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  1. #1

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    Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I searched for a thread on this and couldn't find one. Apologies if this is somewhere else.

    I live about 80 miles northeast of the park, so over the last 4-5 of having an AP I exit the 57 freeway at Ball and drive past Harbor (and the sign that says Disney parking is left on Harbor) to make a left into the Mickey & Friends parking structure.

    This is usually about 80-90% effective. No matter the day or time of day I can pretty much park there.

    This leads me to my first question: What strategy do they use in filling up this structure. I cannot find anything close to a pattern in how they fill this up. Whether it's early, late, busy, or an off day, it just seems to be random they way they fill up this structure.

    Every once in a while, though, no matter the time of day or day itself (whether it is busy or not), they divert traffic from M&F--it's coned off and manned by police and used for handicapped or oversized vehicles only. So then I have to park by the Paradise Pier and add to my time and mileage on my feet. It's been the morning sometimes, afternoon sometimes, on a Saturday sometimes (but sometimes not) and on a slow weekday sometimes (and sometimes not).

    Once, they didn't cone it off, and the CM at the booth asked if anyone was handicapped. I said no, and he had me park on the first level. What I did have was a passenger in a knee brace who had torn their ACL and was getting surgery that week, but they were not "handicapped," so I said, "No." It wasn't til we parked we realized there were stairs just to get to the tram.

    Anyway, it sort of seems like whoever is in charge just wakes up and decides to do whatever they want that way, but that can't actually be true. Anyone ever work in the parking area and have any insight?

  2. #2

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Have you ever considered parking in Toy Story? The shuttle runs just as well.
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  3. #3

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I'm not a parking insider, but they definitely change the parking plans based on how busy they expect it to be and make adjustments on the fly. There are a lot of complicating factors including conventions and sporting events in the area that impact the strategy as well.
    The Mickey audience is not made up of people; it has no racial, national, political, religious or social differences or affiliations; the Mickey audience is made up of parts of people, of that deathless, precious, ageless, absolutely primitive remnant of something in every world-wracked human being which makes us play with children’s toys and laugh without self-consciousness at silly things, and sing in bathtubs, and dream and believe that our babies are uniquely beautiful. You know…the Mickey in us.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I went to the DL resort about four times over two weeks in June, always parking in the Mickey structure and arriving there around 7:30 am.

    Usually parked in the first two rows of level 2, but one day the cars were all sent up on level 3. I asked the parking lot CM if the parks would be especially crowded that day.

    The CM said not to worry, that there had been a special event the night before and level 2 still had cars parked on it, so they were starting that morning by filling level 3 first.

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I believe that when they switch a level that they have to temporarily close due to how long it takes for them to get into place. So sometimes, it's just them starting parking on a new level.

  6. #6

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I didn't think they had a "strategy."







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  7. #7

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    I actually just left the company after working in RT&P (Resort Transportation and Parking) for quite a while, so let me try to answer some of your questions:

    Quote Originally Posted by loungefly97 View Post
    What strategy do they use in filling up this structure. I cannot find anything close to a pattern in how they fill this up. Whether it's early, late, busy, or an off day, it just seems to be random they way they fill up this structure.
    To guests, it does come across as seemingly random, but actually the structure parking strategy is planned first thing in the morning. Assuming it's a normal, healthy Friday (busiest day of the week,) they will almost always start parking on level 3. This is because 1 (Chip and Dale) is reserved for ADA on the north side of the toll booths, and cast members on the south side of the booths (this is referred to as Chip Cast- more on that later.) Level 2 (Daisy) is reserved for 3rd shift cast members, and must be cleared (or practically cleared) before guests may be parked.

    If it's a cooler day and attendance doesn't call for it, parking will go to levels 3, 4, 5, 6 (roof), then 2. By then, 3rd shift cast members will be cleared out of 2 and it can be parked. On hot days, they'll park 3, 4, 5, 2, then 6 to keep guests out of the heat as long as possible.

    The structure is divided into Structure North (north of the toll booths) and Structure South. North (aisles 10-6) are always parked first, then as South is being parked, the outside lane of traffic gets sent back to 10 for double parking. Sometimes, due to emergencies (suicides which do happen, accidents, etc.) parking may be diverted elsewhere. If all resort traffic gets directed to the structure and cause a backup, often times the outside lane will be directed to one level and the inside lane will be directed to another.

