3 Ways To Avoid The Cost For Parking At Disney World

3 Ways To Avoid Cost For Parking At Disney World

Have you ever noticed how the cost for parking at Disney World seems to increase almost every year? Many times, I have experienced these changes and wondered if there were anything my family and I could do to avoid paying for parking.

In fact, living in Central Florida near Disney’s theme parks has made it more convenient for me to discover any tips and methods that others living out-of-state may not know about.

To avoid the cost for parking at Disney World you can park in the guest parking lot at Disney’s Boardwalk, park at Disney Springs and take a bus to a theme park, or ride with a cast member into Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios or Animal Kingdom.

As a Florida resident, I’ve had the time to explore Disney’s properties to see if there are other possibilities when it comes to parking at no additional charge. Keep in mind, parking at Disney World’s theme parks is not included in your park admission.

In fact, it is a separate amount that you must pay and now costs $25 per day for standard parking. Preferred parking is up to $45 for non-peak season and $50 during peak season. If you have an oversized vehicle, like a camper, parking costs $50. On the other hand, if you purchase an annual pass, you could avoid paying the costs for parking altogether.

7 Best Theme Parks In Orlando
7 Best Theme Parks In Orlando

3 Ways To Avoid The Cost For Parking At Disney World

Many people may believe it’s impossible to avoid the cost for parking at Disney World, but I’m here to tell you that my family and I have discovered some tips that has helped us to avoid paying for parking. So, before I share some of these tips, let us consider some important things:

Are You A Local Resident

There are many great benefits to living in the Central Florida area that I found to be helpful when it comes to avoiding the cost for parking at Disney World. One of these benefits are knowing people who work for Disney.

Disney Cast Members can get their friends or relatives into the parks using their “Main Gate Pass.” Not only can they get them into the parks, but they can also help them park for free. This technique has been very helpful for us. All you need to do is decide on a time and place to meet. Then, if riding separately, you can follow right behind the cast member’s vehicle into the parking area.

When you arrive at the gate, the cast member in the first vehicle needs to show his or her Disney ID and inform the employee who is working, of the other vehicle right behind them. After seeing their Disney ID, they will just simply wave both vehicles right on through.

Insider Tip

Keep in mind, when using the Cast Member’s ID to gain access to free parking at one location, you can only park again for free at another location if the cast member is still with you. If you choose to park hop without the cast member, you may be asked to pay at the next park.

The best thing to do is to keep your vehicle parked at one location and take advantage of the other ways of transportation, like the Monorail System or the Disney buses.

Are You Willing To Do Some Extra Walking

Another great benefit to living near the Disney attractions, have been the ability to explore the Disney Properties as often as I could. I have learned that if you visit Disney’s Boardwalk as a guest, not staying at the resorts, you can park for free.

All you need to do is show your ID to the security guard, who then directs you to the guest parking area. Keep in mind, if you are going to Epcot, there is a back entrance that is connected to Boardwalk located around the lake. That entrance leads you in by the France pavilion over at the countries in Epcot.

Also, if you feel like spending some extra time sightseeing around Disney’s Boardwalk, you also have the option of riding bikes around the lake, instead of just walking. However, there is a fee for renting the bikes.

If you want to leave Boardwalk and head over to any of the other theme parks, there are Disney Buses located in the front of the main entrance of Boardwalk that guests can take to any of the four main theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom).

Insider Tip

If you walk around Disney’s Boardwalk at nighttime during the Epcot’s firework display, you will be able to enjoy the view from the bridge. Remember to find out what time the fireworks show begins.

Are You Coming In From Out Of Town

A great option to avoid the cost for parking at Disney World is to park in the garages at Disney Springs and then take a bus over to any of the theme parks. Learn where to park at Disney Springs in my other article about Disney Springs parking.

The good news is that you can park there all day and don’t have to worry about your car being towed. However, the downside to doing this is that it’s time consuming. It also can become tiring from all the walking and waiting around for the busses.

