How To Avoid Paying Overnight Parking Fees at Disney World

Posted in Disney World
on March 14, 2018

If you click a link in this post and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure here.

Disney recently announced that they will begin charging a parking fee of up to $24 per night at all of their Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

But don’t fear! There are four ways around paying the new Disney World resort parking fee so it might not ever affect you. Read on to learn all of my suggested ways to avoid parking fees at Disney World.

Click here if you want information about parking at the Disney World theme parks and Disney Springs.

Disney World Resort Parking Fee Details

Parking fees have long been standard practice at many Orlando resorts, including the Swan and Dolphin and Universal resorts. While I am sad that the trend continues at Disney, I’ll show you a few ways you can avoid the fee below.

If you book a Disney World resort reservation after March 21st, 2018, you will have to pay a nightly fee if you are parking a car at the resort.

The fee depends on the category of the resort at which you stay. Here are the fees:

  • Value Resorts: $13/night (increases to $15 in 2020)
  • Moderate Resorts: $19/night (increases to $20 in 2020)
  • Deluxe Resorts: $24/night (increases to $25 in 2020)

Parking fees include tax and are charged to your room at checkout.

There is no fee to park a vehicle at a campsite at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. And if you are staying at a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property on points, there is no parking fee.

How To Avoid The Resort Parking Fee

All about the NEW resort parking fee at Walt Disney World + 3 ideas for avoiding it altogether! #disneyworld #familytravel

Disney’s Magical Express

Here are four ways you can avoid paying the nightly parking fee (I’ll describe each in more detail below):

  • Rent DVC points and stay at a Deluxe Resort for up to 70% off
  • Fly to Orlando and take advantage of Disney’s free transportation
  • Use Uber or Lyft to venture off-property
  • Stay at a campsite at Fort Wilderness

Rent DVC Points

All about the NEW resort parking fee at Walt Disney World + 3 ideas for avoiding it altogether! #disneyworld #familytravel

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

First, one of my top suggestions for saving money on a Disney World vacation is to rent DVC points for stays at Disney’s amazing Deluxe Resorts.

Read all about the process of renting DVC points in this post. I’ve stayed at Disney World on rented points more times than I can count so trust me, it isn’t too good to be true!

Guests who are staying at Disney Vacation Club resorts on rented points are NOT being charged a nightly parking fee. This is because part of DVC annual dues are already allocated to parking lot maintenance.

Fly To MCO and Take Disney Transportation

All about the NEW resort parking fee at Walt Disney World + 3 ideas for avoiding it altogether! #disneyworld #familytravel

My second recommendation is to fly to Orlando International Airport (MCO) and take advantage of free Disney transportation to get around. You might be surprised at how affordable it is to fly your family to MCO, especially if you use points and miles to help pay for the trip!

I regularly fly to Disney World for almost free thanks to the Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. I’ve earned huge signup bonuses that have taken my whole family to Florida and back many times. Learn all about flying to Disney World for practically free on Southwest in this post. 

If flying Southwest isn’t practical for you, you can earn free points and miles with lots of other airlines. Or you can find a cheap fare with one of the many low-budget airlines that now fly into MCO.

Once you arrive, you can take Disney’s Magical Express to your resort from the airport and use Disney transportation to get around. We never rent a car when we are staying on Disney property because of the excellent complimentary transportation. And now no car = no parking fee!

Use Uber & Lyft To Get Around

You might think you need a rental car to go off-property (such as to visit those other theme parks down the road) but that’s not necessarily true. 

Rideshares Uber and Lyft make it easy and cheap to venture off of Disney property for a few days. If you use them instead of renting a car you’ll avoid the nightly parking fee and save money on a rental car. Get the lowdown on using Uber and Lyft in Orlando in this post. 

Try Camping at Fort Wilderness

All about the NEW resort parking fee at Walt Disney World + 3 ideas for avoiding it altogether! #disneyworld #familytravel

My campsite at Disney’s Fort Wilderness

I tried out camping at Fort Wilderness last month and I had a blast! You can get all of the details about Disney’s incredible campground in this post. 

There is now an added perk to camping at Fort Wilderness – no parking fee! You can have up to 10 guests stay at one campsite and sites start at $60 per night.

Fort Wilderness is the nicest campground I’ve ever seen, but it is still camping. So if you don’t mind roughing it a bit you can stay on Disney property for as low as $6 per person per night.

I hope this post gave you some insight into how the new Disney World resort parking fees work and some ideas for avoiding them.

Any questions? Leave a comment below or join the conversation in my private Facebook group for my Disney site, The Budget Mouse!

14 Comments

  • Ed

    My wife and I rented a car from Clearwater FL for a stay a The Poly. After going through the Gate, dropped off wife and bags at Poly, I turned in my rental car at Disney Car Service and took Disney trans back to Poly. On checkout we were charged parking for every night of our stay. At checkout I told my story and Disney credited my bill.

