The new nightly fees could really add up.
Gather all the pixie dust you can, because Walt Disney World hotels will soon begin charging guests for overnight parking. Pricing, which varies based on Walt Disney World Resort’s three hotel categories, will begin with reservations starting March 21, 2018.
Overnight self-parking at value resorts, including Disney’s Art of Animation, Disney’s Pop Century, and All-Star resort hotels will cost $13. Moderate hotels like Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans will charge $19 each night, and both Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villas, which includes Disney’s Contemporary, Grand Floridian, and Polynesian Resorts among others, will charge $24 for standard self-parking. (Valet parking, available at select resorts, will increase from $25 to $33 nightly.)
Disney hotel guests will continue to park for free at Walt Disney World theme parks, and guests visiting Disney hotels — either to walk around Disney’s Boardwalk, dine at California Grill, or see the savannah at Animal Kingdom Lodge — will not be charged at all.
The change is intended to align Walt Disney World resort hotels with other full-service hotels in the industry and other domestic resort practices, according to a Disney spokesperson. Over on the west coast, Disneyland hotels charge $20 for self-parking and $30 for valet each night, with flat rates applying to day guests as well, but it’s visually justified. The Anaheim-based theme park is famously tight on space whereas Walt Disney World, which is spread across over 40 square miles, has more room.
Though surrounding hotels not operated by Disney often tend to charge for self-parking, the swift change is surprising, adding as much as $168 to a family’s week-long Disney World vacation. Families visiting Disney World, particularly those with younger children, often opt to have a car during their vacation and drive to the theme parks for comfort and ease, regardless of if they arrived by plane. Disney bus transportation can be convenient but often time consuming, and with only collapsible strollers being allowed on the vehicle, can be challenging for larger groups.
There is one kind of traveler who won’t have to pay for parking anywhere at Walt Disney World: Disney Vacation Club members. Participants in the timeshare-style program will receive complimentary overnight parking while staying at DVC Deluxe Villas — which include luxurious apartment-style rooms — or when paying with points to stay at any Walt Disney World hotel.
Walt Disney World has been dedicated to finding alternative revenue streams in the past few years, but many come in the form of optional vacation add-ons, like Early Morning Magic breakfasts or Disney After Hours events, and don’t affect regular guests. Beyond annual increases to theme park admission and Disney World parking, there have been few upcharges affecting visitors across the board until now.