Whether you’re local to Florida or renting a car upon arrival, there are a few key things you need to know about driving at Disney World. Let’s dive right in on our must knows for driving at Disney World.
Plan Accordingly to Deal with Orlando Traffic
If you live in Florida, then you already know how much traffic there is just getting from Point A to Point B. But, if you don’t, you may be very surprised by how busy the roadways in the Sunshine State are.
There are a couple of reasons for this. The first is tourism. Depending on the time of year, tourism is obviously going to be heavier such as during the summer months and holiday season. However, since Florida’s weather remains pretty consistent throughout the year, and attractions like Walt Disney World are open all year round, it gives tourists a reason to visit all year long. Herein lies one of the many reasons why the roads are so congested.
Not only is there an increase in traffic, but out-of-state drivers aren’t familiar with our roads or where to turn. Plus, with the new gig economy, you have more people on the road than ever before thanks to the increase in ride-sharing services…especially to and from the Disney parks. This, coupled with the severe lack of roads and the increasing Florida population, you can expect heavy traffic pretty much anytime you get behind the wheel of your car in the Sunshine State.
As such, if you’re staying off-property or renting a car at the airport, plan your trip accordingly. Leave at least an hour to an hour and a half before your dining reservation arrival time to account for traffic and parking delays. Even getting into one of the parks can take a lot of time, so don’t underestimate how long it’s going to take you to park at one of the theme parks. Just because your hotel is twenty minutes away doesn’t mean that’s how long it’ll take you.
Read more: How to Get From MCO to Disney
Plan Ahead for Tolls
Another thing you have to worry about in Florida is tolls. In fact, Florida has more toll roads than any other state in the country. Suffice to say, you’re going to hit a few on your way to Disney World.
If you live out of state and are just visiting, it’s encouraged that you invest in E-ZPass before making the drive. Not only will you probably hit toll roads and bridges along your travels, but once you hit Florida, you’re going to definitely need some cash handy to reach your destination.
Like a credit card, E-ZPass allows you to pay for tolls electronically and it’s available for use on the Florida Turnpike and any road operated by the Central Florida Expressway Authority. However, if you’re renting a car in Florida, prepare for some additional expenses. Most rental car companies will have you sign up for a toll pass (aka SunPass) and have the tolls associated with your local travel paid through your rental agreement.
Personally, I recommend reserving a Visitor Toll Pass. All you have to do is download the Visitor Toll Pass app on your smartphone and input your information to get started. This is free to download, however, you will have to put down a $10 deposit that’ll go toward your tolls. Once you return your pass, the money will be returned to your card on file. Florida’s Visitor Toll Pass allows tourists to pay for the lowest toll amount during the duration of their trip, and it’s a pretty handy tool to have at your disposal.
You, Will, Have to Pay to Park at a Disney World Resort
Unfortunately, parking is a separate fee once you arrive at your theme park, so keep in mind that it is NOT included in the price of your ticket. However, if you are staying at one of the Disney resorts on property, standard theme park parking will be included at $25/day.
Upon arrival, guests will pay for a parking pass that’s good all day at all four of the theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot). As mentioned earlier, standard parking is $25 per day, whereas preferred parking (lots that are located closer to the park’s entrances) cost $40-$50 per day, depending on the date and/or time of year.
Oversized parking, such as those traveling in either an RV, camper trailer, or bus, will have to pay $30 per day for parking at any of the theme parks. Once you park, you’ll be able to take the tram to the park’s main entrance.
Parking at Disney’s Water Parks
Standard parking is complimentary to all guests at Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. However, if you wish to use preferred parking or are driving an oversized vehicle, the prices mentioned above will still apply.
Parking Costs at Disney World Resort Hotels
If you thought that you could get away with not paying a parking fee at your Disney World resort, guess again. Since Disney’s resorts are categorized by value, moderate, and deluxe price points, the parking fees associated with these hotels will vary.
Here’s how much it’ll cost you to standard park overnight at each Disney World Resort hotel:
Value Resorts: $15 per night
- Disney’s Pop Century Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
- Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
- Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Moderate Resorts: $20 per night
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
- Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
- Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
- Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
- The Cabins at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort
Deluxe Resorts: $25 per night
- Disney’s Old Key West Resort
- Disney’s BoardWalk Inn and Villas
- Cooper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
- Disney’s Yacht Club
- Disney’s Beach Club Resort and Villas
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, including both Kidani Village and Jambo House
- Disney’s Contemporary Resort
- Disney’s Riviera Resort
- Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
- Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Villas
- Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Villas and Bungalows
- Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
Valet parking services at these resorts are available to guests with disabilities.
Read more: How to Avoid Paying for Disney World Parking
Parking Fees for Disney Vacation Club Members
Disney Vacation Club Members, or DVC Members, that stay at a DVC Deluxe Villa (Disney’s Beach Club, BoardWalk Inn, Disney’s Grand Floridian, Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) will get free standard overnight self-parking, regardless of whether they use their DVC points for their vacation stay.
DVC Members will also have access to free standard parking at their Disney World resort hotel any time they are using their DVC points. However, besides the overnight stay at the villas, DVC Members will be charged for standard parking if they’re visiting Disney World but not using their points.
Are There Any Gas Stations on Disney Property?
Yes, they are three Speedway gas stations located on Disney property:
- Across from the Lime Garage near Disney Springs
- Near World Drive near the Magic Kingdom
- Buena Vista Drive near Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club and BoardWalk Inn resorts
All three of these gas stations are open 24 hours.
What if My Car Breaks Down at Disney?
While we hope this never happens to you, it’s important to know that you WILL have access to car help if your car breaks down at Disney. Close to Magic Kingdom is the Car Care Center.
This is a full-service center that offers everything from roadside assistance to car rentals and auto repair. Roadside assistance includes battery jumps, changing out flat tires, and a complimentary towing service to either the Car Center or another facility within three miles if the Car Center is closed.
This facility is open Sunday – Monday 7:00am-7:00pm. However, auto repairs are only available Monday – Friday 7:00am – 7:00pm, Saturdays from 7:00am – 4:00pm, and Sunday from 8:00am – 3:00pm. Guests wishing to have their car serviced before they head back out on the road can call 407-824-0976 to make an appointment.
Remember, auto repair services are not included in the price of your ticket/resort stay, so you will be charged extra depending on the type of service that was performed.
These are just a few of our must knows for driving at Disney World. Have you ever driven to Disney? If so, what was your experience driving at Disney World like? Do you prefer it over taking Disney’s complimentary transportation? We’d love to know.
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As a self-proclaimed Mouseketeer, Courtney Dercqu is a fan of all things Disney. Between decorating her desk with souvenirs from the park, to making unique mouse ears and having a dedicated Disney Instagram, Courtney is a true believer in the magic of a Walt Disney World vacation. Having had more than 200 articles published on various content, Courtney’s excited to share her knowledge and experience with everyone! Be sure to follow her on Instagram for all the Disney magic.
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