FAQ: Parking a Car at Walt Disney World

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Among the many transportation options at Walt Disney World (Skyliner, buses, monorails, etc.) is the personal car. By this I mean a car that you drive yourself, either your own vehicle or a rental car. Obviously, if you have a car with you, you’re going to have to park it. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about this topic.

Take a photo of your parking lot row number!

Can I park my car at my resort?

Yes. There is ample parking for all guests registered for stays at Disney resort hotels. Many guests drive to Walt Disney World from their homes or rent cars at Orlando International Airport (or other locations) to use during their vacations.

Are there handicapped parking areas at the Disney hotels?

Yes. Every Disney World hotel has ADA-compliant designated parking areas near the front of the guest parking lots. Valid disability parking permits are required for these areas. Guests with questions about accommodations for disabled guests should contact Disney directly at (407) 560-2547 or email disability.services@disneyparks.com.

Is there a fee to park my car at my Disney World hotel?

Yes, with a few exceptions.

If you are staying at a Disney-owned hotel at Walt Disney World, the standard overnight parking rates are:

  • Value Resorts: $15 per night
  • Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
  • Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per night

Note: Parking is free for guests staying at the campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness resort. Each campsite has free parking for one vehicle.

EPCOT lot as seen from the monorail.

What are the exceptions?

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members will not incur a fee for standard overnight parking at any DVC resort, regardless of how they’re paying for the their room (with points or with cash).

DVC members will also not incur a fee if they’re staying at a non-DVC resort at Walt Disney World but pay with DVC points.

DVC members staying at a non-DVC resort at Walt Disney World and paying with cash will be subject to the same parking fees as regular overnight guests.

Do I need to register my car in advance?

No. There is no need to tell Disney in advance that you’ll be using a car and parking on property. There is no mechanism with which to pre-register.

When you drive up to your resort the first time, you will need to identify yourself to the cast member at the guard gate. Mention that you are checking in to the resort. The cast member will ask you if you will be keeping a car on site. There is nothing to do in advance of your arrival.

How do I pay for parking at the hotel? What can I use to pay the resort parking fee?

Once you identify yourself to the guard at the front gate as a resort guest with a car, this information will be added to your overall bill at the resort. You do not (and cannot) pay at the gate itself.

You can pay your resort bill as you would pay most bills, with cash, debit card, or credit card.

We’re arriving at Walt Disney World early, but hotel check-in isn’t until late in the afternoon. Can I still park my car at the resort?

Yes. Just tell the guard at the gate that you have a reservation that starts that day and you’ll be allowed to park on site.

However, depending on which hotel you’re staying at, it’s likely that you’ll end up moving your car after you get your room assignment. For example, some sections of Disney’s Saratoga Springs resort are nearly half a mile away from other sections. You will eventually want to keep your car close to your actual room.

The theme park lots have named sub-sections.

I will only have a car with me during part of my stay at Walt Disney World. Do I have to pay the parking fee for every night?

Generally not. If, for example, you’ll only have a rental car for a portion of your trip, go to the concierge desk at the resort and explain the situation. They will typically adjust your bill so that you are only assessed the parking fee for nights that you have a vehicle.

How far is the walk from my parking spot to my hotel room?

This very much depends on your hotel.

The value and moderate hotels, plus Old Key West and Saratoga Springs, are encircled with parking lots. At these resorts, barring any unexpected overcrowding, you should be able to park your car within a 2 minute walk to your hotel building.

The deluxe resorts are another story entirely. These hotels typically have just one large parking lot set at a distance from the main hotel entrance. The far reaches of the Grand Floridian parking lot, for example, are about 0.15 miles from the hotel entrance and about 0.35 miles from the most distant hotel rooms. In August, that can feel like quite a haul.

Can I park my car at a different Walt Disney World hotel?

Many guests have occasion to visit hotels at Walt Disney World other than the one where they’re staying (on site or off). In some instances, you will be able to park at a Disney hotel other than your own. If, for example, you are staying at Coronado Springs and have a dining reservation at Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will be able to park there. At the resort entrance gate, you’ll tell the cast member guard that you have a dining reservation and they will direct you to the best area to park.

You will also likely be allowed to park at a different hotel if you’re visiting a guest there. Be prepared to have the guest’s name and room number on hand.

Beyond that, it’s up to the discretion of the guard at the gate whether to let you park.

The odds are good that they’ll let you in if you want to park at, say, Port Orleans French Quarter to buy some of the beignet mix sold in the gift shop. The odds are high that your request to park will be denied if you just want to shop or generally explore at a resort that’s within walking distance of a theme park or that has easy monorail or Skyliner access to a theme park. You should not expect to park at, for example, the Contemporary or Beach Club, unless you have a confirmed dining reservation.

So I can’t visit the Beach Club unless I’m staying there?

