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When parking for Disneyland, you are subconsciously forming your first impression of the happiest place on earth. You are so close to the happiness!
But wait, you must first ditch your car and herd your family into the park. How difficult will this be? How long will it take? And oh boy, what will it cost?
Prices are as of February 2017.
You can pay with cash (up to $100), credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Discover, American Express, JCB and Diner's Club, Disney Reward Visa), Disney Gift Cards, Disney Dollars, and pre-paid parking vouchers.
You can also park in the "Preferred Parking", which is close to escalators and elevators. When you get to the main lot (Mickey & Friends), tell them you want Preferred Parking and they will show you where to go. It's first come, first serve. It costs $35/day for cars.
If you've already prepaid for parking, you can upgrade to Preferred Parking for $17.
Your options are the same whether you're going to Disneyland or
California Adventure. And all lots cost the same.
1) The Mickey & Friends lot.
This is the main lot. It has a ramp from the freeway straight to the parking structure which is nice.
2) The Toy Story lot.
It feels farther but people say it's actually quicker to park here. Air-conditioned shuttle buses take you to Disneyland, as opposed to open-air trams, so that's another perk. Two things to note though: 1) There is no covered parking 2) I did not see any restrooms.
3) The Pumbaa lot.
This is the overflow lot. It's on Disney Way near Harbor. Buses will take you to Disneyland but they might not look all Disneyland-y like the Toy Story Lot buses. No covered parking here either.
No matter where you park, remember to take a picture of the nearest parking sign with your phone. Sure you think you'll remember, but after hours of extreme sights, sounds, and sensations, the parking sign most likely will be erased from your memory.
Downtown Disney, the shopping area adjacent to the theme park, used to be a parking bargain. Now I wouldn't exactly call it a bargain but it's not bad.
There is also a free drop-off/pick-up area on the west side of Harbor Boulevard, north of Disney Way and south of Manchester Avenue. Some people like to send dad back to the parking structure to fetch the car, then have him pick up the family here. But be quick-- no parking or waiting of any kind is allowed there.
Here's wishing you good parking for Disneyland karma.
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