My Secret Parking area for Disneyland


Obviously Disneyland and California Adventure aren't in the Inland Empire, but because so many Inland Empire residents go to Disneyland often or are annual passholders, I wanted to share our "secret parking spot" that we use every time we go to the resort.
Technically if you visit Disneyland or California Adventure, you aren't supposed to park in this area.  As you approach Disneyland all of the
signs will indicate theme-park parking is in the large west-lot, smaller east parking lot, or the large parking structure.  There are even a few mobile electric signs that specifically indicate "No Disneyland parking allowed" in our secret spot.  But the way I see it, if I pay for the parking I can walk to wherever I want, be it Downtown Disney, California Adventure or Disneyland proper.

Why not just park in the designated Disneyland parking areas?

On a busy day (i.e.; most days), if you park in the designated Disneyland or California Adventure parking areas, you can expect:
  • A long wait just to get in to the parking area - often times as long as 20 minutes
  • A long walk to the tram that takes you to Downtown Disney
  • A long wait for the tram to arrive (usually at least 5-10 minutes)
  • At the end of your stay at the Disney Resort, another wait for the tram back to the parking area, long walk back to the car, and long-line to exit the parking area
When you park your car in this "secret" area of mine, you are right in Downtown Disney (right at the Rainforest Cafe), then it's just a short walk to the Disneyland entrance.  If you have an Annual Pass for Disneyland, you can cut that walk in half and skip the long lines to get into the main entrance by taking the Monorail into Tomorrowland.  The Monorail entrance is just a few yards beyond the parking area, across from the Lego Store.  At the end of your stay, it's a short walk back through Downtown Disney back to your car, then fast, easy access back to the freeways.
Depending on how long you stay, it may cost $3-$5 more to park in this area - well worth it in our opinion!  But, if you cut your stay to less than 6 hours, it is actually cheaper than parking in the regular parking lot or parking structure.

Where is this secret parking area?

Our secret parking spot is actually the Downtown Disney parking lot which is across from the Disneyland Hotel.  You can get there from Disneyland Drive by turning onto Magic Way, and following the signs for Hotel parking.  Turn left on Downtown Drive, go through the gates (stop to get a ticket) and you're there!  
See the map for more info.  Clicking the map will take you to Google Maps where you can get specific directions from wherever you are coming from.
Best parking spot for Disneyland 
Enjoy your stay at Disneyland!


*Update: since this was posted in 2013, Disneyland has apparently updated the fees for parking here and it is now just as expensive as parking in the main parking structure (but, still closer!).


We have parked in this area for years since we discovered it while staying at the Disney Hotel a few years ago. It is so much better than that godforsaken parking structure!

i used the Downtown parking lot last year and I could not have been happier. Free for 3hrs, $2 each additional 20 min in case you exceeded. All i had to do was leave for lunch and comeback for another 3hrs. However, in 2106 not only you get charged after 2hrs, the rate is mow $6 per 30 min, or fraction of, after that time.

then we would park in the structure but you can't charge the full boat when you're only gonna stay for 2-3 hrs. We usually get dinner at ESPN zone and then head to the park for a couple hours - we miss that 5th hour but we make it work. But again if they would adjust the structure parking fee I dont mind parking in there. But they don't make it easy and if they don't want all passholders in the park well then stop selling passes after a certain amount??!!! I don't get it.

Since the original post of "My Secret Parking Area for Disneyland", there have been some changes. It's not such a secret and the walk to the park is a bit of a trek. The parking staff are well aware of the theme park goers and im sure that's why the parking is so expensive. The first 3 hours are free and $6.00 for each addition 20 minutes. Not too exceed $30.00. Why spend $$$$ to go to Disneyland just to stay for a few hours. Not worth it.

It was a secret to me until I found this post before we went to Disneyland a few weeks ago.
It is a bit of a walk, maybe 5 or 10 minutes but it's nice to see all the shops in downtown Disney. Even though the parking staff may be aware that we spent the day in the park, they didnt say anything or complain when I paid them at the exit.. If we just stay for a few hours as you said, and get the parking validated its FREE! If we stay all day, the max of $30 is only 6$ more than if you had parked in the giant parking labyrinth.. well worth it in my opinion.

Its actually $2.00 for each additional 20 minutes, or, $6.00 for each additional hour NTE $30.

As of this month, Disney has raised the price of parking for Downtown Disney and the Parking Lots.

In Oct. 2015, the prices changed: Structure = $18 for the day; Downtown Disney = 2 hours free and $6 for every 30 minutes (or portion of, i.e., a few minutes over the 2 hours will equal $6, 31 min over will = $12); it adds up quickly. I was there for 3 hours and 8 minutes = $18. Ridiculous! We spent money while there, but Only sit-down restaurants give validation, which basically ends up being the same or more as if you just paid $12 for the hour. Also, the validation only adds on one more hour to your time. So...cha ching! If you're going to be there more than 3 hours, you'll probably want to park in the structure.

Where did you get the "only $6 more" part of the equation? It costs $17 to park in the regular Disneyland parking.

This is far from a secret. This lot is almost always completely full ever since DL stopped selling parking passes. If you want real free parking there are other options but I'll never tell my secrets.