Walt Disney World Prime Parking: Is It Worth The Cost?

  • By: pdstamp
  • Date: January 18, 2023

When preparing for a day at Universal or Disney, one of the things that should be kept in mind is parking. An option that will be made available is premium or prime parking.

Is prime parking something you should consider?

Prime parking is going to cost you $60 at Universal and $50 at Disney. It is not worth the money because you will not get much closer to the park and that money would be much better spent on something else that is enjoyable, rather than parking.

Let’s take a look at the different options available for prime parking at the parks.

Disney – Parking at Disney is $25 for standard parking but if you want preferred parking, you will have to pay up to $50. The only reason why you should consider the upgrade is if you are staying at a Disney resort or are an annual pass holder. If that is the case, you get a free upgrade.

Universal – Prime parking at Universal will set you back $60. You may be able to save a few minutes if you get the best parking spot in the prime parking area but you might also find that you are getting a spot right next to the regular parking.

This is what happened to us on our last visit! The parking attendant at the pay kiosk told us it was a busy day and he personally recommended prime parking!

As you can see from my personal photo below we parked right next to the prime parking at no extra cost!

“Prime” Parking At Universal Studios.August 2022

It’s always good to consider your options and in some cases, you may find that it is worth it for you individually.

Generally speaking, however, I don’t recommend it and I consider paying extra for prime parking to be somewhat of a ripoff.

How Much Is Parking At Disney And Universal?

In order to make the best decision on parking, it’s good to look into how much you will pay for prime parking and regular parking. You can then make the decision if you should accept the extra fee or if you would be better off spending it at the park.

Disney Parking Fees:

Before we discuss the specifics of how much you will pay for parking, it’s important to recognize that you will get free upgraded parking to premium if you are an annual park pass holder or if you are staying at a Disney resort. Otherwise, here is how much you will pay:

Standard Parking – $25 Daily

“Preferred” Parking – Between $45 and $50 daily

Oversized Vehicle – $30 daily

You will get to park closer to the park entrance if you pay the extra for premium parking. Then again, you can always ride the tram from the standard parking lot and consider it your first ride of the day.

Universal Parking Fees:

There are a number of different options available for parking at universal. You may pay an additional $30 or more, depending upon what you’re driving and when you are arriving. Here’s a breakdown of the parking fees at Universal:

Regular Parking: $27 Daily

Prime Parking: $60 Daily

Oversized Vehicle: $32 Daily

Arrive after 6 PM: Free Parking

If you pay for the regular parking, you will be self-parking in one of the parking garages. As long as there isn’t a special event going on, you can avoid the charge by arriving after 6 PM.

The lower levels of the garage are available for prime parking. That being said, you don’t necessarily get a benefit from being on a lower level because your parking spot might be further away than if you had parked in the self-parking garage.

If you want to make the most out of the additional money you pay for prime parking, get to the park early. You will get a premium spot on one of the lower floors. If you arrive later in the day, save the extra money for the parks.

What Is The Difference Between Prime And Regular Parking At Universal Studios?

If you are trying to make the most out of your visit to Universal Studios, you may feel it is best if you pay for the extra benefits of prime parking. What is the difference between prime and regular parking at Universal?

Prime parking at Universal gets you a spot on one of the lower garage levels.

It does not necessarily get you closer walking distance to the escalators and at times, you may find that you are closer if you self-park in the regular parking area.

Prime parking is supposed to offer you the benefit of getting closer to the escalators but that isn’t always the case.

In addition, there may be ways to save money on prime parking. What are they?

Arrive after 6 PM: Free For All Parking

Rent a Car from Budget at MCO: Free Parking Upgrade

Rent-A-Car from Avis at MCO: Free Parking Upgrade

What Is The Difference Between Prime And Regular Parking At Disney?

You will have to park at Disney unless you rideshare or take transportation from one of the resorts. Understanding the difference between standard and preferred parking can help you to make a good choice.

Preferred parking will get you a little closer to the entrance of the theme park but there is no guarantee it will save you time. You might find that you are parking right next to the regular parking and spending the extra $25 per day to do it.

The standard parking lot at the Disney theme parks is next to the preferred parking but it is further away from the entrance.

There are trams available at all the Disney parks to take you into the park from the regular parking area, and Universal has moving walkways.

Paying the extra $25 to park in preferred parking is usually of the most benefit when you arrive early.

As the preferred parking lot continues to fill up, you will be pushed further and further away from the entrance. You might even end up having to take a tram.

How To Avoid Paying For Parking At Disney?

There is nothing quite as sweet as getting something for free at Disney. How can you avoid paying for parking at the parks?

One of the best ways to avoid parking fees at Disney is to stay at one of the Disney resort hotels.

If you are taking part in certain events at the hotel or staying there, you get complimentary standard parking.

If you are staying at a Disney resort hotel and have an annual park pass, you get a free upgrade to premium parking.

There are also other opportunities for saving money on parking at Disney. Here are two different choices to consider.

Choose the Right Hotel – If you stay at a local hotel that offers transportation to the park, you may be able to stay without paying any parking fees. Make sure you verify this before you head off to the parks because you might have a surprise and have to pay the fee anyway.

Don’t Drive – One other option is to not drive to the theme parks. Once you are at the parking lot, you don’t need your car so you can book a Mears Connect from the airport or use Disney transportation once you are on Disney property.

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