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Parking at Disney World in 2023

If you have a car at Walt Disney World you likely are wondering where to park and how much it costs! In most cases, you have to pay, but we have some secrets for you to avoid the parking fees and park free whenever possible!

Parking Cars at Disney World

In this post, we’ll explain everything you need to know about parking at Walt Disney World including parking fees and options, where to leave your car at each theme park (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom), at the resort hotels, and Disney Springs.

Of course, no one wants to actually pay for parking when visiting Disney World, and we’ll even show you how to avoid the fees under the right circumstances and actually park for free.

We’ll also cover parking for guests with disabilities, annual passholders, where to charge your electric vehicle, and general tips for driving around Disney World including road signs and exits.

Think of this post as your Disney World Parking 101 class and we’ll try to answer all your most frequently asked questions. Fees for parking are always increasing at Disney World, so we’ll keep this article up-to-date with the latest price increases as soon as they happen.

cars in a parking lot at Disney World

After reading through all this info, you will be able to decide if it’s even worth having a car at Disney World considering all the fees, and then make the appropriate vacation plans.

If you haven’t already, we also recommend reading our Guide to Renting a Car at Disney World and How to Get from Orlando Airport to Disney World. Both are super helpful when dealing with Disney transportation.

Before we start, don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Weekly E-Mail Newsletter. There we bring you the latest updates on Disney parking and transportation as well as a ton of other Disney vacation planning tips. You can sign up here: Join our E-Mail Newsletter!

How Much is Parking at Disney World?

Magic Kingdom parking lot

Like practically everything at Walt Disney World, the price of parking continues to increase. Knowing this, perhaps you’re wondering “How much is parking currently?” “Where do I need to pay for parking?” and likely, many more. 

Many have had this notion that Disney is different from other places and that you don’t have to pay for parking. While that would be nice if it were the case, it simply isn’t! In most locations throughout Walt Disney World, parking is not free and you must pay a fee.

Parking at all the Orlando-area parks can be very costly, especially when not accounting for it before your trip, and families need to factor this into consideration and know how much it is going to be when making a budget for their trip.

Thankfully, there are also a few locations where you do not need to pay.

Let’s look at the current prices for parking at the Disney World theme parks and Disney World Resort hotels.

Disney Resort Parking Fees

parking lot at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Before 2018, parking for guests staying at Disney World was free and it was one of the wonderful perks of staying at a Disney World Resort! But sadly that changed and now all guests staying at a Disney World Resort have to pay an overnight parking fee if they have a car on-site with them. 

While the prices are subject to change, here are the updated costs for standard parking at the Disney World Resort hotels:

  • Disney Value Resorts – the cost is $15 per night (this includes applicable tax) 
  • Disney Moderate Resorts – the cost is $20 per night  (this includes applicable tax) 
  • Disney Deluxe or Deluxe Villas Resorts – the cost is $25 per night (this includes applicable tax) 

Valet parking is also available at all the Disney World resorts and costs $33 per night per car (inclusive of tax)

Usually valet parking is available for all guests, but as of this writing, Disney is only offering valet parking specifically for guests with disabilities. Remember, for guests with disabilities who may require parking assistance, a valid disability parking permit is required.

Value Resorts ($15 per night):

  • Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
  • Disney’s Pop Century Resort

Moderate Resorts ($20 per night): 

  • Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
  • The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas ($25 per night): 

  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Villas
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
  • Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Old Key West Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Those staying at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground are allowed to park one vehicle at either their campsite or their cabin for free.

If staying at the Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, Free Valet Parking is included with your voyage for the 2 nights.

Theme Park Parking Fees

Parking Fees at Disney World

Unfortunately, parking is also an extra fee at the Walt Disney World theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom).

Here is a list of the current prices to park at the Walt Disney World theme parks (all fees below include applicable sales tax):

  • Standard Parking: $25 per day (Car or Motorcycle)
  • Preferred Parking: $45-$50 per day (Car or Motorcycle and Pricing is seasonal) 
  • Oversized Vehicle Parking: $30 per day (Camper, Shuttle, Bus, Limo, RV, Tractor Trailer)

For those visiting one of the 4 theme parks you only need to pay one time each day. That means even if you come and go to the parks or you park-hop, you only need to pay one time. 

For example, if you need to leave Magic Kingdom throughout the day to return, you DO NOT need to pay again. Or if you’re leaving Magic Kingdom and would like to visit another Disney Park later on in the day, you also DO NOT need to pay again.

  • IMPORTANT: Thankfully, guests staying at a Disney World Resort hotel do not need to pay parking fees at the theme parks. They only need to pay the resort parking fee, they don’t pay parking twice (more on that later).

Are Parking Fees Per Person?

Disney World parking fees are per car and are not for each person. So if you are a family of four people and have one car, there will only be one parking fee. 

However, if you have four people and have four separate vehicles, there will be four parking fees (one for each car) even if you are in the same room.

Parking Fee Payment Methods

Disney makes paying for your parking fees as easy as possible and they allow for a variety of payment methods including:

  • Credit and Debit Cards
  • Disney Gift Cards
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay
  • Cash payments are also accepted if you prefer.

Preferred Parking vs Standard Parking at Disney World

Preferred Parking at EPCOT

For those coming to Disney World’s front gates to pay for parking at one of the parks, they’ll notice prices for both standard and preferred. What is the difference and should you pay the additional costs to get preferred parking? 

Standard Parking

The cheaper of the parking options, standard parking is the better value for guests that are capable of walking further distances. Standard parking lots can be considerably further from the park’s entrance, hence the reason they are cheaper.

Standard parking comes FREE for Disney World Hotel Guests that come to the parks in their vehicle. 

If you’re worried about long walks with the cheaper standard parking option, keep in mind Disney has complimentary trams offered at all the parks that will transport guests closer to the park’s entrance.

Preferred Parking

Preferred Parking at EPCOT

Preferred parking is the designated parking area that is nearest to the entrance to all 4 Disney parks for a fee of $45-$50 per day for cars and motorcycles.

If guests staying at a Disney World Resort want preferred parking, they’ll need to pay the difference, which works out to an extra $20-$25 per day over what they are paying at the resort.

Just like with standard parking, guests that pay the additional costs of preferred parking will only have to pay one time each day.

Is Preferred Parking Worth it at Disney World?

Whether preferred parking is worth it or not depends from situation to situation. For most people that are somewhat budget conscious, I’d say no, preferred parking is not worth the extra money per day.