    Quote Originally Posted by loungefly97 View Post
    Every once in a while, though, no matter the time of day or day itself (whether it is busy or not), they divert traffic from M&F--it's coned off and manned by police and used for handicapped or oversized vehicles only. So then I have to park by the Paradise Pier and add to my time and mileage on my feet. It's been the morning sometimes, afternoon sometimes, on a Saturday sometimes (but sometimes not) and on a slow weekday sometimes (and sometimes not).


    The fault lies 100% behind Anaheim PD and the people of Anaheim. If the line gets long heading into the structure, the traffic will be "pulsed" to satellite lots, such as Simba (as the one you're referring to), Toy Story, Pumbaa, or on very busy days, Gardenwalk and Convention Center. While its an inconvenience (face it, you're on your feet all day anyway), the blame lies completely with APD. If traffic backs onto city streets, DLR gets fined, and it is not a small sum. So in order to avoid the fine and to avoid inconveniencing Anaheim..ians, pulsing occurs whether or not the lot is full. That is not DLR's or the CM's fault, so be kind to the CM's who have to handle all the angry guests.


    Quote Originally Posted by loungefly97 View Post
    Once, they didn't cone it off, and the CM at the booth asked if anyone was handicapped. I said no, and he had me park on the first level. What I did have was a passenger in a knee brace who had torn their ACL and was getting surgery that week, but they were not "handicapped," so I said, "No." It wasn't til we parked we realized there were stairs just to get to the tram.


    This is referred to "parking Chip Cast" which only happens on days where heavy attendance is expected. The correct question that the CM should ask is A) Do you have any strollers or wheelchairs? and B) Do you have any difficulty climbing a small flight of stairs. Those are the questions verbatim. Unfortunately, if the line into the structure gets lengthy, sometimes the questions will be truncated for the sake of efficiency.



    Sorry for the lengthy response. Hope this helps!

  8. #8

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by denyuntilcaught View Post
    I actually just left the company after working in RT&P (Resort Transportation and Parking) for quite a while, so let me try to answer some of your questions:



    To guests, it does come across as seemingly random, but actually the structure parking strategy is planned first thing in the morning. Assuming it's a normal, healthy Friday (busiest day of the week,) they will almost always start parking on level 3. This is because 1 (Chip and Dale) is reserved for ADA on the north side of the toll booths, and cast members on the south side of the booths (this is referred to as Chip Cast- more on that later.) Level 2 (Daisy) is reserved for 3rd shift cast members, and must be cleared (or practically cleared) before guests may be parked.

    If it's a cooler day and attendance doesn't call for it, parking will go to levels 3, 4, 5, 6 (roof), then 2. By then, 3rd shift cast members will be cleared out of 2 and it can be parked. On hot days, they'll park 3, 4, 5, 2, then 6 to keep guests out of the heat as long as possible.

    The structure is divided into Structure North (north of the toll booths) and Structure South. North (aisles 10-6) are always parked first, then as South is being parked, the outside lane of traffic gets sent back to 10 for double parking. Sometimes, due to emergencies (suicides which do happen, accidents, etc.) parking may be diverted elsewhere. If all resort traffic gets directed to the structure and cause a backup, often times the outside lane will be directed to one level and the inside lane will be directed to another.



    The fault lies 100% behind Anaheim PD and the people of Anaheim. If the line gets long heading into the structure, the traffic will be "pulsed" to satellite lots, such as Simba (as the one you're referring to), Toy Story, Pumbaa, or on very busy days, Gardenwalk and Convention Center. While its an inconvenience (face it, you're on your feet all day anyway), the blame lies completely with APD. If traffic backs onto city streets, DLR gets fined, and it is not a small sum. So in order to avoid the fine and to avoid inconveniencing Anaheim..ians, pulsing occurs whether or not the lot is full. That is not DLR's or the CM's fault, so be kind to the CM's who have to handle all the angry guests.




