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Premium Parking option to be tested at Walt Disney World


Are you ready to pay more for parking at Walt Disney World? What if it meant you got to park closer to the main entrance? Disney hopes you will answer yes. Over the next few days, Disney will test Premium Parking at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) and EPCOT Parking Lots.

Guests who pay an extra $15 on top of the existing $20 parking fee will be parked in a special lot with a short walk to the monorail and ferry boat terminals. If you park at the Magic Kingdom, there’s still that mile-distance you have to travel to the front gates. But Premium Parking at EPCOT might save you 5 to 10 minutes walking to or from your car.

Previously at Walt Disney World, you used to be able to park close if you had a AAA Diamond Parking Pass or were a Disney Dining Experience Member (the early version of Tables in Wonderland). Both programs were discontinued. Back in the 90s at Disneyland, Premium Parking was offered and it was even included free for Premium Passholders (based on availability). That too was discontinued when they decided to build a second admission gate where the parking lot existed.

In the test, if you have parking included in your pass, you can pay the $15 upgrade charge to get the premium parking.

If you ask me $15 is a lot of money to spend to save a few steps at the end of the night. But if someone is willing to pay, I don’t see it as being that big of an issue (if it cam with a car wash or valet service I’d understand it even more). However, in the grander scheme of things at Walt Disney World, premium parking is just another piece of evidence that the resort is catering to a new class of people who are attracted more by perceptions of luxury (don’t wait in queue (Fastpass), park close (Premium Parking), get ‘free’ dining (and now everyone has to pay more so you feel like you’re getting a value), etc). None of these are actual benefits, just redistribution of resources. I am still concerned this pivot to the luxury market by Disney will come back to bite them in the future if the economy takes another turn (domestically or internationally) and they need to rely on locals and Disney fans to get them through the low points.

8 thoughts on “Premium Parking option to be tested at Walt Disney World”

  1. I had the AAA diamond parking on 2 of my last 3 visits. It was glorious.

    I wouldn’t pay $15 a day for it, though.

    1. The AAA diamond parking at Epcot used to be really great, when you could enter the turnstile area from that end of the parking lot. Once the started funneling everyone through the bag check near the monorail entrance — and forcing you to come at it from the bus drop-off side of the parking lot — the AAA diamond parking stopped being so great at Epcot.

      If we don’t feel like walking from a potentially far-off spot in the parking lot, though, we’re just as happy to ride the trams and get dropped off much closer to the park entrances. We’d never pay extra for parking spaces that get you a few hundred feet closer.

  2. Yeah, I’m not a fan of this idea. Want to park close? Get there early. At the end of the day, the trams are the great equalizer, I see very little perceived value in this “premium parking” and frankly, when Disney starts losing perceived value they just start looking expensive and greedy.

  3. It may be only 5 minutes for parking at EPCOT now, but Disney can push you a lot further away than that if they reserve space for premium.
    Not a good idea and people should vote with their wallets.

  4. I left Magic Kingdom at 10pm last night and got to the tram and 11:20pm. I was at my car by 11:25pm. Premium parking would have contributed nothing to that journey. The real problem is getting across/around the lagoon.

  5. If their trams continue as I’ve experienced them, the addition of premium parking won’t hurt my experience provided sending traffic in two directions doesn’t slow parking.

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