The additional costs of preferred parking can be very costly especially if you’re doing this for several days. It could easily get to be over $100 extra when you add up the days, which could eat away at some of your budgeted vacation money and 

However, if you’re very time conscious or worried about a long walk, paying the additional costs of preferred parking can be convenient. It’ll allow you to get into the parks quicker AND it’ll allow you to get to your vehicle faster after a long park day.

Theme Parks Parking Basics

EPCOT Parking lot entrance

Let’s now look at some of the basics when arriving and parking at the theme parks.

When arriving at Disney World, you will take different exits depending on which Disney World Theme Park you are heading to. 

When exiting off Interstate 4, you will follow signs to each of the different four main parks. Exit 67 will bring you to EPCOT. Exit 65 will bring you to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Exit 64 will bring you to Magic Kingdom. 

After you get off the respective exit of the park you are visiting, you will follow the colored signs to the park you are visiting. Upon arrival, the first thing you will see is the large welcome parking booth entrance.

Arriving at the Parking Lot

driving up to the Hollywood Studios parking lot entrance

When arriving at the parking booth welcoming you to your park, you will then pay for your daily parking fee, if you need to pay. Annual passholders and Disney World Resorts guests do NOT need to pay for parking. 

Pick the shortest available lane for the shortest wait time. 

Once you reach the Disney Cast Member at the parking booth, you will then submit your payment. You can use cash, card, Google Pay, or Apple Cash to pay for your parking. To make things run smoother, decide whether you are going to pay for preferred or standard parking before you arrive at the booth to make it faster.

If you are a Disney World Resort guest, scan your MagicBand or room card to prove that you are in fact staying on-property.

You do NOT need to display your receipt on your vehicle, as was once required in the past. Parking lots typically open one hour before Early Theme Park Entry is scheduled to begin.

Themed Parking Areas

Once you’re through the parking booth, you’ll follow signs to either Standard or Preferred parking areas, depending on which you received. Don’t worry there will be plenty of cast members there to help and show you where to go. 

Once you get to the parking lot, you’ll see themed parking lots that will help you to remember where you parked. Take pictures and remember which row you’re in and which themed lot you’re in so it’s easier to find your car when you leave.

Trams

Disney World parking lot trams

Disney operates frequently run complimentary trams that will pick you up from your parking area and bring you to an area near the front of the parking area, right near the ticketing area where you enter the parks.

These parking lot trams have slowly been making their returns to each of the four respective parks in 2022 after being gone for over a year. They are particularly helpful for guests that have trouble walking long distances to and from the parking areas.

The trams typically run 5-10 minutes apart and are incredibly convenient!

Arriving Later in the Day

If you are park hopping at Disney World, you will likely show up at your second park later on in the day in the afternoon or toward evening.

Usually, sometime in the afternoon, typically between 3 and 4:00 pm, the parking lot attendants are no longer available to park guests row-by-row. This means that you are free to navigate the parking lot areas and find the closest available space you can find!

There’s a very good chance you’ll find an end spot or something close to the front of the parking lot, making it far easier to come and go.

Disney Parking Lots at the End of the Day

Disney World parking lot cars

If you stay at the parks until late in the evening, especially around parking closing or after the fireworks shows, you’ll be hoarded out of the parks along with thousands of other guests. Tram lines can be very long! Even so, in our experience, we’ve found the tram lines to move very fast despite the length. 

Disney parking lots typically empty very fast and efficiently due to the signage and cast members directing traffic well. It’s not as stressful as you’d imagine considering the sheer amount of people. Just look for the exit signs and work your way out to the main road. 

If you’re at all stressed or anxious about leaving with hundreds of other cars, feel free to wait 15-20 minutes later and it’ll be considerably quieter.

Magic Kingdom Parking

Magic Kingdom parking lot entrance

This biggest hassle when it comes to any of the four parks is parking at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, unfortunately. The reason for this is that the parking lot is considerably further away from the front entrance of the park. 

For those bringing a car to Magic Kingdom, you will be required to park at a remote lot, which is called the ‘Transportation and Ticket Center.’

Due to the park’s layout, you will be required to either take the monorail, bus, or a passenger ferry boat into Magic Kingdom from the Transportation and Ticket Center. Simply take one of the trams (or walk) from where you park and they’ll bring you to the ferry, bus, and monorail loading area. 

We almost always prefer taking Disney Transportation when it comes to Magic Kingdom due to the extra time required to park and then the need to take additional transportation to the front gate area. However, we understand this is not always possible. 

Figure to add about 30 minutes of additional time when driving a vehicle to Magic Kingdom. 

Leaving in the evening typically is also longer due to the lines required for the transportation options to get back to your vehicle so if you leave right after the Magic Kingdom fireworks, be prepared to wait.

Themed Parking Areas

Disney World parking lot with cars

The parking areas of the Transportation and Ticket Center are split into two themed areas, the Heroes and the Villains. 

  • The Heroes lots include theming parking areas: Woody, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Simba, Mulan, and Repunzel. 
  • The Villains lots include Zurg, Jafa, Scar, Hook, Cruella, and Ursula. 

Remembering the character’s lot where you parked will make it much easier for you to find your vehicle at the end of the day.

Transportation to Park

After parking your vehicle at the Transportation and Ticket Center and you remember ‘which character’ you parked at in either the ‘Heroes’ or ‘Villains’ section of the parking lot, it’s time to get transportation to the front of Magic Kingdom.

From where your car is parked, you can hop on the tram if it’s nearby or you don’t feel like walking. Or you can walk. 

Once you arrive at the central area, you’ll have three options to get to the front of Magic Kingdom: bus, ferry boat, or monorail. 

If none of the lines are long, the monorail is our favorite! It’s fun, themed, and it’s classic! A great way to begin your day. If the lines are all long, choose the line that is the shortest.

Guests with Disabilities

Those guests that have disabilities are asked to park at a disability parking lot. It is very close to the entrance of Magic Kingdom, making it unnecessary for the need of the tram. 

If they CAN walk short distances, they are asked to park in the main Magic Kingdom parking lot. It could be helpful to ask if you can park at an end spot so you don’t need to walk as far as to hop on the tram. 

You will need to show a valid disability parking permit to park in one of the disability lots so make sure to bring it from home.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

There are designated charge ports for electric vehicles that are given on a first-come and first-serve basis. Each park has a different number of charging stations. 

At Magic Kingdom, there are currently five spaces reserved for charging electric vehicles. One space is in the front of the Medical Parking Lot and the other four spaces are at the front of the Zurg Parking Lot. 

