A Disney vacation has seen many changes in the last couple of years, including experience modifications, new systems, and, unfortunately, higher costs.
From the new Disney Genie system, the canceled Magical Express, and the costly Magic Bands for Disney Resort Hotel Guests, the cost of experiencing Disney magic is adding up on trips to Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Divisive Disney CEO Bob Chapek has been blamed for these costly changes to the Disney theme park experience, but there are ways around spending so much of your hard-earned money at Walt Disney World. Staying off-property, buying merchandise at discount stores, and ordering free water are all great Disney World habits to make – but some ideas are a little more ridiculous than others.
You’ve got your Park tickets, your Park Pass Reservations, and you’re all packed up in the car ready to drive to the “most magical place on Earth”. Driving under the famous Walt Disney World Resort entrance arch is a Disney vacation moment that truly starts the magic for many Guests.
The gateway featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse brings you onto Disney World property, with its purple road signs, beautiful landscaping, and views of Disney Park icons like Cinderella Castle and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.
Parking at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, however, can dampen a morning for those not expecting the $25 per day fee, and can sometimes really affect a party’s trip budget.
There’s one Disney “tip”, though, that advocates for ignoring the expensive parking fee and parking your vehicle elsewhere at Walt Disney World, but it can prove to be a trick that wastes time and be frowned upon.
When staying at a Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Guests are welcome to take advantage of complimentary transportation such as buses, boats, Monorails, and the Disney Skyliner to and from the Disney Parks and Disney Springs.
These modes of Disney transportation take Guests all over the Resort and run all day to and from Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks.
We all know about these free modes of transport, so what’s the parking trick? Well, some Guests recommend parking at Disney Springs and using the Disney buses to have a Disney Park day.
The parking at Disney Springs is free and offers buses to all Resorts across Walt Disney World. Every Disney Resort Hotel from Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge can be accessed from the previously-named Downtown Disney area, and they usually run from early morning to late at night.
The “trick” would indeed save you $25 a day but comes at another price. To get to the theme parks, Guests would have to take a Disney bus to a Disney Resort Hotel, and then another bus or mode of transportation to a Disney Park. There are no Disney Park buses from Disney Springs.
This would waste valuable Park time, adding potentially over an hour in travel at the start and end of your day – when you’re most tired after walking around a Disney theme park all day! If you happen to be trying to get a bus during the shift change over, it could also be a longer wait than you’d think for a bus.
Furthermore, Disney Resort buses are meant for people staying at the Resort, so filling these up can be seen as unfair behavior. The buses at Disney Springs that go to the Resorts also start later, so bear that in mind if trying to get to a Park for Park opening or rope drop.
Another idea Guests have is to take the Disney Springs bus to a Disney Resort close to a Disney Park and walk from the Resort. Again, this wastes time, bus space for Resort Guests, and adds extra steps to an already tiring day.
Magic Kingdom Resorts including Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are all conveniently located on the Monorail loop, so catching a bus to these Resorts would save walking. EPCOT’s closest hotel is Yacht and Beach Club Resort near the Boardwalk, while Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the Swan and Dolphin Resort. Guests can also walk to Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa for one direct bus to a Disney Park, but this also means Guests are taking seats away from actual Resort Guests.
So, with all this being said, it is probably faster, and more ethical, to pay to park at a theme park and budget the $25 a day parking fee into your Disney vacation spending. Also, when you drive to the Transportation and Ticket Centre (TTC) at Magic Kingdom you get to take the beloved Parking Trams to the entrance for the Monorail!
Having your car close by so you can get back to your accommodations quickly and get some rest is a blessing, and allows for more flexibility and less reliance on bus schedules.
But we’ll leave it up to you if you want to follow this Walt Disney World money-saving trick!