6 Ways to Avoid Walt Disney World’s New Resort Parking Fees Right Now

6 Ways to Avoid Walt Disney World’s New Resort Parking Fees Right Now

If you’ve been living under a rock, or just don’t eat, breathe and sleep Disney, then you may not have heard that Walt Disney World has decided to start charging parking fees for guests at their resorts. People got mad, vowed to never return to WDW and the internet basically exploded.

Ok so I might be exaggerating about that last part, but in all honesty, a lot of Disney fans are just plain outraged, and if I’m being honest, rightfully so. Something that once was free and considered a perk of staying onsite at Walt Disney World is now going to cost you $13/night for Value resorts, $19/night for Moderates and $24/night for deluxe hotels. DVC guests staying with points are currently exempt from the new parking costs and Free Parking will still be available for guests who stay at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. But that’s it. So how can you avoid these fees?

If you’re on a budget, this could really bite a chunk out of money you had set aside for fun or maybe it’s money you just really didn’t have at all. 

While it is easy to just get angry and decide to never return to Walt Disney World again, let’s be honest for a second and realize that a lot of people are probably not going to be doing that, even if that was their initial reaction. Instead, let’s talk about a few ways you can avoid those parking fees right now.

1.Don’t Drive

Ok, so I realize this is the most obvious of solutions and one that some people cannot avoid, but if you don’t have to drive, then don’t. The beauty of living in today’s world is that you really don’t need a car at Walt Disney World. If you’re already paying to stay on property at Walt Disney World, then you’re receiving the perk of the Magical Express and their transportation and if you need to leave property or don’t want to take Disney’s transportation, you can Uber anywhere. Will the Uber cut into your budget? Sure, but it will likely be less expensive than paying a fee to park your car every day. walt disney world transportation minnie van rental lyft

2. Stay off property at a Good Neighbor hotel

One thing that Walt Disney World doesn’t really advertise a whole lot is that you can actually receive a lot of the same benefits off property that you can get on property. And at a cheaper price. We have stayed at several Disney Springs hotels and they have all had extra magic hours, their own transportation to the Parks and some of them even offer the 60 day fast pass booking window. Do you have to pay for parking? Sometimes, yes. Sometimes those Parking fees are waived if you are a member of their rewards program and it never hurts to ask. Regardless, when we have stayed at Disney Springs, if Parking was not free, it also was not as expensive as you will pay to park your car at Walt Disney World. My whole point here…. shop around. You might be surprised. We recently stayed at Best Western Disney Springs and it was lovely.

3. Stay at an AirBnB

If you’ve been reading our blog for any amount of time, you will know that we love AirBnB. Not only are the prices usually much better than a WDW hotel, but you also get the comforts of your own home and many of the spaces available near Disney are themed which is pretty fun. If you’re an annual passholder, you won’t have to worry about paying to park at the Parks, but if you’re not, just know that most of the time, Uber is going to be cheaper than paying that parking fee. Book and AirBnB through this link to save even more. You’re welcome. 

4. Stay at Walt Disney World renting DVC points

DVC guests staying on property using points are currently exempt from paying the resort parking fee, so if you rent DVC points to stay on property , you can take advantage of this. We have a quick guide to renting DVC points here. Now this is something we are hoping to learn more about this year, but if you’re confused about how this works, you can read more from Mousesavers by clicking this link.

5. Book your Disney Vacation Through a Third Party

So sometimes, and I put the emphasis on sometimes here, booking through a third party like hotels.com or travel agent will give you perks like free parking. I actually see this a lot on hotels in the Disney Springs area and The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and what a lot of people don’t realize is that WDW hotels can be booked through third party sites while maintaining all of the perks you normally would receive. So its definitely worth checking out. And even if they don’t offer free parking, most of the time you will see cheaper room rates via a third party which can offset the new fees you are going to be paying in parking. 

6. Don’t Use the Car You’ve Brought

After staying at several WDW resorts with a car, we have maybe figured how they actually track that you have a vehicle at the resort. Once you’ve checked in, and you leave and come back, you have to scan your magic band to be allowed past the entry gate of the resort. It seems to us that we are billed according to how many days we scan in. For example, we had a 3 night stay at Coronado Springs, but only used our car one day, so we got charged for parking for one night. We had a 3 night stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge and used the car all 3 days and were charged for 3 nights of parking. Make sense? Maybe not, but that’s what we’ve seen so far. It’s clear Disney is trying to get you to spend all your time in their parks. So if you have that car so you can pop over to Wizarding World of Harry Potter… then they’ll charge you for it. At least this is what it seems like so far.all stars value resort arcade value resorts at disney

For those asking, how do they know if you even have a car? I think that’s how they know. We were never asked for license plate info or if we even had a car, but noticed the charges when we checked out. So somehow, they knew. 

