Parking when Staying Off Property

The Disney Moms reader, Sabrina wrote in to ask:

We are planning our visit to WDW for June 2013 for 8 days. It is a surprise for our 3 boys (ages at that time will be 12 (will turn 13 while at Disney), 7 and 6). We have already chosen and made reservations at a Downtown Disney hotel(Caribe Royal). While the hotel does have complimentary transportation to and from the parks, I’m sure we may take advantage of being able to drive ourselves. My question comes in here.  How does it work if we drive to the park? Do we pay to park? If so, do you know what the cost is? If we drive, will we get to ride the monorail?  My next question is in regards to character meals. Can you recommend the best one and best time to attend?  Thanks!

The Caribe Royal is a lovely resort.  I am not certain it is really considered in Downtown Disney though, as it is a few miles out of the “Disney” area.  The bus system they use is different from Disney’s bus system and is on a regular schedule.  You will be able to catch the bus at a said time from the resort and be delivered to your theme park.  Your delivery spot is typically in the middle of a parking lot quite a bit away from the actual entrance of the park.

If you should instead drive to the parks, you will pay the $14 per day charge.  If you had instead decided to stay at the Disney Resorts, you would have avoided the $14 per day charge.  Another way to avoid this daily charge is by owning a Disney Annual Pass.  If you own one of these passes, you only need to show your pass to the attendant.

Once you have paid the $14 per day, you do not need to pay it again should you change parks.  As far as riding the monorail, if you are heading to the Magic Kingdom, you will be riding the monorail to get to the park assuming you park at the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC).  You can also park at the TTC for getting to EPCOT.  This allows you another ride on the monorail.  However, you save quite a bit of time if you instead park directly at EPCOT.

I find that when traveling with kids, it is best to attend a character meal in the morning when everyone is fresh.  There are a wide variety of character breakfasts to attend.  You will need to make the decision on which is right for your family based on availability and the most loved characters.  However, a great pick is alway Chef Mickey’s where you get to see Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and Pluto!  Be sure to discuss other possible selections with Disney when you make your dining reservation!

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