Accessible Minnie Vans
Updated: Aug 1, 2019
Staying on site with an ECV can be hugely helpful, as many of Disney’s resorts are very large. Wheelchairs and ECVs are able to ride on all of Disney’s buses, boats, the monorail and the (coming soon) Skyliner. However, sometimes we don’t have the time or energy to deal with Disney’s transport system, especially if it involves getting between resorts, which requires changing buses at a park or Disney Springs.
My instinct is to jump into a taxi or ride share, but having the ECV makes that hard. Mears Taxis do have accessible taxis, but for us, the Minnie Van service was wonderful.
What are Minnie Vans?
Simply put, they are cars driven by Cast Members, that you can use to get around Disney property. For families, they are a huge benefit as they carry 2 car seats. You order the standard ones using the Lyft app and, because they are Disney vehicles, they can go places that private cars and taxis/ride shares cannot go, like the bus loop at Magic Kingdom.
They are expensive, with the current price being $15 plus $2.85 per mile. In our experience, this meant that most of our rides cost between $30 and $35, and then a tip is expected on top of that (you will get a price before you book, and your can also price it yourself on the Lyft app). However, when we had to get back to the hotel in a hurry after a medical incident, or when it was park close and it felt like we were in a bus queue with the entire population of Florida, that price was worth it to is, and of far more value than a souvenir t-shirt or another set of Mickey ears.
What do I need to know?
The first thing you need to know is that you need to call to order them!
You need to order your Minnie Van about 45 minutes to an hour in advance. If you want it at the end of night, you may want to request it even earlier. At midnight on the night of the MNSSHP Halloween party, we were told that the wait would be 90 mins, but that was unusual.
The other important point is that your ECV DOES NOT need to be the kind that can be dismantled. I used the Maxima ECV, which is for larger plus size riders, and it most definitely does not dismantle or fold up in any way at all.
You can call from your room, but if you are an international guest and are not calling from your room, you may want speak to Guest Services or a Cast Member at hotel reception, as the costs can add up on some calling plans. They do ask for a phone number when you book, but the drivers can’t call non-US numbers.
Here’s how it works
First, I must say that the drivers were all outstanding, as were the standard Minnie Van drivers. Some of the nicest Cast Members we met on our trip were the Minnie Van drivers.
The drivers always asked me whether I could transfer or whether I wanted to ride in the ECV. I always transferred, so they just asked us to sit in the van and they loaded the ECV on a hydraulic platform and strapped it in. They are standard vans painted with spots, so it is a high step up, but it was ok.
There are the same benefits as normal Minnie Vans in terms of being able to be dropped off and collected outside MK and other areas that are only for buses. This was a huge help when one of us was not feeling well and had to leave the parks in a hurry.
They charge the cost to your room, so you need to be staying on property and also have charging privileges set up on your room. It is not possible to charge a Minnie Van tip to the room, so if you want to tip, make sure you bring cash. They have a machine to scan your Magic Band, but in more than 40 rides, it only worked twice! Most of the time they just sent my info to the dispatch centre.
Many of the Minnie Vans can take 4 people and 1 wheelchair or ECV, and have space for 1 car seat. Disney also has some Minnie Vans that can take 6 people and 2 wheelchairs or ECVs. When you call to book your accessible Minnie Van, the Cast Member will discuss your needs with you.
For several days we needed 2 car seats and, on those days, they sent 2 Minnie Vans together: an accessible one for me, and a normal one with 2 car seats for the rest of my party. We were only charged for one Minnie Van on those occasions, though we did tip both drivers. They drove in convoy, so we arrived at the destination at the same time, even though it took several minutes to load my ECV into the van.
For those who love the spots, it is also possible to take a Minnie Van to Orlando International Airport (MCO) for $150 plus tip. I personally would not pay that, which is more than a limo cost us, and twice the quote we were given for a town car. However, for getting around the parks with an ECV, I found the Minnie Van service was worth every penny, and made our vacation so much easier.