How Does Somebody Get an EV Parking Space at Disney World?

DisneyCane

Well-Known Member
Original Poster
I'm considering an EV purchase in the next couple of years. For an EV to be convenient for me to take to WDW, I would need to be able to charge while in the park one time. Typically, my round trip including driving around the WDW vicinity is about 500 miles.

Having to charge at a charging station while I'm not either in the park (or sleeping if it's an overnight trip) would make it inconvenient and I would opt just to drive a gas vehicle that can be refueled in 5 minutes (although since I'm talking two years out I might have to file for bankruptcy after the fill up).

I've noticed that there are only a handful of charging stations in the park lots and they always seem to be filled. How do these people actually get those spots? Is it just first come, first serve and then the small number of vehicles takes them up all day even after they are fully charged?

I would think that if they are always used, WDW and their charging partner (Chargepoint I think) would add capacity but this is WDW we are talking about and they don't seem very keen on adding capacity.
 

DisneyJoe

Well-Known Member

wdwmagic

Administrator
Moderator
I'm considering an EV purchase in the next couple of years. For an EV to be convenient for me to take to WDW, I would need to be able to charge while in the park one time. Typically, my round trip including driving around the WDW vicinity is about 500 miles.

Having to charge at a charging station while I'm not either in the park (or sleeping if it's an overnight trip) would make it inconvenient and I would opt just to drive a gas vehicle that can be refueled in 5 minutes (although since I'm talking two years out I might have to file for bankruptcy after the fill up).

I've noticed that there are only a handful of charging stations in the park lots and they always seem to be filled. How do these people actually get those spots? Is it just first come, first serve and then the small number of vehicles takes them up all day even after they are fully charged?

I would think that if they are always used, WDW and their charging partner (Chargepoint I think) would add capacity but this is WDW we are talking about and they don't seem very keen on adding capacity.
It is first come first served. The ChargePoint network is horribly maintained at the TTC. At least half of them don't function according to reports.

And yes, people do arrive there first thing and leave the car there all day.

I would not recommend relying on the very limited charge network at WDW. Use the Tesla Supercharger network instead.
 

mkt

Disney's Favorite Scumbag
Premium Member
First come/First served.

If charging availability is important to you, get a Tesla, as they're the most common chargers out there.

But if charging speed is important, Audi E-Tron will charge the pack at full speed up to 80% before tapering off at a DC Fast Charger. DCFS is the standard for fast charging that almost every non Tesla EV uses, and they are becoming easier to find - in Florida, they're in almost every Wal Mart, and Turnpike rest area, among other places.

As far as traveling with an EV, just stay at hotels that have chargers on site for their guests.
 

JaxFLBear

Well-Known Member
I think Disney Springs has charging stations too.
From the WDW Parking information page:
  • Disney Springs: 9 spaces—3 on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage, 3 on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage and 3 spaces on the 3rd floor of the Grapefruit Garage
 

mkt

Disney's Favorite Scumbag
Premium Member
From the WDW Parking information page:
  • Disney Springs: 9 spaces—3 on the 5th floor of the Orange Garage, 3 on the 5th floor of the Lime Garage and 3 spaces on the 3rd floor of the Grapefruit Garage

Yep. But they’re some of the most expensive and inconvenient chargers ever.
 

wdwmagic

Administrator
Moderator
Yep. But they’re some of the most expensive and inconvenient chargers ever.
Isn't there something weird about the Disney Springs chargers and they need to ba accessed via an app? No way to just use a credit card at the charger. They are not ChargePoint.
 

mkt

Disney's Favorite Scumbag
Premium Member
Isn't there something weird about the Disney Springs chargers and they need to ba accessed via an app? No way to just use a credit card at the charger. They are not ChargePoint.

They're accessed through another fairly obscure network's app, called Chargeup, and it requires a minimum $25 top-up to start charging. Charge is $0.476 per KWH, which isn't the highest rate I've seen (although it is approximately a 200% markup on the regular electrical rate) - but the $25 minimum top-up makes them the most expensive I've ever dealt with.

If you're local and will charge there regularly, it makes sense. But if you're just visiting, it makes no sense to me.
 

Ksearcy

Active Member
The Disney Springs chargers use the Chargeup app. I've only used them a couple of times. If I remember, they are a bit more complicated to use (especially the first time you use them) and require scanning a VR code. My biggest WDW charger pet peeve is when you see a car parked at a charger, but not even plugged in. Oh, well.
 

mkt

Disney's Favorite Scumbag
Premium Member
I have time for a more thoughtful response now.

I'm considering an EV purchase in the next couple of years. For an EV to be convenient for me to take to WDW, I would need to be able to charge while in the park one time. Typically, my round trip including driving around the WDW vicinity is about 500 miles.

Judging by your name and the distance, I'll assume you're coming up from South Florida. Every Turnpike rest area has EV charging spots, both Tesla and CCS (ie, they have chargers for all EVs, except older Nissan Leafs, Mitsubishi MIEVs, and most PHEVs).

The rule of thumb with EVs on road trips is to not fill up all the day. Why? The battery tapers. If you go too low, it'll start slow, and once you reach the top end of the charge, it slows down again. My rule of thumb is charge between 15% and 80%, which can be done rather quickly in most new EVs. This means that for a WDW trip, try to leave your house with 80%, and in Fort Drum top it up to 80% once more, before leaving to WDW. This won't be 5 minutes, but it will be enough time to grab lunch.

