Spanning 43 square miles, getting around the massive Walt Disney World Resort can be tricky to say the least, especially if you’re in a time crunch to get to the parks or a reservation, traveling with a few kiddos or a wheelchair in tow or simply without your own set of wheels.
While you could take advantage of Disney’s complimentary transportation options – such as the classic Monorail, high-flying Disney Skyliner, leisurely water taxis and expansive bus system – these free ways to get around The Most Magical Place on Earth are often both inconvenient and time-consuming.
The Minnie Van, Disney World’s adorable take on rideshare services like Uber and Lyft, tries to change all of that. For a price, of course – and a steep one at that. So, should you take a Minnie Van on your next Walt Disney World vacation? Read on to find out.
All About Minnie Vans, Disney World’s Polka-Dotted Private Transportation Service
Though out of service for the past couple of years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as of June 29, 2022, Minnie Vans are once again roaming the streets of Walt Disney World. Not sure if this Disney transportation option is right for you? Here are some things you should know before hailing one of these Minnie Mouse-inspired vans.
What Is the Disney Minnie Van Service?
Introduced in July 2017, Disney’s Minnie Van service is an undeniably whimsical way to travel between the theme parks, water parks, Disney Springs and Walt Disney World hotels. Inspired by Minnie Mouse’s iconic look, the cleverly named Minnie Vans feature plenty of space for guests, luggage, strollers and wheelchairs, as well as a striking, polka-dotted design in Minnie’s signature red and white.
Offered in partnership with Lyft, Minnie Van service gets you to your destination in style, with a Disney Cast Member as your knowledgeable driver. Similar to other rideshare services like Uber or Lyft, guests hail a Minnie Van directly from their smartphone. Then, just wait for your polka-dotted chariot to arrive.
Where Can (or Can’t) You Take a Minnie Van?
Compared to Disney World’s other transportation options, Minnie Vans are the most well-connected of the bunch. You can request a Minnie Van to take you to most places on Walt Disney World property, including:
- Magic Kingdom Park
- Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
- Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
- Blizzard Beach Water Park
- Disney Springs
- Disney’s BoardWalk
- Winter Summerland and Fantasia Gardens Mini-Golf Courses
- Disney-operated resorts
- Other select hotels on Disney property
Do Disney Minnie Vans Go to the Airport or Port Canaveral?
Unfortunately, while you could previously take a Minnie Van to both the Orlando International Airport and where the Disney Cruise Line docks at Port Canaveral, these routes have since been suspended due to the pandemic. However, for folks heading to the airport, this may not be the case for much longer, as Disney’s website enthusiastically asserts there are “more details coming soon!”
Still, should Minnie Van service to and from the airport return, be prepared for a costly trip. Prior to the pandemic, a one-way trip was priced at a spendy $150, not including gratuity. That’s a steep increase from the $16 per adult it would cost using Mears Connect or $17 per adult with Sunshine Flyer.
Can You Take a Minnie Van to Universal Orlando or SeaWorld?
Nope! Although we highly recommend checking out some of the other theme parks around Central Florida if you have time during your vacation, you won’t be able to use a Minnie Van to take you there. So, for those heading to Universal Orlando or SeaWorld from Walt Disney World, you’ll need to order an Uber or Lyft or arrange another form of transportation.
How Many Guests Do Minnie Vans Hold?
Unlike an UberX or standard Lyft vehicle, which usually fit about four people, Minnie Vans (typically a Chevy Suburban or Chevy Traverse) have enough space for up to six guests. Best of all, for those traveling with small children, each Minnie Van comes equipped with two car seats.
As for guests with mobility challenges, you can even book a special accessible Minnie Van. Unlike regular Minnie Vans, these spacious vehicles are big enough for two wheelchairs and one car seat, with regular seating for four guests.
How Much Are the Disney Minnie Vans?
While transportation options like the Monorail, Disney Skyliner, bus system and water taxis are completely free to use, that is certainly not the case with Minnie Vans. Similar to using Uber or Lyft, Minnie Van service starts with a base fare of $20, with an additional per-mile cost of around $2.75 to $3.75 per mile.
