Disney World Preferred Parking: Do You Need It?

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preferred parking at Disney World

Updated for 2018!

Disney World rolled out a preferred parking program back in 2016, 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. Regular car parking at Universal Studio’s garage is $20, with a preferred “Prime Parking” upgrade cost of $30(total). Universal offers valet parking ranging from $20 to $50 depending on how long you park your car. SeaWorld parking is $18, with a preferred parking upgrade cost of $23(total).

How much does Disney charge for parking and do you need to splurge on the up-charge for closer parking or take your chances just parking in the back?

Read – Understanding Disney Park Closure Phases: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

These are 2019 prices for parking at Walt Disney World:

Disney World preferred parking price, disney parking fee, save money at Disney World tips

How to Get It

By paying $25 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 $25, the preferred-parking total then becomes $25.

If you stay in Disney resort hotels, you have parking fees included in your room rate. You will simply need to pay the extra $25 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 $25 for the closer preferred spots as well.

Disney World preferred parking cost

Disney preferred parking lots

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 as I get older.

Read – Understanding Disney World Bus Transportation: A Cheapskate Princess Guide

Preferred Parking cost Disney World

You will catch the same tram everyone else rides on at all the parks, and you’ll be the first stop on the way to your car at the end of the day. This might save 3-5 minutes of riding at the end of the day. If you want to skip the tram and walk straight to the parks, this is still more walking you’ll have add to your total day’s walk. Is this worth $25? It might be if you are traveling with elderly friends and family, or pushing a big stroller, maybe…

The current trend in Disney vacationing is to pay for upgrades and extras, including extra time in the parks, special parties and t-shirts. Closer parking may one day be on your list of Disney World extravagances. 


Our overall thought is a no on the parking upgrade fee. If you paid for it and love it, let us know in the comments. 

If you do a lot of walking in the heat of the day, you certainly may need this information:

Read: How to Beat the Disney Rash!

Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you debating the merits of closer parking…

To see more of our Cheapskating Guides, use this link.

Amanda, Disney’s Cheapskate Princess


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