The cost to charge at these stations is currently $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. You can pay the fees with a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card.

EPCOT Parking

Driving to EPCOT park

Unlike parking at Magic Kingdom, parking at EPCOT is relatively simple and easy! If the walk is too long, there are trams constantly running from the different themed parking areas to bring you to the front of EPCOT. (When they come back, which should be soon!) 

Themed Parking Areas

EPCOT has seven themed parking lots, making it incredibly simple and easy to find your car at the end of your day. Take a screenshot or write down where you parked. 

The seven themed lots are: 

  • Amaze
  • Journey
  • Imagine
  • Discover
  • Create
  • Explore
  • Wonder

Transportation to Park

EPCOT, like all the parks, has always run trams to bring guests from one of the seven lots to the front of the park entrance. But unfortunately, that has not returned as of yet. So guests will be required to walk from their parking spot to the park’s entrance. 

If walking is difficult for you, you can either pay extra for preferred parking, ask for disability parking (if you have a disability parking permit), OR you can ask for an end spot to minimize the walk as much as possible.

Guests with Disabilities

Those guests that have disabilities are asked to park at a disability parking lot. It is very close to the entrance of EPCOT. You will need to show a valid disability parking permit to park in one of the disability lots.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

There are designated charge ports for electric vehicles that are given on a first-come and first-serve basis. Each park has a different number of charging stations. 

At EPCOT, there are currently four spaces reserved in the Journey Parking Lot. 

The cost to charge at these stations is currently $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. You can pay the fees with a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card.

Hollywood Studios Parking

Hollywood Studios parking lot

Parking at Hollywood Studios is cut and dry, making it very simple to come and go from the park’s entrance. When parking at any one of the five themed parking lots, simply take one of the trams to the front of the park. (When the trams come back, which should be soon!) 

Themed Parking Areas

Hollywood Studios has five themed parking lots, named after some of Disney’s biggest stars! The five lots are: 

  • Mickey
  • Minnie
  • Buzz
  • Jessie
  • Olaf

Take a screenshot or write down exactly where you parked and in what row. It will save you a lot of time at the end of the night!

Transportation to Park

Hollywood Studios, like all the parks, has always run trams to bring guests from each of the parking lots to the front of the park entrance. But unfortunately, that has not returned as of yet. So guests will be required to walk from their parking spot to the park’s entrance. 

If walking is difficult for you, you can either pay extra for preferred parking, ask for disability parking (if you have a disability parking permit), OR you can ask for an end spot to minimize the walk as much as possible.

Guests with Disabilities

Those guests that have disabilities are asked to park at a disability parking lot. It is very close to the entrance of Hollywood Studios. You will need to show a valid disability parking permit to park in one of the disability lots.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

There are designated charge ports for electric vehicles that are given on a first-come and first-serve basis. At Hollywood Studios, there are currently four spaces reserved in the Mickey Parking Lot. 

The cost to charge at these stations is currently $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. You can pay the fees with a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card.

Animal Kingdom Parking

Animal Kingdom parking lot entrance

Like Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, the parking lot at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is simple and easy to use! Hop aboard the tram or walk to the main gate area of the park. The themed parking areas are named after animals, pretty much that is. 

Themed Parking Areas

The six-themed parking lots fit directly in line with Animal Kingdom and some of your favorite real and mythical animals in the parks. They are:

  • Butterfly
  • Yeti
  • Giraffe
  • Dinosaur
  • Unicorn
  • Peacock

Again, you’ll want to write down or screenshot where you parked and the row number so it’s easier to find later on when you return.

Transportation to Park

To help save your feet, the Animal Kingdom has trams to bring guests from each of the parking lots to the front of the park entrance. 

If walking is difficult for you, you can either pay extra for preferred parking, ask for disability parking (if you have a disability parking permit), OR you can ask for an end spot to minimize the walk as much as possible.

Guests with Disabilities

Those guests that have disabilities are asked to park at a disability parking lot. It is very close to the entrance of Animal Kingdom, making it unnecessary for the need of the tram. 

Any guests who are able to walk short distances are asked to park in the main Animal Kingdom parking lot. It could be helpful to ask if you can park at an end spot so you don’t need to walk as far as to hop on the tram. 

You will need to show a valid disability parking permit to park in one of the disability lots.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

There are designated charge ports for electric vehicles that are given on a first-come and first-serve basis. Each park has a different number of charging stations. At Animal Kingdom, there are currently four spaces reserved in the Medical Parking Lot. 

The cost to charge at these stations is currently $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. You can pay the fees with a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card.

Parking at the Disney Resort Hotels

Parking at Disney's Art of Animation Resort

Now let’s look at an overview of parking at the Disney World Resort hotels

When parking at any one of the Walt Disney World Resorts, you will be charged nightly per car. You will simply display a parking permit that is given to you upon check-in and display that on the vehicle’s car window when parking your vehicle. 

You will also need to scan your Magic Bands upon entry back into your Disney Resort. 

The fees for Disney Resorts are based on the Resort Category you are staying at. The fees below include taxes. 

  • Value Resorts are $15 per night
  • Moderate Resorts are $20 per night
  • Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villas are $25 per night

Valet

When choosing to valet park at Disney Resorts, there is a set fee of $33 no matter which category hotel you are staying at. This price does NOT include gratuity.

We don’t usually spend the extra money for valet as it’s not worth it to us, but we tend to be on the frugal side and rather spend that extra money on Disney snacks!

How Does Disney Know You Have a Car?

scanning in guest at Disney World parking lot

So how does Disney even know you have a car? Can you just fake it and pretend you didn’t bring one and park for free?  That’s not likely to work and we don’t recommend it.

There are two main ways they know that you have a car. First, you are required to display a parking permit upon check-in on your vehicle and the parking attendant will see that.

Second, you are required to scan your MagicBands upon re-entry each time back into your resort hotel. So any way you slice it, you are going to need to fork up the extra dollars if you want to park your car at the resort.

One Disney Resort with Free Parking

Even though the majority of resorts charge parking fees to their guests, there is one where parking is actually free.

The only Disney Resort with free parking for its guests is Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. They include a free parking spot for guests staying at one of the campsites or those staying in a cabin so either way you are set.

Can I Park at Other Disney Resorts Than the One I’m Staying At?

Yes, you can, for up to three hours. This allows you to visit other resorts for meals or to explore the resort without having to worry about paying again to visit an additional resort. 