So, depending on where you’re going and when you’re using the service, expect to pay between $30 to $50 per ride. Compared to an UberX or standard Lyft, which runs roughly $5 to $15 one-way (or around $15 to $30 for a vehicle with car seats), that’s an expensive upgrade for what is essentially the exact same service.
Should You Tip Your Minnie Van Driver?
Of course! While the service is already on the spendy side and gratuity is always at your discretion, we recommend you tip your Minnie Van driver just like you would if you were using Uber or Lyft. Minnie Van drivers can accept cash tips, or you can also add gratuity from the Lyft app. So, feel free to send a few dollars their way.
What Are the Operating Hours for Disney Minnie Van Service?
Though Minnie Vans may be offered in partnership with Lyft, the Disney World rideshare program isn’t offered 24/7 like its competitors. Minnie Vans begin service at 6:30 AM, perfect for breakfast or Early Park Entry, and continue running until 12:30 AM, making them a convenient choice whether you’re heading to Disney Springs or back to your hotel room after Extended Evening Hours.
How to Use the Disney Minnie Van Service
Ready for your Minnie Mouse-inspired ride? Before you fire up the Lyft app, keep reading to learn about what you can expect for this polka-dotted rideshare experience.
Requesting a Lyft Minnie Van
Just like hailing an Uber or Lyft, ordering a Minnie Van is as easy as opening an app. The Lyft app, specifically. When you’re ready for a ride, all you need to do is pull up the Lyft app, enter in your destination and confirm where you want to be picked up (keep an eye out for “Minnie Van Pickup”).
As long as you’re on Disney property, the Minnie Van should be your default option. However, if not, simply scroll through the vehicle options until you find it (look for Access. Minnie Van if you need one with wheelchair access).
If you’d like to do some comparison shopping before choosing the Minnie Van, Lyft will provide a list of estimated fares depending on different vehicles. Then, all you need to do is tap either “Select Minnie Van” or “Select Access. Minnie Van” and wait for your ride to arrive.
From there, track your Minnie Vans arrival on the app’s map. Just keep an eye out for your designated vehicle’s number to make sure you’re getting in the right van.
How Long Will You Have to Wait for a Minnie Van?
Unfortunately, with fewer Minnie Vans rolling around Walt Disney World than regular Uber or Lyft cars, you could find yourself waiting for a little while before your ride arrives. A 15-minute wait isn’t unheard of for a Minnie Van. Needless to say, if you need to make a dining reservation, be sure to plan accordingly.
Can You Schedule a Minnie Van in Advance?
Although you can request a regular Uber or Lyft long before you actually need one, Minnie Vans cannot be ordered in advance. While the fleet of polka-dotted vehicles has gotten considerably larger, Minnie Vans are based on availability. So, in case of delays, don’t wait until the last possible minute to hail your ride.
The Minnie Van Ride Experience
Wondering what sets Minnie Vans apart from normal rideshares (you know, besides their eye-catching design)? Here are some magical perks to keep in mind when deciding between the two.
Getting Picked Up and Dropped Off
As official Disney vehicles, Minnie Vans get VIP access to the best pick-up and drop-off locations, typically near the bus loading area. If you’re not sure where that is near you, just look for signage or ask the nearest cast member. This means that you’ll never need to walk too far to find your Minnie Van or get to your destination after being dropped off.
Taking a Minnie Van vs. Lyft or Uber – The Disney Difference
So, aside from the size, cost, operating areas and colorful design, what else sets Minnie Vans apart from a basic Uber or Lyft? The service, of course! While most Uber and Lyft drivers at Walt Disney World offer commendable service, Minnie Van drivers take things above and beyond for their guests.
Unlike other rideshare services, Minnie Vans are manned by Disney Cast Members, each touting an extensive knowledge of the Walt Disney World Resort (no GPS here!), as well as hours of training to make sure your ride goes as smoothly as possible.
After arriving to pick you up, your driver will likely get out to greet you, open the doors for you and, if needed, make any adjustments necessary to your little one’s car seat. Inside the Minnie Van, meanwhile, you can also expect a variety of amenities, such as a variety of charging cables for all your digital needs, bright red umbrellas (appropriate) and even a full Disney soundtrack inspired by your destination.
