Last week, Tammy Whiting and I had the pleasure of being the first guests to use the newly launched Minnie Van transfers from Walt Disney World to Port Canaveral! This service has not been publicly advertised by Disney yet, so we were very excited to receive the news that they were beginning to take reservations just a couple of days before our cruise on the Disney Dream out of Port Canaveral.
Minnie Van transfers between Walt Disney World Resorts and Port Canaveral must be set up by calling in to Disney Cruise Line Embarkation Services at 1-800-395-9374. The transfer is a flat fee of $240, one way, gratuity not included (payable at your discretion in cash to your driver). This price is for up to six guests in one Minnie Van, including up to two car seats. Making the reservation is easy – you just need to provide basic information including your cruise reservation number, desired pickup time, and if there are any car seats or an accessible vehicle needed. Payment is taken in full over the phone at the time of the reservation, and there is a 24-hour cancellation policy. Within minutes of making the reservation, I had an email confirmation in my inbox.
The day before our scheduled transfer, I received a phone call from the Minnie Van team, confirming the time and location of our pickup. I woke up to yet another email confirming my pickup on the morning of our cruise – there is certainly no lack of communication! Our pickup was set for 9:30 a.m. at the Yacht Club. We stepped out to the porte-cochere at 9:25 to find our driver, Stephan, standing next to one of the brand new wrapped Suburbans that were just recently introduced to the fleet.
Stephan helped load our luggage into the back and we were off! The suburban seats six comfortably – one in the front, two captains chairs in the center, and 3 on the bench seat in the back. The back of the vehicle was fully stocked for the ride. There were bottles of Smartwater and three flavors (Berry, Black Cherry, Raspberry Lemonade) of Dasani sparkling water to drink, all nicely chilled.
We loved the giant pile of Ghirardelli chocolates – there were both Milk Chocolate Caramel and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel. I will not divulge how many were consumed in the 70-ish minute drive (it was a lot and we have no regrets). If you need a break from the chocolates, there was also an ample supply of mints – they are of the buttercream variety, and are individually wrapped in adorably branded packages. We also appreciated the multiple power cords available to charge our devices during the ride.
During our ride, we mostly chatted with Stephan, who has been part of the Minnie Van team since the beginning, and it was fun to hear his insights and information on the program. If you are not much for chatting and prefer music, the vehicles are set up with all the resort playlists – there isn’t anything specific to the port, but you can request to listen to any loop of your choice. Stephan said his personal favorite is the Pop Century playlist – and it was definitely upbeat and fun! The suburbans are equipped with a video entertainment system. They aren’t being used just yet, in fact the protective plastic wrap was still on the screen. But they do have plans to eventually have something playing – maybe classic Disney shorts, maybe informational videos relevant to the port/cruise, similar to what is currently shown on the Magical Express buses. There were also two beautiful hardcover books in the back to read during the ride.
We arrived at the port to big smiles from the security staff. The Minnie Van enters through security, where the guard will check both cruise documents and identification, and drops you off curbside to the terminal entrance – you cannot get any closer than this. Porters were waiting to whisk our bags away. Everything was seamless, start to finish.
You can also reserve a ride from the port to a Walt Disney World resort at the end of your cruise. The price is the same, and you can set your desired pickup time (between 7 and 9 a.m.).
Did we enjoy our ride? Absolutely! Do we feel it was worth the price? Yes. This is not meant to be an “economical” service. There are definitely cheaper options out there, especially depending on party size – though if we are comparing the DCL bus transfers to the Minnie Van for a party of six, the Minnie Van is only $30 more. The value of this service is in the convienence – you can set your pickup time (but making sure it coordinates with your port arrival time), and you can arrive much earlier than the DCL bus transfers. It’s in the reliability – I’ve used other services before that haven’t been on time, and haven’t been very apologetic either. It’s in the comfort of knowing you are in reliable hands. And yes, the extras absolutely add to the experience!
Would you consider this option for your future cruise? Tell me in the comments!