Updated for 2017!
Disney World now offers a preferred parking program, allowing theme park visitors to get a closer parking spot at entrances to all four of their theme parks. Other theme parks in Orlando have charged for preferred parking for years now. (The following are updated prices as current as 2016) Regular car parking at Universal Studio’s garage is $20, with a preferred parking upgrade cost of $30(total). Universal offers valet parking ranging from $20 to $50. SeaWorld parking is $18, with a preferred parking upgrade cost of $23(total).
These are the 2017 prices for parking at Walt Disney World:
- Preferred parking: car or motorcycle – $35 per day
- Standard parking: car or motorcycle – $20 per day
- Shuttle, Limo, Camper, Trailer or RV – $22 per day
- Bus or Tractor Trailer – $25 per day
So do you need to splurge on the up-charge for closer parking or take your chances just parking in the back?
How to Get It
By paying $15 on top of the regular parking fee, you will be allowed to pull into designed areas of currently existing Disney parking lots. Since the current parking fee for automobiles is $20, the preferred-parking total then becomes $35.
If you stay in Disney resort hotels, you have parking fees included in your room rate. You will simply need to pay $15 for the closer preferred parking place.
Parking fees are included in the cost of an annual pass. If you are an Annual Pass holder, you will have to pay $15 for the closer preferred spots as well.
Do You Need It?
How close do you need to park to the theme park entrances? Are you in rush to get there or get back home?
The first thing I would ask myself would be if there was any reason I couldn’t just park out further in the lot. I realize not everyone who has physical issues will have a handicapped sticker, so it may depend on your circumstances on the day/s you decide to pay for closer parking.
I may be a cheapskate, but I am not all that big a stranger to paying for extra vacation benefits. I have paid the up-charge to park in Universal’s preferred parking garage. While owning a perfectly good stroller, long ago I paid to rent a Disney double stroller on multiple days during multiple trips. I know if I was parking today at Magic Kingdom, I don’t have any reason to pay for an upgrade in order to cut some steps out of my day. That’s not to say I might not have reason in years to come.
The current trend in Disney vacationing is to pay for upgrades and extras. Extra time in the parks, special parties and t-shirts, and now closer parking may one day be on your list of Disney World extravagances. I sure hope it’s not on MY list anytime soon, but I try to never say never. On the day I need to pay for the parking upgrade, I may have to pull out my toll road roll of quarters and hope for the best.
If you do a lot of walking in the heat of the day, you certainly may need this information:
Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you debating the merits of closer parking…
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Disney’s Cheapskate Princess
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Amanda Major is the creator of cheapskateprincess.com. She remembers her first visit to Magic Kingdom like it was yesterday, because she had a ham sandwich tucked in her shorts pocket. The whole family snuck in their lunch; you can’t make that kinda stuff up. 40 years worth of trips to Orlando later, she is still trying to save money on vacations.
Amanda is a Disney Vacation Club Member and Annual Pass holder. Her amazing husband, band director Carl Major, plus three teen children and two dogs keep her busy. Amanda teaches Leadership to high school seniors in the almost-coastal town of Foley, Alabama. Read about her cheapskating local vacations with this link. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, walking somewhere, or paddling a kayak. Life is indeed a blast.
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