While along the way, your Minnie Van driver will happily regale you with fun Disney trivia and other helpful bits of knowledge to make your day in the parks just a little bit brighter. After all, this is Walt Disney World we’re talking about. If you like, you can even get a special souvenir for your ride: an Official Disney Transport Collector Card filled with interesting tidbits. Just ask your driver!
Is the Disney Minnie Van Service Worth It?
While they may look irresistibly cute, Minnie Vans are by no means a cheap way to get around Walt Disney World. As a result, unless you’re looking for a bit of Disney luxury or a magical way to get from Point A to Point B, they aren’t right for everyone.
In fact, thanks to their low, low price of free, we’d much rather use Disney’s other transportation offerings in most cases. That being said, there are some times when a Minnie Van can be a worthwhile way to get to your destination.
Heading This Way? A Minnie Van Might Be for You
While options like the Monorail, bus system, water transportation and Disney Skyliner connect much of Walt Disney World, there are some places they just can’t go – or, at least, don’t go quickly. In those cases, a Minnie Van might be for you.
Going to Magic Kingdom
As official Disney vehicles, Minnie Vans pick up and drop off guests in areas that regular Uber and Lyft drivers can’t go. This includes the bus stop area directly next to the Magic Kingdom entrance. As anyone who has ever taken the Monorail or ferry from the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC) can attest, that can save you a huge chunk of time on an already busy day.
Staying or Dining at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground
While the relative remoteness of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground can be a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks, it can also make getting there a huge, time-consuming pain. Needless to say, this can create a less-than-magical experience for guests camping out or dining at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue or Trail’s End Restaurant.
Rather than hopping on a slow-moving water taxi or the bus for your reservation at Pioneer Hall or calling an Uber or Lyft only to have it drop you off at the front of the resort, a Minnie Van can take you directly to the restaurant or your cabin or campsite, saving you precious time.
Traveling Between Disney World Hotels for a Restaurant Reservation
We love an excuse to do some resort hopping, especially dining at different Disney World hotel restaurants. Sadly, as the bus system doesn’t typically travel between different resorts (with a few exceptions, like at Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside), this can be a frustratingly long endeavor.
Between the multiple bus rides and transferring at either a park or Disney Springs, you could be looking at close to an hour just trying to get to dinner or a character breakfast. Luckily, a Minnie Van can take you directly to where you need to be with much less hassle.
Visiting with Small Children, a Wheelchair or in a Large Group? Consider a Minnie Van
Similar to taking an Uber or Lyft, both groups and individuals are welcome to use a Minnie Van. However, if you fall into one of the categories below, you may want to give Minnie Vans a try.
For Families Needing Car Seats
Unlike taking a Lyft or Uber, where access to a car seat will run you at least $10 more for a ride, access to two car seats is included in the cost of your trip. Best of all, Minnie Van drivers receive eight hours of car seat training. So, not only do you not have to worry about the car seat being safely installed for your little one, but you can also choose from a variety of configurations to suit your child.
For Folks Requiring Wheelchair-Accessible Transportation
While most Disney transportation offerings are wheelchair accessible, occasional transfers are required, and they can often be challenging for guests. And, not to mention uncomfortably crowded. With space for two wheelchairs in addition to four regular seats, Accessible Minnie Vans make getting around Walt Disney World a breeze. To top it all off, Minnie Van drivers also go through eight hours of ADA instruction, a huge perk for those wanting some peace of mind when traveling.
For Big Groups of Five to Six People
Since UberX and standard Lyft vehicles only have space for up to four riders, larger groups need to upgrade to an UberXL or Lyft XL to fit everyone. Naturally, this can cost a pretty penny. Plus, bigger vehicles can often be hard to come by.
In contrast, all Minnie Vans are large enough to accommodate groups of up to six people at no additional cost. What’s more, folks on an adult Disney trip can offset the price of this spendy transportation option by splitting the cost.
Have you taken a Minnie Van at Walt Disney World? Is it something you’d recommend to other guests? Let us know in the comments! Then, learn how to offset the cost of this pricey transportation offering with our Disney World discount tickets.