Planning a trip to Disney World can be overwhelming while trying to make sure everything is perfect and within budget, let alone transportation worries. The excitement of visiting Disney World, whether it’s your first or 5th time, is a very unique one with each being more special than the last. Using Lyft at Disney World is one of the many tools in your Disney toolbox.
This is because Disney is always evolving and changing to better enhance our special experiences- even how we travel while there. While Disney offers a few different methods of transportation via buses, boats, and even a monorail — they upped the wow factor a few years ago with a newer way to travel through a connection with Lyft.
Lyft at Disney World
THE WHAT AND WHY
Lyft = ridesharing.
Ridesharing is when a nearby driver picks you up and takes you where you want to go. Lyft is an app that you use to make that happen. After a few taps right on your phone, a driver will be there to pick you up in minutes.
So why are we talking about Disney and Lyft in the same sentence? Lyft isn’t the only app of its kind, ever heard of Uber? But Lyft is Disney’s preferred rideshare program. And in 2017 Disney released a new mode of transportation connected through the all-too-handy Lyft app, thus beginning a budding relationship with the rideshare company at the launch of Disney’s Minnie Vans.
Even more recently — Back in June 2019 — Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resorts also announced Lyft as its official Ride Share Partner. The general direction of this partnership will be to keep improving the app and making changes for pick-ups and drop-offs to be more convenient. They will also be adding even more accessible vehicles for those that need them to continue improving the way that we — the guests — enjoy our visit to our favorite theme parks and places.
While this is all very exciting news, let’s talk about how to set up Lyft and take a look at the Minnie Vans.
Setting Lyft Up
What you need
- Your phone number
- Your email address
- A profile photo
Step 1: Install the Lyft App
- Head over to your phone’s app store (the iOS App Store for iPhone and Google Play Store for Androids)
- Search for “Lyft” and install the free Lyft app
Step 2: App Set-Up
You can sign up with Facebook or your phone number.
- Type in your phone number (the one on the phone you are using)
- A verification code will be sent through text message. This just confirms you’re human.
- Type in your name, email address, and upload a photo. This is so your driver knows who they are picking up.
Lyft Ride Types
- Lyft: Standard Lyft car for up to 4 riders
- Shared: Share a car with riders headed in the same direction at a discounted price
- Lux: Luxury car for up to 4 riders
- Lux Black: Premium black car service with leather seats for up to 4 riders
- Lyft XL: SUV for up to 6 riders
- Lux Black XL: Premium black SUV with leather seats for up to 6 riders
Requesting a Ride Through Lyft
- Open the app
- In the box that says “search location” add your destination.
- Choose your type of ride (shared, lyft, lyft XL). Your price estimate will appear here too.
- Hit “Select Lyft”
- A driver will be selected and will arrive shortly.
What is the Lyft Minnie Van Service at Disney World?
Back to Lyft at Disney World….
When Disney announced Lyft as the Official Ride Share for the Florida and California locations, that wasn’t the only cause for celebration — at the same time, the Minnie Van was celebrating the transport of its one-millionth guest.
That’s quite an achievement as, before it was launched back in 2017, it was met with mixed reviews. Some were elated that Disney World would offer another means of transportation whilst staying in the Resort, whilst others felt that it would be a luxury that wasn’t entirely needed. Well — one million people and counting sure discovered a brand new way of traveling while some skeptics have since changed their views to favor this new addition.
The Minnie Van is a Walt Disney World Resort service that is connected by the Lyft app which transports guests to and from locations within the Resorts. These ‘Vans’ are actually not even vans at all, they’re Chevrolet SUV’s decked out in full Minnie Mouse inspired fashion — red with white polka dots — that are owned and operated by Disney.
Let’s take a moment to answer a couple of commonly asked questions about these fun rides.
Who Drives Minnie Vans?
Each Minnie Van is driven by a Cast Member/Employee that provides trivia and information regarding where you are going while showing you the gracious hospitality that Disney is well known for. Each Cast Member is also well versed in safe car seat installation and protocol so you can rest assured that you’re little ones are in safe hands — or seats — during the transport.
While you’re enjoying your ride, guess what music plays? You guessed it! The radio plays Disney themed tunes even related to your destination. Well played, Disney — well played.
Where Can You Travel in the Minnie Van?
The Minnie Vans offers two types of services to accommodate the needs of its guests — transport within Disney World Resorts and transport to and from the airport.
- Disney World Resorts
Disney understands that while staying in the Disney World Resorts, you may wish to travel to other areas on site. This is where the Minnie Van comes in providing transportation to and from parks, Disney Springs, and even restaurants in other resort hotels. Let’s be honest- who wouldn’t want to ride in one of these adorable Minnie Mouse inspired vehicles while exploring the most magical place on Earth?
- Rides can be scheduled and requested as simple as opening the Lyft app on your smartphone, within the Disney World Resort, and choosing where you’d like to go. Once you’ve chosen you can pay directly through the app, making this such an amazingly convenient feature to spend more time exploring and less time waiting to pay by phone or in person.
- If you need an accessible vehicle you can just call a Minnie Van Service Specialist at (407) 828-3500 and request one. These especially accessible vehicles are equipped to accommodate anything from wheelchairs to scooters — and more! There could be an additional wait time for these specific vehicles, but with Lyft now being the Official Ride Share of Disney, more handicap accessible cars will be available as well as pick up and drop off areas. This will definitely help to cut down on that wait time in the future.
