Using Disney World's Minnie Van Service

While we’ve long praised using Uber at Disney World, we’ve recently expanded our transit options to occasionally include Minnie Vans—the Disney / Lyft rideshare service. In this post, we introduce you to Minnie Vans, discuss their prices, and go over reasons we mostly don’t like Minnie Vans while also mentioning some situations where they make a lot of sense. Read on to learn all you need to know about Minnie Vans!

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What is a Minnie Van?

The Minnie Van service is a partnership between Disney and Lyft that allows guests to request a Cast Member driven vehicle—a van or SUV themed to Minnie, specifically—for rides around Disney World through the Lyft app.

Unlike other forms of Disney transportation, Minnie Vans are not free, as discussed more below. Like Uber or Lyft, the service allows you to order your own vehicle between two points from the convenience of an app (in this case, the Lyft app). In the case of Minnie Vans, these are Disney vehicles driven by Disney Cast Members.

Minnie Vans come with two car seats in each van. By contrast, UberX Car Seat cars will usually only have one car seat each. It’s rare that a Minnie Van will cost twice as much as an UberX Car Seat, so it will usually make sense to Minnie Van if you need two car seats.

Minnie Van Prices

The big thing you want to know—and really the thing that matters most here is:

How much do Minnie Vans Cost?

Minnie Vans typically cost between $20 and $50 around Walt Disney World. This compares to $5 to $15 for the lowest price Uber and Lyft options and $15 to $30 for Uber options with car seats.

Between Walt Disney World and Orlando International Airport, Minnie Vans cost $150 and the webpage reminds you that price does not include gratuity. This compares to the free Disney Magical Express airport shuttle option (which is obviously a very different experience) or an Uber ride of about $30 (UberX) to $55 (UberXL Car Seat).

Using Minnie Vans

If you’re familiar with Lyft or Uber, you should have no problem understanding how to order a Minnie Van. It is simply a ride type in the Lyft app, so when booking your ride you just swipe over to “Minnie Van.” Make sure you reset your pickup and drop off spots from “Lyft Pickup” to “Minnie Van Pickup” when selecting a Minnie Van.

If you’re new to Lyft, here’s a quick primer.

Setting Up your Lyft Account

The first thing you need to do is setup your Lyft account. You can download the Lyft app onto your phone and set up an account, including adding payment information, through the app.

Ordering a Lyft (Or Minnie Van)

Lyft is an incredibly intuitive app. When you open it, you’ll be asked “Where are you going?” Type in a destination. Your default pickup is your current location, but you can change that as well if you need to be picked up at a different spot (just don’t set something too far, you need to beat your ride there).

If you pick a spot like a theme park or a large hotel, you’ll get confirmation that you’ll be picked up at the “Lyft Pickup Area.” Confusingly (discussed more below) there is also a separate Minnie Van Pickup Area when you request a Minnie Van.

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When you order your ride, you’ll most likely see “Lyft” and “Lyft XL” options, but you can swipe to other options, including all the way to the Minnie Van option, seen above.

If you swipe to the Minnie Van option, we recommend you click back into your pickup and drop off at the top and reset them to make sure the Minnie Van pickup and drop-off spots are selected. We discuss this issue more in the next section.

Once you order your ride, you’ll be given an estimated pickup time. You can call your driver through the app, if necessary. You’ll also see the Minnie Van number in the app, which you can match the number on the side of the actual Minnie Van.

Payment is done entirely through the app, and you can add a tip in the app.

Minnie Van vs. Lyft Pickup and Drop-off

We mentioned above that you can swipe between ride options in the Lyft app to get to Minnie Vans. When you do this, the app doesn’t seem to automatically reset your pickup and drop-off points. This results in a weird situation where you might request a Minnie Van to pick you up in the Lyft spot or vice versa.

The app might automatically correct this—I’m honestly not sure. You can avoid this by simply redoing the search once you’ve selected your vehicle type. If you click back into pickup/drop-off, it will give you a new option. If you accidentally request the wrong location, you may need to call the driver (a feature available in the app) to sort that out.

Is there a “Disney difference”?

Minnie Van Cast Members are, in our experience, incredibly friendly. But this isn’t really a notable difference from the Uber drivers we’ve had around Walt Disney World. Overall, most drivers working this area seems to know they’re dealing with vacationers looking for a magical time and with a few bucks to spare (for tips), so we’ve found service to be quite good on Uber and Lyft.

