Walt Disney World does it again. They now hate people that drive

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 5:07 PM
Jeff's avatar

I believe they're charging $40 per person, each way, for the shuttle to Port Canaveral, and I think that's insane. And out-of-town friend cruised with us, and it was less for her to rent a car and leave it in the Canaveral garage than pay for the shuttle. The cruise line is another way to keep as much money on the "property" as possible, and I'm surprised they don't incentivize that with free shuttles if you stay on-property.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 5:22 PM

A per night hotel parking charge isn't just common in Orlando. It's pretty standard in any well-traveled vacation area. I searched high and low for a free parking hotel in San Diego a couple of summers ago and the only ones I found were either older hotels or within eyesight of the Mexican border (away from everything we wanted to do).

I too wonder if this won't pave the way for a charge for Magical Express. It seems like the next logical step.

Jeff - not that I disagree with your assessment of the port shuttle, but $40 each way is pretty standard for a airport-to-cruise port shuttle charge.


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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:23 PM

Yet another reason for me to not stay at a WDW resort hotel. I never saw the value in it anyway...and this ices it for me. When I come to the Orlando area I'm still selecting hotels that have low "resort fees" (if any) and I try to avoid hotels with parking fees. Jeff, the Caribe Royale...if you are familiar with it...is still one of the best values in Orlando as far as I'm concerned. No parking fee and it is less than 10 minutes to Epcot.

I'm getting old but I still remember parking at the Polynesian to avoid paying the parking fee at the park. Plus, it was a nice walk.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 6:55 PM
slithernoggin's avatar

I've done WDW with a rental car and without. If I'm going to stay on property I'll budget accordingly. If I can drive from Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom in, what,15 minutes, or take Disney transportation and read War and Peace along the way, I'll take the former. I exaggerate, but public transit just takes too long.


Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep.
--Fran Lebowitz

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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 7:14 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

Jeff, someone said it was $75 to take the ME from their hotel to Port Canaveral. I don't know if that was round trip, but that's likely.

As far as the "everyone else does it" argument, sure they do, but Disney has always been the exception that "includes" it in with your hotel stay. Kind of like Holiday World offering "free" drinks and sunscreen. You're still paying for it. To some, this would be equivalent to Holiday World coming out and saying they would still have unlimited soft drinks, but you had to pay $5 on top of admission now. I'd rather just see them increase the cost of admission and call it "free" - even though I know it's basically the same thing, it just sounds.. different than all the other guys, and makes the sound like they're giving you something in return for your business.

Disney is well known for baking the resort fee in with your room price as well, but sooner or later, they'll probably throw that out there, too. it's pure profit for them, at the expense of our wallets. Sure, it makes them money, but so would have an across-the-board $15-20/night room rate increase, and it would have completely alleviated the whole uproar around a "new charge" to settle up when you leave.

I'm grandfathered in for this upcoming trip, so I won't get dinged with a $150 incidental, but I'll just suck it up if I stay on property again, because I'm really not very fond of ALWAYS using their transportation.

At this point, though - I could stay on property for $200 a night plus $15/night parking, or I could stay at the Springhill Suites for $150 a night, plus $22 to park at the parks every day (or the Marriott has a free shuttle if I would like to utilize that) and pay $0 in parking at the hotel. Bonus, I would bank a TON of Marriott Rewards, and the Springhill has a free hot breakfast, that includes real Mickey Waffles. (Or if I'm going for long enough to justify covering parking, I'd just get an AP - which I may upgrade to on this next trip anyway.)


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 8:45 PM

Is there really an uproar over this change? Not with a group of certain posters on a mouse love site (most of whom from what I can tell seem to get upset when Disney makes any change to anything) but significant numbers of people who go to Disney/stay at the resorts?

What percentage of resort guests drive cars? Would think that may vary somewhat by resort? As that number gets larger, I think the policy change makes less sense. But if there is a significant percentage of guests who do not drive cars, increasing the room rate for everyone by $10-15/night makes less sense to me. I come back to why should someone who doesn't drive a car pay for those who do? And FWIW, I have never liked Holiday World's "free" drinks/sunscreen policy.

