Park Strife

There has been no booking of ADRs in the past week which has made it all the tougher. Staring longingly at the plan during weeks like the last one goes some way to lessen the burden of some of the absolute shite I have to endure to earn a living. Being able to book ADRs for an upcoming trip is a cure for most such ills and I have missed it.

My mood has not been improved by the weather over the weekend either. It’s the middle of bloody March, with British summer time imminent, and this shite white stuff has caused Mustard to miss their gig this weekend. We were due to be out in Buxton, which according to the internet is pretty much closed, so it was the correct decision to cancel, but an upsetting one.

Yesterday, despite the snow, we had a ride out to the local car showroom to discuss changing my car. It’s coming up on three years old and is about to start needing an MOT and no doubt lotsa money spending on it. So it didn’t take long to come to a deal to change to a newer model of what I have currently, with a welcome warranty, three years of servicing and a better spec for the same monthly money. Hopefully I’ll be picking it up during the coming week.

We have also started to plan Rebecca’s 21st birthday party. After saying for a long while that she didn’t want a party, it turns out she does. I have to say we were shocked! So we have swiftly moved into action, booking a function room at my Dad’s golf club for early May, arranging the obligatory buffet and booking an excellent, top notch function band called Mustard. We got a great deal from them!

It may not surprise you to discover that the party will be Disney themed. Costumes are being sourced as we speak!

In other non Williams news last week, Disney, as it sometimes does announces something that really upsets some folks. It would appear that on-site guests now need to pay a parking charge per night at Disney resorts. It does seem that UK bookings are exempt, but I could be wrong on that, but naturally the Disney internet community has, I believe the phrase is, blown up this week with much discussion of this change.

It begs the question, when does a Disney holiday become just too expensive? The answer may well be different for each individual, and not being a regular on-site guest, and not from the US, this one doesn’t immediately impact me, but this sort of extra, along with what seems the weekly increase in parking charges for the theme parks can come over as a little greedy from a company that makes billions of profits.

Now, as much as my love for the Disney brand and experience can blind me to many things, it does not stop me appreciating that they are a public company, who exist to make profits. I’m sure they have done some extensive and expensive market research before launching this new charge, but it is a strange one. I have personally paid a parking charge at other Florida hotels, including Universal, but to me at least, it matters a little less as those stays tend to be quite short. If I were to stay at a Disney resort for two weeks or more, this new charge would begin to bite into my budget and ultimately either restrict my spend on other areas and/or tempt me to stay elsewhere.

I suspect any down turn or back lash will be minimal and there are enough people still willing to pay what is required to holiday in Disney and ultimately their balance sheet will look a little better. It would cost you $24 a night to self park your car at a deluxe resort. So that’s $336 for a two week stay. Does that matter? If you can afford to stay at the Grand Floz for two weeks surely that’s a minor dent in your budget? However having stayed at another Deluxe, the Beach Club, I have to say that extra amount would be significant enough for me to have to consider it.

Perhaps they are doing it to discourage folks from driving? A green agenda and a tax on cars in a country so obsessed with motor vehicles seems unlikely and that would inevitably put a strain on the Disney transportation system too. Add to that the fact that day guests, visiting a resort to dine or look around do not pay the charge, it all seems just a bit odd. The official line seems to be that it brings them in line with industry standards, but it could be argued their room rates have always been slightly above that so adding this in may push them out of the price range of some folks.

Anyway, we’re in a villa this time round, so I’m alright Jack!

There is no escaping that a Disney trip is an expensive business. Especially for us UK visitors. We have to fly over lots of water at great expense, and typically stay for at least two weeks to make that journey worthwhile. This might explain the UK exemption?

But what’s next? With Disney fans always willing to pay for that “extra special thing” to make their trip that little bit different and memorable, Disney already have a million ways to part guests from their cash. The sacred cow may be charging for FastPasses and/or some sort of front of line experience. Would Disney go there? I hope not. There’s already a train of thought in Disney online communities that the ” average” family is being priced out of a trip, and with there seemingly no longer being a quiet time in the parks, charging folks to beat the lines seems punitive.

So, I’d be interested in your thoughts. If these parking charges do eventually apply to UK guests, would it change your thoughts and plans about staying on-site?

Till the next time……

9 thoughts on “Park Strife

  1. When we stay onsite we use the disney transport so don’t need a car!!! This would more likely stop me hiring a car rather than staying onsite 👍🏼

  2. UK guests will pay from 2020 apparently. We always stay onsite for part of our holiday but only by renting DVC points, and my understanding is that we will therefore not pay parking charges. Despite my love of the parks the American expression of being ‘nickel and dimed’ springs to mind.

    1. Unless you are actually a member then you will have to pay and this will be from when the US guests have to start to pay.
      Disney cannot make members pay as we actually own a small piece of the property and already pay in our dues for parking.
      I do believe it will be UK guests who book either direct or with a UK based travel agents that will be exempt. Booking via a US travel agent you would then have to pay.

  3. I’ve never stayed on-site but if I were to think of doing so in the future the parking charge could be enough to put me off.

  4. Having spent over two hours on the phone this morning booking two ADRs, I would not recommend it Craig .

  5. For the last 7 visits to Disney we have always stayed on site..hired a car and enjoyed the benefit of not paying parking fees at the various parks, however having just learnt about the additional prices of parking I think it’s disgusting..I fly out in 37 days and staying at Port Orleans Riverside. Already this year I have noticed a significant hike in the prices from the last visit which was 2016, to then add parking charges on top I just think that this time will be the last at staying on site as to me they have priced themselves out ..I will just have to look at staying off site in future which is a shame as I do enjoy staying on site..For the last 4 years we have been living in Rhodes Greece and STILL my addiction, obsession and even if I have to sell my first born grand child to the devil himself I undoubtedly will always find a way to get to the “happiest place on earth “..

  6. I think it’s the thin edge of the wedge, introduce parking charges, then the next logical step will be to introduced resort fees too. TBH Disney make more money from the travellers that only stay 3 or 4 nights, than us Brits who stay two or three weeks. How many of us breakfast in our room, take our princess dress with us, get free iced water and add our little squashed juices etc instead of buying it all through Disney. They money men have taken over and it is all about profit and where next they can squeeze the next dollar from.

  7. Hey Craig

    Just caught up on your last few blogs. Very exciting plans, I bet you can’t wait to see Freddie’s wee face in WDW 🙂

    Looking forward to reading more of your plans in the coming months!

    Rach x

  8. We say onsite every time we visit which is typically 4/5 times a year and we are DVC members, so we will not have to pay the parking fee. We typically don’t have a car when we visit unless we drive down so we use the magical express most of the time.

    Having said all that the fee is quite expensive and I get it if overseas visitors were hit with a 14 nights x 25 a night fee, that’s a lot of money.

    In the DVC community and on social sites a lot of folks are welcoming the charge as they think it is enhancing the value of their DVC investment. Personally I don’t agree with that as I’ll never be selling my DVC , and I think it just another charge that’s making it more expensive and will eat into folks budgets.

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