Taking a Minnie Van to/From Orlando International Airport

Minnie Vans to/from Orlando International airport are booked in advance and by phone at (407) WDW-PLAY or (407) 939-7529. The service can accommodate six guests, up to six medium-sized suitcases, and up to three car seats. Currently this service is only available at Disney-operated hotels (not Disney Springs hotels, for example).

Can Minnie Vans Go Off Disney Property?

Trips to MCO excepted, Disney is pretty clear that the service is meant to be used on Walt Disney World property. Currently the app will allow you to request rides from Disney property to a limited range outside of Disney property. It won’t allow you to request a pickup off Disney property, even going to Disney property.

Why We Usually Don’t Use Minnie Vans

For the most part, Minnie Vans don’t appeal to us. There are a few reasons for this.

First, Uber and Lyft have significantly lower prices than Minnie Vans. It’s common for prices for these services to be 1/3 or even 1/4 the price of a Minnie Van for the exact same trip. Sure, you won’t have the benefit of a Cast Member who is trained in navigating the area, but for the most part Uber and Lyft drivers do fine getting around and can always just follow the signs.

(Stock Photo - Not our imaginary child or the actual Minnie Van car seat)

(Stock Photo - Not our imaginary child or the actual Minnie Van car seat)

Second, we’re “childless millennials.” This means the perk of the two car seats in each Minnie Van doesn’t really appeal to us. Even if we had a child, we’d probably at least compare the service to UberX Car Seat or UberXL Car Seat because of their lower prices. Keep in mind, though, that most of those vehicles only have one car seat, while Minnie Vans have two.

Third, there are fewer Minnie Vans than Uber and Lyft drivers. This means you may sometimes have to wait much longer for a Minnie Van than another car service. On a recent trip, I had to cancel a Minnie Van request because it was estimating a 15 minute wait, while an Uber was able to get me in 5 minutes.

Leaving Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party one night at 1AM, there weren’t any Minnie Vans available (the service stops at 12:30AM, which the app does not tell you). That’s not hugely shocking, except that Disney Springs is open until 2AM and guests were still leaving the Halloween party.

Finally, for all locations except Magic Kingdom (more on that next), Minnie Vans use similar (in terms of convenience, not exact location) pickup and drop off spots as Uber and Lyft. The one significant exception we’ve encountered (other than Magic Kingdom) is that Minnie Van drivers are more than willing to drive you as close as possible to your room when dropping you off at a hotel.

To be fair, getting dropped off closer to your room can save about ten minutes of walking—but it’s rare that you’re in a rush to get to your room, let alone a rush worth paying $20-$40 more for a Minnie Van. You also could just always ask your Uber/Lyft driver to get you as close as possible, if you know the way.

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The One Time We Do Use Minnie Vans

The one time we use Minnie Vans and recommend you be open to using Minnie Vans is when going to or coming from Magic Kingdom.

The only vehicles that can drop off directly at Magic Kingdom are official Disney vehicles—mainly Disney buses and Minnie Vans. Other guests have to get dropped off at the Transportation and Ticket Center and then take a monorail or ferryboat to Magic Kingdom.

Minnie Vans have a clear advantage over Uber and Lyft in this regard. Even if you were to get dropped off at and walk from Contemporary (which Disney frowns upon and may at any time prohibit), you’re still going to spend 10 minutes walking.

As mentioned a few times above, Minnie Vans are often going to be the most economical option if you need two car seats.

If you follow us on social or read our trip reports, you’ll see we do try and use a Minnie Van at least once a trip, maybe not to Magic Kingdom, but that’s mostly just to keep up to date on the service.

Conclusions

To us, Minnie Vans are a pretty straightforward analysis:

  • If you need two car seats, your best rideshare option is Minnie Van

  • If you need one car seat, compare prices with UberX Car Seat and UberXL Car Seat

  • If you’re in a hurry to Magic Kingdom, Minnie Van is your best option

  • If you need zero car seats and not going to Magic Kingdom (or not in a hurry), use standard UberX or Lyft

That’s all there is to it.

All Your Other Disney World Planning Questions Answered

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