A Guide to Parking at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks

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Walt Disney World has lots of cool transportation options from monorails to buses. But for many, nothing beats the freedom of driving to and from the theme parks. Doing so involves parking at the Disney World theme parks, and there’s some important things you need to know before you go.

  • Parking at each Disney World theme park typically opens one hour before published opening
  • Current parking fees are: $25 per car / Preferred parking is $45 per car
  • Guests of Disney’s hotels and resorts have complimentary parking
  • Once you pay for parking at one park you do not need to pay again if you park hop, so keep your receipt
  • Parking is currently “socially distanced” in which cars are being parked at every other space and then backfilled
  • Parking trams are not currently running
  • Take a picture of the row at which you are parked or use a note taking app
EPCOT Parking Entrance – 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021
EPCOT Parking – 9:45 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021

One of the most important tips we like to share at TouringPlans is to rope drop each park. This means to get to the park well before it opens. The parking lots / parking tolls open about one hour before the published opening time. And with current COVID-19 precautions in place the theme park gates are generally open one hour before published opening time too. This alleviates crowding at the gates.

If you are really hoping to get a head start it may be worth it to consider the Preferred parking, especially at Magic Kingdom. It certainly is a premium charge, but at a park like Magic Kingdom, for example, it can help save time. Magic Kingdom’s arrival experience is the most lengthy of the parks, and the Preferred parking does put you within just a few steps of the Transportation and Ticket Center.

This past Monday I pulled into the EPCOT parking toll at 9:45 a.m. The parking attendants began letting cars through to park right at that time, so 1 hour and 15 minutes before official park opening. It was delightful to be able to park so close to the front entrance.

I was on a work conference call while also trying to get my son in his stroller. I was still struggling when the parking attendants wanted to backfill the socially distant space that was open next to my car. But when they saw I was still in stroller struggle mode they kindly skipped over my space.

EPCOT Entrance – 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021
EPCOT Entrance – 10:00 a.m. Monday, March 1, 2021

The parks do generally open their entrance one hour before published opening time, but not all attractions open that early. My son and I entered EPCOT around 10:15 a.m., when the park was scheduled to open at 11:00 a.m. After strolling around to get some photos we headed to Frozen Ever After. It was about 10:40 a.m. when we walked into the queue. The ride was a walk-on, with no wait at all. We easily could have gone on Frozen Ever After three times before the park actually opened. Granted, this was on a Monday and there was not festival going on.

Frozen Ever After 1040am – Monday, March 1, 2021

A couple of reminders with parking: be sure to have all your valuables with you. Disney is not responsible for any stolen items or damaged property. With there being no parking trams you will need to be prepared to walk to the front entrance. Guests needing assistance, like a wheelchair to get from their vehicle to the front entrance, should let a parking attendant know before parking their vehicle. The lack of parking trams also means there is not a friendly reminder of where you parked your vehicle so be sure to take note. Make sure your vehicle is securely locked, and soon you’re on your way to magical day.

Do you have any other parking tips to share? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Dani

Born and raised in the land of sunshine and dreams come true, Dani is a proud Orlando Native who loves sharing her hometown with others. She's worked in nearly all of Orlando's theme parks, on board Disney Cruise Line, and in hotel management. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @thisfloridalife

11 thoughts on “A Guide to Parking at the Walt Disney World Theme Parks

  • March 5, 2021 at 3:42 pm
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    One thing I noticed on my recent stay (first two weeks of Feb) was that after 3pm or so (depending on the park) you could pull right into the preferred parking and score a really great spot! This was really handing for park-hopping, and for quickly swinging to a park at the end of the night to grab dinner.

    Reply
  • March 6, 2021 at 10:03 am
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    I am 100% for COVID protection measures but wonder why parking trams still do not operate. It’s an entirely outdoor ride in open-air vehicles. Easy to block off every other row, or install plexiglas barriers like they’ve done at so many rides. Limit one group per row. My partner has mobility issues and the trams were sorely missed during our visit last October.

    Reply
    • March 26, 2021 at 11:22 pm
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      Agree! Another blog said it was because of to much crowding at the tram stops.

      Reply
  • March 19, 2021 at 10:42 am
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    Are there parking discounts for DVC or Annual Pass Holders?

    Reply
    • March 19, 2021 at 12:47 pm
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      There is not currently a discount for DVC or AP holders. I believe this is because you received complimentary parking when staying at a DVC / Disney resort, and most levels of annual passes receive complimentary parking.

      Reply
    • April 22, 2021 at 9:54 pm
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      If you are an AP, you get a discount on preferred parking. You pay the difference between preferred parking and the regular parking rate. I do it all the time.

      Reply
    • April 23, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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      AP parking is free.

      Reply
  • April 2, 2021 at 2:26 pm
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    We plan on park hopping next week. Staying off property so we will be driving and parking. Do we have to pay for parking at our second park in addition to the first? Trying to decide how to hop…

    Reply
    • April 2, 2021 at 2:59 pm
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      Sorry read the top that answers my question ‍♀️

      Reply
  • May 7, 2021 at 10:47 am
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    I will visit magic Kingdom on May 23rd, will the trams be in operation by then?

    Reply
    • May 7, 2021 at 10:56 am
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      We haven’t received any timeline for the reopening of tram service, and so I’d plan accordingly for no tram service. Magic Kingdom is one parking lot where it may actually make sense to pay the uncharge for preferred parking while trams are not running, as it does feel like a very, very long walk from some parts of the parking lot.

      Reply

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