View Full Version : Driving from NYC to Orlando with 3 1/2 year old twins (ARE WE CRAZY?)
12-12-2006, 06:50 PM
We are thinking about going back to WDW in April/May 2007, we just were there in Oct, 2006. We took the autotrain in Oct. and with a family room both ways it cost us $1300. Driving both ways and staying overnight each way will cost us approx $400. We are thinking of leaving NYC around 5am on a Saturday, drive for 12 Hours and stopping at Savannah by hopefully 5pm and having dinner going for a swim and then leaving Sunday morning for the 4 hour trip to Orlando. Anyone do it with small children? How was it? Please don't say to fly, because I won't. Thanks, Linda
12-12-2006, 07:41 PM
The first year we went we had an almost 3 year old and a 6 year old. The kids had a DVD player - that was a lifesaver! We will never again drive long distances without it (my kids are now almost 5 and 8 and each have their own in our minivan because they don't watch the same things anymore). We bring snacks and when someone has to go to the washroom, we all at least try to go so that we don't get back on the road only to find someone else needs the washroom. The kids did great. They would usually sleep in the afternoon and the DVDs kept them happy. A friend who has lots of children's DVDs actually lent us a bunch, and they loved having new DVDs to watch. We also bought a couple new ones each that we wanted to get anyway, and pulled them out whenever the kids needed something extra to keep them happy. I've also read about people buying a bunch of dollar store toys to pull out when needed. We also bring a cooler for drinks for everyone so we stop less, save money, and don't have a problem finding the right drinks for us and the kids. It is a 21 hour drive for us, plus stops, and the two times we have done it with our kids, we left our home at 4:30 am and did a long day, until 10-11 pm or so, then a shorter day the next day, arriving in the Orlando area in the mid-afternoon after leaving around 7 am from our hotel on the road. If you are going to stop overnight somewhere, I highly recommend figuring out where and booking a hotel, because there is nothing worse than deciding it's time to stop, then not being able to find a room! But all in all, we love driving. With our kids watching DVDs a lot of the time (we don't normally let them watch non-stop tv, but when we are driving we are more lax, although we do have them take breaks from it) with headphones on, my husband and I find we have some of our best conversations on long drives because normally we wouldn't have that much time to just sit and talk without interruption. So I say go for it, the kids will probably be just fine. They may even surprise you!
12-12-2006, 09:57 PM
We have not driven to WDW from NE PA with small children, but, have driven as far as the Outerbanks of NC (about 12 hours with two stops...one about 45 minutes to an hour for breakfast and the second just a quick stop for gas and restroom break) with our grandson....three times......he was one, two and three. It was a difficult ride. He's a very active child and has been since day one and it was very hard to keep him occupied sitting in a carseat for all those hours. He did sleep some.....not much.....but some. Even though he loves videos he was not happy just sitting for that long. So, bottom line is....you know your children...are they the type you can sit somewhere and they will happily stay put or are they the active type who can sit for awhile but then get real antsy when they can't be up and around. So, when we travel to WDW with our grandson.......we fly.....I don't think any of us would be happy campers by the time we got there after a full day and then some in the car....we probably would need the first two days to recover!!!!! The OK thing about going to the Outerbanks after the drive was that it was a laid back chill out beach vacation certainly not a hectic pace WDW vacation so I would take that into consideration also.
12-13-2006, 03:30 PM
We've driven down when my youngest was 13 months and again at 25 months. We flew last year DD had her 3rd Bday @ WDW and we're driving down next Sat. and again in June for her 4th birthday. So..we do it all the time.
If you don't have a portable DVD player or one in the car...I totally agree with the others and borrow, buy or rent DVDs that they haven't seen or won't bore with. You don't need a lot of toys because they won't play with them.
My DD is potty trained, but we keep one of those small pottys in the van for emergencies, wipes, and a jug of water to rinse out. Let me tell you how handy that has been for us in the past year!
Take a foldable potty seat (folded in a gallon size freezer ziploc bag) for public toilets. It's not as many germs and more comfy for the kids.
We leave here (which is about 1 hr south of DC) around 8am and get to Savannah around 5 or 6pm. That's stopping 45-60 mins for lunch. We've never hit traffic, just a little bit near Myrtle Beach, SC. And it's a long tiring day. But the next day isn't too bad. We're going 1 hr further to Brunswick at Xmas to see if it's better.
I don't know if you are going to make it to Savannah by 5pm. You might, but even leaving NYC at 5am you have to go through Phila., Wilmington, Baltimore, and D.C. The odds of you running into some sort of traffic snag are high, but maybe not. And don't forget gas/bathroom breaks and lunch. We stop for an hour so my 10 yo DD and 3 yo DD (us too) can stretch our legs. They rarely complain though.
I'd second reserving a room! I saw so many people trying to get a room and were turned away. The only room left was mine because I booked it 8 months before. One time during February I didn't book a hotel (in Savannah) and ended up going to 5 hotels until I found one. There was a soccer AND cheerleader competitions in the area. I'm reservations for hotels today for late June and early July and some hotels are unavailable (but still enough to find something).
