Greed Or Smart? Disney Overnight Parking Will No Longer Be Free

We are just a couple of weeks away from our family spring vacation.  Part of it will be spent at Disney World.  We did a family vacation a few years ago at Disney World, and had a blast.  We wanted one more experience while the kids are still charged at lower rates.  With our vacation coming up, we’ve been following all things Disney related.  Last week a big announcement came in that Disney overnight parking will no longer be free.

The Old Policy

Previously, if you were staying at a Disney resort, overnight parking was free.  This was a nice perk, presumably to make their resorts more attractive than surrounding hotels.  But, they announced that soon, there will be a daily fee between $13-$24 depending on the resort.


What This Means For Us

Thankfully, we are not impacted for our upcoming trip.  Although we’re driving, the fee only impacts bookings made after March 21st.  Any bookings made before then will not have this charge.  We made our booking a few months ago, so we’re good.  For this trip.

Greed Or Smart Thinking?

Many people are outraged.  Reading some of the Facebook groups, people are upset.  This should come as no big surprise.  It is, after all, an extra cost to which customers get no added value.

So why is Disney doing it?

Greed?  Many people say that Disney is being greedy with this move.  They point out that this was a nice perk for people that made Disney resorts more attractive.  Many also point out the ever increasing cost, and figure it’s just a money grab.

That could be.  Or maybe they’re being….

Smart?  One of the things that we’ve seen with Disney World is that it’s busy.  You’d expect this, but it’s always busy.  When we went a few years ago, there were certain times of the year that you could book and expect to enjoy low or moderate crowds.  Now, there is really no such thing.  If you read the real time reports, crowd levels are either high or really high. That’s pretty much it.

So you could say that Disney is making a smart business decision by increasing their revenue.  If demand is up, then you could argue that they have a responsibility to their shareholders to maximize their revenue based on that demand. Yes, I majored in Economics in college! After all, if park admissions (and presumably resort reservations) are running at robust levels, would an increase in costs put that at risk?

Probably not.  I’m sure the bean counters at Disney made sure of it.

What Do You Think?  Greed Or Smart?

I’m curious what you think.  Is Disney being greedy or smart by charging for something that was formerly free?

My answer: I think it’s a bit of both.  If I were a Disney shareholder, I’d love the move.  As a Disney customer, not so much.

What do you think?  Leave your answer in the comments below.


12 thoughts on “Greed Or Smart? Disney Overnight Parking Will No Longer Be Free”

  1. Both. Strictly thinking of it as a business decision it makes sense. The added cost stinks for consumers but I doubt it would prevent most people who are planning a trip to rethink their plans, so the move should increase their revenue nicely.

    As a consumer, I see it as greed. Everything about Disney World costs an arm and a leg and this is just one more money-grab that squeezes the middle class. we went to Disney World 2 years ago. We drove down from NJ and parked at the resort and then didn’t move the car until we checked out. That was free for us but now it would cost us $100 or more.

  2. I think that it’s plain and simple greed.All Hotel parking should be free to their customers. Not sure how much parking revenue they will gain from this. Let’s just hope that the other Hotels does not follow their practice.

    • Well, the thing is that most amusment parks charge for parking and Universal Studios has been charging resort guests fees for years. And even many hotels now charge for parking. Unfortunately it seems that Disney is joining the majority, not leaving it.

  3. It’s both, really. They’re already really profitable without taking this step of charging for parking, and it’s a meaningful amount of money for infrastructure they already have in place. They’re going to have to spend some money on implementing the change but it won’t be all that much in comparison to the money they’ll be raking in.

    It’s true that it’s standard practice at many hotels to charge for parking but, unlike many of those other hotels, if you’re staying with them, they are also holding you captive in a place where they wildly overcharge you for food and drink and a metric ton of merchandising as well. Excepting the resorts, of course.

    This is another cost to take into consideration and yet another argument against our going to Disney World, honestly. I really don’t see Disney as a thing for the middle class anymore given how much they charge for everything.

    • Right now the crowd levels seem to show that people are pretty accepting of their prices, but I do believe it will start to stretch limits as they continue to increase above the pace of inflation.

  4. Me, what do I think? I think it’s characteristic of the dystopia in which we live.

    My patience with constantly being shorn like a sheep and shoved around like a herd animal has run very short, indeed. I do not fly on airplanes anymore for this reason — if I can’t get there by car, train, or bus, I don’t go. Have been to Disneyland (many times) and am sure Disney World is just as wonderful. But there’s a limit.

    If we all would set that limit and observe it, a great deal of the ripping-off and the abuse inflicted on the public by megacorporations would come to a stop. IMHO.

  5. I think it’s because Disney knows that people who are going will go anyways with or without free parking. So charging for it will only help their bottomline.

    Personally I wouldn’t stop taking my kids to Disney just because it got a little more expensive. Disney is selling a unique experience.

    • They are definitely doing that. I just hope that it doesn’t become out of reach for the people that Walt Disney envisioned that experience being able to reach.

  6. I agree with you and I also think it’s a bit of both. If I were a Disney shareholder, I’d love the move. As a Disney customer, not so much. and I also think that its true and nothing one of them…

  7. Ugh. As a consumer, I hate being nickel and dimed and that’s exactly what this is. The result for me will probably be that I don’t rent a car. From what I recall, transportation from the airport to the resort was already free with your hotel reservation. I’m sure they will start charging for that next though.

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