The best parking for Disneyland can be found at the following Disney brand locations: The Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure, and the Toy Story Parking Area. In this article, we’re going to dive into not only where you can park in Disneyland, but how much parking costs, how long you can stay parked, and even how long the parking lot trams operate.
Finding the Best Parking at Disneyland
As mentioned earlier, the easiest and closest parking options for both theme parks (Disneyland and California Adventure) are the Disney structures located around the area. There are three Disney brand structures: Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure, and Toy Story Parking Area. There are shuttles and trams available for Mickey & Friends as well as Pixar Pals that drop you off right at Park entrance, which makes these the most convenient!
How Do You Save on Disneyland Parking?
If you’re looking to save money on parking costs (more on how much Disneyland parking costs soon), it’s worth noting that nearly all of the hotels in the area are within a two minute walk of an ART bus stop, which makes parking at the hotel another great option if you’re looking to save some money! The ART buses run early in the morning before park opening and stop shortly after the last park closes.
Simba Parking Lot and Downtown Disney
If you are looking to explore more of Downtown Disney rather than the parks themselves, there is also the Simba lot. Separate from the other parking structures and options, this location charges by the hour, so it’s not the best option if you’re planning for an all day excursion. In addition to this, if you are a guest in any of the resort hotels, you can park in those lots and have direct entry to the parks and downtown Disney (although this is strictly for hotel guests).
Parking Options at Off Site Hotels
If you absolutely do not want to park on the Disneyland property, there are off-site hotels very close to the parks that will allow you to park there as long as there is open space. This is not free parking as there is a fee involved, but that fee varies from hotel to hotel and typically is fairly close to what Disneyland is charging for parking on property. The benefit with this option is the lack of wait times and lines to get into the parking structures on the property.
How Much Does Parking at Disneyland Cost?
The hotel parking prices will vary from location to location, Although I personally have seen it range anywhere from $15 a day to $30 a day. If you choose to park your vehicle at the hotel and leave it at the hotel, there are plenty of ways to catch one of the ART shuttles, with an all day shuttle pass being seven dollars per person. If you’re a party of one staying at a hotel with cheaper parking, this would be far more efficient for your wallet. The shuttles will drop you off right in the pedestrian drop off zone, making this a perfect option if you don’t want to walk quite as far.
Lastly, there is also a park and ride option in Fullerton, where you can hop a one-way bus for around two dollars per person. This is the cheapest possible parking option, but it is also the farthest away and most strenuous to get to at the end of a long day in the parks.
On-Site Parking Costs
Daily Rates (Standard and Oversized)
Any of the three on-property parking structures or lots that are provided by Disney are the same price, which is helpful when you are going to be at the parks all day long. Standard size, self park cars and motorcycles are charged $30 per day, with the option of returning to the parking garage later in the day for no extra cost, provided you bring your receipt for that day!
If you have an oversized vehicle, tractor (no trailer), or motorhome, you will be charged $35 per day with the option of returning to the parking garage later in the day for no extra cost, provided you bring your receipt for that day!
Preferred Parking at Disneyland
Preferred Parking is an upgrade that must be purchased upon arrival to any of the three parking structures, and allows guests to park within far closer proximity to elevators and escalators. Preferred Parking costs $50 per vehicle per day, with the option of returning to the parking garage later in the day for no extra cost, provided you bring your receipt for that day! If you’ve already purchased a standard parking pass, adding Preferred Parking only costs $20 per day.
Is Preferred Parking at Disneyland Worth It?
Personally, I do not feel that Preferred Parking at Disney is worth it, although if you struggle with large parking lots and long distances, you may find it to be a very helpful addition to your vacation!
Parking at Downtown Disney
If you are looking to explore more of Downtown Disney rather than the parks themselves, there is also the Simba lot. Separate from the other parking structures and options, this location charges by the hour so it’s not the best option if you’re planning for an all day excursion.
If you’re parking in the Downtown Disney Simba lot, how long you can park there will ultimately depend on how much you are willing to pay. If you’re planning on using this lot to visit the theme parks, it would be best for you and your party to simply go park in one of these available Disney structures. Economically, it is not wise to park in this lot longer than three hours, but if parking charges are of no concern to you and your family, there does not seem to be a limit.
