Minibus, Inc.

Tram services for amusement parks were a particularly popular concept for modern theme parks. This was due to the large size of parking lots necessary for such large parks. This is a look at one company that supplied trams for theme parks. 

Minibus, Inc., was a transportation company based in southern California. It was founded by Flake E. “Bud” Dardenne around 1962. Minibus was acquired by MCA, then owner of Universal Studios, in 1969. In 1976, MCA decided to sell the Minibus company after having repeat years of strong growth for the company.

MCA sold the manufacturing rights and some of the assets of Minibus to Chance Rides (then Chance Manufacturing). Minibus was integrated into Chance Coach, Inc., a subsidiary company of Chance. Chance had been selling trams of their own for a number of years in their own right; the Minibus sale was advantageous for both Chance and MCA.

In 1998, Chance sold Chance Coach to American Capital Strategies, from Maryland. In 2003, the company was renamed Optima Bus Corporation. In 2006, American Capital sold Optima to North American Bus Industries, from Alabama.

While Minibus was sold to Chance in 1976, the company legally continued to exist until its corporate charter was withdrawn by MCA in 1989.

2 thoughts on “Minibus, Inc.”

  1. My maternal grandfather was F.E. Bud Dardenne aka Papa! Minibus was a family run corporation and changed the forefront of amusement trams, as well as airport trams, etc. I’d give most anything for an emblem off one of the original buses. It was our Minibus logo in my mothers handwriting. Papa was an amazing family man, great business person and was loved by everyone who met him.


    Stacy Lynn Massey
    Granddaughter of Bud Dardenne.

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