If you have been to Walt Disney World in recent years, you might have spotted some red and white polka dotted SUVs around the property. Painted to look like Minnie Mouse herself complete with logo and Minnie’s signature bow, these “Minnie Vans” are the latest and greatest in Disney transportation.
Minnie Vans are Disney’s answer to Uber and Lyft, providing private on-demand transportation door-to-door around Walt Disney World. While Disney’s transportation system is pretty robust, with a complex system of monorails, buses, ferries, and the Disney Skyliner there are kinks in the system. Some connections are hard to make. And sometimes the waits for certain trips are more than guests might want to tolerate.
Minnie Vans were discontinued (and some feared permanently) when the parks closed in March 2020. But they made a triumphant return to service on June 29, 2022. And it looks like they are back to stay.
As with all things at Disney, you’ve probably got questions. As always, we have answers here at Trips With Tykes! I have taken Minnie Vans multiple times with my family while visiting Walt Disney World. My family took them several times before the 2020 closure. I was able to test them out again with my younger child on a summer 2022 Walt Disney World trip.
The devil is often in the details, so whenever I have the chance to ride in one, I always ask Minnie Van drivers a lot of questions. I want to make sure I can address concerns and answer all the logistical questions other traveling families might have. So, without further ado, here is the ultimate Minnie Van FAQ – all your questions about Minnie Vans at Walt Disney World answered, plus tips and tricks for making the most of the service.
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Disney World Minnie Vans Questions Answered
Where can you find Minnie Vans?
When Minnie Vans were first announced in 2018, they were available at just a few Disney World deluxe hotels. In 2022, however, they have expanded to pretty much all locations anywhere and everywhere on Walt Disney World property. They can go to and from Disney Springs, all four theme parks, the water parks, and every Disney resort hotel from value to moderate to deluxe.
While there were some pre-closure 2020 reports of Minnie Vans driving to a few select partner hotels (like the Swan and Dolphin or Four Seasons Orlando), that appears to no longer be the case. The Lyft app no longer shows Minnie Vans as available from these locations. This may change again in the future, so even if you aren’t staying in an official Disney resort, double check with your hotel’s concierge or on the app because Minnie Vans may become available to you too!
For a time before the park closures in 2020, Minnie Vans were available for rides to and from Orlando International Airport. As you might guess, those rides were quite expensive at a $150 flat fee each way. The airport service has not returned and there is no indication from Disney if or when it will.
How much do Minnie Vans cost?
When I first used Minnie Vans, they charged a flat fee of $25 regardless of distance and number of passengers.
In September 2018, however, a brand new pricing model was unveiled. Now Minnie Vans fluctuate in price based on distance and demand, much like a regular ridesharing vehicle. Average rides around Disney property now run more like $25-50 depending on distance – a significant increase from the initial pricing but also quite a bit more expensive than the prices in 2020 before the park closures.
I mapped out a few routes to show you the prices you can expect (updated as of December 2022) below:
- Yacht Club to Art of Animation: $31.00
- Port Orleans French Quarter to Magic Kingdom: $40.06
- Epcot to Grand Floridian: $39.13
- Pop Century to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue at Ft. Wilderness: $43.21
- Port Orleans Riverside to Animal Kingdom Lodge: $48.13
- Contemporary to Animal Kingdom Lodge: $49.05
How do I request a Minnie Van at Disney World?
Requesting a Minnie Van is as easy as being able to use the Lyft app. If you have never used Lyft before, I strongly recommend downloading it to your phone in advance of your Disney World vacation and making sure your credit card is already linked and loaded.
The app is pretty easy to use and intuitive even if you are brand new to it. You simply select your location and input a destination. You will then see a number of Lyft car types available, including a very obvious red Minnie Van option and an estimated wait time. Hit the “Select Minnie Van” button and your ride will be on the way (and trackable via GPS in the app).
Some Disney hotels and sites have more than one ridesharing pickup area so you may need to select a building or a specific location during this process. There are even a few pickup locations exclusive to Minnie Vans that will be labeled as such.
If you have Lyft credits in your account, you’ll find that they will be automatically applied to your Minnie Van ride as well. If you are new to Lyft, you can even get $10 in ride credit with my referral code LESLIE620998.
