Picture this: You have an Advance Dining Reservation at Polynesian Village Resort’s ‘Ohana, but you’ve just finished getting your swim on at Animal Kingdom Lodge. How do you get from point A to point B?
You could use Disney transportation, which would entail a lengthy bus ride from Animal Kingdom Lodge to Magic Kingdom, then a transfer to either the Resort Monorail Loop or the boat to the Poly.
But what if one or more of these modes of transportation is delayed? What about the meats?! How will you get your Lapu Lapu?! The ‘Ohana Bread Pudding is slipping through your fingers!
Woo — hold the phone. There’s a solution to this problem! More than one, actually. If you’re operating on a tight schedule or fear bad Disney transportation karma, you could hail a taxi, book a ride share, or opt for the cutest transportation yet known to Disney fans: the Minnie Van.
But how do you know which one is right for you? Well, you listen to your good pals at the DFB, that’s how. 😉
Here are some pros and cons of Disney World’s Minnie Vans to help you make your decision!
Let’s talk price.
Minnie Vans used to operate on a flat rate — first $20, then $25
— no matter where you were picked up or where you were going on Walt Disney World property. Now, Disney’s Minnie Vans have adjusted their pricing to $15 plus $2.75 per mile. For some trips on property this has really increased the price. And anywhere you’re going, this is pricey, for sure — especially compared to Uber or a regular Lyft…or even, sometimes, a taxi.
However, note that Minnie Vans currently don’t have surge pricing for busy times, and they’re all large enough to carry six passengers. Other ride share programs may bump you up to the second tier pricing if you’ve got more than four passengers, so you might find that the Minnie Van is more economical for you when traveling with a larger group.
Minnie Vans can also carry guests to and from Orlando International Airport (MCO) for a one-way price of $150. And we anticipate Minnie Vans will soon provide guests with service to Port Canaveral to the Disney Cruise Line Terminal for a one-way price of $240.
In my personal experience, Lyft free rides and discounts have been able to be applied to my Minnie Van rides. Your experience may vary if this service is discontinued in the future.
How about car seats?
But if you’ve got kiddos in tow, keep in mind that the Minnie Van service will provide you with two clean, well-maintained Graco car seats for no additional charge, and the exceptional drivers are skilled in how to put them into the car as either a 5-point harness, booster, or backless booster.
Ride-shares and taxis may charge for the car seat if they even have one (much less TWO), and I can nearly guarantee you that the driver won’t be trained in how to install the seat safely. Also the seat in a random ride-share is very possibly disgusting and potentially unsafe. I say this from lots of experience.
Got a dog?
Minnie Vans have puppy mats that you can spread out for your dog! And with several Disney World resorts now being dog-friendly, this is a great perk of the Minnie Vans!
Let’s talk drivers.
The Minnie Van program is “powered by Lyft,” but the drivers of all Minnie Vans at the moment are relatively long-term Disney World cast members, many of whom have been working for the company for many years — and have been specially chosen for this particular assignment because of their knowledge of the property, customer service abilities, and more. With taxis and ride shares, you can’t be sure who will be behind the wheel.
Let’s talk convenience.
Minnies are currently available to guests staying at ALL Disney World resorts, the Swan and Dolphin, and Four Seasons Orlando.
To call a Minnie Van, guests must use the Lyft app and have the Minnie Van option activated either at the front desk of their resort or on the My Disney Experience app. This can be a bit of an inconvenience at first, but once you’ve activated it, Minnie Vans will pop up automatically in the app and you’ll be able to use them anywhere and everywhere on Disney property (even to and from “non-activation” resorts.)
Finally, Minnie Vans will only deliver guests to another on-property location or to MCO Airport. So if you’re looking to get off-site to grab a meal (or hit the outlet shops hard!), you won’t be able to do that in a Minnie Van. For that, you’ll need your rental car or a standard ride-sharing service or taxi.
How Many People Can Ride in a Minnie Van?
Minnie Vans come in the form of Chevy Traverse SUVs that can carry up to six passengers (again, with required car seats included at no charge). For parties with wheelchairs or ECVs, other wheelchair-accessible Chevy vehicles are available. Remember that other ride share programs will bump you up to the second tier pricing if you’ve got more than four passengers, while Minnie Vans accommodate up to six passengers.
Minnie Vans do have a few perks. First is that they are driven by long-time Disney World cast members, which generally means you’ll have a pleasant ride without the awkwardness sometimes experienced with other drivers. (Guests have reported terrific interactions with their Minnie Van drivers, but as with anything, your experience can vary.)
Minnie Vans also provide complimentary phone chargers which, you know, if you’re blogging, social media-ing, or chatting throughout the day, you might need! No more looking for a plug behind tables at Cosmic Ray’s! :p
Finally, Minnie Vans are cute. The distinctive styling is full of charm, and you’ll feel like you’re getting a VIP transport experience in true Disney fashion. That charm might help you make a new trip memory!
Minnie Vans vs. Disney World Transportation
We know that a lot of guests have a love/hate relationship with Disney World Transportation — and we feel your pain. On the one hand, some of it is super fun (particularly for kiddos!), like the Monorail and boats. But even these have some drawbacks — namely unexpected suspended service.
Disney World buses, in our experience, can be more hit-or-miss. They’re often crowded, and the wait times can be up to 20 minutes or more. And if you’re trying to hit rope drop or return to your resort after fireworks? You might watch a few buses come and go before you even get on!
Minnie Vans (and other ride-shares and taxis) can effectively cut transportation time in half when compared to the waiting and the multiple legs of travel needed to go from resort-to-resort. (Plus, you’re guaranteed a seat in your Minnie Van — not so on Disney Transportation!)
Also, Minnie Vans could be a very useful tool in your toolbox when you’re going to an early morning reservation before the buses are running, or traveling during peak public transportation times like rope drop or after the fireworks.
That said, Disney transportation is totally, 100% free. And that’s a tough benefit to surpass.
And the MOST IMPORTANT PERK OF USING MINNIE VANS:
Minnie Vans will drop you off and pick you up at the Magic Kingdom bus stop in front of the park. This is insanely useful, my friends. Other ride-shares and taxis can only pick you up and drop you off at the Transportation and Ticket Center (or the Contemporary Resort if you’re getting creative)…which is a hassle when you’ve got a Fastpass+ in 10 minutes! Being dropped off at the gates of Magic Kingdom is a luxury and benefit that really can’t be quantified, in my opinion.
Do we recommend using the Minnie Van service?
Absolutely. I, personally, use them regularly (but, I’m a person who’s perpetually late for everything and only in Disney World for a few days at a time, so Minnie Vans are often the only way I can be on time for a packed day of meetings, Fastpasses, or Advance Dining Reservations).
This is not a budget option. I think the price point is high, but it may be worth it for you when you consider the two high-end, versatile car seats that can be expertly installed for you, the six-person capacity, and the knowledge that your driver is a Disney professional . If you’re on a budget and don’t mind waiting, Disney transportation is effective, fun, and 100% free. However, if you’ve got multiple kids and strollers, are traveling when Disney transportation isn’t running, are in a hurry, or prefer a little more convenience, Minnie Vans could be the ideal solution.
Time is money when I’m in Disney World, so if a reasonably priced ride-share can get me where I need to go quickly and conveniently, I’m grateful for that option.
But you’ll need to crunch the numbers for yourself and determine if Minnie Vans are right for you.
Have you experienced the Minnie Vans? Tell us about your experience in the comments below!