Payment Methods for Disneyland Parking
Any payment methods accepted within either park as well as Downtown Disney are accepted within the parking garage, as well. This includes cash with bills up to $100, as well as all major card carriers such as Visa, MasterCard, JCB, Discover, Diner’s Club, and American Express. The parking garage as well also accept the Disney Rewards Visa, Disney Rewards Redemption Card, Disney Gift Cards and Disney Dollars. There are also prepaid vouchers available for purchase on the Disneyland app or Website!
How Long Can I Stay Parked?
Ultimately, the answer to this question depends on a lot of variables and can change even further based on your party’s plan for the day. If you’re parking in the Downtown Disney Simba lot, how long you can park there will ultimately depend on how much you are willing to pay. If you’re planning on using this lot to visit the theme parks, it would be best for you and your party to simply go park in one of these available Disney structures. Economically, it is not wise to park in this lot longer than three hours, but if parking charges are of no concern to you and your family, there does not seem to be a limit.
Disney’s official, on property parking structures open one hour before the earliest park opening, and close one hour after Downtown Disney closes. One $35 parking admission fee grants you access from opening to close with no limitations, and you can leave and return as many times as you would like during that time provided you keep your receipt. If you lose your receipt, you will be required to pay the $35 fee again to enter the lot.
If you are staying in a hotel that offers parking, there really is no limit to how long you can park there. The only limitation you will have is the transportation schedules. Buses run very frequently, but they do shut down fairly shortly after the parks close for the evening, and Downtown Disney’s later closing time does not accommodate the bus scheduling. The latest I personally have caught one of the ART transportation vehicles was at about 12:30 PM which is only 30 minutes after park closing.
Similar to hotels that you are staying in, hotels that offer additional parking don’t have specific limits for how long you could park. Do be aware, however, that these parking lots are first come first serve and you are not guaranteed to get a spot. Not every hotel offers this as an option either, so be sure to double check before you arrive to save yourself the hassle of not getting a spot.
How Do the Disneyland Trams Work?
The trams are one of my absolute favorite parts of Disney, and such a fun way to start and end the day! If you are parking on any of the on property parking structures, you will want to follow the pedestrian signs to the security lines. Once you pass through security and the metal detectors, you’ll find yourself at the tram station.
You’ll load onto the trams, and after a short ride you’ll be dropped off right in the heart of downtown Disney! At the end of the day, you’ll get back on the trams and be dropped off directly outside the parking structures! Trams run an hour before park opening until an hour after Downtown Disney closes for the evening.
If you’re interested in learning more about the history of the parking trams in Disneyland, this is a great video and allows you to visualize what the parking situation looks like before you get there!
Can I Park at Disneyland for Free?
There is no easy way to park at Disneyland for free. In fact, on all of our separate trips, this feat has been impossible. Even the park and ride option has a cost to it, as you will have to pay a bus fee to get to and from the Fullerton parking lot. This is, however, the cheapest option if you are looking to stay on a budget and keep things as low-cost as possible.
If you are physically disabled like myself and traveling Disneyland in a wheelchair or other electronic conveyance vehicle, you will find yourself wanting to park in the Disneyland on property parking structures. They have a great selection of accessible parking and it’s very close to the tram boarding station and security lines! Be sure to keep an eye on the ceiling also, as a green light above a parking spot means it’s open!
Disneyland parking lots are the most secure out of all of these options, and if you’re keeping valuables in your car (probably not the wisest idea anywhere) this is the safest place to do it. The hotel parking lots are riddled with stories of car parts, valuables and important things being stolen, so take that into account when you are planning where to park your vehicles!
Lastly, please keep in mind that animals are not to be left in vehicles regardless of where you are parking. Even when under the shelter of a parking garage, in the sweltering Anaheim summer sun cars can get hot enough to cause heat exhaustion and even death in animals of any size. For safety purposes, please leave all pets at home with the exception of service animals.
See You REAL SOON!
Finding the best parking for Disneyland seems complicated, but when you really dig into it, it’s not too bad. There are more options than you think, and while it’s certainly a bit expensive, these days you’re not going to leave the Disney parks (or parking lots) without spending a good deal of money. Hopefully you’ve found this article to be helpful!
This article was written by Peyton and edited by Michael.
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