As I am sure many of you have heard, Disney will start charging their resort guests for overnight parking effective for reservations made after March 21, 2018. I’m not going to go into the details of pricing but if you would like the specifics here is a link to Disney’s official Parking info. Now that I have had a few days to digest this information I feel I am in a better place to weigh the pros and cons and see if maybe we shouldn’t be getting ourselves all bent out of shape. I know this may be an unpopular or controversial opinion but hear me out at least.
I try to look at things from all sides when determining if an action by an individual or an organization can be deemed unfair or wrong in any way. I try to truly understand the motivations and, of course, I unconsciously weigh in how this decision will affect me and my family. When I first heard about the added charge for overnight parking for Walt Disney World Resort guests I was not surprised at all. I think we all knew this was coming. I was a bit surprised about a few things that as a previous local I had always feared and saw coming and that was that they were still allowing complimentary self-parking for day guests.
It had become more and more difficult for us as locals to head to a resort to have a meal, dine, or in our case gather some photos and videos. It was especially difficult at any resort that had adjacency to one of their theme parks, like the Boardwalk area resorts or monorail loop resorts. We thought for sure that there would become a time in the near future that if you couldn’t prove that you had a dining reservation or provide a name of a guest you were visiting that you could be turned away or charged a fee to park. The fact that Disney has decided to charge their own resort guests and still allow complimentary parking for day guests seems strange to me.
In the past, I had always thought that everything should be worked into the price of a hotel. I hate resort fees and parking charges and any other charge that a hotel could think of to separate from the actual room charge. I have recently thought that there may be some reason for this and that it could actually benefit the guests of the resort. I am not privy to taxes that are charged based on the occupation of a room and I don’t claim to know all of this information but do believe that it is possible that the taxes charged for things like parking etc. may actually be less than the tax charged for the room itself. By separating these expenses is it possible that the guest is actually saving money as opposed to adding it all under the umbrella of the room.
When I think about a parking charge separated from the overall cost of the room I think about all of the people who visit Walt Disney Resort who do not have a car on the premises and how it may actually benefit them. What about those guests who fly into Orlando International Airport and take Disney’s Magical Express and stay on property and do not ever have a car occupying one of the spots at the resort. Would it be fair to add this charge to the room cost so that everyone, including these guests, pay for the parking spot? I think that is a bit much to make the guests who do drive a car to the resort feel warm and fuzzy about their complimentary parking. By separating the parking from the resort reservation cost I believe that this doesn’t add extra cost to those with a vehicle, I believe it saves money for those who do not.
Let’s talk about those guests for a second. You know the ones who don’t have a car with them. The guests who stay on property and only spend money with Mickey Mouse their entire vacation. Is it horrible that Disney may want to give them a little break on the room by not adding a parking place into their room? With all of the little things that Disney has done to try and get people to stay on property, one might think that the powers that be may understand that there would be a backlash about these parking charges and maybe they have a broader vision for this than we.
I also think about the overall cost of the car parked on Walt Disney World property is more than just the taking up of a space. I would imagine that there are associated costs with the amount of traffic on the roads each day. That with each car that people drive to the resorts they will also be driving to the parks and with the parking pass from staying at the resorts they now are taking up a $22 parking place at the parks for a day for free as well. As someone who would frequent the roads on Walt Disney World Property, I can tell you that they are getting more and more congested. This leads to guests having a more difficult time getting to and from the parks where money can be spent. The economics of something as simple as driving your car to Walt Disney World might just be more difficult than “Disney just wants a new source of revenue.”
In closing, will this affect me and my family? Yes, it will if we stay on property. Will it frustrate me to the point of lashing out and never staying on property again? No, because if I want to feel like the parking charge is complimentary I will do exactly what I have done at the Universal hotels or about any other resort hotel in and around Orlando and I will factor it in with the price of the room myself. I don’t need Disney to do that for me. I am a big boy I can figure out the total cost and if I end up being one of the guests who fly and stay on property and I save $13 a day on my room because I don’t have a car parked there then I guess I can use that money to buy my kids a souvenir.