Often if you have other Lyft promotions those will work as well. The most recent time I used a Minnie Van, I had a Lyft Pink membership courtesy of my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card and was able to save 15% on the Minnie Van ride automatically.
How long should I expect to wait for a Minnie Van?
Just like with Uber and Lyft, rides are not instantaneous and can be affected by factors like demand, time of day, and weather. Plan accordingly.
During our visits, wait times could be as long as 15 minutes, but were usually in the range of 5-10 minutes. The Minnie Van fleet continues to grow, so Disney guests will probably be pleasantly surprised by their speed.
I’d recommend requesting a ride as you are leaving your room in your hotel or walking out of a theme park to cut down on a few minutes you might be waiting on the curb.
Where do Minnie Vans pick up and drop off?
Don’t stress too much about exact location because the app will do the work for you. When you are requesting a ride, it will ask you where exactly you are. Just scroll through the choices offered and pick the best one.
If you are staying at a larger resort, you can request that a Minnie Van come to your building rather than having to walk to the main hotel lobby. For guests in places like Port Orleans Riverside or Coronado Springs, this can really cut down on transit time. Sometimes walks to the lobby there are 10 minutes or more for the more remote rooms!
Minnie Vans drop off at set locations by each park. Again, the app will feed you the choices that are available.
How many people can a Minnie Van hold?
Minnie Vans are Chevy Traverse SUVs and can hold up to 6 guests in addition to the driver (3 in the rear, 2 in the middle bucket seats, and 1 in the front passenger seat).
What hours are Minnie Vans available?
Minnie Vans are typically available from 6:30am until 12:30am every day of the week.
Do Minnie Vans have car seats for my kids?
Yes! The biggest reason for family travelers to use Minnie Vans is that every vehicle comes with two car seats in the trunk ready and waiting to safely transport your kids.
While Orlando has Uber Car Seat service, it’s definitely a service where your miles may vary. Different drivers may have different car seat models. When I took Uber Car Seat with son when he was a preschooler, the model he sat in worked well for his age but would not have rear-faced for an infant. And since Uber Car Seat charges approximately a $10 surcharge for Car Seat service, the price differential between Uber Car Seat and Minnie Vans isn’t always as significant.
And of course, if you have two children of car seat age, then there is no other transportation option that will meet your needs.
What car seat models can I expect in a Minnie Van? Will my child be too big or too small for them?
Disney uses the Graco 4Ever car seat in its Minnie Vans exclusively. Disney guarantees the seats are less than a year old and will replace them if they are ever in an accident.
The Graco 4Ever is probably one of the most versatile car seat models on the market, so I’m confident it will fit nearly every child that might need to use one. It’s a 4-in-1 convertible car seat. I was told that Disney only uses 3 of the 4 modes (opting not to use the low back booster mode for the oldest of kids). This means it can be used rear-facing for younger children, forward-facing, and also in high back booster mode with the seat belt. As a result, it works in Minnie Vans for infants as small as four pounds to older kids up to 100 pounds.
Drivers get a full day of training on how to install the car seats in all different modes. As a result, they can do it for you in accordance with the model’s instructions in record time.
Who drives Disney’s Minnie Vans?
Minnie Vans are exclusively operated by Disney cast members. Even though you can find Minnie Vans in the Lyft app and Lyft technology allows you to request the ride, the drivers are not usual Lyft drivers. Many travelers hesitate to use Uber and Lyft because of the safety question. So you should have no fears if you aren’t comfortable with ridesharing because the Minnie Van drivers work directly for Disney.
Of course, being Disney cast members, you can expect service and friendliness to go above and beyond. Our drivers regularly quizzed my kids on Disney trivia, point out interesting sites, and tell Disney stories as we have taken our rides. On my last ride, my son left his beloved Duffy baseball cap (bought on a Disney Aulani trip) in the van’s back seat and our driver even returned it to our hotel later that day – talk about customer service! You definitely feel like you are in the Disney bubble in every way when riding in a Minnie Van.
Can Disney guests with special needs use Minnie Vans?
Yes! For guests in wheelchairs or ECVs, there are options that can accommodate. Scroll down in the Lyft app and look for a separate listing that says “Access. Minnie Van.” The price is exactly the same as a standard Minnie Van but the wait may sometimes be longer due to having fewer vehicles operating. Accessible Minnie Vans can accommodate 4 passengers instead of 6.
