Minnie Vans at Walt Disney World
by Morgan Widmaier
During my visit last week to Walt Disney World, I noticed a major change on the roadways. No, it wasn’t that all the construction on the roads were magically done, it was all the Minnie Vans all over property!
If you haven’t heard about Minnie Vans then let me explain, Minnie Vans is the new transportation service available at Walt Disney World. Disney has partnered with the drive-share company, Lyft, to provide their guest with the Minnie Vans. This is a wonderful new service and I think it will help save a lot of time for anyone that wants a quicker transportation option around property. There is a cost to take a Minnie Van unlike the other transportation options but the cost is a flat $20 fee one way. Personally, I think the cost is well worth it for the convenience and service you get.
I was lucky enough to meet some drivers during a visit to one of the resorts and was able to have a little chat with them. The Minnie Van drivers are Disney Cast Members and you’ll recognize them by the black pants and grey button-up shirts with Mickey on the right side of the shirt (women wear a grey vest with Mickey). I met three drivers and they were happy to answer my questions and showed me around their new rides! They all were as excited as the guests when it comes to this new service and happy to have the task of transporting guests around property.
The Minnie Vans are 2017 Chevy Traverse SUVs and they have unique paint job! They have been painted red with white polka dots and sporting the Minnie Van Logo (a black arrow that forms a Mickey head with Minnie’s iconic red and white polka dot bow on top) on the driver and passenger car doors as well as a Minnie Van Logo on the white roof. The paint job is also reflective which I think is a great feature at night to help make it easier to spots the Minnie Vans. The Minnie Vans will fit up to 6 guests and includes 2 car seats which can be stowed away if no children are traveling in the party. I thought having 2 car seats in each Minnie Van was an excellent piece of pre-planning on Disney’s part because it gives the guests with little ones some piece of mind while using this service!
I’m sure you’re wondering how they work and so was I when I got on property because half of the perks of this service is if it’s easy to request. Don’t worry, it is! If you’re familiar with Lyft and the Lyft app on your phone then it’s the same steps to request a Minnie Van. You click the Lyft app on your phone, select vehicle (you’ll see a difference in the Minnie Vans and the standard Lyft rides on your phone app), set your pick up location, select your destination, and request your Lyft which will be the Minnie Van. Once you request your ride, you will be told on the app when they will arrive and which Minnie Van is coming to pick you up. All the Minnie Vans have a number on them so you will know which one is for you just in case more than one show up at your location. Now keep in mind that the Minnie Vans only operate only on property so if are a guest and want to check out something else off property, you’ll have to look at a traditional Lyft ride or another option. If you request your Minnie Van through the app you will pay for it the same way you pay for the standard Lyft rides (credit card, ApplePay, etc). Now, if you do not want to request a Minnie Van on the app you can also call the Minnie Van service. Just dial 407-828-3500 and you will speak with a representative to schedule your Minnie Van ride.
Now, if you or someone in your group is traveling in a wheelchair or an ECV then don’t worry, the Minnie Vans have you covered! There are currently two wheelchair/ECV capable vans in use (there are rumors that more are being ordered) for Minnie Vans and there are large Ford vans with the same paint job as the SUVs with one little surprise, a hidden Mickey on the back made out of the white polka dots! As of right now the only way to request them is to call because there’s not a way to specify the ECV vans on the Lyft app and since you can’t use the app the only way to pay for the ECV van is a room charge (currently the drivers don’t have the capability to swipe a credit card or accept cash). The vans can transport one wheelchair or ECV and 4 additional passengers. The guest using the wheelchair/ECV pulls their wheelchair/ECV up to the back where the driver pulls out a ramp they can ride up. The guest in the wheelchair/ECV can be seat belted in while staying in their wheelchair/ECV or they can transfer to a standard seat if they’re able to. Personally, I thought that was a great feature because even though the wheelchair/ECV is strapped down once loaded into the van, it’s still much safer to have the passenger be able to buckle up too.
I actually had the chance to use the ECV van while I was there last week and it was a wonderful experience! I was traveling with my mom last week and while we were at Magic Kingdom when we decided to try the Minnie Vans out and get a ride to the Boardwalk for dinner. I spoke with the Minnie Van drivers earlier that day so I knew to call the Minnie Van line (407-828-3500) and specifically request the ECV van (my mom was using an ECV during our trip). When I spoke to the representative on the phone they told me the name of the driver and the number of the Minnie Van that would be picking us up in about 15 mins (currently the app does not tell you the name of the driver, just the number of the Minnie Van). Now here is one of the many great perks in the Minnie Van service, we didn’t have to make our way to the Ticket and Transportation Center (TTC) to meet up with our ride because all we had to do was head over to the resort bus pick-up and the Minnie Vans have their own pick up spot! That saves so much time! How many of us have spent a long day at Magic Kingdom and you just want to get back to your resort quick and don’t want to get on the crowded monorail or boat back to the TTC or crowded bus (or monorail or boat) to get back to your resort. Now, my mom and I were in Tomorrowland when I called to request our ride so we started to make our way out of the park and our Minnie Van pulled up just a minute before we got there. The Minnie Van driver greeted us and knew my name (they ask for your name when you request the Minnie Van) and offered to assist my mom getting the ECV into the van. Once the ECV was loaded in and we were all in the van, we were on our way. During the ride, I took the opportunity to talk with the driver who is one of the trainers for the Minnie Vans, he loves providing this new service to the guests and enjoys the interaction with the guests because it’s more personalized. We actually ended up talking about Food and Wine since I had been there the day before and swapped suggestions on what to try. It was a great conversation that you don’t always get when taking the other forms of transportation on property. When we reached the Boardwalk resort, the driver helped get the ECV off the van and made sure we were situated and knew where we were going on the Boardwalk. He was so friendly and helpful as well as the other drivers I met earlier that day!
So next time you’re a guest at Walt Disney World, think about taking a Minnie Van. It’s a great service and with the popularity that I saw I hope it becomes a permanent option for transportation around property; I know I’ll utilize it on my future trips!
Hope you enjoyed this report, let us know how you like the new Minnie Van service!