So, if it is your first time to Disneyland, first off congrats! The park is amazing and you will certainly have an amazing time. As your vacation draws near, you may begin to wonder about the fine details of planning, like dining options, shopping venues, and parking. If you have done any research at all, you probably know that parking at Disney can be a bit tricky but fortunately, we veteran Disneyland guests have found all of the best tips and tricks to streamline the process and make entering the park a breeze!
How Parking Works
There are two parking lots provided by the park. You can opt for the bigger option of the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage or drive around to the Pinocchio Surface Parking Lot (once it opens in 2019). The Pinocchio surface lot is predicted to fill up faster so get there early if you want to avoid parking in the garage. It is around twenty five dollars per day for parking and if you use any of the lots at Disneyland, you must pay the fee. Parking is semi-assigned and you will be guided by cast members into the garage or lot depending on availability. Parking payments can be made with card, cash, or check at this time, as well as pre-paid parking vouchers, Disney gift cards, Disney Dollars, and Disney Rewards.
Try for the Toy Story Parking Lot
This lot is accessible from Harbor Boulevard and is easy to miss due to being surrounded by trees. Less people park here and it is easier to get in and out if you can get to it. People coming from the the San Diego area have an easier entry to this lot while those coming from the I-5 should probably go for the Pinocchio Surface Parking Lot or stay in the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage to avoid a lot of unnecessary hassle. There are a few other parking options that typically only suit locals or those staying in the Disneyland hotels like the Downtown Disney District Parking Lot and Resort Hotel Parking Lots; for more information on who can park in these lots, feel free to check with Disney customer service for a full explanation.
Go straight from your parking selection to your tram
The tram will take you into the park access area and is only a few minutes away from the parking areas on foot. These shuttles make getting into the park easy and safe, as you are not crossing traffic or risking getting lost. When you are ready to leave, just go back to the area where you were dropped off and wait for your tram to return and take you back to your car. It’s a super simple process that makes the park a little less stressful!
Riding the Tram
Be prepared to fold up your stroller or other carry able items when you enter the trams. People will be moving around and there is no room for your little one to sit in their stroller. You cannot keep your stroller unfolded and will not be allowed to board if you choose to refuse (a surprisingly large amount of people try to wiggle around this rule). At that point, the bus will leave without you and you will have to walk to the entrance which is a hassle no one wants. Rules are rules, fold it up.
Keep a Reminder Where You Parked
Write it in your phones notes so you don’t forget!
If you cannot remember where you parked, a cast member will be more than happy to help you find your way. To avoid needing this assistance, mark where your car is on your parking pass for an easy reminder. Do not panic either way, you’ll certainly find your way home, even if it takes a few moments.
Disneyland Secret Tips and Tricks
Even the simplest layouts have some tips and tricks to make things even easier!
1. Reserved Parking at Nearby Hotels
Reserved parking at the nearby hotels to save some money. Parking expenses can add up pretty quickly if you are visiting for multiple days. You can reserve parking at some of the local hotels for a lower fee than that of the park itself. Some popular options include valet parking at the Anaheim Marriott for fifteen dollars per day and the Four Points by Sheraton Anaheim which is self parking for ten dollars per day.
If these two are full and you are looking to avoid the hassle of Disneyland parking and do not mind paying more, you can still opt for off site parking at the self parking Fairfield Inn for twenty dollars per day (you have to leave early for this one; the hotel closes around seven or eight P.M.), the Quality Inn and Suites for twenty dollars with valet, or the Sheraton Park Hotel for twenty five dollars per day with self parking. All of these are between ten and twenty minutes worth of walking from the park but will save you time and/or money when compared to in park parking.
2. Take the ART Shuttle
The Anaheim Resort Transportation system runs seven days a week and will take you from your hotel parking space to the park for a small fee. You can view pricing and buy tickets here or on the free ART app. This is a great option for those parking offsite who are not comfortable walking with small children or those who cannot walk long distances comfortably.
3. Elevator/ Escalator Parking
If you want to be parked near the elevators and escalators of the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage to get in and out easier, opt for the Preferred Parking Pass. For forty dollars per vehicle or fifteen to upgrade from a traditional parking plan. Upon purchasing the plan, a cast member will lead you to a premier parking spot that is near the entrances and exits, streamlining your experience and getting you into the park faster.
4. Security Check
Be ready for a security check. Do not have anything illegal in your car and do not bring weapons to the park. Security very well may check your vehicle and Disneyland reserves the right to turn away any patron in violation of their safety codes without a refund. Make sure you are following all of the rules from the Disneyland website before entering the lot to prevent any complications and ensure your day goes according to plan!
