To the frustration of many Walt Disney World fans, yesterday morning Disney officially announced to authorized travel planners the addition of parking fees for resort guests. The resort parking fee rumor has been floating around for awhile and with the increase to park tickets, this move by Disney does not surprise me at all.
What do you need to know?
1. The parking fee does not apply to existing reservations. If you make a reservation on or after March 21, 2018 to stay at a WDW resort in Florida and you park a vehicle overnight, a parking fee will be added to your bill upon check-out.
2. The amount of the parking fee is dependent upon the classification of the resort:
- Value resorts = $13 per night
- Moderate resorts = $19 per night
- Deluxe resorts = $24 per night
- Valet parking at deluxe resorts = $33 per night
3. The following guests will not be charged a parking fee for self-parking:
- Guests staying at the campsites at Fort Wilderness
- Guests who are shopping, dining or enjoying entertainment for the day at a resort
- Disney Vacation Club Member staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa
- Guests with disabilities
What do I think of this change?
Obviously this new fee is a revenue generator, which I find interesting considering Disney overall has seen significant growth in revenue and net income. In other words, they're not hurting. Companies of this size analyze the impact of these types of decisions and apparently, Disney was able to come to the conclusion that lost guests due to the new expense would not be enough to offset the revenue generated from the parking fee.
The unofficial response from Disney regarding the negativity surrounding the parking fee has been "it's industry standard" and "Disneyland hotels already charge for parking." Industry standard? Well, yes and no. Typically, one would be charged hotel parking fees in crowded, urban areas. Disney World resorts and parking lots are located on large plots of land with plenty of space.
The revenue generating impact of this fee is twofold. Not only will guests with vehicles be charged a new fee but guests are more likely to forego a rental car and opt to use Disney's transportation. Without a rental car, guests will probably spend their entire vacation inside the Disney bubble. This also generates revenue. Disney does not want you spending your money at Universal or Sea World. They want you to spend your money at Disney restaurants, stores, etc. I have to say that Disney does a good job with this. With all of our Disney vacations, I never once felt the need to travel "offsite."
I've come across the argument that Disney guests without cars can easily leave the bubble by calling an Uber or Lyft. I don't know if I agree with this thought process though. Most guests have young children and don't these children need to be in car or booster seats? I know Uber now has a program where you can get a car with one car seat. Florida also has fairly lenient car seat laws. My girls are almost eleven years old and, under Massachusetts state law, still required to use booster seats due to their size. Grabbing an Uber is not so easy for young families.
What's next? $15 resort fee per room per night? That's another rumor floating around.