What do you get when you cross Disney-level service with a popular ride sharing service like Lyft?
An innovative 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.
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 and Chevy Suburbans.
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.
Accessible Minnie Vans
Similarly decked out vehicles are also available for guests using wheelchairs or ECVs at Disney World.
Guests needing an Accessible Minnie Van can request one by calling (407) 828-3500. Requests for accessible Minnie Vans can be made 45-60 minutes ahead of time however, because of the limited number available, the wait for the accessible vans may be a bit longer.
How much do they cost?
The cost of this service varies depending on your destination but all trips will start with a flat rate of $15.00 with an additional cost per mile (which is somewhere around $2.75).
This is similar to how taxis and Uber/Lyft pricing works where you pay based upon the distance, but, Minnie Vans are now significantly more expensive than those other options with most trips costing around $30 one way.
You can see an estimate of your trip cost prior to requesting the Minnie Van by using the Lyft app. Just put in a trip and follow the directions in the section below (just don't hit the "Request Lyft" button at the bottom of the app).
For comparison, we tested a trip from Port Orleans Riverside. Regular Lyft was $9.98.
But look at the price for a Minnie Van. The exact same trip at the exact same time was priced $26.70. Ouch!
Of course, if you need car seats the price of a Minnie Van may definitely be worth it vs. taking a bus. But, for most situations, Minnie Vans definitely aren't the most budget-friendly option available.
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" and "Lyft XL". Swipe those to the left to get to the other options. Minnie Vans are at the end.
Each one will show you the estimated time to be picked up and an estimated cost.
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?
As of June 1, 2018, the service is available to all guests visiting Walt Disney World (not just those staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel).
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, Typhoon Lagoon, and the Bonnet Creek Resorts (Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek, Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek).
Orlando International Airport
Minnie Van service to and from Orlando International Airport is now available to all guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort and select offsite resorts.
It's available from 6 a.m. until midnight.
The cost for this service is definitely one of the most expensive ways to get to and from the airport with a price tag of $155 one-way (or $310 for round-trip).
Because space to transport luggage is more limited than Magical Express (maximum number of bags is 6 medium-sized suitcases), it is suggested that guests use this service in conjunction with Resort Airline Check-In if utilizing the service for a departing flight.
You can book a Minnie Van airport transfer up to 6 months in advance by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
Resorts eligible for Minnie Van Airport Service Add-On:
- All onsite Disney World resort hotels
- Swan and Dolphin Hotels
- Four seasons Resort Orlando
- Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels (B Resort & Spa, Best Western Lake Buena Vista, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista, Holiday Inn Orlando, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista)
- Bonnet Creek Resorts (Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, and Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek)
- Flamingo Crossings Resorts (SpringHill Suites Orlando and TownePlace Suites Orlando)
Guests taking a Disney Cruise now have the option to use a Minnie Van for transfer services to and from Port Canaveral.
The cost is a $249 each way (plus tip) and can be set up by calling Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Services at 1-800-395-9374.
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 Lyft or taxis (both of which can travel throughout the entire Orlando area) Minnie Vans can only operate on Disney property which includes the 4 main theme parks, all Disney-owned resorts, Disney's 2 water parks, and Disney Springs. Plus, when scheduled ahead, Minnie Vans can go to Orlando International Airport and Port Canaveral - but that is all.
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 UberX, 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. You are able to select your building inside of the app.
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 far east end.
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.
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.
Like Magic Kingdom, Minnie Van drop-off and pick-up is located at the bus loop where the resort buses drop off and pick up.
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.
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 arriving by 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
Since this video was recorded, there are a few updates to the cons list:
- The price has gone up significantly. Now, you're looking at probably at least $30 per trip.
- On the positive, originally Minnie Vans were only available at a few resorts (which was a definite con) but now they are available at all Disney World Resort hotels.
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.