This three-hour rule is based on the honor system and they have no way to completely gauge it but they expect you to be honest about it.

Disney Springs Parking

Disney Springs Water Tower

Contrary to the theme parks and resorts, when parking at Disney Springs, there are no fees! It is completely free! This makes it an ideal spot for out-of-towners and locals alike! 

Not only is it free, but Disney Springs also features great technology that allows you to see the available spots on each floor and row of the different parking garages. Talk about technology! If you see a green light, it indicates the spot is empty so go for it.

But getting to Disney Springs for the first time can be overwhelming and there are several different parking areas. What is the best lot to park at?

Disney Springs Parking Garages

Orange Parking garage Disney Springs

Disney Springs names all their parking garages and outdoor parking areas after Florida Fruit. In total, there are three parking garages (Lime, Orange, and Grapefruit) and four surface parking lots: (Strawberry, Mango, Mango, and Watermelon

I know it sounds like a lot of parking lots, and while it is true, these lots can fill up very quickly especially on weekends and in the evenings so they are definitely needed.

Each of the different parking areas has perks and minuses, depending on where you plan on being.

Valet

There is both Preferred Parking and Valet Parking in Disney Springs. 

Preferred Parking is $10 and is in the Mango Lot from 2:00 to 10:00 each day, which is located directly across from the Cirque du Soleil theater. 

Valet Parking is $20, which includes tax but does not include gratuity. Valet Parking can be found:

  • Near the entrance of the Orange Garage from 10:00 am to 2:00 am
  • In the West Side in front of Cirque du Soleil from 4:00 pm to 2:00 am
  • In the Lemon Lot near the World of Disney store from 10:00 am to 2:00 am

Utilizing either preferred or valet makes your trip in and out of Disney Springs a little easier and faster but it does come at a cost so make sure it fits into your budget before splurging.

What Time Can You Park at Disney Springs?

Lime Parking garage Disney Springs

The lots at Disney Springs typically open in the 7:00 am range, but most of the stores and restaurants do not open until 10:00 am so there isn’t much need to come before then (unless you are getting in line for Gideon’s Bakehouse that is).

Pay attention to the signs on Buena Vista Drive when arriving, they’ll notify you if certain lots are closed.

Can You Leave Your Car Overnight?

No, guests cannot leave their car overnight at Disney Springs. The hours do vary but most of the lots close around 2:00 am. 

Even though it may be tempting seeing as there is free bus transportation to the Disney World resorts, if you leave your car overnight you are liable to get a fine, or worse, your car will get towed.

Best Place to Park

Orange Parking garage Disney Springs

The best place to park at Disney Springs depends on where you are going once you get there. We are partial to the three parking garages, depending on which part of Disney Springs we plan on visiting. We usually fluctuate between the Orange Garage and the Lime Garage. 

The Grapefruit Garage is on the other end of Buena Vista Drive, requiring you to walk across the pedestrian bridge. It is a little bit of a long walk before it brings you to The Marketplace, where you’ll be near the World of Disney and Lego Store. 

The Lime Garage is in the best central location, putting you right in the middle of the action. You will be close to the newer sections of Disney Springs and close to the Marketplace as well. Taking the escalator down to Disney Springs puts you right by Polite Pig and the Town Center. 

The Orange Garage is on the western end of Disney Springs, putting you near Planet Hollywood, Splitsville, and the AMC Theater so if you will be in that section, it’s your best choice.

Most of the town when we just want to walk around and explore, we choose the Lime Garage. It’s in the center of everything without being too far from any one thing.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

There are designated charge ports at Disney Springs for electric vehicles and they are given on a first-come and first-serve basis. 

Right now at Disney Springs, there are currently nine total spaces reserved for electric vehicles. Three of them are on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage, three of them are on the 5th floor of the Grapefruit Garage, and three of them are on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage. 

The cost to charge at these stations is currently $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. You can pay the fees with a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card.

Parking at the Water Parks

Typhoon Lagoon Castaway Creek

Parking at the Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach Water Parks is far simpler than at the other four main theme parks. The lots are significantly smaller, requiring a lot less walking. And the good news is, they are complimentary so you don’t have to pay anything! 

The bad news is they have no trams and all guests must walk the entire way.

Parking at ESPN Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports Parking

Similarly to the Water Parks, parking at the ESPN Wide World of Sports facility is free for all guests.

Guests with Disabilities

Disabled Parking Disney World

Guests with disabilities have access to designated parking areas throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, both at the theme parks and at the resorts. Just remember, you will need to show proof of owning a valid disability parking permit and you will still need to pay the standard parking rates. 

At the theme parks, guests that can walk short distances and step aboard the courtesy trams can park at any of the main parking lot areas of the four theme parks. 

Consider asking for space near the end of the row so that you are close enough to the tram pick-up and drop-off location. The trams will pick you up and bring you to the main entrance of the theme park. 

If you are at a theme park and CAN NOT walk any distance, you should park in the Disability Parking Lots, located just a short distance from the main entrances at the four theme parks. The trams do NOT stop here as they are close enough to the main entrance.

If you’re at one of the Disney World Resorts, simply show your disabled parking permit, and all of the Disney World Resorts have designated parking areas near the front of all of the guest lots. Standard parking at Disney Resort hotels is complimentary for any Guest with a valid disability parking permit and a current room or dining reservation. 

If you need more info about parking options you can go to the Auto Plaza (located at the entrance of each Disney World theme park) or by calling Guest Services at (407) 824-2222. Guests under 18 must have permission from their parents or guardians to call.

How Do You Get Free Parking at Disney?

cars parked in Disney World

When it comes to taking a budgeted family vacation to Disney World, it’s getting harder and harder for most families. And now with Disney charging fees for parking at most locations, finding ways to save money on parking can be invaluable! 

Many are surprised to know that there are actually some ways you can park your car for free at Disney World. Let’s take a look at places that normally cost money to park, but how you can do it instead for free.

Visiting Resort Restaurants or Shopping

Citricos Restaurant Grand Floridian Resort interior

If visiting one of Disney’s resorts for dining or simply just wanting to do some shopping within a resort, parking is always free! As long as it’s for under three hours and you are staying at the resort. You’ll just have to notify them at the gate of your intentions. 

However, some guests unfortunately have taken advantage of this rule. Disney frowns on guests utilizing nearby resort hotels to then hop over to the parks avoiding the parking costs. 

And this ABSOLUTELY should not be done if you plan on spending your entire day at one of the parks. But what if you just wanted to hop over to Magic Kingdom for fireworks? Or Hollywood Studios for just a ride or two?

