How to Save Money When Parking at Disney World

Disney World is the destination of many families like yours, because magical memories can be made there during every single visit.  While you may spend hours planning your trip to Disney World, you must make sure that you take the time to determine where you will park during your stay. We’ve discussed how to save money on Disney theme parks, but you still have to park somewhere when you arrive at the parks.  You may think that you can easily pull into a parking lot and pay a couple of dollars, but the parking rates at Disney World are much higher than that.  Therefore, if you are trying to save as much money as possible during your vacation, you are going to want to know a few Disney World parking tips.  

8 Ways to Save Money when Parking at Disney World

1. Park at Disney Springs

Disney free parking can be found every day at Disney Springs, but you will obviously need to take one of the free Disney buses to the park of your choice.  However, the buses from Disney Springs will only take you to one of the resorts, where you can then transfer buses to the park that you want to enter.  

A few helpful hints for using this Disney World parking tip:

Not every resort will have a bus going to the theme park you want to be at for the day, or the resort that you choose could be further away and take you more time with all the travel and transfers.  Therefore, I want to share which resorts you should take the Disney Springs bus to in order to get to the Disney World theme park of your choice.  

Magic Kingdom – If your plan is to take advantage of Disney free parking and venture over to the Magic Kingdom, then your best option is to take the Disney Springs bus to either the Grand Floridian, Contemporary, or Polynesian resorts.  At any of those, you can board the monorail for the rest of your journey.  

Hollywood Studios – The resorts that are best for trips into Hollywood Studios include the Swan, Dolphin, or Yacht and Beach Club.  Once you arrive at either of these resorts, you can easily board another bus, or you can catch the ferry for a quick ride. 

Magic Kingdom, Disney Spring

EPCOT – The resorts that you need to get to in order to go to EPCOT are the same as Hollywood Studios.  You can jump onto a ferry for the remainder of your trip or you can simply walk to the entrance of the International Showcase. 

Animal Kingdom – The Animal Kingdom has the fewest options from Disney Springs, but you can catch the bus over to the Animal Kingdom Lodge and then transfer to the bus that goes directly to the theme park.  

2. Stay at a Disney Resort Hotel

Some people love staying at Disney Resort Hotels and wouldn’t consider doing Disney any other way, while others love the money that they save by staying off-site.  Well, one of the things that you will want to keep in mind when booking your accommodations is the Disney World parking prices. The $25 parking fee, or $45 to $50 preferred parking fee, per day can add up over time.  

Thankfully, you can avoid paying for parking at Disney World Orlando if you book your stay at any of the Disney World Resort Hotels.  All guests of those resorts receive standard parking passes for Disney World that are good at any of the theme parks for the duration of their stay.  You would need to pay the difference between the standard and preferred parking price if you want to park in the preferred parking area at any of the theme parks.  This is an excellent way to save some cash on those Disney World parking prices and be closer to the theme parks at the same time.  

3. Park Hop at No Extra Charge for Parking

The good news is that once you pay the parking rates at Disney World at one park for the day, you can easily go from theme park to theme park without needing to pay any extra for parking for the rest of the day. 

Disney water park

While this savings won’t seem like much, it can add up if you like to see more than one park every day.  

4. Park at ESPN Wide World of Sports

Disney free parking is available at ESPN Wide World of Sports, but you must be aware that you cannot hop onto one of the Disney buses to the theme parks from this location.  However, you can take the bus to a few of the resorts and then transfer to another bus to the theme parks. The three resorts that have buses available include Caribbean Beach, All-Star Resorts, and Pop Century. 

5. Park at the Water Parks

There is no charge for parking at any of the Disney water parks, but again, you will need to take buses to certain resorts and then transfer to the buses for the theme parks.

Disney water park
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

These parking lots fill up fast, especially during the busy season, so you must be prepared for a lot of walking to get to the area where the buses are located.  

6. Become an Annual Passholder

If you spend lots of time at Disney World and even Disneyland, then it may be worth it to get an annual pass.  The annual pass gives you numerous benefits, of which one of them is free Disney parking at all theme parks.  All you need is a photo id and your passholder card every time you want to take advantage of your Disney free parking perks.  Please note, the Disney free parking only includes standard parking, so you would be responsible for the Disney parking fees for preferred parking.  

7. Get a Tables in Wonderland Card

Not many people have heard about the Tables in Wonderland card, but if you dine at Disney World frequently, this is the card for you!  Out of the numerous benefits, one of them is Disney free parking. Showing this card at the parking booth after five in the evening will grant you free parking immediately.  If you arrive at the theme parks prior to five o’clock, then you must pay for parking and go to the Guest Relations booth to be reimbursed.  

8. Go Camping

Camping might not seem to jive with the whole Disney experience, but Disney does have its own campgrounds that I know you will love.  Plus, when you stay at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, you can leave your vehicle there and take the boat over to Magic Kingdom.  If you want to go to any of the other theme parks, you can simply catch one of the other buses when you arrive at the Magic Kingdom.  

Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Credits: Wikimedia Commons

Parking at Disney World Orlando is getting expensive, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot find ways to save money on this portion of your trip as well.  There are many Disney World parking tips listed above and they can help you save when you purchase a Disney World parking pass.  

It is important to note that it will take you some time to arrive at the theme parks of your choice when you utilize some of the Disney free parking options that I mentioned above.  Therefore, you should take into account your travel time and if it is worthwhile for the amount of money that you are going to be saving.  

I would love to hear if you have had any success with saving money on parking when you visit any of the Disney parks or if you have any other money saving parking ideas that everyone else must know!  And if you love Disney cruises, don’t forget to find out how to spend an amazing day at Disney’s private Castaway Cay Island

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