Disney recently announced the launch of a small fleet of vans that provide dedicated travel within the Walt Disney World Resort and theme parks areas. At the moment, these vans are being tested in just a few areas so they’re only available for guests of the Boardwalk, Beach Club, and Yacht Club hotels.
Naturally, we had some questions about how Disney was handling car seats in the vans. We were lucky enough to connect with travel agent Marisha Gordon and learn more about this
new program after she chatted with a Minnie Van driver!
The drivers are all experienced Cast Members who can offer helpful Disney travel hints along with providing a ride.
Each van is equipped with two Graco 4Ever multimode car seats. They are stored in the trunk when not in use. Since the 4Ever can accommodate children from birth to booster age, these seats are an excellent choice for this service.
Each driver has spent 40 hours learning how to use the 4Ever. That’s as much classroom time as the CPST course!
The drivers learned how to install the seats based on the height and weight of the children they will be transporting. Disney’s policy is that children under 2 years old ride rear facing in the Minnie Vans! We certainly applaud this visible commitment to best practice. We learned later that if a caregiver insisted, children over 1 year old could ride forward facing, but we certainly wouldn’t advocate for that at any point.
One important note: Disney will not convert the seats to backless booster mode so if your Little needs a backless booster, be sure to bring your own.
Before drivers can hit the road, they have to pass Disney’s own internal test for the seats. The drivers will be required to re-test regularly to stay current on their car seat knowledge.
The car seats can only be installed in either or both of the bucket seats in the van’s second row. They are not allowed to be installed in the 3rd row.
Given the wide range of borderline to horrific things we’ve seen in shuttle buses and vans in the Orlando area over the years, the Minnie Vans represent a welcome upgrade in safe point-to-point travel options.
We’ll continue to advocate that the best practice for Littles who need car seats is to bring your own car seats, use them on the plane, then use them in your own rental car when you arrive. However, we do see the Minnie Vans as a solid option for travel within Disney properties