Technically Disney’s rule is “you can stay at a resort you’re not staying at for three hours” for free if you’re doing some shopping or eating at the resort. 

So if you go to a resort hotel for a quick bite to eat and leave your car there for three hours or less, you can easily stop at one of the nearby parks and head back to the resort. Just make sure the resort you’re going to has easy access to the park you want to visit.

Just don’t break the rules and make sure you leave the resort in three hours or under. And utilize the resort for something, since you were visiting that resort for a reason!

Disney Vacation Club Members

2 Bedroom Villa Beach Club Resort Villas

Another way to park for free at Disney World is by staying at one of the Disney Vacation Club Villas.

DVC Members do NOT need to pay resort or theme park parking fees if they’re staying at a DVC property on their trip. And even if you’re NOT a DVC Member, you can avoid paying parking fees by renting DVC points through a DVC Member. 

That’s absolutely one of our favorite ways to stay at a deluxe resort and save money at the same time.

By renting DVC points through a reputable agent, you can save money on your room all the while getting the luxury of staying at a Disney Deluxe Resort.

Annual Passholders

Disney World Annual Pass

One of the perks of being a Disney World Annual Passholder is you get free parking at the theme parks! Free parking is only available for passholders in the parks and does NOT apply to Disney Resorts. 

If you’re on the fence about getting an annual pass, this additional perk alone can save you hundreds of dollars easily per year and make annual pass ownership worth it! But as always with annual passes, do the math and see if it’s worth it for you.

Stay at a Disney Resort

outside Disney's Beach Club Resort entrance

One of the benefits of staying at a Disney Resort, you can avoid the costs of having to pay at the four main theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom).

Free Standard Self-Parking at the parks comes free for all registered guests of Disney Resort Hotels. If you’d like to choose the upgraded Preferred Parking, you’ll simply pay the difference between standard and preferred, which will be between $20-$25 per day depending on the time of year. 

While you’ll still pay for parking at Disney Resorts (unless you are disabled or a DVC member), you can park for free at the theme parks. Simply show your MagicBand or Room Key to prove you’re staying at a Disney World resort upon arrival at any four of the theme parks.

Florida Residents

Disney World Florida Resident Tickets

Another way to save is by having a Florida Resident ticket since all of the Florida Resident Annual Passes DO include free parking for the four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Animal Kingdom). 

However, free parking does NOT apply to the Disney Resorts for Annual Passholders and you’ll still have to pay the overnight fees.

The Florida Passes include The Pixie Dust Pass, The Pirate Pass, and the Sorcerer Pass. Although, only the Pixie Dust Pass is available for new passholders right now. 

For more info read our Guide to Florida Resident Disney World Tickets where we explain these passes in much greater detail.

Cast Members

What about if you work for Disney? Can you park for free? Yes, you can.

All Cast Members receive free parking upon showing a valid Cast ID at the parking entrance of the park or resort that they are visiting.

Tables in Wonderland

skillet of food at Garden Grill EPCOT

Right now Tables in Wonderland is not available, but when it is it can offer a great solution for free parking at Disney World.

Tables in Wonderland is a former discount dining program that could be purchased for an additional fee for annual passholder. Members could receive free valet parking with proof of an Advance Dining Reservation at the resort where they are eating at. 

Another bonus was that members of Tables in Wonderland also could park for free at any Disney theme park after 5:00 or park for free. 

They also had the option to park for free before 5:00 if you had a dining reservation at a participating Tables in Wonderland restaurant, but you needed to leave less than 3 hours after the start of your reservation.

Club 33 Members

Invited Club 33 Members receive free standard parking at resorts and the parks. We would expect this perk for Club 33 members considering the high price it costs to be a member.

Avoid Parking Fees at Disney World

row of parked cars Disney World

As we’ve talked about, parking at Disney World is expensive, so if we can get rid of those nasty fees we are happy campers.

In this section, we are going to talk about ways to avoid parking fees and specific tips and tricks you can utilize that will make your trip as budget-conscious as possible. This includes places that are free to park or ways to eliminate using a car altogether.

List of Free Parking Locations

One of the ways you can avoid parking fees is by taking advantage of places in Walt Disney World where you can park for free. Here is the list of free parking locations:

  • Disney Springs
  • ESPN Wide World of Sports
  • Blizzard Beach
  • Typhoon Lagoon
  • Disney Resorts (As long as you’re shopping or eating) and need to stay less than three hours)
  • Fort Wilderness (if you’re the only vehicle on the site)
  • Miniature Golf Locations
  • Disney’s Golf Courses (Magnolia, Palm, Oak Trail, or Lake Buena Vista)

Take Disney Transportation

Yellow Disney Skyliner gondola

The best way to avoid parking fees at Disney World is to not rent a car if possible and just take Disney Transportation everywhere! 

This helps you avoid paying fees at both the resorts and at the parks which will save you significantly on your vacation, although it might not be as convenient at times as having a car.

Stay Off-Site and Use Free Shuttles

If the costs of a Disney World Vacation are entirely too expensive for your family, consider staying at an off-site Disney hotel. You’ll get treated wonderfully at some of them, and they are incredibly convenient. 

One of the nice perks that many of them offer is free hotel parking AND free shuttles to the parks! 

This makes your comparison of staying off-site and on-site even more challenging as parking at a Disney World Resort can add significantly to your trip.

Park at Disney Springs to Get to the Theme Parks or Resorts

Hollywood Studios Bus Stop

While it’s not the most time-efficient method of getting to the theme parks or the resorts, parking at Disney Springs to get to the theme parks or resorts certainly will save you money! 

Simply park your car in one of the Disney Springs garages or lots and then take one of Disney’s Buses to either the resort or the Disney Theme Park you want to visit. This avoids the costs altogether! Just make sure to add additional time if planning this as it could easily take an extra hour. 

While this isn’t our favorite way of getting to the parks or resorts for a number of reasons, for those especially concerned with saving money primarily, it could work. Why don’t we like it? 

  • No overnight parking at Disney Springs – This limits the option of leaving your car at Disney Springs indefinitely to get free parking at the resorts. Some have thought this is a brilliant way to avoid the costs of paying at the resorts. It won’t work. Your car will be towed.
  • Transportation to the parks to Disney Springs is hit or miss – While the Disney buses typically do bring theme park guests to Disney Springs, that typically doesn’t start until the afternoon. And when it comes to the opposite direction, there is usually NO direct service from Disney Springs to the four theme parks. This makes it MUCH more difficult to get to the parks from Disney Springs.

