One of the big updates announced at the D23 Expo was the start of Disney’s own transportation service called Minnie Vans. (If you missed those new announcements click here to see all of them.) Well, the Minnie Van fleet has hit the streets of Walt Disney World and I took one for a test drive to give you all the details.
Minnie Vans will be Disney’s taxi service. They will drive guests anywhere on Disney property. As long as the location is part of Disney World they will pick up and drop off there.
Update: As of June 1, 2018 Minnie Van Service is now available at ALL Walt Disney World Resorts and to everyone. Meaning you don’t even have to be staying at a Disney resort to make use of them. As long as you are currently on Disney World property you can request one directly from the Lyft app.
The “van” is actually a 7 seater crossover (Chevy Traverse). It’ll hold up to six of you (driver makes 7) and comes with two car seats in the back.
Minnie Vans Price and Booking
It’s a $25 flat rate for one way transportation. No matter how many people in the car, how far you go, or how long it takes, it’s still $25. Drivers do accept tips, and they are appreciated but not required.
Update: As of Sept. 2018 Minnie Vans have updated their pricing system. They used to be a flat fee no matter how many people, or where you wanted to go on Disney property. They started off at $20 then went to a $25 flat fee.
Now they have changed their pricing structure. It’s now a $15 flat fee with a charge for each mile driven. That results in quite a considerable price hike.
Disney’s Minnie Vans VS Uber VS Regular Lyft
I did some cost comparison with Disney Minnie Van service and Lyft and Uber. I compared rates for driving from Contemporary Resort to Animal Kingdom Lodge to get one of the longest driving points on Disney World property. Uber lists a range since their prices are like a taxi service and do adjust based on time (traffic).
- Contemporary Resort to Animal Kingdom Lodge: $39.77
- Magic Kingdom to Disney Springs: $32.97
Regular Lyft Service: Contemporary to AKL:
- Regular economy: $12.07 (up to 4 people)
- Luxury: $26.55 (nicer vehicle but still up to 4 people)
- Lyft XL $20.19 (up to 6 people)
Uber Service: Contemporary to AKL:
- Standard Uber car was $9-12 (4 people)
- Uber XL which would be $15-19. (six people)
I would have to say in most cases no. In the past, you could say it was worth it to use Minnie Vans if you were a family larger than 4 since you would need an XL the pricing might be in the same ballpark. But with the price increase, you’re paying a lot more.
If using a taxi service like Lyft or Uber makes you very nervous and you really want to have the peace of mind of having a CM driver, and if you can afford it, then Minnie Vans will fill that need. For many families with children, they may not feel comfortable using Uber and hanging a stranger pick up their family. Whereas Disney’s service would have the all the warm fuzzy feelings of safety and be driven by a Cast Member. So in that sense, I can see many people preferring to use the Disney service even if they end up paying more.
But other than the car having polka dots on it, there really isn’t any additional value they give you besides that.
So the answer (like always) will depend on the person and their situation and needs. But overall I am a fan of using Uber. I have found it to be very easy to use, I’ve always felt very safe and will continue to use that when I travel.
Do we Need Minnie Vans?
We know that attendance at Walt Disney World is continually going up each year. With the addition of new lands over the next two years, this will keep going. Especially with Star Wars Land, as we’re really tapping into a whole new fan base. Crowds will be increasing and transporting all of them to the parks and resorts quickly and safely is a big concern. Monorails often have down times and issues, and the increasing traffic means that buses take a long time to get you anywhere. You pay a lot to be at Disney, and time is money. So having an option that gets you where you want to go easily and quickly is needed. Comparing the cost of using services like Minnie Vans or Uber to renting a car can help you decide the best option for your family.
As of 4-30-18 Minnie Vans are available at all WDW resorts.
Here’s an article from TechCrunch about the partnership between Lyft and Disney.
If you plan to use the service I’d recommend installing the Lyft app and creating an account so you’re ready to go when you want to use it.
If you’ve never used Lyft or Uber the process is very simple. You create an account on their app, and use it to call for a pick up. It will tell you how close the next available driver is and show you their location as they head to you. Payment is made directly thru the app so no money is changed hands and no cash is needed.