Despite the highly publicized free transportation within Disney World, you might choose to drive yourself instead. Whether you plan a road trip, or you rent a car you will enjoy the freedom to move around Disney World more quickly and even have the option of leaving for other Orlando attractions. When you vacation in Disney World and opt to stay in the driver’s seat, here are some Walt Disney World parking secrets to help your park days go smoothly.
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Disney World Parking Secrets: Simplify Your Park Days
Regular Parking vs. Premium Parking
There are different types of parking that guests can purchase at Disney World. The standard parking rates have increased in 2018, to $25 per vehicle. There is also premium parking rates which ensure you’re parking closer. There are only so many premium spots available daily, so look for signs when driving through the parking entrance. Premium parking also includes complimentary bottled water. It comes at a significant cost of $50 per day (2018 rates). RV parking is also available.
Save Your Parking Receipt
When you visit a Disney park, you only have to pay for parking once as long as you can show proof of purchase. That means you can leave midday and return without paying again if you can show them your receipt at the gate, so don’t lose it. You are also free to park hop without paying an additional parking toll. But you need that receipt, so keep it safe. This is one of the easiest, but most important Disney World parking secrets that most forget.
Use An Anti Theft Device
This is applicable to Disney World driving tips, but mostly appropriate for travel in general. While your car is most likely not going to get stolen in Walt Disney World, it is always a good rule of thumb when you travel to stay protected. One of the easiest ways to keep your car safe is to have a GPS tracker, so you receive notifications if your car goes anywhere. You can also use it to help you find your car at the end of the night.
Tie An Emblem on Your Car’s Antenna for Recognizability
Disney World parking secrets would be complete without this hack for identifying your car. It is especially helpful if you are renting a car, to make it stand out in some unique way. I always have trouble remembering what the rental looks like and end up spending far too much time looking for the wrong car. If you simply tie a bright colored bow around your car’s antenna you will have a quick visual target that will save you some time wandering around clicking the button on your key fob.
You can purchase some fun Disney antenna toppers at the resort gift shops. They have different themes. Purchase one before your first park visit to place on your rental car. Then, you can bring it home for your own car!
Take A Picture Of The Nearest Parking Sign (Section and Rows)
Another convenient way of remembering where you parked is to simply take a picture. The parking lots have aisles and rows within larger sections, that are usually themed to Disney characters. Take a good picture of the nearest sign so you can reference it at the end of the night. If you plan on taking a lot of photos that day, send the pic as a message to someone in your party for easier retrieval.
The Magic Kingdom parking lots are the furthest away from the park, as you have to take the monorail or ferry boat to the park entrance. It can be hard to remember where you park when you have so much transportation to navigate.
If You Forget Where Your Car Is Parked
Don’t panic if you forget where you car is parked at Disney World. Throughout the parking lots, there are white signs near the trams that you can stand by. Disney security is constantly driving the lots to help guests. They can assist you in finding your vehicle.
Having Vehicle Issues at Disney World
If you experience something not so magical while staying at Disney, there is a AAA Auto Care Center that’s located on property. You can call to have your car towed to the center and arrange the necessary repairs.
Guide To Disney World Trams
If you are parked way in the back of the parking lot, don’t worry about having to walk too far. The tram system is very convenient and efficient. Even if you just missed it, hang tight. They are rarely more than ten minutes apart.
The tram attendants do a great job of explaining park closing hours, park showtimes and they announce when the last tram departs at the end of the night. If you’re closing the park down, pay close attention and listen! Last thing you want is a long walk after midnight.
Strollers on Trams
You must fold strollers before bringing them onto a tram. To make this as little of an inconvenience as possible, avoid loading too much onto your stroller until you get to the gate of the park. It’s best to avoid having too many things in your stroller anyway as it will very often be left unattended and guests have been known to steal from strollers, despite the presence of Disney Cast members nearby. It’s always better to use a backpack, as most attractions allow backpacks.
If you’re visiting the parks, with kids, and you don’t have a second adult present to help – ask a Cast Member to assist you.
Transportation and Ticket Center Information
If you are driving to Magic Kingdom for the first time, you may be surprised to find the parking is about a mile off from the park entrance. Magic Kingdom is located at the north end of a massive lake. The parking is on the south end at the Ticket and Transportation center.
This is where you park your car, go through the security checkpoint, buy your tickets (if you don’t already have them) and board either a monorail or a ferry to complete your journey. The Ferry is obviously slower than the monorail. It also has a much larger capacity, which means longer waits as the boat loads and more crowding during departure. Disney World parking secrets from the pros: you can keep a stroller upright, with kids in it, if you take the ferry boat.
How To Keep Your Car Cool
While you are having the time of your life, your car is baking in the hot Florida sun. In order to avoid burns, or just the uncomfortable feeling of settling into a stifling sweatbox, you should protect the inside of your car with a windshield sun shade. Of all the Disney World parking secrets, don’t forget this one!
There are plenty of Disney ones, which are: A) more fun, and B) help with that car identifying problem we discussed earlier. My favorites are the ones with cartoon eyes that make your vehicle look like it’s straight out of the movie Cars.
Wheelchairs And Handicap Parking Lot Spaces
If you have an official handicap pass, Disney ensures that you park in the closest spots available. If you’re renting a scooter from the park and need assistance getting to the park, Disney has complimentary wheelchairs available throughout the parking lots. They are intended for guests to use before renting their park scooter.
Exiting Disney Parking Lots At Night
Don’t worry about leaving early to beat the crowds. This is a common mistake. Disney makes navigation very straight forward, so leaving isn’t as complicated and slow as you might naturally assume. Getting out of the parking lot at the end of the day is actually quite orderly and easy. So, get the most out of your park pass and don’t rush out unless you are ready to go.
The only congestion you might experience at the end of the night, is the line to the monorail. If you’ve got tired little one, leave the fireworks show a few minutes early and you can avoid the long monorail line to get back to your vehicle.
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General Disney World Parking Secrets – Beyond The Parks
Color Coded Road Signs On Property
As with the parking lot situation navigating around Disney World is incredibly easy. One of the main reasons some people avoid driving in Disney World is that they don’t want the stress of figuring out where to go while navigating traffic.
The truth is, navigating while driving in Disney World is exceptionally simple. For starters, there are only a few main, general areas within Disney World to go to and those are all marked with directional signs that stand out in bright colors.
Parks will be shown on big purple signs with directional information in red directly below them. There are not a lot of lane changes, off ramps or crossroads to contend with. General directional signs help you to set your course and then more specific signs lead the way after that once you get into a particular resort area.
The major destinations such as theme parks will have roads that lead straight to the parking lots. The resorts will have blue directional signs that lead you to exactly where you need to be. Getting around Disney World by car is not difficult at all, so don’t worry.
Navigating The Roads
This one isn’t entirely about Disney World parking secrets, but more about navigating afterwards. Both Apple maps on the iPhone and Waze app are continuously updated to keep up with the ever-changing construction happening on Disney World property. If you’re staying off property, this is definitely helpful as you navigate in and out daily.
Disney Springs Parking
Disney Springs, which is a fun nighttime destination for dining and shopping, offers free parking in the Lime and Orange decks. Each floor of the parking decks has a light-up sign that tells guests which rows of parking has spots available. Disney World Parking Secrets from a pro: level 2 of each Disney Springs deck means less elevator time because it aligns with their escalators to the entrance.