Disney World Preferred Parking | Is It Worth The Price?
Preferred Parking at Disney World comes at a hefty fee and it's difficult to figure out exactly what value you're getting if you've never visited the parks before.
We've analyzed the pro's and con's of Preferred Parking at each Walt Disney World theme park and are here to provide some insight on when it might be worth paying for the upgrade!
Questions We'll Answer About Preferred Parking At Disney World:
- What Is Preferred Parking?
- How Much Does Preferred Parking Cost?
- Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Magic Kingdom?
- Is Preferred Parking Worth It At EPCOT?
- Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Hollywood Studios?
- Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Animal Kingdom?
- Preferred Parking Discounts & Deals
What Is Preferred Parking?
Preferred Parking is an upgrade to the standard parking option that is available at all Walt Disney World theme parks.
Preferred Parking puts you as close to the front entrance of the park as possible at your time of arrival.
You'll nearly always be a decent bit closer to the security checkpoints and front entrance of each theme park if you choose Preferred Parking.
This means a much shorter walk to the park when you begin your day, and even more importantly, a shorter walk back to your car after a long day at the parks.
The only parking spots with better access to the main entrance of each theme parks are going to be in the Medical Lot (which is reserved for guests with a handicap parking permit) and, occasionally, EV parking. EV parking is extremely limited, so you can't count on these spaces being open if you're looking for great parking.
Preferred Parking is the only way to guarantee you'll get some of the best parking at Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom.
How Much Does Preferred Parking Cost?
Unlike Standard Parking which comes at a fixed cost of $25 for cars and $30 for oversized vehicles such as trucks and RV's, Preferred Parking's price can change day-to-day.
Preferred Parking currently sits at $45-$50 per day. You're more likely to encounter the top end of this range on weekends and around holidays such as New Years and Christmas.
It's also important to note that Preferred Parking is only valid for one day.
Preferred Parking is not transferable and you won't be able to get Preferred Parking privileges any other day during your trip to Disney.
However, if you plan to park-hop in the same day then you'll be able to use Preferred Parking at any Walt Disney World theme park. This means that if you purchase Preferred Parking at Magic Kingdom, you'll be able to access the Preferred Parking lot at Hollywood Studios that same day.
Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Magic Kingdom?
There are only two theme parks at Walt Disney World we ever consider or recommend getting Preferred Parking at and Magic Kingdom is one of them!
Getting to Magic Kingdom is already a stretch with a massive parking lot and on-top of that you'll need to take either a monorail or ferry boat to actually get to the front gate.
Magic Kingdom has one of the largest parking lots in the country, so traversing across it is no easy task. Luckily there are trams at this parking lot which drop guests off at the security checkpoint, but standing out in the Florida sun waiting for one isn't exactly the most enjoyable task.
When visiting Magic Kingdom we like to get to the park as quick as possible and know there's a TON of walk ahead of us, so Preferred Parking has a lot of value here.
If you're thinking about splurging from Preferred Parking at one of the Disney theme then we'd recommend putting Magic Kingdom towards the top of your list.
Is Preferred Parking Worth It At EPCOT?
The only other Walt Disney World theme park we consider getting Preferred Parking for is EPCOT.
While EPCOT does have a large parking lot, we think the real reason you’ll want to consider Preferred Parking is more so because of the park itself.
Out of all the Walt Disney World theme parks, we average more steps at EPCOT than any of the other three parks.
Between exploring the World Showcase (and often more than one lap through the area), mostly non-existent seating while dining at festival booths and a couple standing room only shows, a day at EPCOT is especially rough on the feet.
You’ll more than likely be over indulging on all of the delicious food and drinks at EPCOT as well which will likely have you feeling a bit sluggish.
Having a minimal walk back to your car after a long day at EPCOT feels great and between the amount of time you spend on your feet coupled with all the eating and drinking, Preferred Parking is worth considering here!
Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Hollywood Studios?
Hollywood Studios is one of the four Disney World theme parks we definitely advise against getting Preferred Parking at.
We average the least amount of steps per visit at Hollywood Studios, and despite having some major attractions with very long lines, we don't seem to be on our feet nearly as much as the other parks.
Hollywood Studios also seems to have a much smaller parking lot than any of the other Walt Disney World theme parks which makes the walk to and from your car feel much less grueling.
That being said, Preferred Parking at Hollywood Studios is in a really great location. Just steps away from the Skyliner and security checkpoint it's actually one of the most accessible Preferred Parking lots at any of the Disney parks.
While we can't recommend splurging for Preferred Parking at Hollywood Studios, the placement of Preferred Parking so close to the entrance of the park makes it a tempting upgrade.
Is Preferred Parking Worth It At Animal Kingdom?
Animal Kingdom is borderline worth upgrading to Preferred Parking, but in the end we ultimately decided it's not worth the upgrade.
The Animal Kingdom parking lot is massive, and no matter where you park it's a bit of a walk to the security checkpoints and main entrance.
You'll also spend a lot of time on your feet at Animal Kingdom between the parks sheer size and walking trail to spot some animals!
However, we don't think Preferred Parking is in an ideal location. This isn't Disney's fault for poor placement, the parking lot itself is just a bit of a haul to the entrance no matter where you park.
Animal Kingdom also has a ton of shade, which is a great escape from the Florida sun and provides plenty of spots to rest in.
Attractions like the Kilimanjaro Safari is also nearly 25 minutes in length, which is a long time to get off your feat while experiencing one of the most unique attractions at Walt Disney World.
Between the not so great location of Preferred Parking at Animal Kingdom, and multiple different ways to escape the heat and get some rest, we recommend passing on Preferred Parking at Animal Kingdom.
Preferred Parking Discounts & Deals
As of now the only discount on Preferred Parking is if you hold a Walt Disney World Annual Pass.
Annual Passholders get free parking at all four Disney theme parks. They also only need to pay the upgrade cost between Standard Parking and Preferred Parking as another perk of being a Passholder.
This means that Passholders only pay between $25-$30 for Preferred Parking instead of $45-50.
We'll be sure to update this section of the guide if Disney introduces any new discounts and deals for Preferred Parking!
LEARN MORE ABOUT PARKING & TRANSPORTATION AT WALT DISNEY WORLD