I finally wrote a note to guest services about the change (pretty much what I posted here), and just received a standard canned response.
Thank you for your email regarding our policy for overnight resort parking.
We must occasionally make adjustments based on a variety of factors, including alignment with our domestic resorts in California and Hawaii. As you mentioned in your correspondence, the industry standard for full-service hotels is to charge a parking fee. The policy regarding resort overnight parking will apply to reservations booked on or after March 21, 2018, while Theme Park parking will remain complimentary for all Resort Guests. Information about parking for Resort Guests may be found on our website.
Complimentary parking will be available for all Guests who wish to dine, shop, enjoy activities or visit a resort for the day.
Please be assured that we are committed to providing unique experiences and quality entertainment in our Theme Parks and Resorts.
(Me), we appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us and we look forward for future opportunities to entertain you and your family.
Guest Experience Services
Walt Disney World Resort
My original email:
Mar 23, 2:26 PM PDT
To Whom It May Concern;
After much thought, I decided to drop guest services a note regarding the new resort parking fee being charged to all guests with vehicles staying at ‘on property’ Disney resorts. Not that my voice means more than any other drop in the bucket, but I think that this is totally ridiculous and a complete money grab by the management.
Our family has made many trips to WDW over the last ten years, and has almost always stayed at the Fort Wilderness Cabins. One of the main reasons we’ve chosen the cabins for our lodging is not only the theming and the atmosphere for our rather large family, but because we normally drive to WDW and like being able to park our vehicle at our cabin. Charging a per diem fee to park there seems like a real slap in the face, given that each cabin has its own parking space. Even at the larger resorts, this seems like an excessive move.
Look, I get it. We travel to other places and we live near NYC – in an urban location where parking and land are at a premium, it’s not unexpected to pay to park overnight or by the day. At the WDW resort, where guests pay a (substantial) premium to stay ‘on property’, and the resorts have the benefits of land and relatively abundant parking, this really makes one wonder the rationale for the surcharge.
I'm going to state bluntly that WDW has really started to turn me off with a lot of the nickel-and-diming they are doing lately, and I think this is the straw that breaks the proverbial camel's wallet. I get that the higher rack rates are somewhat offset by convenience, customer service and that parking, internet/wifi and other resort amenities (that do seem less and less each trip) would be covered at some hotels under a flat ‘resort fee’, which Disney does not charge.
Net/net, I’m pretty sure that we are going to spend the next few years checking out other parts of the country as opposed to visiting WDW. It's getting to the point that I can't justify the costs for the benefits any more, especially with a large family.
Maybe after the 50th hoopla has come and gone we'll plan a family trip again, but for the immediate future I think we’re out.
Thanks for listening.