This may seem like an afterthought, but I took some time to talk with a few people that I know are regulars to WDW but may not stay on site. While I still think that paid parking at resorts for non resort guests still has its merits, I think this is a case of resolving an abuse issue and hurting some loyal guests at the same time.
For people who are regulars that stay off site, being that they use hotel points, have a vacation home or condo in the area, or even stay with local family, they know already that they have to pay to park at the parks. They know the drill and that is not new news.
But the same group of people still like to do what many guests do when staying on site. They like to enjoy the resorts themselves. This may mean a stroll along the Boardwalk, a ride on the Monorail, or even enjoying an unplanned meal. The problem for those guests is that now to do so, they are going to have to pony up some extra cash to do so in many cases. They will start thinking twice before doing so.
I know there are legit ways around having to pay like having an ADR and the like (I’m not going to go into such options at this time) but sometimes you don’t have or need one and you still want to enjoy what is around.
I know that Disney re-evaluates things all the time. Hopefully they can think this one through a bit more to improve it for those who do enjoy the resorts, laying out their vacation dollars at the same time. Maybe get parking validated and significantly discounted or free if you spend $x amount within a certain amount of time at shops or eateries. I don’t know… I’m just thinking out loud.
Like anything else, changes tend to impact more than others, and there is rarely a cut and dry way of looking at things.