It sounded great when the day began earlier around 8:00 am. Hop over to a Disney World park and stay the day and into the night. Then you realize after your long and likely 'hot' day, you have to leave and head back to where you came from.
Inevitably, it doesn't matter if you are a marathon runner, a speed walker, or in the best shape of your life, by the time you reach the exit, your body feels like you crammed 'Leg Day' for a month into one day. You hurt. You're tired and if you have kids, chances are they just want to go to sleep if they haven't already. And since you are a great parent who just spent a ton of money on the family trip, you are going to carry them to the car.
For many guests, the daunting task of leaving a park is obviously not fun. But some parks are better than others when it comes to getting you from the park and to your car. We decided to take a quick look at the four Orlando parks and rank them from first to worst.
Coming in our list at number one is Hollywood Studios. It is the nearly perfect park to leave after a long day. Why? For starters, when you exit the park you are practically in the parking lot already. No big long walk to get away from the park itself. Leave and voila you are almost to your car.
If you choose the preferred parking here, you will find your car out the exit and in the nearest lot to the Skyliner which is practically next to the security checkpoints. If you opt not to pay for the preferred spots, you simply walk a little further but even on a busy day, the parking lots are still pretty close to the entry or in this case, exit.
Leaving Hollywood is pretty easy to say the least and your legs won't fight you back all the way to your car.
EPCOT is a bit tricky for this ranking. If you are in the back of the park when it closes down, well you have a horrendous walk through World Showcase and then World Celebration and more than likely World Nature.
Once you exit the park, you have to walk past the monorail and down the road a bit until you come to the preferred lot. If you parked here, take a big breath and a sigh of relief because you are done.
Most of us have all had the privilege of walking out of EPCOT and realizing we are parked behind the first row of trees or off into no-man's land to the right of the exit and both of those can be quite the walk as the night closes down. It can be a long cumbersome walk because they will park you on either side of the entry road.
I started to put A.K. ahead of EPCOT. As I pictured myself leaving EPCOT I couldn't help but realize how far that tree line can seem once you clear the monorail and oh my if you get parked on the far right side behind the trees.
Then I realized as I was thinking about A.K. that it really isn't that bad leaving the park until I realized that the journey to exit takes you up the big hill over the bridge and then down to the right or left to get to the park exit.
From there, you have to walk past security which is not right up next to the ticket booths. Once you get to the parking lot you may have to go past the off-site resort busses loading areas and even if you pay for the upgraded parking you still have a bit to walk. It isn't fun but it is a lot better than leaving our worst park.
M.K. is the must-visit park for any guest, returning or new. It is the park that makes Disney World, Disney World. The problem is that leaving is an abomination.
I have often wondered if parking at EPCOT and taking the monorail to M.K. and then back again would be better and while anyone who has done both knows that it is not very convenient, we have all walked to our cars and prayed there was an easier way.
The only way to get to Magic Kingdom is by bus, walking if you are staying in a monorail/M.K. loop hotel, or huffing it on your own two legs.
Leaving MK initially isn't all that bad. You walk out one of two exit points and then make a decision, go to the bus to take you to your hotel, take the boat or monorail to transportation station.
Choosing the monorail will greet you with a ton of waiting guests cramming into a little cabin for a short ride across the lake. Choosing the boat will save you time waiting but you will still be cramped albeit a little less.
The real fun arrives when you get to transportation station. If you chose preferred parking, you will walk under the street tunnel and then to your car which could be located as far back as the row of trees. Choose the shuttle and you will be taken at least to your parking location.
The shuttles are great and save your legs but at night, everyone is trying to get back and everyone is trying to cram as many family members in as they can. Have a stroller? Break it down and lift it up and over the door.
The fact you have to take different modes of transportation just to get to your car is enough to drive you nuts and in this case, enough to put Magic Kingdom as the worst parking lot at Disney World.