    The easiest way to do this would be to walk into Saratoga Springs Resort (Connected to Disney Springs) and take one of the Disney Buses to the theme parks. This involves even more time and a significant amount of walking. We usually would steer clear of this!

Use Uber/Lyft

Uber Rideshare pickup and drop-off point

Our family is big fans of ridesharing or utilizing a service like Uber or Lyft to get to different resorts or theme parks. And while it does cost money, it’ll save you a significant amount of time and it could actually help you save money since it won’t require you to pay for parking at the theme parks if that’s where you are headed. 

We’ve always had great experiences using Uber and Lyft in Disney World and we use their price calculators to count the cost and see if it financially makes sense. 

We recommend considering what the costs would be of renting a car and paying for parking both at the resorts and at the theme parks. A few Uber rides could actually save you money and be much less of a hassle! 

And if it’s close, consider the amount of time it’ll save you which is just as important when visiting Disney World.

How to Find Your Car?

My Disney Experience app Car Locator

With thousands and thousands of parking spaces at Disney’s Theme Parks, it can be very challenging to find your car at the end of the day, especially if you weren’t initially paying attention (that’s me).

We’ve always been a big proponent of taking screenshots, writing down the exact row you were in, and memorizing the themed-parking area where you parked your car. Even though it may sound stupid, it will save you a lot of time in finding your car.

Car Locator

Disney has also created a new tool that has made all of this a lot simpler, the Car Locator. If you have the My Disney Experience app on your smartphone, you can take advantage of this wonderful and simple-to-use feature of the app. 

All you need to do after parking at any one of the four Disney theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs, or ESPN Wide World of Sports complex is:

  1. Click on the My Disney Experience app
  2. Tap the Car Locator on the Home Screen
  3. Enter the parking info 

At the end of the night when looking for your car, just click on it again. It’ll help you find your car quickly!

Other Tips

Here are a few other ways that have helped us and our readers find their cars, try these:

  • Apple and Android devices both have voice recognition and GPS locators that will help you to remember where you parked. On Apple devices, simply ask Siri to remember where you parked. 
  • When getting back on the tram to drop you off at the parking lot at the end of the night, let the tram driver know exactly what time you arrived in the morning. Based on the time you arrived, they should know exactly the section or roundabouts where you parked. This can save you significant amounts of time!

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

EV charging station Disney Springs

With electric vehicles becoming more and more popular, what can you do if you bring one to Disney World? Thankfully, each of the parks, as well as some of the resorts have Electric Vehicle Charging Stations now, and more are likely on their way soon.

Let’s take a look at where they are located in Disney World:

Disney World Resorts

Also, the Coronado Springs and Wilderness Lodge resorts also have ChargePoint Stations. 

Upon arrival at any of the four parks or either of these two resorts, simply ask a Cast Member for directions to these charge ports. They are available always on a first-come, first-served basis.

Theme Parks

  • Magic Kingdom – there are five spaces. One of them is at the front of the Medical Parking Lot and four of the spaces are at the front of the Zurg Parking Lot. 
  • EPCOT – there are four spaces at the front of the Journey Parking Lot. 
  • Hollywood Studios – there are four spaces at the front of the Mickey Parking Lot. 
  • Animal Kingdom – there are four spaces in the Medical Parking Lot.

Disney Springs

At Disney Springs, there are nine total spaces. Three of them are on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage, three of them are on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage, and three of them are on the 3rd floor of the Grapefruit Garage.

Payment

Just remember, that you will need either a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card, available at chargepoint.com. The cost of using these stations is $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50.

Park Hopping with a Car at Disney World

Hollywood Studios Parking Lot from the Skyliner

The good news is once you pay for parking once at a Disney World theme park, parking at all additional parks throughout the rest of the days is included. Just always be mindful that your Disney park ticket will need to have park-hopping privileges on it if you want to visit the second park. 

And while you can park hop and leave your car in the initial park you visit in the morning, it’s always best to bring your car with you wherever you go! You won’t have to pay again so there is no downside.

And at the end of the day, it’ll be much easier to leave as opposed to having to take Disney transportation to the initial park again to retrieve your car. You certainly don’t want to get your car stuck at the initial parking lot, without any way to retrieve it.

Remember parking lots close shortly after park hours are over which is an easy way for your car to be stranded and ultimately towed.

Read our Guide to Park Hopping at Disney World for a more detailed look at how it works and our best tips.

When Will Disney Raise Parking Fees?

on the way to EPCOT Parking Lot

Typically Disney raises parking fees every 4-5 years historically. The last time they raised parking fees, was at the end of 2018. This could mean that it’s highly likely that Disney will raise parking fees again in the next year or two.

When that happens we could see parking prices increase by as much as $5 per night.  That would mean prices at the resorts could range from $20-$30 per night instead of $15-$25, and standard theme park pricing would likely be around $30 per vehicle.

At this point, we’ll just have to see what Disney decides to do, but they will eventually raise prices and it could be sooner than we think.

Tips for Driving Around Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World sign from the highway

Driving around Walt Disney World can be incredibly frustrating due to constant road construction, poor GPS navigation, and confusing signs, especially if you are from out of town and don’t know your way around. 

Here are a few things to keep notice of that’ll make staying within Disney’s boundaries a little bit easier… 

Road Signs

All of Disney’s road signs are purple (old) or blue (new). You won’t miss them. If you stick to following these overhead signs, you’ll stay within Disney’s borders. And while it isn’t necessarily always the fastest route to follow the signs, it’ll take you there and you won’t get lost.

Disney World Gas Stations

When renting a car, it can be nerve-wracking to wonder where the gas stations are or if you’re going to need to drive far distances to get gas. I’ve got good news for you, there are plenty of gas stations within Disney’s Boundaries and a zillion other ones within a few miles. 

The three within Disney are:

  • Magic Kingdom Speedway – Right by Transportation and Ticket Center at Magic Kingdom.
  • EPCOT Resorts Speedway – Right off Buena Vista Drive at EPCOT Resorts Blvd.
  • Disney Springs Speedway – Across the street from Disney Springs’s main entrance.

Driving to the Disney World Parks

driving in Walt Disney World

Driving to the Disney World Parks is mostly simple and cut-and-dry outside of going to the Magic Kingdom.

To get to EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom just simply follow the signs for the parking lots. Once you are parked, you can easily walk or take the tram to the front of the park.