In terms of giving you something for your business, that would be good service, well run/maintained/cleaned parks, popular IP, good food/dining options, etc. On top of that people expect "free" parking to feel that Disney wants their business?

Some people may not stay at Disney resorts because of this change. Though others may decide not to drive cars (which ultimately is what I think Disney wants because it makes it less likely they will spend time other than at Disney properties). On balance, they presumably made the decision that they believe will maximize Disney profits.

I don't expect that they will start charging for Magical Express. It makes it less likely people will spend time at non-Disney properties which is what they want. Charge for something and you expect the demand for it to decrease. But at some point maybe they will charge for ME.

Last edited by GoBucks89, Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:27 PM
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018 11:49 PM

As long as their parks are over crowded, they will continue to increase fees in different ways.

Personally, I do not find a Disney vacation worthwhile anymore. Vacations are meant to be relaxing. The huge crowds and the required advanced scheduling by the Fast Pass+, its just not a good experience anymore. Especially considering the cost.

While I do commend the Disney parks for being the champion of having a lot of rides/attractions that the whole family can enjoy together without nausea/fear/etc concerns, I find the regional parks in this area of the country a much better experience as one does not have to fight huge crowds or pre-schedule ride times. Now that the regional parks are stepping up with Christmas events, that also fills the need to travel south in the cold months. If they could just do a little better job at having a few more total family rides/attractions like Disney, they would totally fill any need to go to Disney again.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:48 AM
Jeff's avatar

I think anyone who can't relax on a Disney vacation is just doing it wrong, and that sentiment has not changed in 20 years.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:07 AM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

Nope. Not doing it wrong, just have a different Disney experience than the locals.

We spent 5 days there and were done with 3 of the 4 parks by 3p or 4p each day and got a chance to 'relax' in the pool. We still felt like we were 'done' with Disney by day 4.

I was never so elated to be off the Magical Express and through TSA at MCO.

We'll do a day or two visit at some of the parks in the future, but never doing a Disney vacation again.

Last edited by HeyIsntThatRob?, Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:07 AM
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Thursday, March 15, 2018 10:43 AM
Jeff's avatar

My perception has nothing to do with being local. I've not even lived here five years, but spent weeks of my life on the property before that. I end up a little "tired" on any vacation where I'm doing touristy stuff, but it doesn't mean I'm not relaxing. It's the same for a long Cedar Point weekend, Vegas, cruises, whatever.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 11:26 AM

^this. Just because you arent on a lounge chair on a beach does not mean it’s not relaxing. I’m a Disney comando (open to close) but that does not mean I don’t relax on the vacation. I go to the water parks (and spend most of the time in the river and wave pools) have a nice table service meal, catch a show, shop/eat/drink around world showcase, etc.

If you want to do everything, you do need to “rush” the first hour and last hour the park is open to get 3-4 rides in but the rest of the day should not be a rush. Beach vacations have their place, but I honestly get tired of doing nothing after a few days. I’d rather go on adventures both man made (theme parks) and natural (National Parks.)


2020 Trips: Canceled by Corona

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:28 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

I have 7 days. There's no need to rush. Plenty of time to spend on the balcony at the room, drinking coffee. Plenty of time for playing in Stormalong Bay - when your resort pool has its own lazy river with a bar right next to it, you can't go wrong with that. We have multiple meals inside of EPCOT, and the gate is a 5-minute stroll away. We'll have a car, so there's no suffering on the bus to Animal Kingdom. We've got a dessert party so we can watch the fireworks in our own little area, with personal space. We don't have to wake up early at all, because all fast passes and meals are in the afternoons and evenings with space in between them to return to the resort and take a mid-day snooze by the pool if we want.

