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Warning: Disney Restricts Resort Parking For Diners As Crowds Hit

Warning: Disney Restricts Resort Parking For Diners As Crowds Hit

Are you planning to dine at a popular Walt Disney World Resort this holiday season? Read this before you make the drive.

Holiday Crowds Arrive

Credit: Maggie

The holidays are so magical at Walt Disney World Resort. It is no wonder that they bring with them PEAK crowd levels.

Although seasoned visitors will tell you Disney is nearly always crowded these days. But, there is no type of crowd like Disney Holiday Crowds. People flock there in droves to enjoy the season.

Credit: Maggie

Not only are the festivities are the world-class theme parks a draw, but the special decorations and food options at the Walt Disney World Resort Hotels are also so popular that people want to visit regardless of whether they are staying at the resorts.

For example, Disney’s massive Gingerbread displays at resorts like The Grand Floridian and Beach Club have gained QUITE the fan following over the years. You can read about this year’s magnificent collection of festive Gingerbread displays right HERE.

Parking Problems

Credit: Susan

These displays are beautiful, but they can lend themselves to problems such as resort parking. The hotels are typically booked solid this time of year, so resort parking becomes tight.

It becomes even tighter when diners book special holiday meals at the resort restaurants. It is true that you do not have to be staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel to enjoy a meal at one of the restaurants provided you have an Advanced Dining Reservation. Also, if you want to drive to the resort in your own car or via rideshare, you WILL most likely have to stop at the gate and provide information about your dining reservation in order to get through the gate.

Increased Parking Restrictions

Credit: Katie

Now, typically, once you park, you are free to leave your vehicle as long as you like while you enjoy your meal. In fact, some guests also spend time enjoying the parts of the resort available to day guests such as shops and displays and perhaps even fireworks that may be visible from the hotel grounds. Some visitors also leave cars parked while they head off to the theme parks.

Extended parking after a meal is a practice that Disney cracks down on during its very busiest days

You need to know about certain restrictions if you plan to drive a personal vehicle or rental to dine at one of Disney’s more popular resorts. This is especially true for Monorail Resorts or EPCOT Area Resorts.

Credit: Katie

You may receive a dated “Resort Dining” paper pass with specific restrictions to display on your dashboard. Passes state the meal period (breakfast, lunch, or dinner). Then, they also list how many hours (typically 3) your vehicle may remain parked during that meal period. To comply with the rules, you will need to move your car after that time.

This can happen on Disney’s busiest days, especially if parking is becoming limited for guests at a specific hotel. For example, those with dining reservations at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort have already received the Resort Dining passes with parking restrictions on select days and times this month.

Credit: Disney

Again, this practice and these passes are not always in place and they may be there one day and gone the next. However, it may serve you to manage your expectations during this busy season in case you do receive one.

What do you think of these Disney Resort Dining Passes that restrict diners to 3 hours for parking? Let us know in the comments. And, feel free to pass this post along to anyone who may find it useful.

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Jack Hoffman

Sunday 12th of November 2023

So you don't put the dated / timed pass in the windshield or valet it. Problem solved.


Saturday 11th of November 2023

Great info, Katie. Thank you. This will be very helpful to know. I wish the GF would reopen 1900 Park Fare, especially for the Holidays. Great pics, as usual Team. I love Maggie's pic of the Wilderness Lodge. I remember fondly our staying there with my parents years ago when my children were small. It was a very special time at Walt Disney World for my family.


Saturday 11th of November 2023

Thanks for reading as always, Randy. Those sound like precious memories! Also, I agree that Maggie takes GREAT photos.

Maggie Baltz

Saturday 11th of November 2023

Thanks for the kind words! Wilderness Lodge is so beautiful during the holidays.

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