At Magic Kingdom, there is NO parking directly at the park, nor can you drop someone off at the front of the park. Instead, you will need to park off-site at the Transportation and Ticket Center.

It’s there that you will then hop on either the monorail, a large passenger ferry, or a Disney Bus to get to the front entrance of Magic Kingdom.

Using Google or Apple Maps

In most instances, using Google Maps or Apple Maps is fine and they will save you time getting to your destination.

However, due to constant construction and road work and even certain areas only being accessible to cast members, you could often get put on a wild goose hunt if you follow Google or Apple Maps at times. 

A double assurance, utilize Google or Apple Maps WITH the purple or blue road signs as an assurance that you are headed on the right pathway.

List of Disney World Exits

signs for theme parks on the highway at Disney World

When exiting off Interstate 4, you will follow signs to each of the different four main parks. 

  • Exit 64 will bring you to Magic Kingdom
  • Exit 65 will bring you to Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom
  • Exit 67 will bring you to EPCOT

After you get off the respective exit depending on which park you are visiting, you will follow the colored signs to the park you are visiting. Upon arrival, the first thing you will see is the large welcome parking booth entrance.

When You Should Drive and When You Should Use Disney Transportation

Disney World bus transportation

If you do have a car at Walt Disney World, you don’t necessarily need to use it every day of your trip. In fact, there are a few occasions where I prefer Disney transportation, even if I have a car.

I’m ALWAYS a fan of utilizing Disney Transportation when going to the Magic Kingdom. The hassle of driving and parking off-site can be incredibly stressful and it takes far too much time to make it enjoyable. The wait for transportation back to your car is terrible at the end of the night.

I also recommend utilizing Disney transportation if you plan on park hopping, as it’ll be far simpler than having to worry about a car from place to place.

If you plan on drinking any alcohol and you don’t want to pay for Uber or Lyft, taking Disney Transportation should be used to avoid any unwanted incidents. We definitely recommend this when drinking around the World Showcase in EPCOT!

Disney Skyliner over the lake at Disney's Riviera Resort at sunset

If you are staying on the Disney Skyliner route, you might want to consider not taking your car to EPCOT or Hollywood Studios. In some cases, it may be quicker, but the Skyliner is so much fun that we prefer leaving the car at home on those days.

On the other hand, driving makes sense if you have an annual pass or are staying at a Disney resort and want more freedom and flexibility during your day. It’s also nice to have a car when you want to get to the parks early in the morning so you can beat the crowds.

It’s also far easier to go from resort to resort with a car if you have dining reservations since Disney transportation takes way too long going from resort to resort. 

Lastly, if you have an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) in the morning, having a car makes it much more simple to make it on time in case Disney transportation isn’t up and running yet.

Should You Rent a Car at Disney World?

Avis Car Rental Orlando International Airport

Renting a car can bring about the convenience that being reliant on Disney Transportation cannot. But is it really worth the extra money it costs? Here are a few things that should be considered when choosing to rent a car. 

Pros

  • The freedom of coming and going without being limited to Disney’s slow and crowded transportation options.
  • Having the capacity to utilize and see all of Disney’s property that isn’t easy to get to, such as Disney’s Golf Courses, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and the other Disney Resorts for dining.
  • Being able to arrive at the airport and go straight to your Disney World Resort without having to pay a service or driver to bring you back and forth to your hotel.
  • Ability to visit other Florida attractions, such as the beach, Downtown Orlando or one of the other Orlando theme parks.

Cons

  • Additional costs of gas, tolls, resort, and theme park parking.
  • It can be stressful to drive in high-traffic areas where navigating can’t be a little chaotic.

Which Resorts are More Advantageous to Have a Car?

Gran Destino Tower at Coronado Resort

Deciding whether or not to rent a car also depends on which Disney World resort you are staying at. Many resorts are not ideally placed, making it hard to get to the different parks. 

Also, bus rides can be long to some resorts, and sometimes they have super long lines to wait for one. In those cases, renting a car can be a good option. 

Here are some of the resorts where guests should spend a little more time considering renting a car:

  • Coronado Springs
  • Port Orleans Riverside and French Quarter
  • Old Key West
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • All-Star Resorts

Where to Rent a Car at Disney World?

Alamo Car Rental Orlando International Airport

We’ve used many different options when it comes to renting a car at Disney World and the easiest is doing a round-trip car rental at Orlando International Airport (MCO). It’ll almost ALWAYS be the cheapest as well. For most people that are simply staying a few days or a week, this is the best place to do it. 

However, for others that only need a car for a few days or if you’re coming from another location and no longer want a vehicle in Disney, our favorite is using the Disney Car Care Center, located just outside of Magic Kingdom. 

Inside the Car Care Center, you can rent from Enterprise, Alamo, and National. They also offer you a complimentary shuttle with door-to-door service from your Disney Resort hotel.

My favorite places to find the best deals on rental cars are either Costco Travel (must be a member) or Car Rental Savers. Both sites will allow you to book One-Way Rentals while examining the cheapest possible options based on location. They’ll show you the prices of all the main car rental agencies. 

At times, we’ve also picked up or dropped off our cars at other Orlando-area rental spots to save hundreds of dollars as opposed to Orlando International Airport (MCO). This can be convenient especially if you’re not needing a car rental for your entire stay, or if your final destination is not Disney World. 

When examining prices, it’s worth checking ‘pick up’ and “drop off” locations such as Lake Buena Vista or Orlando as opposed to only checking Orlando International Airport. It might save you some money! 

When checking the Car Rental Savers website or Costco Travel or whatever Car Rental site you prefer, check the other sites. It could be considerably cheaper!

Alternatives to Using a Car at Disney World

Disney World bus in parking lot

When staying at a Disney World Resort, we’ve found that in about 90% of the cases, we simply just don’t need a vehicle. Disney transportation will take you to almost everywhere you want to go, while granted it could be slow, and not the most efficient use of your time. 

In those instances and when we need private transportation such as to/from the airport or to get to certain locations quicker, we will pay for an Uber to get us there in a more time-efficient manner. This is more stress-free for us and it saves us time!

Bottom Line

Our family usually declines the option of having our car in Disney when we are staying on-site. If we are staying off-site somewhere else and need the ability to have a car, it certainly has more positives than negatives. 

But when staying on-site, in almost every instance, I tell people to avoid it. It costs more, adds more stress, and just feels less like a vacation. 

Make sure to read our Guide to Renting a Car in Disney World for more details on what you need to know.

