees, a pricing system that requires a Ph.D. to decipher, rooms that have not had the underside of the bed vacuumed in months, and now paying for parking on an already overpriced room. Enough already! Bring back Eisner. At least he understood what Walt Disney wanted in his resorts.

March 15, 2018 at 2:04 PM ·

"I'm going to play devil's advocate here.

Why shouldn't Disney charge for parking at the resorts?"

Well, I have been paying for parking ever since we started going to Universal and staying on site. I can't fault Disney for doing the same. I never thought this day would come, however.

March 16, 2018 at 7:44 AM ·

So, when I go to DW, I take the Disney bus from the airport (and back), no car. Will the parking cost still end up on my hotel bill, or will they be able to notice I took the bus and leave that cost off?

March 16, 2018 at 7:56 AM ·

I'm sure that those of us who have to do some traveling as part of ours jobs have observed that as the accommodations in Coach get worse the perks and benefits of the First Class seats get better. What we may not realize is that the cost to travel First Class is going up considerably faster than the cost to travel in Coach. The people with the money to travel in First Class don't really seem to mind the price increases while the rest of us are straining to keep some moderation in our spending. That's the grim reality of the global economy today.

Disney and Universal are accepting the facts of their global customer bases. They know they have basically three classes of customers: premium spenders who are going to pay to stay at the onsite resorts and buy as many of the upgrade packages as they can afford, the locals who are going to own annual passes of one form or another, and the "coach class" visitors who are going to stay offsite, drive to the parks every day of their vacation, be cautious with their dining and souvenir purchases and visit the parks every 5 years or so.

Up until about 2000, the locals and the "coach class" were the market that Disney and Universal catered to. Since then, because of globalization of the economy and the polarization of the income classes, Disney and Universal have accepted the fact that growth in revenue is going to primarily come from the premium class visitors. That's where their profits are going to come from and that's where they are going to focus their marketing focus as well as their investments. Disney and Universal are no longer the "Uncle Walt" middle class utopias that those of us older than 50 grew up with. Those days are long gone.

I'm going to put on my "Amazing Kreskin" hat here and predict that within 10 years if not sooner that Disney World will start limiting admission to one of the theme parks on a daily rotational basis to premium visitors who are staying in one of the upscale resorts and who will pay an inflated ticket fee. Not Extra Magic Hours - the whole day, and with a limited admission level that makes a day in the park a very pleasant experience. (Kind of like it was in the late 70's and early 80's.) As soon as Disney figures out how to do it and grow the revenue stream without causing too much public relations damage, they will do it. And the theme park enthusiast community will howl in protest, and then we'll try to figure out how to get out of the steerage class and hang out with the elites.

March 16, 2018 at 12:11 PM ·

First world problems....

March 16, 2018 at 11:14 PM ·

The fact that Passholders don’t get a cheaper rate is a slap in the face. Where are the perks for the loyal fan base who make an effort to visit as often as possible all year?

March 17, 2018 at 6:33 AM ·

Tim, you make some great points. I mean, Universal does this already. Stay at one of our three premier resorts and you can skip unlimited lines and jump ahead of people at participating restaurants by flashing a room key.

If you want me to be completely honest, I will say that you are treated different when you have those room key / EP lanyards hanging around your neck. Treated differently by cast members, cashiers, and any pretty much anyone who works for the resort.

You are also treated a certain way in the ride queues, this where the ugly side of the perk comes in. If you are oblivious, you will never notice. If you listen closely, people make comments left and right, sometimes under their breath, and sometimes at normal volume. No one likes to see people who pay a premium treated differently.

I think you will see a paid front of the line perk coming to Disney soon. It may be just one use per ride, like the lower Universal EP tier, but I would bet it is coming. It also wouldn't surprise me if this was offered to only the uber expensive resort guests.

Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
Disney's Contemporary Resort
Disney's Polynesian Resort
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Disney's Beach Club Resort
Disney's Boardwalk Inn
Disney's Wilderness Lodge
Disney's Yacht Club

March 18, 2018 at 10:52 AM ·

I have stayed offsite and onsite several times over the last 30+ years. I have not stayed onsite since Pop Century first open because I wanted to try something new and relive some nostalgia. I also split the stay with the Polynesian. If the prices for that back then is what they are now I would not go. Higher prices and parking. No way no how. I find staying offsite so much more relaxing actually with the extra space you get in suites/houses/etc. The price difference is past making it seem like a luxury premium and more like a gouge.

I think TH Creative knows that both Universal and Disney are about making money first. Which is obvious and understandable. I think if Disney were separate from some of its other business and only focused on its theme parks the prices would be lower, the parks larger, and the experience more enjoyable. The money first would not such a larger gap over the other priorities. IE new rides instead of replacing rides.

Also it would not surprise me to see fastpass have a fee and certain days have a limited number of guests allowed in but with a maxprice for that day.


March 18, 2018 at 10:53 AM ·

I have stayed offsite and onsite several times over the last 30+ years. I have not stayed onsite since Pop Century first open because I wanted to try something new and relive some nostalgia. I also split the stay with the Polynesian. If the prices for that back then is what they are now I would not go. Higher prices and parking. No way no how. I find staying offsite so much more relaxing actually with the extra space you get in suites/houses/etc. The price difference is past making it seem like a luxury premium and more like a gouge.

I think TH Creative knows that both Universal and Disney are about making money first. Which is obvious and understandable. I think if Disney were separate from some of its other business and only focused on its theme parks the prices would be lower, the parks larger, and the experience more enjoyable. The money first would not such a larger gap over the other priorities. IE new rides instead of replacing rides.

Also it would not surprise me to see fastpass have a fee and certain days have a limited number of guests allowed in but with a maxprice for that day.


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