Noooooo. You’re welcome to go to any WDW resort to shop or enjoy the grounds, regardless of where you’re staying, but you might not be able to PARK there without a hotel stay or dining reservation. You’re welcome to walk or use any of Disney’s free transportation options to get there; you just won’t be able to drive.

Entrance gate for Magic Kingdom parking

Why is that?

The resort parking lots are not large enough to accommodate all the guests who want to circumvent the theme park lots. They need a way to control parking lot capacity.

If I am able to park at a different hotel, is there a fee?

No. Day visitors are not charged to park at the Disney World hotels. If you’re parking at a hotel in order to visit an on-site restaurant for a few hours, there is no fee.

I have an electric vehicle, is there anywhere to charge it at my hotel?

There are currently three WDW resort hotels equipped with electric vehicle charging stations. They are:

  • Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort: 6 spaces in general parking near ADA spaces
  • Disney’s Riviera Resort: 2 spaces in general parking near ADA spaces
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge: 2 spaces in general parking near ADA spaces

Charging stations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Is valet parking available at the Disney hotels?

Yes. Valet parking is available for $33 per night, including tax, plus tips, at the WDW deluxe resorts including Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Riviera Resort, Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk Resort, Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Note: The valet parking service was discontinued during much of the COVID-19 pandemic, but service is scheduled to resume by June 7, 2021, at all the resorts where it was previously available.

I’m traveling with a large party and we’ll have more than one car with us. Can we park them all at our hotel?

It’s up to the discretion of the staff at the resort, but this is generally not a problem. Just let the front desk know.

No word on whether this guy had to pay to park at Art of Animation resort.

Can I park my car at the Disney theme parks?

Yes. There are massive parking lots at all the Walt Disney World theme parks. However, one thing to note about Magic Kingdom parking is that the lot for this park is actually at the Transportation and Ticket Center. Once you park your car there, you’ll have to take the monorail or a ferry boat to get to the park itself. Because of this, you should add on 20-30 minutes to the time you think it will take to get to the park.

Is there a fee to park at the theme parks?

Um, yep.

Standard parking for a car or motorcycle is currently $25 per day at the theme parks. Oversized vehicle parking (campers, RVs, limos, etc.) is $30 per day at the theme parks.

If you want to get a little closer to the action, you can buy access to a preferred parking area for $45-50 per day. (There are seasonal variations.) If you’re among the first guests to arrive at a theme park in the morning, you may find that the preferred area is close to equidistant from the front gate as the first few rows of regular parking.

Note: This fee is per vehicle, not per person.

Do I need a reservation to park at the Disney World theme parks?

No. You don’t need a parking reservation per se, but you do need a theme park reservation (Park Pass). As you drive up to the theme park gates, the parking attendant may ask you if you have a theme park reservation.

Any tips on finding my car at the end of the day?

Each of the WDW theme parks is subdivided into sections. For example, at Magic Kingdom, these areas are named for animated characters. Each row of the parking lot is also numbered. You might find that you’ve parked in Simba Section Row 84. WRITE THIS DOWN. Trust me, at the end of the day, when it’s dark and you’re sweaty and exhausted from carrying a sleeping preschooler for miles, you will not remember the parking row number you last encountered at rope drop.

Better yet, take photos of your parking location, both the section and row number, as well as any nearby landmarks such as fences or lampposts. And if you’ve parked a rental car, also take photos of car and the license plate number.

If you’re in the general vicinity of where you think your car was, you and try clicking the key fob to activate the horn. There are also some smartphone apps that help record a car’s location, or you could place an electronic device such as a Tile or Apple Air Tag in the car to help you locate it.

Are there any ways to get around paying a fee for parking at the theme parks?

Good news, parking at the theme parks is free for guests of the Disney World resort hotels and for Disney World annual passholders.

What forms of ID do I have to have to take advantage of these fee parking options?

Guests staying at a WDW hotel will have their room key, MagicBand, or MagicMobile screen scanned at the gate.

Annual passholders can show their pass, a linked MagicBand, or MagicMobile screen. Passholders will also likely be asked to show a photo ID such as a driver’s license to prove that they are the actual owner of the pass.

How long a walk is it from my theme park parking spot to the park’s front gate?

There is HUGE variability in this depending on what time of year and what time of day you arrive. If you’re first to arrive for day during a low-crowd day, you could be parked just a hundred feet or so from the park’s front gate. If you arrive late in the day on July 4, you could be parked half a mile away. (These are pre-COVID, full capacity estimates.)

Are there any ways to get around without walking that far?

Under normal circumstances, those parked in the outer reaches of the lots will have the option to take a tram from their parking zone to the front gate. During COVID, the parking lot tram service has been suspended.

Is there handicapped parking at the theme parks?

Yes. Guests with a valid disability parking permit may follow the signs to the parking locations near the front of each theme park lot.

