(Article last updated: March 24, 2018)
What do you get when you cross Disney-level service with a popular ride sharing service like Lyft?
An innovative new transportation option for Disney resort guests cleverly named Minnie Vans.
This new transportation service can be a great option for some families in some situations, so check out the information below to see if it might make sense for you on your next trip.
In this article
- What are Minnie Vans?
- How much do they cost?
- How do they work?
- Who can use Minnie Vans?
- Where can Minnie Vans go?
- What hours do they operate?
- Can I take a Minnie Van to Universal Studios (or anywhere else off property)?
- Do Minnie Vans have car seats?
- Should I use a Minnie Van?
- Where do Minnie Vans drop-off and pick-up?
- Video: pros and cons of Minnie Vans at Disney World
What are Minnie Vans?
Building on the popularity of ride sharing services like Uber or Lyft, Minnie Vans provide guests with point-to-point transfer in the comfort of a well-appointed (and polka dotted!) 6 passenger Chevy Traverse. Similarly decked out vehicles are also available for guests using wheelchairs or ECVs at Disney World.
Unlike Uber or Lyft (which are both also available on the Walt Disney World Resort property), Disney's Minnie Vans are driven by Disney Cast Members. Ideally this means that you can expect the same high-level of customer service from your driver as you'd have from any other Cast Member interaction at Walt Disney World.
For many families unfamiliar with using a ride-sharing service knowing that the driver is a Disney-trained Cast Member can help to ease any worries they might have when using one to travel to a Disney park or resort.
How much do they cost?
This new service costs a flat rate of $25.00 regardless of the length of the trip or the time of day.
This is different from taxis and Uber/Lyft since with those you pay based upon the distance and, with Uber and Lyft, the price also increases with demand (also known as "surge pricing").
How do they work?
If you have used Lyft or Uber at Disney World before, the experience for requesting a ride with a Minnie Van is extremely similar.
Step 1: Download the app
While Disney runs the Minnie Vans service, they utilize the Lyft app for deployment so you'll need to download that app in order to access the service.
Step 2: Activate the service
Once the app is downloaded you'll need to activate it in order to access a van. This is done 1 of 2 ways:
- by activating via a pop-up notification you receive in My Disney Experience (note: not everybody may get this pop-up so if you are a guest at one of the resorts with Minnie Van service and you don't see this pop-up in My Disney Experience when you open it up at your resort you'll need to use option 2), or,
- by visiting a Cast Member at the Concierge Desk of your resort
Step 3: Open up the app and enter your pick-up location and destination
Once activated, you'll use the app to request a van. To do that, you'll start by entering in your pick-up point and destination.
After you've done that you'll see a couple different options, usually "Lyft", "Plus", and "Minnie Van Service".
Each one will show you the estimated time to be picked up and an estimated cost. In many cases the estimate for the van will likely be less than $20 (which is confusing) but it is important to understand that the total - no matter the distance - will be $20.
Step 4: Select "Minnie Van Service"
Once you select Minnie Van Service you'll be shown a map with all the available vans and the estimated time for the arrival of yours.
Since Minnie Vans look alike, Disney distinguishes them with a number system which makes it easy to pick out yours if several pull up at the same time.
Step 5: Climb in and enjoy the ride
When your van arrives, climb in and enjoy the ride to your destination.
Step 6: Pay
Payment for the ride is all done inside the app so there is no reason to worry about having cash. Your credit card (or Apple Pay if you prefer) information will be used.
Who can use Minnie Vans?
Currently guests staying at select resorts can utilize the service. That list includes:
- Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Beach Club
- Boardwalk Resort Inn
- Caribbean Beach Resort
- Ft. Wilderness
- Grand Floridian
- Old Key West
- Pop Century
- Port Orleans - French Quarter
- Port Orleans - Riverside
- Saratoga Springs Resort
- Wilderness Lodge
- Yacht Club
In recent weeks there have been reports of guests that were not staying at one of these resorts being able to use the service,; however, Disney states that Minnie Van service is currently only available for guests at the above listed resorts which probably means that the stories of other guests being able to access it were the exception and not the rule.
