6 Things to Know About Disney World’s Minnie Vans
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Walt Disney World is big, about the size of San Francisco. There’s an entire network of free Disney buses, boats and even a monorail. But sometimes, you just need to get where you want to be as efficiently as possible, even if it costs a bit extra.
In 2017, Disney World introduced the Minnie Van, one of the theme park’s cutest — and handiest — services. The Disney Minnie Vans, driven by a Disney Cast Member (employee) will transport you to and from almost anywhere on Disney property. The service is available daily, typically from 6:30am to 12:30am. The fee to use a Minnie Van is now based on the distance traveled, but often totals more than the $25 flat fee that was previously in effect. For example, a 12-minute ride from Fort Wilderness to Epcot recently cost $29 before tip.
Because Disney World has such an extensive transportation network you rarely need to use a Minnie Van to get around. But sometimes, you want a direct, private ride — especially for those early theme park starts or “I can’t walk one more step” finishes. And for parents with little ones, the Minnie Van’s car seats are a huge plus. Want to catch a ride with a Minnie Van during your next Disney vacation? Here are six things to know before you go.
1. Request Minnie Vans Via the Lyft App
Rather than ask your resort’s concierge to call a Minnie Van for you, download the Lyft app on your phone before your trip to Disney World, if you don’t have it already.
In the Lyft app, you can track the progress of your Minnie Van, tip your driver and connect a credit card to your account that offers 3 points per dollar on travel Chase Sapphire Reserve or Citi Premier Card.
You can also communicate with your Minnie Van driver via the app if you’re unsure of where to meet him or her, as the pick-up spots aren’t always obvious.
2. Minnie Vans Have Complimentary Car Seats
The Minnie Vans can accommodate six people, with two forward-facing or rear-facing Graco 4Ever car seats available at no extra charge. This is a big deal, as Lyft and Uber typically charge extra for car seats, and many ride-sharing vehicles aren’t equipped with them at all.
The cast members driving the Minnie Vans seem to actually know how to safely install the Graco 4Ever car seats — a huge help for unfamiliar parents.
If your family needs to request a Minnie Van that can accommodate a wheelchair or ECV, the maximum capacity for at least some of those Minnie Vans is reportedly just four passengers. (There are rumors that larger Minnie Vans for travelers with wheelchairs and similar assistive devices may be out there). The process to request a Minnie Van that can accommodate ECVs and wheelchairs is a bit different, and can be completed by Cast Members over the phone at (407) 828-3500.
3. Be Strategic With Your Minnie Van Use
Minnie Vans are best used when they will save you a significant amount of time over Disney transportation, and when they can get you much closer to the entrance of your desired destination.
A perfect example of this is at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, where Minnie Vans drop you off right in front of the park — whereas an Uber, traditional Lyft or taxi would drop you off at the Transportation and Ticketing Center (TTC). From the TTC, you would typically still have to board the monorail to reach the Magic Kingdom.
Another great use of the Minnie Vans is when your family is heading to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue. Getting to this show at Fort Wilderness Resort is normally a major pain, as it requires you to take the Disney bus and transfer to an internal Fort Wilderness bus. However, a Minnie Van can take you you right to the show, making that whole process a breeze. If you are staying at a cabin at Fort Wilderness, they can also pick-up and drop-off right at your cabin (just message your driver the cabin number after you request a ride).
We’ve also used the Minnie Vans to get from the Contemporary Resort to Animal Kingdom for rope-drop at the park’s opening. This allowed us to sleep in as long as possible before starting our day.
4. You Can Take a Minnie Van Straight to the Airport (but you probably shouldn’t)
Our final Minnie Van ride of the trip was from the Contemporary Resort to Orlando International Airport (MCO). Could there be a better way to stretch the Disney magic as far as possible than to take a Minnie Van to the terminal? Well, that all comes down to price.
A Minnie Van to and from MCO can cost a staggering $150 each way. Ours priced at an error rate of just $24 in my Lyft app on our trip, but that was an error. The true rate for this Minnie Van is indeed $150 plus gratuity and it can be scheduled up to 6 months in advance by calling (407) 939-7529.
Note that this airport shuttle service is only available at true Disney World Resorts (not the Swan, Four Seasons, etc.)
5. Expect a Bit of a Wait
Most of the time our wait for a Minnie Van is about 8 – 15 minutes, but I have heard of longer waits — especially if you need a wheelchair-accessible van. And you shouldn’t expect a Minnie Van to appear instantaneously.
With the continued expansion of the Minnie Van convoy, Disney seems to be doing pretty well at keeping up with demand, but just add in some buffer time so you don’t miss an important FastPass or dining reservation.
6. You’re Paying for a Luxury Item
Generally speaking, Minnie Vans are a Disney World luxury, just like staying at a deluxe resort or splurging on a VIP experience. They add a bit of extra ‘magic’ — but at an extra cost. The drivers are real Disney cast members that are knowledgable, professional and sometimes have their own magic available to make your day extra special.
For example, my eldest daughter told our Minnie Van driver about how storms in the area shut down the Everest ride at Animal Kingdom before we could use our FastPasses. Our Minnie Van driver then treated us to extra FastPasses to use on a different ride the next day. That special touch would not have happened on a Disney bus.
There are also phone chargers in the Minnie Vans and air conditioning, though there’s no doubt that being picked up and dropped off is itself a treat. We’ve even had a Minnie Van stop at the on-property McDonald’s.
Minnie Vans certainly can be worth the price in certain situations — just use them selectively so you don’t blow too much of your Disney budget getting around the property.
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