On Wednesday Walt Disney World announced that with all reservations made starting March 21 they will begin charging guests for standard overnight parking at their resorts. This charge will vary depending on the resort category and will be applied to guests’ hotel folio upon check-out.
The Standard Overnight Parking charges per resort category will be:
Value Resorts: $13 per night
Moderate Resorts: $19 per night
Deluxe Resorts and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night
Disney Vacation Club Members will not be charged for parking when they are staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa regardless of whether they are using points at paying cash for their stay. Members also will not be charged for overnight parking if they are using points to stay at any Walt Disney World Resort hotel.
As you can imagine this is raising quite a stir in the Disney fan community.
Why is Walt Disney World doing this? No one really knows for sure, but Disney has publicly stated that charging for overnight parking is becoming an industry standard and they are just falling in line.
This could be true and if it is it could be another indication that Disney is caring less about the total guest experience and leading the industry. Back in the late 1950’s having pay stalls in bathrooms was the “industry standard” yet, as the story goes, Walt Disney saw that no one was using them at Disneyland and guests were standing in line to use the free stalls. Walt had the pay stalls all converted to free ones. Guest experience mattered…at least it did then.
Some people have speculated that Disney is doing this to reduce the number of cars at the hotels and on property. Others have speculated that its because Disney doesn’t want you wandering off property for food or visiting Universal.
There have been dozens of other guesses as to why Disney is doing this.
In my mind I think the explanation is much more simple…its a cash grab that they feel that they can get away with.
Face it…the fees that they are planning on charging aren’t ridiculous or insane. I’m sure Disney has done their research and looked at the industry and figured what they can charge and not have major objections.
Also, think about who visits Walt Disney World and has a car.
There are the people who live close enough to Walt Disney World that driving is practical and flying isn’t worth the little bit of time saved. These people will still bring their car.
There are those where driving (even if it’s 12-20 hour drive) is significantly cheaper than flying. This is my family when everyone is going along and we have the luxury of time for the trip. This parking charge isn’t going to push anyone over the edge towards flying. It just isn’t.
Then there are those (me included when we don’t drive) who fly but rent a car because they like the convenience and flexibility and don’t want to hassle with the Disney busses. My guess is a huge majority of these people will still rent a car and bring it onto property.
I have no data, but I’ve talked to people…people who have had a car on property and even though inconvenient, this charge is not going to keep many people from still having their own car or renting a car while staying at a Disney Resort.
And this is the key..I think Disney knows this. They know the vast majority of people who are inclined to have a car on property will continue to do so and just pay the fee. They will just build the charge into the price of their vacation.
Now…in full disclosure, we’re DVC members and for most of our trips we’ll be exempt from the charge. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it or agree with it. Honestly even if I’m paying for at hotel room I’m still going to want a car and I’ll end up paying the charge. This isn’t going to keep me from taking a car on property. I’m being honest….it’s just not.