- Initially, the Minnie Van Service was offered for a flat rate of $25 but has since gone to $15 plus a per-mile cost. While the ride offers unparalleled convenience, just remember those per mile costs can add up. Prices vary from the distance between where you were picked up and your destination but can be viewed — and paid — easily through the Lyft app. The Lyft app will also provide you with a map to track your ride while it’s on the way to you, even giving you the vehicle’s special identification number to ensure that you know which vehicle is yours avoiding any confusion and to — above all — stay safe during your visit.
- The hours of operation for the Minnie Van Resort Service can help anyone from an early bird to a night owl, or just a very long day spent in this magical realm. The Vans start bright and early at 6:30 AM and run until 12:30 AM — giving a broad range of time to cover all of your transportation needs and wants. Note that these hours could change in the future.
- Airport Rides
Need transportation from the airport? No worries, Disney and Lyft have you covered here as well by providing Minnie Van services to and from Orlando International Airport and your Disney Resort hotel. You can book these rides up to 6 months in advance, as well.
- The roominess in the Van can fit your whole family, or just you and a few friends with room for 6 people, 6 medium suitcases, and up to 3 complimentary car seats. Disney aims to make sure you and your guests have a stylish — and comfy — ride as soon as you land! This eliminates the need to worry if you’ll have enough room for everyone/thing.
- To book a ride you can call (407) 939-7529 with your flight information for either one way or round-trip transportation. If accessible vehicles are needed the instructions are the same as before. Just call a Minnie Van Service Specialist at (407) 828-3500 to request one.
- Unfortunately, this particular transportation cannot be scheduled through the app — for now. BUT- as Disney and Lyft’s relationship keeps expanding, this could also change in the future. Keep in mind if you’re flying domestically you’ll need to schedule a pickup at least 2 hours before your flight leaves, and 3 hours before your flight leaves internationally. This helps to make sure that your vehicle will be there as you arrive or shortly after.
- Unlike the Disney World Resort Minnie Van, the airport Minnie Van charges a fixed priced of $150 each way. This is the price for the service and does not include any tips for good service. I would recommend this service for a large family with small children as the price is a little high but comes equipped with the above-mentioned baggage space, car seats, and of course privacy. If you’re on a budget, please research all options before making a decision to ensure you stay within your budget!
- The Airport Minnie Van hours run very similarly to the Disney World Resorts hours with the Vans available as early as 6 AM and continue through nighttime to 11:59 PM. Like the other service, these hours are also subject to change in the future.
The Minnie Van, although connected to Lyft through the Lyft App, is the property of Disney and also operated by Disney. This means that Lyft also offers its own transportation to guests staying on or off-site at Disney through themselves with their rideshare independent contractors.
Lyft and Rideshares
If you’re unfamiliar with Lyft, Lyft is a rideshare service. This means that the driver is an independent contractor contracted through Lyft to provide transportation using their own personal vehicle to transport you wherever you may need to go.
Rideshare services are more economically friendly as they reduce the need for as many cars on the roadways lowering environment emissions, and also are offered cheaper than the average taxi. Less traffic also means less travel time, which we can all enjoy.
While some people just like the freedom of renting their own car, taking a rideshare service like Lyft is — not only cheaper — it’s also easier to navigate through traffic in an unfamiliar environment as the passenger of someone that does it every day.
We all know how annoying it is to constantly search for road signs and hope that we are going the right way so… Why not let someone drive that knows that doesn’t have to be completely glued to their GPS?
Using Lyft at Disney World
Some people are wary of driving with complete strangers in this day and age regardless of how ridesharing companies such as Lyft are growing in popularity — I completely understand. At Disney World, this is not the case.
As the security team and even Cast Members get more familiar with these new services, the relationships and comfort have begun to grow to the point that Disney World has even issued policies for consistent pick-ups and drop-offs. This will increase going into the future as Disney and Lyft continue to partner together.
One perk of using Lyft at Disney World is because Disney World is ever-expanding and adding new things to their map — all the time. With Lyft? No worries! Since the Lyft app utilizes Disney maps with the Minnie Van Services, Lyft drivers have access to maps as they’re updated through the app. Not every rideshare company can boast this feat. Way to go Lyft!
As mentioned before, Lyft has different levels of vehicles offered for use from the most inexpensive being a 4 passenger sedan, up to a Lux Black SL that seats up to 6 in luxury. Lyft can also take you offsite at Disney whereas the Minnie Vans are limited to just airport or within Resort.
Nothing very different to report off the Lyft app as the Minnie Van Service also utilizes it. Rides can be requested and paid for through the app and details are released to you to make sure you know who is picking you up. These details include make and model of vehicle, name of the driver, license plate, and sometimes even a picture. It’s very important to make sure that you confirm the license plate number before you enter the vehicle for safety reasons.
How late Lyft runs really depends on how late you need a ride, and at Walt Disney World the parks do close at a certain time. However, Lyft is available 24/7 but can see surge pricing — pricing higher than normal due to high volumes of customers — during commute hours or after closing bar hours and holidays. Please keep this in mind.
What the Future Holds for Lyft at Walt Disney World
While it’s still a little early to know the exact product that will result from Disney and Lyft’s partnership, it isn’t too early to say that the future looks bright for both. We as — past, present, and/or future — guests can rest easy knowing that whatever lies ahead for these companies will focus on us as people in true Disney fashion and that is what makes Disney so magical and keeps us coming back for more.