    This is referred to "parking Chip Cast" which only happens on days where heavy attendance is expected. The correct question that the CM should ask is A) Do you have any strollers or wheelchairs? and B) Do you have any difficulty climbing a small flight of stairs. Those are the questions verbatim. Unfortunately, if the line into the structure gets lengthy, sometimes the questions will be truncated for the sake of efficiency.
    [/COLOR]


    Sorry for the lengthy response. Hope this helps!
    Whoa this was super informative and was quite an interesting read! I always did wonder how parking worked at M&F, since like you said, it looks random to regular guests. Thanks for the info!

  9. #9

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    This actually helps soothe the anger I felt last Friday the 13th waiting an hour to get into the structure. Thanks!

  10. #10

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by denyuntilcaught View Post
    I actually just left the company after working in RT&P (Resort Transportation and Parking) for quite a while, so let me try to answer some of your questions:

    To guests, it does come across as seemingly random, but actually the structure parking strategy is planned first thing in the morning. Assuming it's a normal, healthy Friday (busiest day of the week,) they will almost always start parking on level 3. This is because 1 (Chip and Dale) is reserved for ADA on the north side of the toll booths, and cast members on the south side of the booths (this is referred to as Chip Cast- more on that later.) Level 2 (Daisy) is reserved for 3rd shift cast members, and must be cleared (or practically cleared) before guests may be parked.

    If it's a cooler day and attendance doesn't call for it, parking will go to levels 3, 4, 5, 6 (roof), then 2. By then, 3rd shift cast members will be cleared out of 2 and it can be parked. On hot days, they'll park 3, 4, 5, 2, then 6 to keep guests out of the heat as long as possible.

    The structure is divided into Structure North (north of the toll booths) and Structure South. North (aisles 10-6) are always parked first, then as South is being parked, the outside lane of traffic gets sent back to 10 for double parking. Sometimes, due to emergencies (suicides which do happen, accidents, etc.) parking may be diverted elsewhere. If all resort traffic gets directed to the structure and cause a backup, often times the outside lane will be directed to one level and the inside lane will be directed to another.

    The fault lies 100% behind Anaheim PD and the people of Anaheim. If the line gets long heading into the structure, the traffic will be "pulsed" to satellite lots, such as Simba (as the one you're referring to), Toy Story, Pumbaa, or on very busy days, Gardenwalk and Convention Center. While its an inconvenience (face it, you're on your feet all day anyway), the blame lies completely with APD. If traffic backs onto city streets, DLR gets fined, and it is not a small sum. So in order to avoid the fine and to avoid inconveniencing Anaheim..ians, pulsing occurs whether or not the lot is full. That is not DLR's or the CM's fault, so be kind to the CM's who have to handle all the angry guests.

    This is referred to "parking Chip Cast" which only happens on days where heavy attendance is expected. The correct question that the CM should ask is A) Do you have any strollers or wheelchairs? and B) Do you have any difficulty climbing a small flight of stairs. Those are the questions verbatim. Unfortunately, if the line into the structure gets lengthy, sometimes the questions will be truncated for the sake of efficiency.
    [/COLOR]

    Sorry for the lengthy response. Hope this helps!
    This is exactly what I was looking for. I knew there was a strategy or system, I just couldn't "reverse engineer" it based on what I've seen. My friends and fellow APs have wondered aloud about this many times. Thank you for taking the time!

    As far as getting diverted to Simba, it doesn't bother me. Really it's a "when the day's over" problem. When I'm tired and ready to head home, a tram's much more convenient. I take a little distance off by cutting though the Grand Californian, but not a lot.

    Lastly, I bet you would be the right person to answer the 14 mph question. I've heard three explanations: 1) 15 sounds too close to 50, but 14 has no such counterpart, 2) People remember 14 because it is odd, or 3) 15 gies Anaheim PD some sort of authority.
    Last edited by loungefly97; 09-22-2013 at 01:43 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by loungefly97 View Post
    Lastly, I bet you would be the right person to answer the 14 mph question. I've heard three explanations: 1) 15 sounds too close to 50, but 14 has no such counterpart, 2) People remember 14 because it is odd, or 3) 15 gies Anaheim PD some sort of authority.
    I've always heard say (i.e., hearsay) that 15+ requires a seatbelt.

