How to find your way back to Shades of Green from the Magic Kingdom. (the Short Way!)
For those who elect to drive their POV to WDW’s theme parks there will be both pluses and minuses.
First, the negatives:
- Shades Guests are required to pay Disney World’s daily parking fee at all theme and water parks. The parking fee is currently $25 per day for cars.
- Once you’ve parked you’ll need to board first the tram to the Transportation and Ticket Center and then either the monorail or the ferry boat to reach the Magic Kingdom.
- And the topic of this page: When leaving the Magic Kingdom parking lot, if you follow the exit signs, you’ll drive miles out of your way when returning to Shades of Green. Plus there are no direction signs to guide you.
Now, the positives:
- Traveling on your own schedule. No waiting on buses to arrive and trying to get on with the crowd. There are no queue lines at the Shades theme park bus stops and buses are often mobbed by a huge cluster of people around the door (rather than people making a line) when they arrive during peak travel times.
- When exiting the parks at the end of the day you can proceed right to your car and head home, no waiting on several buses to fill with those ahead of you and no trying to get on the bus at the same time as 50 other people.
The big issue with the Magic Kingdom Parking lot for Shades Guests is trying to find your way back to Shades of Green
If you follow the parking lot exit signs you’ll be heading south, away from the Magic Kingdom. But Shades of Green is located to the north, behind you!
The very first opportunity to make a U-turn and get heading in the right direction is over a mile and a half form the parking lot. And from that point it is over two and a quarter miles back to the Shades of Green entrance.
If you follow the directions on this page, your driving distance to the Shades of Green entrance from the parking lot will only be four tenths of a mile! This sure beats the almost 3 miles the other way.
Driving to the Magic Kingdom
To get to the Magic Kingdom parking lot turn right as you exit the Shades of Green driveway. After passing the Polynesian Resort, you’ll yield to traffic coming from your left (from the Poly and Magic Kingdom area). Keep going straight, you will eventually merge into a three lane road. As noted above construction has caused route changes, watch for signs.
Get into the far left lane. As you pass the Car Care Center (on your right), you will see the Magic Kingdom parking toll booths ahead of you. Go about 0.7 miles past the tool booth and mak a u-turn back to pay your parking fee at the booth.
Follow the signs to the parking lot where they are currently parking cars. Then follow the parking attendant’s directions to your spot.
Disney parks one row at a time.
Attendants will motion you into the row they are working on. They start at the very far end and have you pull to the very front of a painted spot which will hold 2 cars front to back. The car following you will be parking directly next to you, so use caution opening your door!
Once the last car is parked in the front spot in your row, cars will be sent to the far end of the row again and they will park in the back spot behind the cars already in the front spots.
In the picture above you can see the line of cars across the bottom of the picture moving to the left. As they reach the partially filled row they are directed into it. They are being parked in the front spot in the row. When the row fills the front spots, cars will be directed to the end again to fill the back spot. You can also see they have just started to park in the next full row behind the partially filled one (there is a dark pickup and a white one moving down the row.
Safety Notice: Upon exiting your car move IN FRONT of it! Traffic will be continuing down the row right behind you. Walk in front of the row of cars you parked in to the tram pickup location, there is no active traffic there. Do not walk in the row behind where you parked, cars are still being actively parked either in your row or the row behind you! You’ll hear Disney cast members yelling at others to get in front of the row of parked cars.
MDT Tip: When you reach the end of your row near the tram pickup area, note the number painted on the ground at the end of your row. Take a picture of it with your cell or digital camera, or text it to another person in your party for reference later. Every single row in the huge lot has its own individual number. This will come in handy later!
Leaving the Lot and Finding Your Way to Back to Shades of Green
So, you’ve accomplished everything you wanted to in the Magic Kingdom and it’s time to leave. Here is how to proceed.
The colored arrow reference after each paragraph below refers to this image.
The parking lot that you parked in determines the route you need to take to get back to Shades of Green.
The Parking lots are:
Heroes: Woody (Cast Parking only), Simba, Mulan, Aladdin, Peter Pan, Rapunzel.
Villains: Jafar, Hook, Ursula, Zurg, Scar, Cruella
Simba – This lot, along with Mulan, are the best parking locations for your return trip to Shades of Green – Exit your parking row via the one way travel in each row. At the end of the row turn left. Take the automatic gated exit on the right between the Simba and Mulan parking lots. Turn right to head to Shades. WHITE ARROWS
Mulan – Exit your parking row via the one way travel in each row. Turn right at the end of your row. Take the automatic gated exit on the left between Simba and Mulan parking lots. Turn right to head to Shades. YELLOW ARROW
All other parking lots – Exit your parking row via the one way travel in each row. Follow the “Exit”, one-way direction markings. You will eventually merge into the big 4-lane one-way road which goes across the entrance to all the lots. BLUE ARROWS
You entered via this road when parking. You need to be in the second lane from the far left.
The very left lane (lane 1) only exits the parking lot, do not get in it! If you go this way you’ll have to drive a mile and a half before you can U-Turn and head back towards the Magic Kingdom and Shades of Green.
The right two lanes only go back to parking, where you will have to retrace this procedure again, stay out of these lanes!
The lane you are in, the second from the left has the option to go back to parking or towards the exit.
As the two right lanes curve off to return to parking the left two lanes curve to the left towards the exit. You will see a fence to your right which separates you from the Mulan parking lot. In just a few feet you will see a single lane road which departs from the exit rows at about a 30 degree angle to the right, turn onto it.
You will now see a green line on the road it will lead the way to Shaded of Green.
This short road parallels the Mulan lot (see below). When you reach the end turn right and then take the automatic gated exit on the left between Simba and Mulan parking lots. Turn right to head to Shades.
If you should miss this turn and actually take the main exit follow these directions. This is the long way.
Keep going straight, you will eventually merge into a three lane road. Get into the far left lane. As you pass the Car Care Center, you will see the Magic Kingdom parking toll booths ahead of you, keep going past them.
About three quarters of a mile past the tool booths you’ll find a place to make a U-turn and head back to the Magic Kingdom.
Once you’re heading back to the Magic Kingdom get into the left 2 lanes.
As you near the Magic Kingdom parking lot toll plaza the left lanes are for a flyover which bypasses the Magic Kingdom parking queue.
Then go straight for .85 miles and turn left at the light. On this road you’ll pass the Transportation and Ticket Center and the Polynesian Village Resort. At the stop sign turn right, Shades will be on the left.
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