    August 4, 2019 at 9:58 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Oh good I am so glad they made it right for you, Ed. Sorry you had to deal with the hassle though.

      August 5, 2019 at 6:38 am Reply
  • SistaSledge

    @JustMe123 I have driven many times thru the gate and have used multiple reasons…”I am dropping off” or “I am picking up my son/daughter/nephew…”, I have even said “I am just here to get some (whatever) from the food court”. Then when I am charged for parking I go to the front desk after I get my final bill the morning I leave and tell them I was dropped off and didn’t park. They no longer give out the paper parking permits. They stopped that a year before they announced their parking fees.
    Sorry, I know it sounds petty…but Disney OWNS all that property outright and do not have to pay to lease it so this is just greed on their part. I know they were fighting with the Orange/Osceola county tax collector because their property tax bill was “unacceptable” to Disney and didn’t want to pay the increase. Maybe that’s their way of sticking it to their “guests” when the county sticks it them greedy ******.

    June 12, 2019 at 1:00 pm Reply
  • JustMe123

    @ SistaSledge – except you have to go through the Guard at the gate when you arrive, and he will note you have a car (this is also how CMs at the resort entrance know you are “you” and greet you by name when you arrive). And you have to have the pass in your windshield when car is in the parking lot. Cars without the pass I am sure can be (and are) easily traced to the guest.

    June 11, 2019 at 2:52 pm Reply
  • SistaSledge

    Just tell them you didn’t drive – you were dropped off. They can’t prove you have a vehicle on property . Unless they go around with a license plate scanner and compare the plates to registered guests…and highly doubt they have time for all that.

    April 16, 2019 at 4:21 pm Reply
  • Betsy Voss

    It must be a relatively new policy. The guard at WL was kind of a condescending jerk. (My argument was “Who makes reservations at a walk up?” We had planned on eating at Roaring Fork, as we have done several times in the past. The guard at FW let us come in “just this once” because we were unaware of the policy and he was just a nice guy. I think the only way to resort hop in the future will be either the painstaking way I mentioned previously or via Uber or Lyft. I understand why, but I sure don’t like it.

    February 22, 2019 at 12:47 pm Reply
  • Betsy Voss

    You can no longer resort hop with your car, even as a DVC member. You must have reservations for dining (or a show) to be granted permission to drive onto the property. We were staying on our points at AKL in Jan 2019 and decided to go to Wilderness Lodge for breakfast. Because we had no reservations, we were turned away at the gate. We then drove over to Fort Wilderness and were met with the same story. The only way around this is to take Disney transportation to the TTC or one of the parks and take another bus to the desired resort. This is to close the loophole of people not wanting to pay to park at the parks, so were parking at the resorts and taking transportation to their park of choice.

    February 21, 2019 at 6:58 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Thanks so much for sharing this insight, Betsy! I’ve asked some local passholder friends if they have experienced this as well.

      February 22, 2019 at 9:49 am Reply
  • Michael Harbuck

    You can also have family member drop you off

    January 12, 2019 at 9:33 am Reply
  • Camping at Disney World: Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground Review - The Budget Mouse

    […] you will pay up to $24 per night for parking at other Disney resorts, you can park one vehicle for free at the campsites at Fort Wilderness. This is another […]

    November 9, 2018 at 10:21 am Reply
  • Lynne

    What if I fly and take Disney magic express to resort. Then I need to rent a car for a day or two (visit friends in Tampa, Melbourne ) while family stays on property. Will I have to pay for parking then? Does Disney tow my rental car? Thx.

    April 3, 2018 at 9:09 am Reply
    • Leah

      Great question, Lynne. This is how it should work: When you check in you will be asked if you are parking a car at the resort for any nights during your stay. If so, you will be issued a pass to place on your windshield good for those nights. You will be charged for parking for those nights at checkout. So you should only have to pay for the nights you actually have a car parked AT the resort. Hope that makes sense!

      April 3, 2018 at 9:17 am Reply
  • Puffin

    I believe you are wrong on your first point.

    WDW website states DVC MEMBERS park for free whether staying on points or paying cash, when staying at a Deluxe Villa. Not that anyone who rents points is eligible.

    March 20, 2018 at 6:07 pm Reply
    • Leah

      Hey Puffin! I based this on the fact that when folks rent points for stays at the Grand Californian and Aulani (both of which charge parking fees for guests paying cash) they are NOT charged the parking fee. Also, part of DVC annual dues are allocated to parking lot maintenance, so it seems unreasonable that Disney would charge a parking fee on top of annual dues (regardless of who is using the points). There has been no official line from Disney but I think it’s a very safe assumption that folks who rent DVC points won’t be charged parking. I will add this to the main post. Thanks!

      March 21, 2018 at 6:35 am Reply

    Leave a Reply

    You may also like


    Privacy Policy | Disclosure Policy | Contact Me