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An ode to the parking lot

One of the benefits of having a site that focuses on just one park is the ability to focus on the minutia of Disney's Hollywood Studios, such as this week when we're going to talk about the parking situation in Hollywood Studios.

For a long time, I felt Disney's Hollywood Studios rivaled Epcot for easiest theme park to park in.  By easy, I mean the parking lots were so close to the park entrance that walking to the park gate was just as efficient (if not quicker) than taking the parking tram.  However over the past few months, this has changed.  No, Disney did not change the layout of the parking lot.  The issue that has popped up is how guests park and how they get to the entrance.

For literally years guests would park in their designated parking spot and then walk to the end of the parking lot to wait for a tram (or opt to walk to the park).  For some strange, unknown reason, someone in the Hollywood Studios parking department decided to change that.  Now, guests must wait at the end of the parking lanes to be allowed to walk across the street to wait for a parking tram.  All too often this means there is a parking tram this half or three quarters full that guests cannot board because the Cast Members refuse to let guests cross the street.

The result has been one of the bigger annoyances I've encountered.  It may not seem like a big deal at first, but it seems consistantly I'm forced to wait for no good reason while a parking tram sits idle, waiting to go.  At Walt Disney World, time is money because the more time I waste in the parking lot, the less time I have to spend in the parks and the longer the lines will be (since more people will be arriving before I can).  

If you think I'm being weird because I go to the Studios every week, it's not just me.  Without fail I witness another guest or two having a verbal altercation with the Cast Member, questioning why they cannot simply cross the street to board the tram.  It's become one of those annoying changes that doesn't seem to have much merit.

The reason for the change? I suspect the reason has to do with the traffic that regularly passes between the parking lanes and the tram loading area.  Depending on which parking lot you're in, there's usually cars going by, usually Cast Members who are driving to their parking lot.  Someone out there is spooked by the notion of a guest being hit by a car, hence the new rule.

The fact is, guests have taken this "risk" for literally years without incident. Or at least major incident.  And in this era of every fender bender on Walt Disney World property making the 6:00 news, I'd think we'd hear of a run over guest.  Moreover, none of the other three parks have instituted this parking policy and the other three all have similar layouts with a lane of traffic between the parking lanes and tram area.

I'm all for safety, but the result tends to be unnecessary waiting around and a lot of inconvienced guests.  Frankly, I do not think there is enough of a "risk" to warrant the policy. Let's worry about bigger problems at Disney's Hollywood Studios and leave alone something that has worked for years.

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A regular look into Disney's Hollywood Studios, both past and present, with commentary and analysis from Matt Hochberg.


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Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 by