I have an electric vehicle. Is there anywhere to charge it at the theme parks?

Yes. There are a few charging stations at each of the WDW theme parks.

  • Magic Kingdom Park: 5 spaces total. One space at the front of the Medical Parking Lot and 4 spaces at the front of the Zurg Parking Lot
  • EPCOT: 4 spaces at the front of the Journey Parking Lot
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: 4 spaces in the Medical Parking Lot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 4 spaces at the front of the Mickey Parking Lot

To use this service, you will need a credit card or a pre-ordered ChargePoint card—available at chargepoint.com. The cost to charge at these stations is $0.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. Charging will stop once the vehicle’s battery is fully charged. ChargePoint will alert owners when their car is ready.

Again, the charging stations are first-come, first-served.

If I pay for parking at the hotels and/or theme parks, can I leave and come back, or do I have to pay again every time?

Yes. Your parking fee is valid for a full day at any of the theme parks in any combination. You may enter and leave an individual theme park as often as you like. If you have a park hopper ticket you can also park at a different theme park during the day without paying the parking fee twice.

Can I park at one theme park and then take Disney transportation to a different theme park?

Yes. If you’re park hopping, in many cases it can be more time efficient to take Disney’s transportation system from one theme to another rather than moving your car. This is particularly true if you’re hopping between EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios or vice versa. Feel free to park at Hollywood Studios and take the boat or Skyliner to EPCOT, or vice versa.

Is there parking at Disney Springs? Is there a fee to park at Disney Springs?

Yes, Disney Springs has several large parking areas, all named for fruits. Orlando locals tend to be passionate about their preference for the Orange Garage vs the Lime Garage at Disney Springs. Non-locals just want to park wherever is closest.

Parking at Disney Springs is free.

There are electric car charging stations at Disney Springs: Nine spaces total – 3 on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage, 3 on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage, and 3 spaces on the 3rd floor of the Grapefruit Garage.

Why wouldn’t I just park for free at Disney Springs all the time instead of paying for parking at my hotel or the theme parks?

You’d think this might work, but it usually doesn’t. First, there is no overnight parking allowed at Disney Springs, so that eliminates this as an alternative to parking for hotel stays. Second, the Disney bus transportation from the theme parks to Disney Springs does not begin until late in the day and there is typically no direct service from Disney Springs to the theme parks. You could, theoretically, park at Disney Springs in the morning, then walk to the Saratoga Springs resort, and then grab a bus to a theme park, but most folks would rather pay the parking fee than waste valuable park touring time.

Is there parking at the Disney water parks? Is there a fee to park at the water parks?

Yes. There is parking at both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. There is no fee to park at either location.

Have any additional questions about parking at Disney? Let us know in the comments.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

5 thoughts on “FAQ: Parking a Car at Walt Disney World

  • June 6, 2021 at 2:25 pm
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    “Disney bus transportation to/from the theme parks to Disney Springs does not begin until late in the day. ” I believe Disney does NOT offer bus transportation FROM DS to any park, only TO DS from the parks (and that was pre-Covid). That would have been a way to avoid paying parking fees to go to a theme park for off-site guests. Currently, buses to HS only come from hotels, not the parks. I’m not sure that the late-day park-to-DS buses have restarted.

    Reply
    • June 6, 2021 at 2:40 pm
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      Brain freeze. Sorry. Post is updated. Thank you for the comment.

      Reply
      • June 6, 2021 at 6:48 pm
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        Thanks for the quick update.

  • June 7, 2021 at 4:18 pm
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    Nice to see this all in one place, thanks Erin. A couple notes:

    -You note that parking is free at Fort Wilderness campsites, but what about the cabins? Each cabin has a parking spot right in front of it; do they charge you for using it?

    -The wording of the ‘resort parking exceptions’ makes it sound like you have to be a DVC member to have parking comped. As established in my comment exchange with Maggie on Shannon’s “FAQ about Extra Fees” article last week, parking is comped if your resort stay was booked with DVC points *whether or not* you yourself are a DVC member. So I think the parking fee exceptions are really:
    -Anyone whose resort booking was paid for with DVC points
    -DVC members paying cash to stay at a DVC resort

    -In addition to the values/moderates/OKW/SSR, Kidani Village’s self parking is distributed throughout the resort.

    -Old Key West and Saratoga Springs have bigger parking lots at the lobby/restaurant/feature pool complex. If you’re staying in the far reaches of the resort, driving yourself over can be much easier than waiting on a bus or making a LONG walk.

    -In addition to the monorail and ferry boat, you can also take a bus between the TTC and MK at peak times. It’s less exciting than the other two, but it’s faster.

    Reply
  • June 8, 2021 at 11:50 am
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    WDWNT just posted photos of CMs setting up the poles and chains for Epcot’s parking lot tram queue this morning, so the trams may finally return soon.

    Reply

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