To most, free parking at the Walt Disney World Resorts sounds a lot like a fairy tale. But it is true. There are still some locations at the happiest place on earth where parking is free. You just need to know where to find it.
With parking at the Disney World Theme Parks now at $17 for cars ($18 for campers and trailers and $21 for busses and tractor trailers), cost of parking alone for a five-day vacation can reach up to $85. However, if you do choose to pay for parking, once it is paid for the day, you can easily go to a different theme park without having to pay for parking again. Just one perk of park hopping at Disney World.
Think of what you can do while on vacation with that money. You can add six pins to your pin collection; buy a few stuffed animals or a couple of T-shirts; eat a nice lunch for two (depending upon where you go); or any combination of the above options. The possibilities are endless.
Now the question is “where is there free parking at Disney World?” There are a few options, depending upon what you want to do during your vacation and where your plans take you.
Downtown Disney, where shopping is a pleasure, has no charge for parking (unless you use the valet service). There you can enjoy lunch and walk around the lake. After you are done at Downtown Disney you can save on gas and leave your car there, by taking advantage of the Disney transportation system. You can grab a bus to almost anywhere on Disney property, but keep in mind, that the busses do not go to any of the theme parks from Downtown Disney.
You can also take a boat for a ride on the Sassagoula River and head to Port Orleans Riverside or French Quarter. There is also a boat that will take you across the lake from Pleasure Island to the far end of the Marketplace.
If you are headed to Disney’s Wide World of Sports for an Atlanta Braves pre-season game you are in luck, there is no charge for parking at the complex. However, if you do not wish to walk the distance you may have to the day of a game, there are premium parking spots available for a small fee.
Though the theme parks at the Walt Disney World Resorts do not offer free parking, both of the water parks do. Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have complimentary parking, however, if you are not there early, it could be a hike to the entrance from your car. It is suggested that you either take a bus from your Disney resort or get there early.
Many of the resorts at Disney World do not charge for parking and for a small fee, some of the Disney Deluxe Resorts offer valet parking. You can schedule to have a meal at one of the resorts and can park at the resort for free while at there. You are only allowed to park your car while at the resort and many guests have taken the chance to head to a theme park after eating their meal. However, you do run the risk of getting your car towed if you leave it at the resort beyond your parking permit’s intended time. If you are a Disney Vacation Club Member or a guest with a current handicap license plate or tag you can get complimentary valet parking at Disney Deluxe Resorts.
An obvious way to get free parking is to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort. By doing this you have full access to Disney’s bus, monorail and watercraft transportation and a parking pass that will get you free parking at any of the parks during your stay at the resort. Annual pass holders will get complimentary parking while their pass is valid.
If you are not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, many local resorts offer complimentary transportation to and from the theme parks. But before using this option double check pick-up and drop-off times so you do not miss your bus back to the hotel and are left stranded. Missing a ride back to your hotel could end up being a costly mistake, especially when having to use a taxi to get back to your hotel.
Utilizing free parking options at the Walt Disney World Resorts is just another perk given to guests of the resorts. Though some areas do offer free parking, others, such as the theme parks, still cost to park. That is unless you know where to park and how to navigate your way to the parks.