Hopefully, you have found this article to be helpful! And hopefully this will help you find a solution that works for you and your family. And if not, remember, Wall-e reminds us, there’s a lot of world out there:) disney giftcard for saving money at disney

 

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23 thoughts on “6 Ways to Avoid Walt Disney World’s New Resort Parking Fees Right Now”

  • So if you were to have booked a reservation through Disney before they even announced this, before March 20th, you are potentially exempt from the parking fees? Is there a way to confirm this other than waiting till you arrive to the resort? Thanks!

  • Hi there! Yes, if you booked your reservation and received your reservation number BEFORE March 21, 2018 then you are exempt from the parking fee. You can always call and confirm with Disney prior to your trip, but this info came from a cast member and the wdwnewstoday site, so we’re confident in its accuracy.

  • Pff its kind of sad to hear that Disney is gonna give up that bit of service just to get more money…

    Unfortunately people are indeed still coming so they won’t change it…

  • I am SO glad I ran across this! I was expecting to pay for parking for the one day we’ll be renting a car thru Alamo at Disney World. But we should be double safe since we booked before March AND we’re renting DVC points to stay at Saratoga Springs. Only need the car for one day to visit Sea World, but may get it for two days now for our resort hopping to see all the Christmas decorations. The cost we’ll save on parking will almost pay for that second day. Thanks!

  • We were definitely a little disappointed by the news of it; unfortunately, like you said, as long as people are willing to keep coming, I doubt they will stop charging for these extras.

  • So glad you found it helpful! Have a great trip and enjoy the holiday decorations, they’re so beautiful!!

  • If I remember correctly from the several times we’ve driven, you do have to give them license plate info if you have a vehicle when staying at a resort and they do random sweeps throughout the week to see which cars should and should not be there. Now, seeing how anyone is allowed to visit any of the WDW resorts for restaurants, etc., I honestly don’t know how they keep tabs on that. I wouldn’t want to risk it and get a ticket; but then again we very rarely have a car on property as we usually fly. I guess if you try that, you’ll have to let us know how it goes!

  • I have been going to WDW since it opened in 1971 with those E-tickets…lol. I want to say it was 1980 or so when I purchased my First Annual Pass for $89 I believe? And in 1992 I got Family PAsses and in ‘97 My Son was old enough for his own pass but Even then for the 3 of us the A.P. was just $400 for all Three of us, but Unfortunately this year when I attempted to renew it was $1300 Fort all of us? Sad, so Universal Studios is getting the $650 & Sea World And Busch Gardens will get their $20 per month for all three of us at their 3 delightful parks. I’m very sad that WDW got So Overpriced, very sad! Edward

  • Wow Edward! I couldn’t imagine getting a pass for $89! That’s really quite amazing. As expensive as it is getting, it really isn’t hurting their sales. Disney seems to be more and more crowded every time we go, so people are definitely willing to pay those prices and I think they will continue to rise until people are no longer willing or able to afford what Disney charges. Maybe people will start exploring other options though like you have!

  • I was there for 5 nights in September did not tell them I had a rented car and did not pay a dime for parking at the resort ( Animation) or in the park. I wasn’t going to take the shuttle too far to walk!

  • Well you’re very lucky! So after recently staying at several different WDW resorts with a car, we figured out how it actually works. Every time you use your magic band for entry in the car lane(for example when you’re coming back from a park or wherever you ventured out to), that is how they track if you have a vehicle and they will charge you per night based on those in and out magic band swipes. Now if you had already planned the trip before the changes were put in place in March, they wouldn’t have charged you for parking regardless. It’s been interesting to see how it all works to be honest!

  • We were thinking of upgrading from POP to CSR but we are there for 2 weeks. We will only be using our car maybe 3-4 times in a 14 day period. So in that case it looks like we would only be charged 4 nights of parking which I can deal with. We will uses the busses for most everything. The entire reason we got a car was because we could fly into Tampa way cheaper with a rental car and if we want to go somewhere for supplies and shopping we aren’t stuck. Honestly if I got charged all 14 nights we would be staying at pop. I know it is only a extra 84.00 but still.

  • Hey Kelly! If it would actually change what resort you are staying at, I would probably recommend calling the resort to find out for sure to be on the safe side. We can only go by what we personally experienced the several times we had parked a car during a resort stay and what information is passed along to us from fellow bloggers and readers as there is no official published information from Walt Disney World themselves. They’re both great options, so I really hope you enjoy whichever you decide to go with! We hope you have the best vacation!

  • I am still confused by all of this. Does the resort actually have a placard or printed pass that must be displayed on the dashboard or do they keep track of license plates? Otherwise, how do they keep track of what cars are allowed to be there overnight ? And, if there is no placard and the car is driven on to the lot at check-in and left until checkout, will they not know to charge for the entire stay? Thank you for any help.

