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!).

Comments

Just a clarification regarding the parking at downtown Disney. It's definitely not a secret and Disney is aware of it. Disney is creating as many deterrents to force you to go to the parking structure and pay. When you go there, you will see a bunch of signs saying this is not theme park parking. I just went over the weekend and they have staff telling you as you enter that there is a new parking policy. If you go to a quick food restaurant and buy $20 worth, you only get 2 hours validated. If you go to a restaurant with table service and spend $20 you will get 4 hours validated.Anything after the validation time, you will be charged $12 for every 30 minutes (no longer per hour). The ticket validation is very strict. When I talked to several staff there, the Disney staff at the gate will ask you to verify your receipt to make sure that you actually paid $20. The restaurant host at the restaurants will not validate your ticket unless they see your receipt. Apparently, they will get in trouble if Disney finds out they are validating parking when they should not have. Also, don't bother trying to come up with an excuse to try and say you lost your validated ticket. Disney will charge you $45 for a lost parking ticket.

After all this, it doesn't save you any money if you plan to get validation because Disney knows that by the time you arrive and add walking time and getting food, you will have used up anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour & 15 minutes before actually getting into the theme park. You will end up paying more money than the $20 parking fee at the structure if you go over the validated time. As if Disney doesn't need anymore money but I have watched them change policies over time to basically ensure that everyone go to the theme park pays every step of the way. They are interesting it making you spend as much money as possible. It's the Magic Kingdom where the most magical thing that happens there is your money disappears. Lol

Pages

Add new comment