The parking lots at the Disney World theme parks are impressive, to the extent a parking lot can be impressive. They are huge – some of the largest in the world. They are well organized, with parking attendants directing lines of cars into spots, and trams efficiently ferrying guests from the parking lots to the entrance gates. And they are expensive – although maybe not as much as you would think if you compare them to parking near a major sporting event. In 2012 the cost for a car was $14, and that price tends to go up just a bit each year.
For most folks staying off-site, it just makes sense to pay the money and park your car in the parking lot. Just consider the cost part of your vacation. However, there are a few other options you might consider.
Busses and Taxis
The local bus service in the Orlando metro area is called Lynx, and they do offer city bus service at various bus stops around the city. For about the cost of purchasing one day of parking at a Disney park, you can purchase a full week pass on the Lynx bus service. However, you would need to purchase bus service for each person in your group. The bigger your group size, the more expensive this becomes. In addition, bus service is slow by design since the bus will be making plenty of stops after it picks you up and before you make it to Disney.
Another option is taking a taxi. If you don’t like to or aren’t able to drive, this is definitely an option. However, it can get quite expensive with even a short one-way trip costing more than a day of parking.
Some people have a problem with paying for any parking. They are looking for a trick to get out of paying. Technically there isn’t one since Disney transportation is reserved for Disney hotel guests, but if you want to fight against the system you can pull a trick (which I do not recommend). Park at Disney Springs and take a Disney bus to a Disney resort. Then take another bus from the Disney resort to the theme park. But is it really worth breaking the rules and adding extra, unnecessary transportation time to your vacation?
Just Do It
If you are really against navigating transportation systems, consider staying at one of the Disney resort hotels and leave the driving to them.
Are you set on staying off-site? While there are options to rig the system by parking at Disney Springs or saving a few bucks by taking the local bus, why would you bother? Your vacation time is valuable too. While nobody I know likes to pay for parking, just do it. Your wallet might not like it but your watch and your tired feet will thank you for a good decision that gets you to the fun and back home again as quickly as possible.