Parking at WDW 101 – Ten Things You Must Know

Thousands of cars park daily at Walt Disney World. The cast members know what needs to be done in order to get everyone in and out of the parking lot safely. Parking at Disney can be a hassle, but it doesn’t have to be. Here are ten things to make parking easier at the theme parks.


One quick note: parking at Downtown Disney has become a bit easier since the parking garage opened, but it can still be challenging. If you’re parking in the garage, pay attention to the numbers that you will see at the beginning of each row. That’s supposed to be the number of empty spaces in that row. Look for lights hanging from the ceiling in the rows. If the light is green, the space should be open. The system isn’t without flaws, but it usually works well and it does make it easier to park in the garage.

The tips and information here is geared towards the theme parks, but you always need to use caution when you park. You can use several of these tips while parking at the resorts as well.

10) Cost

Parking at Walt Disney World is not cheap, but it is comparable to the other Orlando area theme parks. Cars and motorcycles currently cost $17 per day. Campers and trailers are $18, and Buses and Tractor Trailers cost $21. If you leave and come back just show your receipt, you won’t have to pay again for the same day. Annual and Premium Passholders (but not all Florida Resident Passholders) and resort hotel guests park for free. Parking is free at the water parks.

9) Have Your Payment Ready

Not being ready will slow down the entire line. Have your credit card or cash in your hand when you pull up to the booth. If you don’t have to pay, be ready with your MagicBand, Annual Pass, or receipt. If you park for free you might want to have your ID out as well, just in case it’s asked for. If you have a quick question it’s okay to ask, but make sure that you’re not holding up the line.

8) Speed Limit

The speed limit is clearly posted in the parking lots. It’s usually 15 MPH. Do not speed, that number was calculated for a reason. It’s not worth risking other people’s lives so that you can get on Space Mountain two minutes faster than those who left before you.

7) Pick a Lane

Often the parking breaks into two lanes, especially at the beginning of the day. One lane is not better than the other. Pick a lane and stick with it. One lane will not move drastically faster than the other.

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6) Don’t Try to Pass

Yes, it’s frustrating when the line is barely moving and your FastPass+ window is closing. That doesn’t mean that you should weave in and out of traffic. There is rarely ever a reason why you should pass a car in a Walt Disney World parking lot. If you do need to pass for some reason, do it carefully. Make sure you use your turn signals so that the drivers around you will know what you’re doing.

5) Follow Cast Member Instructions

The parking attendants know what they are doing. They will help you to park safely, and also help all the other cars that they see each day. Follow their instructions and park where they tell you to. If guests were allowed to park wherever they wanted, it would be chaos. The cast members know how to keep parking sane.

4) Be Careful When Getting Out

Your car will be very close to the cars on either side. Be careful when getting out. Don’t just swing the doors open, and instruct your children to open the doors slowly as well. Also, make sure that no one is trying to pull into the spot next to you when you open the doors. Wait until their car has stopped, and then open your doors slowly.

3) Record Where You Park

All of the sections and rows of the parking lots look the same at the end of a long day. After you get out of your car, write down the section and the row, don’t chance it to memory. You might want to take a picture with your phone so that all the members of your family will be able to easily recognize the spot. Taking a second to record the information when you arrive could save a lot of time at the end of the night.

2) Cross in Front of Cars

Once you’re out of the car you and your family will want to head right to the tram or walk to the park. Too often groups will walk behind their car, right into the line of incoming vehicles. Walk in front of the cars instead of behind them. That will make parking easier for the rest of the guests, and you and your family will be safer. Also, wait until there are no cars driving down your row before taking your stroller out of the back or pulling everything out of the trunk. The other guests want to park and get through the turnstiles just as much as you do, don’t make them have to wait while you empty out your car.

1) Hold Kids’ Hands

Too often people think that nothing bad can ever happen at Walt Disney World, but that’s just not the case. When your kids can see the park in the distance they will naturally get excited. That doesn’t mean that they should be allowed to run, push a stroller, or do anything else that isn’t safe. Take your kids by the hand and don’t let go until there are no moving cars around. Safety first, always.

About PaulaK

I grew up in Western Massachusetts. When I was nine my family went to Disneyland and I was hooked. I grew up, attended New England College in Henniker, NH and eventually moved to Virginia. I worked as a disc jockey, married and became a full time mom when our daughter was born. Fast forward several years. In 2010 we moved to Central Florida and my Disney obsession grew. I now work as a freelance writer and spend my spare time in the parks. Under the name Paula Brown I penned the novels Dream Wanderers and The Coffee Cruiser. I also am a co-author of Dining at Walt Disney World: The Definitive Guide. I'm obsessed with Star Wars, so this is a good time to live in Central Florida. I've been a vegetarian for well over a decade, a choice that my daughter eventually made as well. While my husband still hasn't joined us fully he has given up most meats except for seafood. I was relieved to find that vegetarian dining is not difficult at Walt Disney World.