Thursday, April 24, 2014

Driving to Disney....

Good morning everyone!

So you are thinking of driving to Disney?  Been there, many times, and up until a great deal came out for airfare we were doing the big drive again in a couple weeks!  It is not nearly as bad as some may think.  When we drive we are coming from southeastern Pennsylvania.  Total drive time is about 16-17 hours.

So how do we make it work?  Well with some trial and error we have figured out the best equation for a successful Disney road trip!

Know your travelers, and by this I mean kids!  For us, my son does not sleep well in the car.  A nap here or there, but no long stretches.  Therefore overnight driving is not an ideal choice for us.  We tried doing the dinner time drive start and going through the night, but we found that we were having to stop midway and sleep, adding expense to our travels.  So our solution is getting up at daybreak or even before - 4-5am - and hitting the road for an all day road trip!  When doing this we end up in WDW by 8-9pm.

For whatever reason doing the whole drive in one day makes it seem like it is not as bad.  There is something about getting it all done and out of the way in one day.  The thought of stopping and waking up to get back in a car is just awful to me, but for some this is ideal for them.  Again, knowing your travel party and how they will travel best is what is going to make the drive a success.

Have LOTS of activities for the littles!!  Yes they are going to be bored, yes it is a LONG ride, but planning well can make it not quite so awful and can bring the constant are we there yet questions to a minimum.  What we bring - iPods, portable dvd players with new movies and classic Disney, 3DS game systems, coloring books, activity books, reading books, leap pad readers, you name it, we bring it.  They are allowed a couple toys too.  Basically they pack a fun bag and that's what they have to entertain themselves.  :-)

We also make sure to point out where we are as we are driving through the states.  It is a little learning time and then we draw an imaginary line on the car ceiling and show them where we started, where we are and where we have to end up.  My kids are like me, visual learners, so seeing it makes it not so daunting.

Encourage sleeping!!  Chances are they won't do it, and I agree this is why if you can do it driving through the night is kind of nice.  I tell my two that if they rest their eyes for a bit, when they wake up we may be in a whole new state, making us that much closer to Disney.  Sometimes it works, but usually it doesn't.  With our early start time it is always fun for them to wake up and we are almost to Virginia!!

Another thing we do is try to make it tank to tank and limit stops.  The less you stop the faster you get there.  Yes, there are needs for potty stops, but we bring a portable potty or pull into quick rest stops.  I am all about getting there as quickly as possible.  No stopping at a sit down meal, just go.  We pack a cooler and bring snacks.  We hit up a drive thru, etc.

Everyone will have different tips on how to make the drive work best for them, but for us this is it.  We get there around 8/9pm and get a great night sleep so we are ready to go for day one and a full fun filled day in the parks!!

Make sure you factor in all your trip costs when deciding if driving is better than flying for your family.  You can do a gas calculator on mapquest.  Not 100%, but I think it over estimates the cost as we are usually below that amount.  Our minivan driving down is around $150-$200 each way based on current gas prices.  Be sure to include the cost of food and snacks that you will grab at the gas stops.  Also include the wear and tear on your vehicle.  It is just under 1000 miles for us one way, plus all the driving around down there that we do.  My husband is against us taking our own car anymore, so if that is a factor for you make sure you calculate the cost of a rental car.  When you add it all up it may still be way less to drive than fly, but keep your eye out for deals.  Like I said at the beginning of this post, we were planning to drive in May, but then a deal for just $635 round trip for four of us came up and that was just too good to pass up!!

Happy travels!!  Just remember, however you get there you are ending up in the Happiest Place on Earth, so it'll be awesome no matter what!!  And you get to drive in under the big favorite part!!!

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