  • I am still confused by all of this. How does the resort keep track of legitimate overnight vehicles? Is there a placard or pass that is placed on the dashboard? Do they track the cars by the wrist bands used for admittance? Thank you for any input.

  • Hey there! Ok so no there is not any pass or anything that is given to you. Any of the times we have actually had a car, no one even asked us if we had one. I have no idea how they know which cars should be there and which should not because like I said we’ve never been asked. That being said, if you checked in fully online and skipped the desk entirely, again they would never even have the opportunity to ask if you had a car. Additionally, we have gotten no information as to how they charge, only what we have seen ourselves. We are under the impression that they know the car is there because after initial check in, your magic band opens the gate that allows your car into the parking lot. So you have to scan it to open the gate. We think that’s how they keep track, by the scans from your magic band. Now, if you park your car and never actually use it while there, we’ve been told by other readers(but haven’t yet experienced it) that they will never know the car was there because there is no way to track it. The gate that allows you out of the parking lot does not have the scan feature, so you only have to scan it if you leave during your stay(like to drive to parks, etc) and need to return to the parking lot. Does this make sense? I hope that helps clear it up a bit. To be honest, it’s still very confusing about how it works since Disney themselves never actually discussed how they would charge, only that they would. But based off of our experiences and those that have been told to us, this is what we have found. Hope that helps!

  • So glad I found this post! I have been searching all over for this insight! I know this is based on others’ experience, but I just want to clarify my understanding. My family is staying at POP for 8 days/ 7nights. If we drive through the gate on the day we check in and don’t leave the property with our car, we will (potentially) only be charged $13? And if my husband makes a single trip to Walmart at some point, we will (potentially) only be charged $26 because that is twice scanning in through the gate?

  • Hi Michelle!
    Ok, so that is basically the theory! Unfortunately we have had no confirmation that this is actually how they track it, but based on our experiences and the experiences that other readers have shared with us, it’s the most accurate system we have come up with so far. We had another reader who said they never scanned in/out of the gate because they never used the vehicle during their stay and they weren’t charged for parking at all. I have a feeling it is a system they are working on perfecting, and anticipate changes at some point, but at the moment, it seems to be the most consistent system we have found. Have a great stay at Pop!, its such a fun resort!

  • I’m confused, so with the new magic band gate system does that mean you can’t even visit a certain resort now unless you have a reservation there? Because my family visits the Port Orleans Riverside for a Piano player there and we get dole whips at the Polynesian village (Bc the MK one is always so busy) and we love their gift shop too! so will I be charged to park there to just visit?

  • Hey Haley! Nope, this is just about a resort you are staying at. If you are not staying at the resort, your magic band will not allow you to open the gate; you will have to use the lane with the Parking attendant in it to get in because that’s the only way you’re allowed to enter the lots of the resorts which you are not staying at. I’ve always been told up to 3 hours complimentary parking at other resorts when visiting, however this isn’t something I’ve ever known to be tracked either. So for now, this info is strictly those resorts that you’re staying at on property. Hope that clears it up!

  • Sorry for this noob question but I’m not clear with this parking situation. Say for example you arrive for the first time with your family, car is packed with bags and luggage. You stop at the front of the hotel for your family to get out with the luggage and go to check in. Then you go to park (at this point you don’t have the wrist band since check in is not completed), how do you enter the parking lot?. Or the car stays parked briefly in the front door of the hotel, you are giving a wrist band and go park? Logic tells me that during check in you will be asked if parking is necessary and for how many days…

  • No apologies necessary!
    Ok! So you actually will get your magic bands before you arrive. They come in the mail. This will be your park ticket, room key, etc. The only way you don’t get it in the mail is if you decline to do so. You technically don’t need to go to the front desk AT ALL for check in unless you have questions, or unless you chose not to check in online. We recommend checking in online because it will save you a ton of time. If you do check in online, you will be texted your room number when its ready to go and you can completely bypass the front desk.
    Even when we do go to the front desk, at all 3 of the resorts we stayed at with a car(we usually take the magical express), not one person asked if we had a car with us.
    Now, for your initial check in, you generally pass through the security gate, in which case you just let them know you’re checking in and go from there.
    Like we said, its actually a bit of a mystery as there is no concrete info anywhere online stating how they know this works exactly. They used to(before magic bands) collect license plate numbers from guests, but I think over the years as it has gotten busier and busier and more people started visiting the resorts for meals and other things, it’s been more difficult for them to track. At this point, we’ve really just gone by our own and our readers experiences and that’s all we have to go on. If you read one of the earlier comments, one family didn’t get charged for any of their parking and we’ve been charged for random days, so it’s really anyone’s guess right now. I hope that helps!

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