Thanks to Marisha for a better look at Walt Disney World’s new Minnie Vans! (Since they are in a soft opening/testing stage right now, the following information is subject to change)
The “Minnie Van” has arrived at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Disney introduced this new form of transportation on Monday July 17th, 2017. It is still in the testing stages and only being offered at 3 resorts currently; Disney’s Boardwalk, Disney’s Beach Club, and Yacht Club. They have plans to roll it out to most resorts over the next few months.
Here’s all the important information we know right now.
- The car seats 6 guests, plus the driver. If you need more than one Minnie Van to accommodate your party, you can request a second vehicle.
- Hours are not currently set but expected to run similar to the bus schedule which is around 6am-11pm
- The current charge for each Minnie Van is a flat $20
- No tipping is allowed!
- Minnie Vans are available on property and will only travel to Disney destinations. That includes any Disney resort, McDonald’s, Hess gas station, mini golf etc. (McDonald’s and the gas stations located on property only)
A cool perk with the Minnie Vans, is that they can make a stop for you on the way to your destination if needed. For example, they can pick you up at your resort and then swing by McDonald’s to grab some food on the way to Magic Kingdom!
- Speaking of the Magic Kingdom… since these are official Disney vehicles, they can drop you off right smack dab in front of the Magic Kingdom! This is an amazing perk of the Minnie Vans!
- If you’d like to hop a ride in a Minnie Van, you will have to be a guest at one of the above mentioned resorts. Currently, the only way to request a ride is via the front desk/concierge. However, since this is still considered the testing stage, they may not be available for request at any given time.
- Rumor is that Disney is creating their own app so you can request a Minnie Van from your smart phone soon.
- Handicap accessible vans are being magically enhanced currently and should be rolling into the fleet very soon! There are currently about 20 Minnie Vans in rotation.
- Cars are equipped with phone chargers in case you’re running low!
- The Cast Members who are drive the Minnie Vans, have all been with the company for many years. I spoke to one who was in his last position as a resort concierge cast member for 7 years! And another who was going on his 9th year with Disney. They have been trained to answer any questions guests might have while riding in the car. They also will provide information about My Disney Experience, the dining plans, fast passes and fun facts about the parks as they drive you to your destination! They are a wealth of knowledge and will assist you in any way they can.
- Lastly, car seats! Car seat safety is a hot topic for many parents, and Disney has made it a priority when it comes to these vans. Each Cast Member has been thoroughly trained at installing them for you. Five of the lead Cast Members on the Minnie Van team, completed the CPS Certification course and were additionally trained for teaching the Cast Member drivers.
Each Minnie Van has 2 Graco 4EVER car seats in the trunk ready for use. These seats can be used from infant (rear facing) all the way up to booster with just a seat belt.
The car seats can only be installed in the 2 bucket seats on row 2 of each van. They are not allowed to be installed in the 3rd row.
They are also only installed using the seat belts, and not the anchors in the seats. This is because the anchors have weight limits, where as the seat belts don’t.
They know the seat belt has to be locked when installing, and the lever has to be within the blue line when rear facing. They are well trained in all the settings to make sure it is properly reclined. They do use the top teether when installing the seat forward facing. After installing, they use their non dominate hand to shake it at the base to check for movement. As long as it’s less than 1 inch of movement it’s in correctly.
Only the Cast Member can install the Graco 4EVER car seat. However, if you bring your own, you are welcome to install it yourself.
Legally, they have to install the seat rear facing for all kids under age 1. Disney’s default is to install it rear facing for all kids under age 2. Kids over age 6 can not use the car seat and have to use the regular seat. The only configuration they can not do, is a backless booster.
Each driver spent multiple hours learning how the seats work, how to install them in each position, and even how they should be installed based on the height and weight of the children they will be transporting. They then had to pass their own internal test for the seats. The Cast Members will be required to re-test regularly to stay current on their car seat knowledge.
We talked for a long time about the seats, I even asked what happens if you get in a fender bender. The Cast Member told me they have to contact Graco to find out if the seat needs to be replaced after any sort of accident. Even a fender bender, which is exactly what the manual of these seats says to do! As an avid car seat safety mom myself, I was pleasantly surprised at how knowledgeable and informed the Cast Members are. It is obvious that Disney went to great strides to make sure the Cast Members were correctly trained and knowledgeable on car seat safety! Which is very reassuring. I would 100% trust the Minnie Van and the Cast Member with my child in their car seats.
This is an exciting addition to the Disney transportation system and we are excited to see how it does over the next few months. Let us know if you’ll be riding in a Minnie Van on your next vacation!