Carpool if possible. You pay your parking fee per vehicle so if you can all fit in one car, squeeze in. It will cut your parking bill in half and give everyone a bit of extra spending money in the park especially if you’re going to be visiting a few days.
We recently went two days in a row and each group paid for one day to make things fair. We have also done trips were one couple pays for gas to the park and the other covers parking. Divide things up however you see fair and save!
6. Overnight Parking
Be warned that overnight guests will have to pay for nighttime parking. Even if you book through Disneyland for your hotel, you will still have to pay parking fees. Overnight parking varies a bit but is generally around twenty dollars per night. For more information on the change, check out the Disneyland parking FAQ; there are some exclusions to this newer rule.
7. Oversized Vehicle Fee
Be prepared for oversized vehicle fees. If you drive a larger than average vehicle that does not easily fit in a single parking space, you will likely face some extra parking fees. For these types of cars, parking ranges from twenty up to thirty dollars and can vary greatly due to it depending on the actual size of your car. Make sure you alot a bit of money for this if you think your vehicle might classify
8. Show Up Early
Show up early to beat the line. The line for parking gets long rather quickly so get to the park early to beat the wait and get inside the park as soon as possible. The parking lots open one hour early to allow guests to enter so plan to get there before then if you want to use Morning Magic or other similar programs without any sort of hassle.
9. Request to Park at the Toy Story Lot
Though the Toy Story lot is usually reserved for overflow, you can request to park there if it is not already full. Just ask a cast member or the person at the ticket booth if it is possible for you to pass through. Most of the time they are accommodating and will let you park in the open surface lot, which is significantly easier to leave when compared to the parking garage option.
10. Take the 2nd Tram
When you are ready to leave at the end of the day, there will usually be two trams loading up to leave. The second one will almost always be less packed; hop on board for a less stressful ride back to your car.
11. Cast Member Lots
Inquire about the cast member lots. Sometimes if the park is rather busy and parking is scarce, you can request to park in the Pumbaa or Simba lot. Sometimes the parking attendant will decline but other times you may luck out and get to park in a less crowded area! It is certainly worth a shot, especially if you hate waiting around for other cars to find their spaces.
1. What are the current parking rates?
- $25.00 per car or motorcycles
- $30.00 per oversized vehicle, motor home or tractor (without trailer) – due to recent changes, parking is now only permitted at the Toy Story Parking Area
- $35.00 per bus or tractor (with extended trailer) – due to recent changes, parking is now only permitted at the Toy Story Parking Area
Right now, the current parking rates are twenty five dollars for one day with a normal sized car, thirty dollars for an oversized vehicle, tractors without trailers or extended add ons, or mobile home, and thirty five dollars for tractors with trailers and buses.
If your vehicle falls into either of the latter two categories, you will have to park in the Toy Story parking lot for safety reasons and will not be permitted into the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage. You also may not park elsewhere in the resort or park overnight with oversized vehicles at this time.
2. When does the parking garage open?
Currently, the parking garage and lots open a full hour before the park. For Magic Morning Early Entrance package holders, parking is available ninety minutes before park opening hours on most days for the Toy Story Surface Parking Lot and Mickey and Friends Parking Garage.
3. Can I charge my electric vehicle while I visit the park?
Sure! A limited number of ChargePoint charging ports can be found in the Mickey and Friends Parking Garage. You have to scan your ChargePoint membership card in order to access these charger ports. All chargers are open on a first come first serve basis. If you struggle to find the charging ports, ask a cast member for assistance and they will be more than happy to help you find your way.
4. Where are the guest pickup and drop off locations?
To pick up or drop someone off, you do not have to pay for parking. Just select one of these two locations to make your stop: Downtown Disney District parking lot (you have a fifteen minute grace period to pick someone up here, after that you will be charged) or Harbor Boulevard at the marked drop off and pick up area.
Uber and Lyft drivers can use these areas too, but do note that all drop offs and pickups must be brief and the driver must leave as soon as possible.
5. What options are there for handicapped parking and those with disabilities?
Disneyland always strives to be as inclusive as possible. Due to this, there are quite a few steps taken to ensure handicapped and disabled guests can still park easily and safely.
Have your handicap sticker or placard visible and inform the directing cast members that you need a specialized spot. They will direct you to one of the limited parking spaces. Guests with wheelchairs or other mobility devices can also receive assistance and can still ride on buses and trams as long as they fit safely.
Buses and trams do have lifts to assist with boarding which may be used so long as the mobility device fits without being forced. For more assistance with accessibility related concerns, feel free to call the Disneyland helpline, where a cast member will answer any and all questions.