Review – Minnie Van Service to Port Canaveral

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!

Heather Keller, Storybook Destinations

If it's vacation, it's for Heather! When she is not on vacation (usually someplace with a big Mouse) or planning her own vacations, she is helping clients plan their own magical trips as a travel agent with Storybook Destinations. See the theme? She is blessed to have a husband that accepts her travel addiction, and two daughters who are already following in her wanderlust footsteps. Heather can be reached at Heather@StorybookDestinations.com

12 thoughts on “Review – Minnie Van Service to Port Canaveral

  • November 7, 2018 at 2:31 pm
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    Thanks so much for this review. I had recently chatted with a DCL representative that didn’t have much to offer in the way of practical information since the service is so new. Your detailed review hit all the questions that I had about the service. Still not sure that I’m going to bite the bullet and cough up the $240+tip price tag though since it will be just me and my cousin heading down to Port Canaveral. Although I was already paying $160 for towncar service…..it’s always that Fuzzy Disney Math that wheels me in! Thanks again.

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  • November 7, 2018 at 5:50 pm
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    Oh how I wish this were an option for our family of 7. Right now it looks like our smartest option may be to rent a minivan and drive ourselves to and from the port. The opposite of seamless convenience!

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  • November 7, 2018 at 7:57 pm
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    Thanks for this information. It is very useful for our upcoming trip. Did you bring your bags with you or did you have Disney transfer them for you? I believe you mentioned in another article that you can have Disney transfer them for a small fee even if you don’t use their transportation.

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    • November 7, 2018 at 10:30 pm
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      We brought our bags with us! You are able to schedule them to transfer your bags for a fee. But, since there was a porter who grabbed them right out the car, it was very easy to have them with us for the Minnie Van ride!

      Reply
  • November 8, 2018 at 10:30 am
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    If it is available from Shades of Green I’m a go! There are 12 of us, so I’ll need 2.

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  • November 8, 2018 at 11:00 am
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    How was the space for luggage? We are six, and my four teenage daughters know how to fill a suitcase. Last time we cruised we had 10 checked bags, and six smaller carryons. Would there be room in the Suburban for all of that luggage? If not, how much was the luggage transfer?

    Reply
  • November 8, 2018 at 10:04 pm
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    Have you considered some of the local “limo” services? https://www.orlandolimousinefl.com/limo-service-orlando-fl-contact?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2o_fBRC8ARIsAIOyQ-lb0l0et8fBBjIrfvbRWRRJxO3I-y2d97vI5FcN5gMcCLuiqvTNVE0aAjqbEALw_wcB

    And other companies. https://ultimatetowncar.com/port-canaveral-orlando-transportation.php

    and ‘shuttle’ services. https://www.orlandoshuttleservice.com/transportation-services/?gclid=Cj0KCQiA2o_fBRC8ARIsAIOyQ-mllWgkhleBNkyXMVURmRZlrDrmKpqaiIZfX4_ynBLi-S7EWLvu-tUaAqUSEALw_wcB

    Just a quick look…a 10 passenger Lincon streach limo for mid feb for 7 passengers.
    is about 175..and includes snacks and drinks and champagne.

    I once rented a car to drop off for a cruise…..NEVER AGAIN. The rental place near the cruise line in FTL was closed that day…well they only opened until noon..and it was a major problem unexpectedly returning the car to a airport location and then getting a cab back to the port. That pick up and drop off of a rental could add a couple of hours to your comfort zone for getting on board the ship.
    Maybe consider that for the trip back….when you don’t have a boat to catch.
    The drop off and pickup rental location closest to the cruise line might have odd hours.
    With the limo service…it’s flat fee and drop off at the port. No worries.

    Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 8:28 am
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      This is super helpful information! I had also been toying with renting a minivan and parking it so as to save the renting twice hassle. I will carefully consider all of these options!

      Reply
    • November 9, 2018 at 2:50 pm
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      We flew into Tampa the night before, rented a car, stayed overnight in Orlando, and drove to the port the next morning. It worked out really well for us. We could grab drinks and a few extras at the store before boarding. Would do it again.

      Reply
  • November 14, 2018 at 8:12 pm
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    Would love to see a blog post (or just helpful comments!) of other ways to get from WDW to Port Canaveral. We have a split stay next year and transportation is the biggest headache. Private rentals are aplenty but expensive, DCL transportation seems to be on a later schedule and rental sounds difficult too!‍♀️

    Reply

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