Sadly, one of the best perks about staying on site at a Walt Disney Resort Hotel is no longer available. Beginning this past Wednesday (3/21/2018), Walt Disney World will now charge their resort guests an overnight parking fee. This fee varies, based on what type of resort you are staying at:
- Value resorts will charge $13/night
- Moderate resorts will charge $19/night
- Deluxe resorts will charge $24/night
If you booked your trip PRIOR to 3/21, then you will NOT be charged these parking fees. Only guests that book on 3/21 or after will be subject to them. Also, if you are a DVC owner and staying at a DVC resort (either paying out of pocket or with points), you will also NOT be charged. The other exemption is campsites at the Fort Wilderness Campground. Cabin guests at Fort Wilderness Resort WILL be charged for parking. Annual pass holders will also have to pay the new overnight parking fees.
Parking fees are not unheard of in the travel industry. In fact, it is somewhat refreshing to find a hotel or resort that does NOT charge parking fees. Some resorts will disguise parking fees as “resort fees,” and also lump perks such as internet access, fitness center, “complimentary” breakfast, and a daily newspaper in with them. Believe it or not, Disney has surveyed the possibility of introducing “resort fees” in the past. I’m guessing the responses were overwhelming negative, since they have gone nearly 50 years without charging any kind of resort or parking fee.
The response has been mostly negative since Disney announced the plan to implement overnight parking fees at their resorts on March 14th. Guests are rightfully upset, as this has been a great incentive to stay on site versus off site for many years. Actually, it was one of the few monetary benefits of staying at a Disney Resort. Yes, there are many perks of staying on site, I have them all laid out HERE, but this was one that saved you money over a typical off site resort or hotel. A week long vacation will now cost you an additional $91-$168, depending on where you stay. The higher price being equivalent to the cost of the Memory Maker, I’d much rather spend that money on photos than parking my vehicle.
What can you do about it? Not much. Disney does extensive market research and analysis before implementing any kind of new policy such as this. In all honesty, after reading various posts about reactions to the new fees, most people shrug it off and say, “All the other resorts charge fees.” So, even though there is a lot of negative feedback, people are still booking their trips. The resorts are still selling out. Disney is not hurting at all.
But, if you are someone who budgets and those parking fees make a big difference in your planning, then there are really only a couple of things that you can do:
- Utilize Disney transportation. If you fly to Walt Disney Resort and rent a car for the convenience, maybe try to skip that option and utilize one of the few only remaining monetary perks left: Disney’s Magical Express. Disney will provide transportation for you between Orlando’s MCO Airport and your Walt Disney World Resort. Once you are on property, use the Disney buses, monorail, or boats to get to where you need to be. Better yet, you can book a ride in one of the new Minnie Vans! Yes, those do incur a small fee, but nothing compared to the cost to rent a car and then park it every day. This is a great option if you have an early breakfast reservation at a different resort.
- Stay off site. I know some people shudder at the thought of leaving the Disney Bubble, but there are some great resort options out there. I’m currently working on a list of local resorts that do not charge resort or parking fees and provide complimentary transportation to the Disney parks. Some of these resorts even include perks such as complimentary breakfast. Those hotels and resorts outside of the Disney Bubble know they have to compete with the on site perks, so they are doing what they can to get your business. Don’t be afraid to take a look at what they have to offer!
As a travel agent, I have personally had someone tell me that it was time for them to start vacationing elsewhere as a result of this new policy. This is not good news for agencies that book exclusively Disney Resorts at Disney Destinations. Thankfully, Kingdom Destinations is a full service travel agency, and I am more than happy to take a look at those off site resorts for you and help you weigh the pros and cons of an offsite stay versus an onsite stay.
If you have not yet booked your upcoming Disney Vacation, please feel free to reach out for a free, no obligation quote. My services are always free for you to use, even if you stay off site. 🙂
Just click HERE to fill out a quote form, and I will be in touch with you shortly!