Anyway, I'd book a room in Savannah and also one in maybe Florence, SC or Santee, SC. Make sure both can be cancelled without penalty! When you get to Rocky Mount, NC or Fayetteville, NC you should have a good idea of where you'll be and if you want to keep going or not. Make sure to cancel one of the hotel reservations before 6pm.
It took us about 5-6 hrs to get to NYC with very minimal traffic. And Fayetteville, NC is 5 hrs south of here. So NYC-Fredericksburg, VA=6 hrs and Fredericksburg to Fayetteville, NC=5hrs. You are already at 11hrs. Florence is about another 1.5 hrs from Fayetteville.
You know your kids the best and what you think they can tolerate in the car. Mine are really great travelers, but 9-10 hrs for the 3.5 yo is all she can take. She rarely sleeps in the car.
Totally sorry for the long post! I hope I helped in some way. Have a great trip!
12-13-2006, 06:30 PM
Driving from NYC to Orlando with 3 1/2 year old twins (ARE WE CRAZY?)
12-13-2006, 07:06 PM
My wife hates to fly.
The first time we went to Walt Disney World, April 2004 with my 3 year old daughter We decided to go to WDW a couple of months before we went with little planning. We rented some points off the DIS forum, checked the airfares a couple of times and picked up a trip tick from AAA.
We drove from my office in downtown Boston to WDW Old Key West stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks.
After the first 3-4 hours in the car driving the rest of the way to WDW isn't that bad; more like a series of short trips.
Our Trip to WDW started Friday, 3/26/04 at 1 pm: Miles, Stopped, Time
Leaving, Boston to Walt Disney World: Friday, 3/26/04, 1:00pm
1, Boston to New Jersey 212 212 6:00pm
2, N J to Aberdeen MD 183 395 9:07 pm
3, MD to Rocky Mt NC 266 661 1:36 AM
4, NC to Florence SC 209 870 4:40 am
5, SC to S Newport GA 210 1,080 7:58 am
Arrived, GA to WDW 251 1,331 12:00 PM
Started, Friday, 3/26 0 1:00pm
Finished, Saturday, 3/27 1331 12:00pm
A 23 hr trip with 5 stops along the way down
76 gallons of gas, $131 for the gas, 17.78 mpg 58mph
Driving around WDW 21
The Trip Home started Friday, April 2nd 11 AM: Miles Stopped Time
Leaving Walt Disney World to Boston:Friday, April 2nd 11:00 am
1, WDW to St Augustine FL 116 116 12:44 PM
2, FL to Savanah GA 178 294 3:55 PM
3, GA to Florence SC 174 468 6:22 pm
4, SC to Battleboro NC 181 649 9:30 pm
5, NC to Aberdeen MD 295 944 2:17 am
6, MD to Bloomfield NJ 181 1,125 5:30 AM
Arrived, NJ to Boston, MA 237 1,362 9:30 am
Started, Friday, 4/02 11:00 am 0
Finished, Sat, 4/03 9:30 am 1362
A 22 1/2 hr trip with 6 stops on the way home
81 gallons of gas $126 for the gas 17.58 mpg 60.5mph
Driving around WDW 62
157 gallons, $257 for the gas, $44 tolls, 17.68 mpg, 59.2mph 2776
The traffic was a mess from Hartford through Delaware on the way down.
It rained from North Carolina to Boston, Mass. on the way home
Me and my wife alternated turns driving our Nissan Xterra when we stopped for gas. My 3 year old held out a lot better than I thought she would on the way down and on the way back to Boston, WITHOUT, tapes, DVDs, video games, just a lot of singing and sleeping.
It's not that Bad!!!
Last year, April 2005 we caught a break in fares and flue down and back out of Logan on a non-stop with American Airlines , $504 round trip total for the 3 of us.
This year, April 2006 we caught a break in fares so we flew down and back out of Logan on a non-stop with Song/Delta , $496 round trip total for the 3 of us.
If all goes well,
The creek don't rise,
and there ain't no melt down,
We'll do it all again next year.
Good Luck all,
12-14-2006, 01:55 PM
When my twins were 3 1/2 they did great and we took trips all over..One tip make sure you take their shoes off in the car (to prevent leg cramps) and have easy on and off shoes to make your life easier.
12-14-2006, 03:32 PM
We live 10 hours away from Disney. Unless someone else is paying for the airline tickets, I'll never fly again. Far cheaper to drive than for the four of us to fly. I think if you space the trip out, stop when needed and provide them stuff to do while you're in the car, you'll be fine. And if it starts getting bad, just remind yourself how much money you're saving. :thumbsup2
12-14-2006, 04:49 PM
We drove just this past Oct, for the first time. My kids never took any real long distance trips. They were 3 and 7 at the time of our trip and did fine. I also reccommend finding a hotel, we didn't make reservations and just picked our hotel from the hotel coupon books in the rest areas. We brought each kid a backpack full of activities (coloring books, books, crayons, ColorWonder marker and books, etc) No DVD player and they did fine. (my son has ADHD and he wasn't too bad)
We attempted to drive straight through the first night, which we did but will not do it again. We will stay at 2 hotels along the way down and back home.
Driving was honestly a lot easier than I expected and I can't wait to try it again.
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