How can Minnie Vans "plus up" your Disney World vacation?
This is an update to the original post to highlight changes in the system and pricing structure as well as the exciting addition of airport transfers! Read below for more details.
What's a Minnie Van?
Minnie Vans are Disney’s own version of Lyft! An obvious upgrade to Disney buses, and a great way to get around Walt Disney World in style. And now you can even arrange for one to pick you up at the airport - what a magical start to your vacation! You can take a Minnie Van anywhere on Disney property, and the pricing uses Lyft-style distance/demand pricing. Minnie Vans are unique in many ways; and are the only way to get door to door private service to the Magic Kingdom, or a drop off at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue without multiple modes of transportation, a big time saver.
How does it work?
This collaboration with Lyft works the same as requesting a regular Lyft so you will need to download the Lyft app. The difference is that when this Lyft shows up, the car is covered in Minnie’s signature polka dots, and your driver is a seasoned Disney Cast Member. In my opinion, the most important difference is that Minnie vans can go places normal car services cannot. The fees may seem steep if you compare it with a regular Lyft, but in some cases this may be worth it. While many times you can take a regular Lyft from your resort to a park for $10-$12, if you factor in the drop off location (particularly for Magic Kingdom) and the car seats this could be money well spent. To get a Lyft with a car seat is a $10 surcharge, and that only guarantees one car seat, many families need two. Our friends were just turned down by a Lyft driver on our last trip because their (admittedly tiny) six year old appeared too young to ride without a car seat. That was a major drag after a long day at the park!
And did I mention that everyone will be jealous of your adorable ride when it rolls up?
How Do I Book A Minnie Van?
In order to utilize the service, simply open the Lyft App from anywhere on Disney Property, including any of the parks or resorts, Disney Springs, or affiliate hotels like the Swan and Dolphin. You can also call (407) 828-3500 to request an accessible vehicle.
While you cannot schedule this service in advance to take you to one of the parks, you CAN schedule a trip from the airport to your resort or from your resort to the airport for $155 each way. This is a great way to guarantee up to 3 car seats, seating for 6, and room for 6 medium sized suitcases.
The Fine Print
The car itself is usually a Chevy Traverse or a Suburban, which are SUVs, not a traditional “minivan”. But...since they are so cute we will let Disney get away with this creative license. The cars come equipped with two car seats, and the Cast Member has been trained to properly install the seats for you. Technically the car can hold 6 passengers, but this usually means utilizing the two car seats. If you do not require the car seats, they can fit in the trunk, but if you have bags (or a stroller) you may lose a seat. Keep this in mind before you request one!
Our Test Rides:
When our carriage, I mean Minnie Van, rolled up to the Beach Club my girls were THRILLED! We had seen them all over and when they found out this one was ours they were legitimately giddy. Our driver hopped out of the car to introduce himself and immediately offered to take some family photos in front of the Minnie Van, we did it for the ‘gram;)
The car was brand new and the hubby was most interested in the features of the car (which included an HD camera instead of a rearview mirror, and giant sunroof). I was most interested in our driver’s Disney credentials; he was a 25 year veteran of Disney and he was full of fun Disney trivia. My kids loved that he tuned the radio to match the park we were going to - cool touch. He genuinely seemed to love his job and made the ride to Magic Kingdom seem like 3 minutes.
When we approached the Magic Kingdom it was great to breeze by the Ticket and Transportation center (the usual drop off for Lyft/Uber/Taxis) and not have to get on the monorail to MK. The Minnie Vans have their own bus parking lane in the front row: #11. So if you want a quick get away from the Magic Kingdom when nap time is near - this could be a life-saver!
We had hoped to use the Minnie Van service for after the Happily Ever After fireworks show as the buses can be crowded at that time but I think demand was just too high. If we had the energy to stick around for an hour after fireworks (park was open until midnight) I suspect we would have had no problem. Alas, our carriage was transformed back into a pumpkin that evening.
Morning Extra Magic Hours
On the last day of our most recent trip we decided to let Mother Nature decide if we would do some early morning coasters. We didn’t set an alarm and let our early rising eldest daughter be our alarm clock. Parks opened at 7am for Disney resort guests (EMH), 8am for off-site guests. We woke up at 7:14. Hubby and I looked at each, “Are we doing this?”. The answer was yes. The subsequent 15 minutes included a pot of coffee brewing, sleep dressing our 6 year old, throwing some snacks in our backpack and chugging very hot coffee. We requested a Minnie Van as we were walking to the elevator and were in the car by 7:30. We were dropped off in front of the Magic Kingdom and we were riding Space Mountain (without a wait) by 7:58. Arguably the best $25 ever spent at Disney World.
Perhaps this won’t be your main mode of transportation, but if you do choose to use it at the right time, it will greatly improve your Disney commute!
Some of my recommended situations include:
Early morning events or Extra Magic Hours
Getting from resort to resort for a dining reservation
Seamless airport transfers, especially if you need car seats
If you are a regular Lyft/Uber user and prefer private transfer to buses this is a great option with young children that require car seats - particularly if you have 2 children that require car seats. This is ofter similar in price to a “Family” option on rideshare apps