Walt Disney wanted to keep the prices at Disneyland low so that everyone could come and enjoy his ‘amusement enterprise.’ When Disneyland opened in 1955, the cost to park your car was only 25 cents, or just $2.22 in current dollars!
Times have changed and the price to park at the Disneyland Resort (DLR) has increased dramatically. If you’re a current Annual Passholder (AP), or thinking of becoming one, make sure you factor the cost of parking into your yearly Disney budget.
No More Yearly Parking For Annual Passholders
When the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure opened in preparation for the debut of Disney California Adventure, daily parking cost $8 and Annual Passholders could purchase a year of parking for only $40. By 2015, prices had increased to $18/day or $199/year for passholders!
As of February 2015, there are no new sales of the Annual Passport yearly parking option.
New and current Annual Passholders who don’t already have the parking option on their pass can’t buy it anymore. However, current AP’s with parking privileges are being grandfathered-in to the new system and can park at the Disneyland Resort 365 day a year, regardless of whether their AP is blocked out or not.
If you’ve already paid for the yearly option on your current AP, it will remain valid until your pass comes up for renewal. At that point, if you don’t renew the option with your passport, you’ll lose your unlimited parking privileges forever.
For reasons why Disney made this switch in AP policy, check out my articles ‘5 Steps of Disney’s (Not So) Secret Plan To Axe Passholders‘ and ‘5 Reasons Disney Doesn’t Want More Annual Passholders.’
Disneyland Resort Parking Prices Over The Years
Since the yearly option has been removed, there’s now only one parking option left to most ‘regular’ passholders at Disneyland.
Holders of all Southern California Select, Southern California, and Deluxe Annual Passports who aren’t grandfathered-in will have to pay the daily rate ($18) for parking on each visit along with regular ticket holders. Premium, Signature, Signature Plus, and Disney Premier AP’s still include unlimited parking.
Below, I’ve included a table of parking fees over the last decade or so at the Disneyland Resort, including the break-even point for each price increase when AP yearly parking was still offered.
|Date||AP Yearly Parking||Daily Parking||Days To Break-Even|
The AP Yearly Parking Option Was More Cost Effective
Before February 2015, the main parking question for AP’s was: should I buy a year in advance or pay as I go?
For many Annual Passholders, paying for a year in advance had many advantages.
- Yearly parking would pay for itself in 10 visits.
- It would lock-in current parking rates, for when the daily rate increased later in the year.
- If you financed your passport, you could spread the cost of a year of parking over 12 months.
Now, if you visited the Disneyland Resort every day your AP was valid and paid the daily parking rate each time, it would run into thousand of dollars!
|AP/Parking Option||Parking Cost||Valid Days||Yearly Parking Cost|
|Cancelled AP Yearly Parking||$199||365||$199|
|SoCal Select AP||$18||170||$3,060|
In some cases it makes more sense to upgrade to a higher level of AP, such as Premium, than to pay more out-of-pocket to park. Visit our ‘5 Steps’ article for a more in-depth discussion and to see if this might be the best plan for you.
Why Has The Cost Of Parking Increased?
Why has Disney increased the price for parking drastically in the past few years?
In large part the higher price relates to high numbers of Annual Passholders and resort overcrowding issues. Also, new resort additions such as ‘Star Wars Land,’ Carsland, Buena Vista Street, The Little Mermaid attraction, the recent Big Thunder Mountain Railroad gutting/refurbishment, etc. all have to be paid for and justified with higher company profits.
With the matching increase of passport prices across the board in 2015, the elimination of the SoCal and Premium AP’s, and the cancellation of the AP yearly parking option, I’d expect daily parking prices to stay fairly stable for the next year or two as the AP herd thins out and overcrowding becomes less of a problem.
Everyone has different vacation plans and different ways of visiting the Disneyland Resort. I urge you to sit down and get at least a rough idea of how and when you’ll visit the DLR, so you can make the best financial decision for you and your family.
If this article has helped you out, please leave me a comment below. Have another idea about the Disney parking situation? I’d love to hear that too. Thanks for reading and we’ll see ya’ real soon!
Wondering which annual pass to buy and when? Visit the
Mouse Monthly Ultimate Guide to Disneyland Annual Passports
for all your AP answers.
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