Once you're checked in to your hotel, you hopefully picked a hotel with EV charging, and you just plug in overnight, and you're good to go.

On the way back, assuming you've got 80% to start with, stop in West Palm Beach to top up, and continue on your merry way.

Here's a good page to help you with trip planning around EV charging. It's not 100% perfect, but it'll give you an idea https://abetterrouteplanner.com/

Having to charge at a charging station while I'm not either in the park (or sleeping if it's an overnight trip) would make it inconvenient and I would opt just to drive a gas vehicle that can be refueled in 5 minutes (although since I'm talking two years out I might have to file for bankruptcy after the fill up).

Charging technology is improving, to the point that a 20 minute top-up is enough for a lot of newer EVs, but 5 minutes is still many years away. Also, read above, as the best way to maximize EVs on a road trip is not to charge it to 100%.

I would think that if they are always used, WDW and their charging partner (Chargepoint I think) would add capacity but this is WDW we are talking about and they don't seem very keen on adding capacity.

Chargepoint is a network and hardware supplier, but the actual owner of the chargers (who pays for the electricity and hardware installation) is either Disney or RCID, who are also responsible for maintaining them.
 

larryz

You are ignoring content by this member.
Premium Member
Does anyone really want a debate about EV vs Gas cars when the thread is about how to charge their car at WDW? Nope
There's a quad of charging stations at the museum where I volunteer -- and they suffer the same fate: first in stays plugged in until the owner leaves for the day.

I don't drive an EV, but isn't there an app monitoring charge status and notifying the owner when it's ready to be unplugged?
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
I'm considering an EV purchase in the next couple of years.
A few points....

1. When it comes to any car, I have found it is often cost-effective to rent a car when planning a long road trip. So one option to maybe consider is to get the EV for home use, but look into renting when planning long distance trips. I don't know if they still do this, but BMW used to offer free loaners to EV owners for long-distance trips. I forget the details, but it might be worth asking if your local car dealer offers loaners (for a fee?) or something like that.
2. The chargers at the park are first come first served. The few times we had an electric car at WDW, we had pretty good luck getting a charging station if we arrived around 9am/park opening. We also had pretty good luck if we left mid-day and returned to the park in the evening.

I also recall there being charging stations at Coronado Springs near Gran Destino Tower. They were located roughly near the tower in the parking area that is located towards the convention center. A few other WDW hotels have charging stations, but I'm not sure which ones. I think Wilderness Lodge is one, and likely the Swan reserve.

Many offsite hotels have charging stations. Notably, the Universal hotels have quite a few charging stations. I can't say exactly where all are located, but I know Hard Rock and Royal Pacific have them. Citywalk might also have some. I know I have seen stations listed at other Orlando hotels, but I don't recall exact locations. I want to say: Marriott World Center, one of the Bonnet Creek hotels, and one (or more) of the new Flamingo Crossing hotels. I apologize that is not very specific.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
It seems one of the larger problems is people will get to the park, plug into the charger, then head to the park for the day. That takes up a charging spot that someone else could use. It doesn’t take all day to charge the EV.
So what is the solution? If your car is done charging, where do you put it?

The few times I have had an EV at WDW, we did move it mid-day. Typically, we went back to our hotel. Other times we moved it to a different parking spot, but it wasn't always easy. CM's want EVERY CAR to follow ONE path in the parking lot.

I tried to do as you suggest though. When we were just trying to do as you suggest, moving our car to a different parking spot after it was done charging, we got YELLED at by a parking CM. I'm not sure what she thought we were doing, but she sure didn't like us doing it!

You are partly correct. If using a public charger, it usually does not take all day for most EV users. To answer more fully...I think it would be helpful to give some more detailed information.

1. Many of the EV's out there are hybrids- they often have approx. 30 miles of electric range, then swap to gas. These smaller batteries do not need as long to charge.

2. Cars that are pure EV/close to pure EV have more range (200+ miles). Most days, most drivers do not drive 200miles, so they would also not need to charge all day.

3. Charging an EV battery does not happen at a uniform speed. The pace slows as you get closer to 100% charge. Generally speaking, it isn't important to get to 100% charge with an EV.

While you are mostly correct, the problem is not the EV drivers, but rather the way Disney parking is set up. The parking lots are not set up to accommodate people moving their EV's mid-day.
 

MickeyLuv'r

Well-Known Member
There's a quad of charging stations at the museum where I volunteer -- and they suffer the same fate: first in stays plugged in until the owner leaves for the day.

I don't drive an EV, but isn't there an app monitoring charge status and notifying the owner when it's ready to be unplugged?
If someone leaves the museum to move their car- are they allowed to re-enter the museum? If so, do patrons know they are allowed to re-enter? Many museums do not allow re-entry. If the person with the EV is an employee, are they be allowed to leave mid-day to move their car?

I can't answer for every EV, but yes to the app. To be honest though, I don't use it, because I already know how long it takes to charge my car.

When I do use public chargers, at least 95% of the time it is for less than 2 hours. At least 75% of the time it is less than an hour.

Fairly often though, as soon as I am leaving, another EV comes to take my spot.

I would say though that our society isn't really set up for EV's, we're still in the process of evolving on how to make this work. EV's are still a small % of cars.
 

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