Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Parking at the Disneyland Resort

Parking at the Disneyland Resort

There are several places to park at the Disneyland Resort. You can park at the main parking structure, Mickey & Friends or you can park down the street across from the Convention Center in the Toy Story lot. If you are handicapped or have a large vehicle you can ask to park in the Pinocchio parking lot right next to Mickey & Friends. There is also handicapped parking on every level of Mickey & Friends right next to the elevators.

The Toy Story lot is the newest addition to parking at DLR. The problem with parking there is you will either need to walk about ½ a mile to the park or catch a ride on the buses that run from the parking lot to the park from the time the park opens to about an hour after the park closes.

When you park in the Mickey & Friends parking structure you will have a unique experience. When the Mickey & Friends structure was built in 2006 the over 10,000 parking spots made it the largest parking structure in the world at that time. It is no longer the biggest but is still number 6.

There are several things that make this parking structure different. The first unique thing is there is a bridge right at the off ramp of the freeway that leads straight into the parking structure. The direction of the flow of traffic is changed late in the day so the bridge takes guests back from the parking structure to the freeway entrance. More about exiting the structure later.

When you first get into the structure there are many lines to get into to pay to park, it costs $15 for a car and more for trucks and busses. This usually keeps the lines moving quickly. Once you have paid the parking fee you will be directed where to go. Instead of going round and round as you do in all other parking lots you are guided to a ramp that takes you to the level they are currently filling. There are usually two lanes feeding the level. I suggest getting into the right hand lane because that lane will go the furthest over, nearer to the escalator and elevators. Once on the level you are going to park on you will find Cast Members that will guide you to the row they are filling. When you go down the row there will be Cast Members to tell you where to park. This is so all the spaces are filled in the most efficient way and to limit the number of cars driving where guests are walking to limit accidents.

There are escalators from every level as well as an elevator. The elevators are usually packed so most guests use the escalators. It is really fun to be on the Donald level near the top and ride the escalator five stories up and down! It can be a little unnerving for young children and people who have not used such large escalators before.

There are four loading areas for trams that take you to the DownTown entrance area for the Disneyland Resort. Just watch for the ones that are in use. It usually takes 30 minutes from parking to getting into the gate of the park.

Now at the end of the day there is another unique feature of the Mickey & Friends parking structure. No matter where you are parked you need to go around to the far side and across to the middle of the structure to find the ramp to exit. Unlike all other parking structures you don’t go round and round. It is a straight shot from your level down to the street level where you will be directed back out of the structure and usually to the ramp that will take you right to the freeway entrance.

Here are a couple of tips for parking in Mickey & Friends. Have your cash, credit card or annual pass if it includes parking out and ready to give the parking attendant. I’ve already made this suggestion. Stay in the right hand lane when you enter your level so you can get into the farthest lane over. With over 10,000 parking spots on six levels I suggest you take a picture of the nearest marker that will tell you the level, row and section you are in. I will either grab my camera or use the camera on my cell phone to take a picture. I do this right after I get out of the car. This can save time and frustration when it comes time to head home! If you are handicapped and cannot use the escalator I suggest you ask to park in Pinocchio instead. The line for the elevator can be very long at the end of the day. I’ve know it to take a couple of hours to get through the line for the elevator.

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