    I wonder why on hot days they delay the roof parking until later (when it's likely to be hotter) instead of rotating it in earlier, or first, when it's cooler.

  12. #12

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sambo View Post
    I didn't think they had a "strategy."
    "Confusion" is their strategy.


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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by denyuntilcaught View Post
    If it's a cooler day and attendance doesn't call for it, parking will go to levels 3, 4, 5, 6 (roof), then 2. By then, 3rd shift cast members will be cleared out of 2 and it can be parked. On hot days, they'll park 3, 4, 5, 2, then 6 to keep guests out of the heat as long as possible.
    There were a few weekdays in the summer where they started the day by parking guests on level 6. The forecast called for a high of 85 - 90 degrees on those days. Any reason, like a special event, why they would do this? It got so annoying that on later trips we ended up parking in the DTD lot underneath the trees just to get some shade.
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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Lastly, I bet you would be the right person to answer the 14 mph question. I've heard three explanations: 1) 15 sounds too close to 50, but 14 has no such counterpart, 2) People remember 14 because it is odd, or 3) 15 gies Anaheim PD some sort of authority.
    The answer is number 2. It's a question that gets asked a lot, and the official answer is because it's memorable. It also has to do with number 1 to some extent. A lot of people think it has to do with seat belts or whatnot, but that's not the case. I even had one person state (rather matter-of-factually) that it was because "the trams travel at 15mph and the vehicles can't travel faster than the trams because always have the right-of-way." Which was wrong because 1) the trams never travel on the same roads public vehicles do, and 2) Trams travel at 12mph and 8mph around curves. Never at 15mph. But I digress!

    I wonder why on hot days they delay the roof parking until later (when it's likely to be hotter) instead of rotating it in earlier, or first, when it's cooler.
    Here's why: let's say the average guest stays nine hours. If they arrive at 9am and park on the roof, by the time they get to the car at 6pm their car would have been roasting in the hot heat all afternoon, which would surely cause some discomfort and third-degree burns. (Kidding.) If the structure is filled up first, then finally cars start being parked on the roof closer to 1pm, by the time the guests get back into their cars at 10pm after fireworks, their car would be significantly cooler.

    There were a few weekdays in the summer where they started the day by parking guests on level 6. The forecast called for a high of 85 - 90 degrees on those days. Any reason, like a special event, why they would do this? It got so annoying that on later trips we ended up parking in the DTD lot underneath the trees just to get some shade.
    That's actually usually done during the summer to protect the CM's standing in the sun. If the roof is already parked, then it never gets touched again (at least not until reparking in the evening.) Not to mention, if the roof was parked last on a busy summer day, which would mean it'd be parked around 12-1pm, the CM's would have to stand directly in the sun with absolutely no shade, not to mention with the radiating heat from the vehicles.

    Working in RT&P gave me such a new sense of understanding how things work at the resort. The department is one of the few that see literally every guest per day. There are a lot of things that may seem unorganized to the guest, but in reality is highly calculated and executed. For example: if CM's are parking a specific row, lets say row 1 (the one furthest South and thus the furthest away from the escalators), it's immensely frustrating when guests ask to park in another row. Here's why: while parking a row, CM's who are directing cars to their spaces communicate to the CM at the end of the row or at the bottom of the ramp to send up x amount of cars before closing the row or ramp and moving to a different level. If ten guests (who aren't ADA) request to park closer, it throws off the entire count. It's not as easy as "Oh, send me another ten because ten guests decided they wanted to park closer," either.

    If you see the parking CM's get frustrated, sympathize.

    Hope this helped some!

  15. #15

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    Re: Okay: Can anyone explain Disney's parking strategy?

    Quote Originally Posted by Druggas View Post
    "Confusion" is their strategy.
    From the outside it often does look this way. I know with the old lot where DCA now stands, guests probably had the same feeling. But had the CMs not parked the lot the way they did, it would have been mayhem, and this would have been immediately evident to the guests. It's one of those things that doesn't seem to make sense while it's happening, but if it didn't have the structure and system that it does, you'd see it immediately.

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