Where can Minnie Vans go?
Minnie Vans can be used throughout the Disney World Resort area including all the Disney resort hotels, the four main theme parks (Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Hollywood Studios), Disney Springs, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon.
Minnie Van service to Orlando International Airport has also started to roll out and is currently available to all Deluxe Resort guests at the Walt Disney World Resort.
It's available from 9 a.m. to midnight and costs $150. It is suggested that guests use this service in conjunction with Resort Airline Check-In.
What hours do they operate?
Service is available between 6:30 a.m. and 12:30 a.m (subject to change).
Can I take a Minnie Van to Universal Studios (or anywhere else off property)?
No. Unlike Uber or taxis (both of which can travel throughout the entire Orlando area) Minnie Vans can only operate on Disney property (the 4 main theme parks, Disney-owned resorts, Disney's 2 water parks, and Disney Springs), so if your plans take you offsite you'll need to check into different options for that.
Do Minnie Vans have car seats?
YES! They do. And this is one of the things that make Minnie Vans stand out. All Minnie Vans are equipped with 2 versatile car seats. These convertible seats can operate as both forward facing or rear facing traditional seats or they can also be used as a booster seat (both with and without the back), meaning, as Disney says "even the tiniest of passengers can travel in style."
Because it can be tricky for even experienced parents to properly install a car seat, Cast Members that drive them are extensively trained in the proper installation of all the different configurations of the seats.
By comparison, you can request a car seat with Uber X, but there is a $10 surcharge and they can only be forward facing.
Should I use a Minnie Van?
That depends on your situation. Check out the chart below to see how the different transportation options stack up against one another to help you decide if a Minnie Van is worth the extra expense.
Where do Minnie Vans drop-off and pick-up?
If you are going to any Disney resort, Minnie Vans can drop you off at the front, or, if you are headed to a resort that has separate buildings (like Art of Animation) they can drop you off at one of those.
There are 2 designated pick-up locations at Disney Springs: at the Taxi Station on the far west end past the AMC Movie Theater and at the east end Taxi Station by World of Disney.
Drivers usually ask where you are going at Disney Springs and then will do their best to drop you off as close as they can which sometimes means dropping you off inside one of the parking garages.
Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon
The parking/bus/taxi area for the water parks are relatively small compared to the main theme parks, so your drop-off and pick-up points are nice and close to the front of the parks.
One of the best perks when using Minnie Vans for transportation to and from Magic Kingdom is that the drop-off and pick-up location is actually located at the same area where the resort buses drop-off and pick-up.
This is different from Uber/Lyft, taxis, and driving your own car. All of those options require you to start your journey to Magic Kingdom at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then to transfer onto either the monorail or ferry in order to get to the park.
Minnie Vans drop-off and pick-up near where the buses are located out in front of the park.
If you are leaving from the back of the park, though, it usually makes sense to walk through the International Gateway and over to the Beach Club Resort to pick up a Minnie Van there instead of walking all the way back around to the front of Epcot.
Minnie Van drop-off and pick-up is located not too far away from where the parking lot trams board at the front of the park.
As you may know, Hollywood Studios is currently under a massive amount of construction so the location of the drop-off and pick-up may change, but as of now you'll find the Minnie Van drop-off and pick-up locations near the front of one of the parking lots just past where the offsite buses and buses for Disney Springs pick up.
Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue & Trails End
Hoop-Dee-Doo has long been a family-favorite, but before Minnie Vans your only options for getting there usually involved transferring between regular Disney buses onto the internal buses for Ft. Wilderness or from bus/monorail to boat.
This process was not only cumbersome but also extremely time consuming. And, after a long day, the multi-step process to get back to your resort was especially exhausting.
Minnie Vans, however, are allowed to drop off and pick up just a short walk away from where these two popular restaurants are, saving you a lot of transportation time.
Video: pros and cons of Minnie Vans at Disney World
Have you tried out the new Minnie Vans yet? Thinking about using one to get to a Disney park? Let us know how it went in the comments.