FAQs

Parking at Disney World

Do Disney Parks Have Free Parking?

For most guests visiting the theme parks for the day, no, parking is not free and it costs a flat fee for the day. However, annual passholders, cast members, or registered guests that are staying at a Disney Resort, can park free at the four main theme parks. 

Parking at Disney’s Water Parks is always free for all guests.

Can You Leave a Disney Parking Lot and Come Back?

Yes! Once you pay once, you can come and go as you please. You can even go to another Disney park and leave your car there if you’d like. Just keep a copy of your receipt to show them at the parking booth when you return to prove you already paid.

Can I Park at a Resort to Avoid Parking Fees at Theme Parks?

driving up to Art of Animation Resort parking lot

Parking at a Disney resort to avoid parking fees at the theme parks is against Disney’s policy and generally should be avoided. The only time you might consider this is if you genuinely are utilizing the resort’s facilities (dining or shopping) and will leave the resort within the three-hour rule. 

The odds are though that you don’t have time to dine at one of the resorts, then leave and go to a theme park and be back in time before your 3 hours are up.

Are There Any Parking Discounts?

No, there are no discounts for parking fees at Disney World. Unless you are a cast member, staying at a Disney Resort, or an annual passholder, everyone else has to pay full price.

Does Each Theme Park Have a Different Parking Cost?

No, they all cost the same. Standard Parking is always $25 per day at each theme park. Preferred Parking is $45-$50 per day, depending on the time of year. And Oversized Vehicle Parking is always $30 per day.

What Time Do Parking Lots Open at Disney World?

Disney's Animal Kingdom parking lot entrance

Parking lots typically open an hour before the park’s opening. However, keep in mind, with Early Theme Park Entry, the time starts an hour before the park’s scheduled opening time for the day. 

For example, if the Magic Kingdom opens at 8:00 am and Early Theme Park Entry is at 7:00 am, the parking lots should open around 6:00 am.

What If Your Family Has Multiple Cars?

Parking fees are based on per-vehicle usage at Disney’s four theme parks. So if you have 2 cars in your group, you will be charged for 2 cars.

At the Disney Resorts, things are slightly more lenient and they usually will be ‘OK’ if you have multiple vehicles and will only charge you for one, even though technically they are supposed to charge you for each vehicle.

Can I Park at a Disney Resort Without Staying There?

Yes, you can. You can park at any of the Disney resorts to visit, you just may have to pay the fee depending on the purpose of your visit. 

At busier times, the parking guard could give you a difficult time and want to know why you’re visiting and it’s always best to think of a reason ‘why’ you’re visiting before you attempt to park there. 

If you have an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR) it’s a lot easier and better! There is no charge for standard self-parking if you are visiting to dine at one of the restaurants and not staying overnight.

How Long is the Walk from the Parking Lot to the Theme Parks?

walking to the Animal Kingdom from parking lot

Parking lots to the parks can be a sizable walk to the front of the theme park’s entrance. Sometimes the walk can be 10-15 minutes depending on where your car is parked and how fast you walk.

To help save your feet, utilizing the theme park trams can be incredibly efficient and helpful. They pick up passengers at the end of each row of the parking lot where you parked and bring you near the park entrance.

How Long is the Walk from the Parking Lot to My Resort Hotel Room?

Usually not too long, most of the time it will only take you a couple of minutes. At Value and Moderate Resorts, you normally can park right outside of the building where your room is located. This makes it very easy for loading and unloading your car. 

Deluxe resorts can be a little bit longer of a walk due to their structure and larger parking lots that are almost always in one central location.

Can You Prepay for Parking at Disney World?

No, you can’t pre-pay for your parking. However, you can use a Disney Gift Card to pay for it. To do this, first purchase the Disney Gift Cards at home and then use those when you visit the parks, effectively allowing you to pre-pay your parking.

Do I Need to Register My Car in Advance?

Sunrise at Disney's Animal Kingdom parking lot

There’s no need to let Disney know before your trip that you will be parking, they’ll have plenty of space when you arrive.

Do I Need a Reservation to Park at the Disney World Theme Parks?

No parking reservations are needed. There is more than enough parking at all the Disney World Theme Parks to allow everyone that wants to find a parking space without a problem.

What Time Does Disney Stop Charging for Parking?

Unfortunately, there is no specific time during the day when the parking fee is waived. The price of parking does not fluctuate no matter what time of day you choose to visit the parks.

What Happens if You Leave Your Car at a Disney Theme Park Overnight?

monorail track overhead at Magic Kingdom Parking Lot

Disney closes access to the parking lots shortly after the theme park’s closing time. If your car is still there a couple of hours after the park closes, there is a good chance they will tow your vehicle, so don’t do it!

What if You Have a Car for Only Part of the Stay?

If you only have a car for part of your stay, go to the front desk of your Resort Hotel and explain the situation to the cast member there. They will usually adjust your bill so that you do NOT get charged for the nights you do not have a vehicle.

Can I Park at a Disney World Resort If I Have a Late Check-In?

Yes. Simply explain to the parking guard at the main gate when arriving that you are checking in later that day. They will usually let you in without a problem!

Do You Need a Car at Disney World?

red car in Disney World parking lot

No, getting a car at Disney World is not necessary in most cases. Disney does a tremendous job of providing transportation to guests staying at their resorts. While it might not always be ideal, it is completely self-sufficient and will save you money. 

If you need to go somewhere where Disney transportation can’t take you, you can easily get an Uber to wherever you want to go off or on Disney property. 

If you are staying off-site, just make sure that the hotel you are staying at has good transportation options to and from the parks.

Do AAA Members Get Free Parking at Disney World?

Unfortunately not. There used to be a AAA Diamond Parking privilege at Walt Disney World, but this stopped many years ago. 

row of cars in Disney World parking lot

That wraps up our look at parking at Walt Disney World. I hope that it gave you some good ideas on how to save some money and avoid the parking fees when possible!

If you are thinking about going to Walt Disney World in the coming future, here are some other popular articles where you will find all the info and tips you need to plan your trip.

Your Thoughts

I want to know what you think about our guide for parking at Disney World…

  • Do you think the parking fees are worth it?
  • Do you bring a car to Disney World?

Let us know in the comments section below!

If you enjoyed this article, as always I appreciate it if you’d share it with others via social media.  I work hard at making this website into a useful resource for you and your family to plan your visit to the Disney Parks and I hope it can help you! Thanks 🙂

Meet the Author of Ziggy Knows Disney!