Insider Tip

Make sure to remember where you parked your vehicle, because there are several different garages that have been built. I usually send myself a text message or take a quick picture with my cellphone of the parking space, including the name of the garage.

Are You Planning Multiple Visits To Walt Disney World

If your planning several trips to Disney, then you should consider becoming a passholder.  Annual passholders, premium passholders and premier passholders, include free parking to all the Disney theme parks.

In fact, these benefits are a good way to save money by simply avoiding the cost for parking at Disney World. If you are planning on multiple trips to Disney World, then you will need to read my related articles:

Do You Have To Pay For Parking At Each Disney Park

If you have a multi park pass, it allows you to park at either Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, or Animal Kingdom. Keep in mind, that you only need to purchase one parking pass and you can drive to another park, using that same pass.

Don’t forget to keep the parking slip receipt, so you can show the parking attendant at the next park the proof that you already paid for parking.

Insider Tip

If you are planning on visiting Magic Kingdom or Epcot, it’s a good idea to check the park hours and park your vehicle at the theme park that is open the latest. By doing this the tram system will still be operating allowing you to be able to still ride the tram to your vehicle in case your too tired to walk.

How Do You Pay For Parking At Disney World

When it comes to paying for parking at any of the theme parks, all you need to do is drive up to the booth at the main entrance of the parking lot and wait for a Disney cast member to come over and great you with a smile.

Then, they will ask you how you would like to park either, standard or preferred. You can pay with cash or debit/credit card. Once you pay, the attendant will give you a receipt that you can put on your dashboard. Once you leave the booth, there are signs and parking attendants that will direct you to where you need to park.

My Related Travel Articles:

Insider Tip

Keep in mind, there is a separate parking area for those with disabilities. Also, there are complimentary wheelchairs located near the parking area, that you can use until you get inside the park. If there are no wheelchairs visible, then look for a Disney Cast Member who can assist you.

Remember, when you enter the theme park, you must exchange that wheelchair for another one, because that wheelchair, usually with a long pole, is designed for helping guests around the parking areas only.

Is Preferred Parking Worth It

In my opinion, I have noticed that preferred parking is not worth it. If you arrive early enough, you will already be parking close to where the preferred parking is, so walking to the front of the park won’t take as long. Even if you arrive later in the day, Disney has trams that you can ride on to go to the front where the ticket centers are.

If you’re already considering paying for preferred parking, I would choose to pay for Magic Kingdom, because the parking lot is the largest out of all four theme parks. There is a lot more walking from the parking area to the Transportation and Ticket Center. From there you still must ride the Monorail or the Ferry over to the Magic Kingdom.

However, one of the biggest benefits to paying for preferred parking, particularly at the Magic Kingdom, is at night when you are leaving the park.

After a long day of walking and riding the attractions, you will find yourself extremely exhausted, especially, when you have little ones to attend to. When my family and I go to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, or Animal Kingdom we just walk back to our car, because it is not too far of a walk.

Insider Tip

Some people may find that Preferred Parking is worth it, because they may have large strollers or a lot of bags and other items, that may be too hard for them to carry on the tram. So, parking closer to the front maybe be more convenient for them.

Final Thoughts

Living in the Central Florida area has been such a great blessing for me and my family. There have been many great benefits, including the ability to visit theme parks as often as we can.

Over the years, I’ve had so much time to research Disney’s attractions and discover important information that others may not know about, like how to avoid paying costs for parking at Disney World.

So, if your planning to take a vacation to Disney anytime soon, then don’t forget these tips on how to avoid the cost for parking at Disney World. Remember to always plan ahead, so that you may experience, what Disney calls, “A Magical Moment.”

Drew Thomas

Drew Thomas is the founder of Visit Orlando With Kids and loves going to theme parks with his family. Every year he has annual passes to all Florida's theme parks and loves to share tips and tricks that he has learned over the 35 years living in Orlando.

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