It is always a good idea for guests who have special needs to check with their hotel’s concierge to make sure they can get the vehicle they need.
Should I tip my Minnie Van driver?
This is entirely up to you. When Minnie Vans first started, cast members were not allowed to accept tips. Tipping is now allowed, either in cash or in the Lyft app. I personally always tip Lyft drivers when I have a positive experience, and was happy to leave a $5.00 per ride tip for the extraordinary service we received aboard Minnie Vans. In addition to a tip, we also left a cast member compliment for the driver who found my son’s lost cap in the Disney World app.
Are Disney’s Minnie Vans worth it?
As with many Disney splurges, whether this extra cost is worth it to you depends on your unique personal circumstances. When pricing was a $25 flat fee, I was happy to pay it in certain circumstances. With some rides now approaching the $50 mark, I definitely balk at using Minnie Vans a bit more these days. The price differential between Lyft/Uber is too great, especially as my kids have gotten older and no longer require car seats.
Even with the price increase, there are circumstances where I think the splurge can be worth it. I’d use Minnie Vans again but only under particular circumstances where I’d save time or have a more convenient travel experience.
Situations when I’d consider using a Minnie Van again for my family:
- Going to the Magic Kingdom: Minnie Vans can drop guests right in the bus stop area of the Magic Kingdom steps from security. Anyone driving their own car or taking a Lyft or Uber has to get out at the Transportation and Ticket center and then take a monorail or ferry to the Magic Kingdom. Minnie Vans can substantially cut transit time for Magic Kingdom days, making their premium well worth it when time is of the essence.
- Going to the Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue: My family once made the mistake of taking an Uber to our reservation at the Hoop-Dee-Doo Review, not realizing that Uber couldn’t get us all the way there. As soon as we entered the gates of Fort Wilderness, we were dropped at the internal bus stop and had to ride a bus to our destination. As with Magic Kingdom, the Minnie Vans can go farther beyond the gates than other options can. They can drop you right near the Pioneer Hall theater. No extra bus ride required, making the Minnie Vans a time and stress saver.
- Going to Blizzard Beach: Blizzard Beach doesn’t have direct bus service from many Disney on-property hotels. If you want to avoid a transfer (usually at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), take a Minnie Van instead.
- Early morning hotel character breakfasts: Going from one Disney hotel to another always requires a transit connection, so a Minnie Van is a smart way to shortcut extra transit time and still sleep in.
- During thunderstorms: Disney transit can definitely stretched at the seams when the weather gets bad. If we didn’t want an extra long wait for a bus in the pouring rain, I’d spring for a Minnie Van on occasion.
- When I have Lyft credit: Being able to apply regular Lyft credits to Minnie Vans is a huge and slightly unexpected perk. I often have credit in my account, and having even $5 off per ride brings the cost down to a more moderate and defensible splurge level in my mind.
I’d also recommend Minnie Vans to the following types of Disney visitors:
- Anyone nervous about ride-sharing safety: Although I use ride-sharing services liberally both alone as a woman and also with my children and have never had any issues, I realize everyone’s comfort level differs. If you are skittish about Uber and Lyft, Minnie Vans have the same functionality with none of the concern.
- Families with infants and younger toddlers who rear-face in car seats: While I’ve used Uber Car Seat with my son, there is no guarantee that families who have younger children that still need to rear face can get an appropriate seat. Minnie Vans have a car seat model you know will work so there are no surprises.
- Families with two children of car seat age: Other than taking your own car, there is simply no other option in the area that provides two car seats.
- Groups of 5-6 people: While up to 4 people can fit in a standard Uber or Lyft, larger groups either need to upgrade to an UberXL or LyftXL to fit in one car. At this point, Minnie Vans become more competitive price-wise. The price difference may be much smaller if you also need a car seat. Take, for example, a trip from Port Orleans Riverside to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. An UberXL with Car Seat is $22.14 but a Minnie Van is $28.97.
Have you taken Disney’s Minnie Vans yet? Leave your experience in the comments. And let us know what you think about the new pricing model!
Disclosure: Disney hosted me on one of my Minnie Van trips for editorial purposes. All other rides were at my own expense.
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