I think we have this Disney relaxation thing down to a science. But, it's certainly easier for us because we don't have multiple people that will want to do multiple things. There's 2 adults and a 12 year old that are all on the same page.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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Thursday, March 15, 2018 2:51 PM

I think I would substitute "enjoyable" for "relaxing." My vacations tend to involve getting up early and staying up late. Often there is downtime during the day but sometimes not. Depends on where we are and what we are doing. Disney seems to lend itself to downtime in the middle of the day as we are often there when the afternoon heat is not a lot of fun. But different people will take different views of vacations (and trips to Disney). End goal it seems to me should be enjoyable.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 3:15 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I'm am one who would rather do stuff than relax, but I am rapidly (kids influence not withstanding) realizing the benefit in riding a bench for a few hours mid-afternoon. There's usually pretty low return for standing in lines at that time of day and saving energy for the better parts of the day (open and close) is a better investment. In fact, at DLR, I've made a practice of taking an afternoon nap in one of the hotel lounges (the Disneyland Hotel outdoor fireplace is really nice) during the after lunch crush. It's not impossible to relax on a Disney World vacation if you want to, but you definitely have to sacrifice some amount of "doing stuff" in order to.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 3:20 PM

A bad day on vacation is a thousand times more relaxing than a good day at work.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018 3:21 PM
birdhombre's avatar

GoBucks89 said:

I come back to why should someone who doesn't drive a car pay for those who do?

One could also make the argument, why should people who drive cars have to subsidize the cost of Disney buses? If people want to be car-free and have Disney cart them around all week, make 'em pay for it [as a separate line item].

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 5:00 PM

wahoo skipper said:

When I come to the Orlando area I'm still selecting hotels that have low "resort fees" (if any) and I try to avoid hotels with parking fees.

I get that, but I don't do it. I don't care what you call it. What I care about is what is the total, all-in cost to stay somewhere. Then the question is: is that worth it? For my typical stay (using a non-brand resale timeshare to stay at DVC) this is getting close to tipping the balance in favor of something like Wyndham Bonnet Creek or Sheraton Vistana. Am not planning a stay at WDW any time soon, but this might be the straw for me personally.

Of course, that doesn't matter. The resorts are bursting full of people. Driving a few people away (particularly those that drive and may well visit more often and spend less per visit) isn't a problem.


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Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:23 PM

One could also make the argument, why should people who drive cars have to subsidize the cost of Disney buses? If people want to be car-free and have Disney cart them around all week, make 'em pay for it [as a separate line item].

You can make that argument from the customer's perspective. But one important factor is the perspective of the company. Given the choice between a family that drives its own car (or rents one) and one that depends on Disney for all its transportation needs during their stay, Disney would prefer the latter. The former is more likely to spend a day at someplace not-Disney (such as Universal) and spend money there that they otherwise would have spent at Disney. So you charge for parking a car but not for Disney transportation (increasing the cost of something decreases demand for it). In addition, there are infrastructure/logistical issues with making people pay for Disney transport: you need to have ways of validating passes on buses, monorail and boats and go through the logistics of doing that with people getting on transportation holding kids, with strollers, packages, etc.

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Thursday, March 15, 2018 8:27 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Thankfully my sister and her fam live nearby and my nephew or niece can drop me off on their way to work :-D


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Thursday, March 15, 2018 9:12 PM
HeyIsntThatRob?'s avatar

GoBucks89 said:

I think I would substitute "enjoyable" for "relaxing."

I substituted 'I didn't find my Disney trip relaxing' to 'I didn't find my Disney trip enjoyable.' and I agree with you that it's a much better fit.

I'll make my final point and then put it to rest. My kids and I love parks. We've done a handful of trips now where we've done Open to Close with parks, driving hours to the next destination and repeating that experience. We love it. We felt crazy, free, and enjoyed our trips. Probably not relaxing but when we came home, we felt accomplished. We've also done single day trips to one of each of the Disney parks and used the app just for the day in case we wanted to book rides. We had a blast at those parks so we thought a Disney vacation would be amazing.

What differed from a single day Disney trip to a full on Disney vacation is that we felt captive. If we wanted to leave the park, we had to wait for a bus. Sometimes with waits as long as 45 minutes. If we wanted to sit down and eat, we had to make sure it was booked on the app because we didn't want to wait over an hour for a table. Basically, you had to plan your day, down to the time you were eating. In my opinion, that didn't make it enjoyable for us.

Now add large crowds and the super hot and humid weather we had and our experience went from not being enjoyable to me counting down until we were leaving.

We'll just go back to single day trips.

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