Unless you stay within walking distance, your first “ride” every park day will be to Disneyland in a vehicle. Disneyland provides two large parking areas for guests on either side of the resort. Depending on where you are coming from, you’ll want to learn where to park at Disneyland when you arrive.
The biggest and most obvious parking structures are the Mickey and Friends and Pixar Pals garages, located at the northwest corner of the resort. This parking is best for visitors coming south from the Los Angeles area. There is a ramp that leads directly from the Interstate 5 freeway into the tandem garages. Or if you are coming from the west, it’s two easy right turns off of Ball Road just before you hit the freeway overpasses.
Pixar Pals Parking Garage (Photo by Kristina Valcarce)
You’ll enter through the bottom floor of the garage, pay your daily fee at a booth (Disney gift cards are accepted) and be directed to the level Disney is currently parking on.
The garages are massive – together they hold about 16,500 cars. Each level has escalators and elevators to return you to street level near the tram stop. You’ll go through bag check and metal detector before boarding the tram.
Your second ride of the day — a Disneyland parking tram
The parking trams take you from the Mickey and Pixar garages past the backside of Downtown Disney, dropping you across from the World of Disney store. From there it’s a two-minute walk to the Esplanade. To return to your car in the evening, retrace your steps back to World of Disney and catch the tram where you were dropped off.
The other major parking area for the resort is the Toy Story lot southeast of the resort. This lot isn’t as well-known or as easy to access from the freeway, but it is great for locals or those coming from the south, like San Diego. Guests of off-site hotels closer to this lot than the front gates are allowed to walk onto the shuttles here too.
This IS the parking you are looking for
Toy Story parking is accessed from Harbor Boulevard. The lot is surrounded by trees and not immediately obvious. Look for the “parking” sign and arrows at the intersection to turn in.
As with the Mickey garage, you’ll pay at a booth and then be directed by the parking cast members to your row.
Before boarding your blue bus, you’ll clear security and bag check
This lot only starts running buses one hour before the park opens, so it’s not a great choice for those with Magic Morning access who want to be standing at the Disneyland gates right then. Park with Mickey instead.
These bright blue buses exit out the north side of the sprawling lot and eventually end up on a marginal road on the west side of Harbor Boulevard. The trip from this lot can take a little longer as the buses are subject to traffic lights. The buses drop you off on the east end of the Esplanade, a very short walk from the bag check area. To return, follow the crowds leaving toward the east and look for the “Disney Parking Shuttles” and the Toy Story character names.
Mark your parking receipt so you can find your car at the end of your Disney day
The drivers on the morning buses and trams will remind you which lot you parked in and to make a note of it. The parking Cast Members can help you find your area if you remember roughly what time you parked. Disney runs a whole herd of buses and trams at opening and closing hours to get everyone efficiently in and out of the resort.
All buses and trams will require you to fold up your stroller. Handicap boarding is available at all lots as well.
*There are a few smaller parking areas, including resort hotel parking, Downtown Disney parking (validated with some purchases). Most area hotels charge for parking, and street parking is highly regulated. For more details on how to get to Disneyland and where to park, you can visit the Disneyland website section on driving and parking.
Which lot do you park in when you visit? Share your Disneyland parking tips in the comments.
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19 thoughts on “Where to Park at the Disneyland Resort”
Out of everything I’ve read online to try to figure out how to park at Disneyland, you’re is the best! You have tips, pictures, and the correct info. Disney’s own website doesn’t explain it very well. Thanks!
I agree that the information on parking can be elusive! A couple of small changes since this article was published nearly 2 years ago: 1) the tram boarding area is now on the bottom level of the Mickey and Friends parking garage, as Disneyland is about to start building a new parking structure on the site of the Pinocchio surface lot. 2) the security checkpoint is now before you board the trams. Happy travels!
Thank you for writing this post and for the updated info in your comment!
Where is handicapped parking? Where is Toy Story?
Beverly, the handicapped parking is near the bus or tram stops in each lot. The bus drivers are experienced at loading wheelechairs or ECVs. Disneyland’s website says to ask at the toll plazas where to park. The Toy Story lot is east of the Disneyland resort area across Harbor Boulevard.
The new parking garage next to Mickey and Friends is going up fast and I’m sure some of the directions for that parking area will keep changing during construction.
Last year we used the Toy Story Parking and there was no security. Why is the security at Mickey and Friends? Does it save you the security at Disneyland? Do the trams get you closer than the buses from Toy Story lot? Thanks
Teena, the security coming from the Toy Story lot is after riding the bus, the east side of the Esplanade between the two parks. On the west side, security has been pushed out from the Esplanade to the far end of Downtown Disney. If you park in Mickey and Friends you clear security before getting on the tram. I think the Mickey trams and the buses drop you a similar distance away from the gates.
Hi Vikki – taking my 7 year old for the first time tomorrow. Hoping a Tuesday in may wont be overly crowded. Any tips for this mom? I was thinking of getting the maxpass, but was told it was not worth it if we don’t have the Disney app. thoughts? How about where to eat? thanks so much
Wendy, it’s hard to tell how crowded it will be but this is a great time to go to Disneyland! If you don’t/can’t get the Disneyland app on your phone then the MaxPass is pointless. You’ll just be collecting FastPasses at the machines like classic FastPass at WDW and Disneyland. Hungry Bear is a great place for kids to eat because it’s a little out of the way and you can see the boats going by from the upper level. Arrive early and go where your child wants to!
We are looking to walk over from our hotel and catch the parking tram. Do you think this is possible? We have free parking across from the Mickey and Friends parking structure so we want to take advantage of that.
Danielle, anyone can catch the parking trams/buses — in fact it’s one “hack” visitors use when they have a hotel across from the Toy Story parking on the east side. I would ask when you get to your hotel what the current best route is to get to the tram’s security area — as they finish the new parking structure they keep changing walkways and lines. You’ll probably have to go all the way around the structure to enter.
Thanks for the super helpful website! We are going to be staying at the new Hampton Inn this week and the map looks like it is right next door to the Toy Story parking. Sounds like this is a good thing since we can use their shuttle – but just curious, do we really just walk into the lot??
CC, yes, you can just walk into the lot off of Harbor. I’m sure you won’t be the only ones doing it from one of the area hotels. Have a great trip!
Are car seats needed for the shuttle from the Toy Story lot?
Melissa, you don’t need a car seat for the Toy Story lot’s shuttle buses. They are basically nice city buses — no seat belts and some people might have to stand when they get crowded. If you’ve been to WDW they are like the buses there.
I’ll be visiting Disneyland the end of April with my daughter and granddaughter. I don’t have a handicapped placard but I am 70 years old and as such, it is difficult for me to stand or walk for long periods. I’ll be renting an ECV within the park so I believe that will work for the park itself but I am concerned about walking a long distance within the parking lot itself. What is your best advise?
Susan, I think I’d recommend the Mickey and Friends/Pixar Pals parking structures. You would have a shorter walk (and elevators/escalators) to the security and parking trams. The Toy Story lots are all surface parking and more spread out. Also, consider using Disney’s Disability Access Service, which may help you understand where you can use your ECV and where you will need special ride access.
Are the trams running? They weren’t running when we were there June 22 to 24.
Trams are not running yet.