Walt Disney World has announced that Lyft’s Minnie Vans private vehicle service will be returning soon! This article shares everything we know so far – dates, details, plus our commentary on what to expect from this ride offering when it resumes in the coming months.
For those unfamiliar with Minnie Vans, paid vehicle service can be requested at every Walt Disney World resort through the Lyft app. Disney has made a significant investment in the program, with a large number of vans and SUVs being added to the fleet. Walt Disney World considers it a “priority” transportation option, with private point-to-point service that is almost always more efficient than buses.
Like so much else, the Minnie Van service was “temporarily suspended” when the parks reopened after being closed for several months two years ago. When parks and resorts reopened, there were lingering rumors that Minnie Vans was gone for good — or at least, wouldn’t be returning anytime soon.
Minnie Vans have even reportedly been spotted outside Walt Disney World, leading some fans to wonder if the fleet was sold off – as many car rental companies had – during the shutdown. Although we could never confirm or deny this, it didn’t seem like a stretch. Given the ongoing staff shortages at Walt Disney World and reluctance to put guests and cast members in prolonged and close contact situations, it seemed like it would take a while. (Non-distanced character encounters and greetings are still not back!)
Well, today we have confirmation that Minnie Vans will return, thanks to the Disney Parks TikTok account:
@disneyparks It really works! Minnie Vans connected by @Lyft are going back this #summer at #DisneyWorld 🚗 #Disney #DisneyParks #MinnieMouse #ToyCars #MinnieVan #CarTok #Water #Lyft ♬ original sound – Disney Parks
Walt Disney World did not issue a press release and no further details were announced. All we know at this point is that Minnie Vans will return to service at Walt Disney World in the summer of 2022.
One of the big unanswered questions, of course, concerns pricing. Between nonstop price increases on just about everything at Walt Disney World and higher gas prices, it stands to reason that the cost of Minnie Vans will rise. Greatly. Expect prices to be significantly more expensive than two years ago.
For those curious about what Minnie Vans used to cost, the last time we used Minnie Vans the base rate was $15 per pickup plus a per mile fee that varies based on demand, but which were generally around $2.75 to $3.00 per mile. . (His possible there was another price increase after our last use, but I don’t think so. Feel free to disagree in the comments.)
With most trips from the park to the resort being between 6 and 8 miles, this meant that the average cost of a Minnie Van was around $30-35, with some trips exceeding $40. With the average Lyft or Uber ride costing around $15-20, you’re paying a hefty premium for Disney-branded Minnie Vans.
If we had to guess, we’d raise that base rate to $20 and mileage to around $3-4 when Minnie Vans returns in the summer of 2022. That would put the average cost between $40 and $50. (This seems as it should be well above the point of hesitation for the vast majority of guests, but nothing surprises me more when it comes to Walt Disney World prices and what people are willing to pay.)
Another wild card is that Walt Disney World’s free shuttle service between MCO and the company’s resorts, Disney’s Magical Express, has ended since the Minnie Vans were last available. Customers now need to find their own ground transportation from the airport to their hotel, and we cover the range of options in our Airport Transportation Guide for Walt Disney World.
For many deep-pocketed guests, using Disney-branded Minnie Vans will be the most appealing alternative. This despite the Sunshine Flyer and Mears Connect, or even Uber/Lyft and private car services would likely be cheaper. Enough customers feel more comfortable with something Disney-branded, regardless of price. To be clear, we’re not talking anywhere near a majority of guests – if even 1% of all visitors use Minnie Vans, that’s still a ton of demand relative to the vehicle’s total capacity.
Considering all the issues Walt Disney World has had with staff, it’s entirely possible that Minnie Van’s service will be limited at first. (That, or the full fleet will be unavailable for some reason after being unused for about 2 years.)
In such a scenario, it’s entirely possible that Disney will prioritize Minnie Vans for airport rides. Much the same way some Uber and Lyft drivers try to play the app and avoid shorter routes, except Disney is more obvious about it. Longer trips between Orlando International Airport and Walt Disney World resort hotels will be more lucrative for the company, which would certainly make sense in a limited-supply, high-demand environment.
Prior to the closure, Minnie Van Airport service was available to customers with air flight departures from Orlando International Airport between 9 a.m. and midnight and flight arrivals from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The cost was a flat rate of $150 per trip. Expect that to increase significantly as well – I’m guessing up to $200.
On the plus side, Minnie Vans Airport can accommodate up to 6 people per vehicle, including up to three car seats for guests. Guests wishing to request a Minnie Van to travel to MCO were advised to use their hotel’s airline record for further information. (For what it’s worth, we regularly use Uber/Lyft to get to MCO, and our cost rarely exceeds $40 each way.)
All in all, we are very happy to hear that Minnie Vans are returning to Walt Disney World in the summer of 2022. We will not be using them as we are more price conscious and prefer to splurge on substantial offers with no comparable substitutes (e.g. Uber and Lyft). Nevertheless, we understand that there is a huge market for Minnie Vans and many guests love them. It’s always good to see popular offerings return to Walt Disney World, even if they’re not for us — not everything needs to be.
The reason we’re excited about the resumption of service from Minnie Vans is that it’s yet another sign of things getting back to normal. In fact, it’s incredibly important, as it involves prolonged close contact between guests and Cast Members. From a health safety perspective, Minnie Vans will likely be one of the very last things to return. (Like Uber, Lyft, and other transportation, Minnie Vans would likely be subject to DOT mask rules if those are still in place when Minnie Vans resumes. Our bet is that Disney won’t bring Minnie Vans back until this rule mask will not have disappeared. )
Whatever the exact timing, Walt Disney World is likely to bring back regular character encounters, standard princess meals, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Shop, the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue and a host of other things before the return by Minnie Vans. Of course, staffing might still present barriers to some of this stuff, but we’d still expect almost all of this to be back before Minnie Vans.
We’ll end this the same way we ended yesterday’s news about Return of H2O Glow After Hours at Typhoon Lagoon. It’s an incredibly strong signal that things will be pretty close to 100% at Walt Disney World by Memorial Day weekend. Now we just need updates on Fantasmic, Finding Nemo: Big Blue & Beyond, and the other remaining entertainment and offerings that are still missing from Walt Disney World nearly 2 years later. I hope more news will arrive very soon – we will keep you posted!
Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Learn more about the hotels on our Walt Disney World Hotel Reviews page. To find out where to eat, read our Walt Disney World restaurant reviews. To save money on tickets or figure out which type to buy, read our tips for saving money on Walt Disney World tickets. Our What to Pack for Disney Trips article takes a unique look at smart items to pack. To know what to do and when to do it, our Walt Disney World Ride guides will help you. For comprehensive advice, the best place to start is our Walt Disney World Travel Planning Guide for everything you need to know!
Are you excited for the return of Minnie Vans? More excited about what this means for the return to normalcy at Walt Disney World? If you’ve used a Minnie Van, do you agree or disagree with our view on service? What do you think of the price – too high or fair for what is offered? Questions about Minnie Vans that we can help answer? Hearing feedback on your experiences is both interesting for us and helpful for other readers, so share your thoughts below in the comments!