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View Full Version : Driving vs. Flying to WDW


mizv
01-24-2010, 11:04 AM
Hi all!

We booked our trip for 6/5-6/12. We have been looking for airfares and are very disappointed. Either they have us flying super early in the a.m. or later in the evening. And the price.....Southwest is $1300 for the 4 of us. We have 2 free tix on SW, but they have no flights on those days for our free tix. That bites.

So, now we are considering driving. From Chicago to Orlando, it mapped out about 18 hours. We figure if we leave Fri. night (6/4) our two boys (9 and 6) could sleep a majority of the ride and hubs and I could switch off driving. We would have a car at our disposal and be on more of our own time schedule rather than the airlines or airports.

I think driving would be the way to go....thoughts, experiences???

dizneemom
01-24-2010, 11:16 AM
We are from Iowa and drove down on our trip last year. Our whole family agrees that it was the best trip we have taken. We have a 9, 6, and 2 yr old and they all did great. It was so much less hassle than the airport w/3 kids. We figure we spend a whole day in an airport anyway. Also there was a lot less stress. The best part was being able to bring more things such as food ect from home. It was great and we will be doing it again in April. :thumbsup2

motherwild
01-24-2010, 11:23 AM
It's a long drive. We drive from NY to WDW and we take 2 days. we leave about 4:30am and stop in SC over night and it is another 8 hr from there. Mapquest tell me it 18hr 41 min from NY. that doesn't count stops for traffic, gas, meals or bathroom breaks. I also don't travel with children. Just some things to think about.:drive:

gabriellyn
01-24-2010, 11:58 AM
We flew for our first two trips but drove last June when we went with some friends. We LOVED it! I thought maybe our boys (especially the youngest) would have a hard time in the car but I was wrong! We drove from Houston and stopped overnight both ways. It was a great trip and we really enjoyed it! We won't fly again unless the cost is too low to pass up, but with 5 people it would have to be phenomenally inexpensive for us to do it. Plus, we feel the Orlando airport (MCO) is horrible and such a hassle - it was nice not to have to deal with that. It was much more relaxing to drive.

disneylovin24
01-24-2010, 12:16 PM
I'm a big supporter of driving to disney:thumbsup2 Not only does it save money, but you get to see so much of the east coast. And having your own car in disney is a huge help!

GaSleepingBeautyFan
01-24-2010, 02:42 PM
We've driven tons of times from GA to MN (22 hours) with our kids. It'd definitely doable and we survived it. I never want to do it anymore. We've got one kid who gets car sick and I get sick of being in the vehicle with my husband who can't sit still.

If its the only way you can go to Disney because of the cost of airline tickets, I'd drive it. Just have stuff for the kids to do in the car and make plenty of stops.
I would think driving home after WDW would be the hard part since you'll be tired out.

cassiez76
01-24-2010, 02:50 PM
we always drive. always have. of course we are only 9 hours away.

BUT...we drive new orleans to baltimore at least once a year and that's 18 hours. (24 when your transmission cr@ps out!)

hubby and i always switched off, but now that we have the little one, we stop over nite half way.

it's also super nice having your own car in a different place! that's how i've grown to love the orlando area and wouldn't mind living there.

Disgirl09
01-24-2010, 02:51 PM
We drive every year to disney and is form pa so its about the same distace its alot of fun to drive just bring along games and food :)

standleyent1
01-24-2010, 03:13 PM
Hi all!

We booked our trip for 6/5-6/12. We have been looking for airfares and are very disappointed. Either they have us flying super early in the a.m. or later in the evening. And the price.....Southwest is $1300 for the 4 of us. We have 2 free tix on SW, but they have no flights on those days for our free tix. That bites.

So, now we are considering driving. From Chicago to Orlando, it mapped out about 18 hours. We figure if we leave Fri. night (6/4) our two boys (9 and 6) could sleep a majority of the ride and hubs and I could switch off driving. We would have a car at our disposal and be on more of our own time schedule rather than the airlines or airports.

I think driving would be the way to go....thoughts, experiences???

I don't know how far you are from Rockford but I just checked Allegiant, Rockford to Sanford and for a family of 4 it is $931 but the dates are 06-06 to 06-13. Flying into Sanford you save a lot of time having to go through a huge airport like MCO. Usually the rentals are cheaper and you walk right off of the plane and down the stairs, out the door and right up to the rental counter and are out as fast as 10mins. Keep in mind my DD and I have been to Disney 30 times since 2000 and we have gone several different ways, we have driven many times as well as we have flown many times and both have there advantages. The idea of having the freedom of your own car is really nice as is utilizing the WDW transportation.
Hope you have a great time!
pirate:pirate:

arielmomma
01-24-2010, 05:42 PM
We will be driving to WDW in 4 days! Hurray! We have driven to Florida before from Mid-Michigan and its not bad. Its not as fast as flying, but you have a lot more freedom.

We drive straight through and start out in the afternoon. I do most of the driving and all of it at night.

As a SAHM, I have found that driving at night with my whole family sleeping listening to a book on CD that I want to listen to uninterupted eating junk food with no one asking for a bite is really nice!

bxtx
01-24-2010, 06:22 PM
We drive - its 1000 miles from Texas. We leave mid-afternoon as my Elementary kid gets off the bus. Stop for dinner. Keep going until midnight / 1am. We do tow a trailer so we just move the kids into their beds and we sleep in ours which makes it easier I think, but you could do a motel. DVDs and Nintendo DSs are a lifesaver. :cool1: DH does most of the driving, and he loves the Comedy channel, or we download a fav comedy series onto an MP3 player/iPod which he plays once the kids fall asleep after dinner - makes the hours whizz by! We're on the road again by 8am and arrive at the Fort 4pm - ready for check-in and setting up our little site :woohoo:

natashag76
01-24-2010, 06:28 PM
mizv- we're also in IL and we've done both. i just happened to find fabulous prices on tix when we flew on direct flights! however, our most recent trip was by car. it wasn't too bad either. thankfully we have a dvd player in the minivan. but we got our triptiks from AAA and off we went! it was also really nice having our own car there. that way when DS needed a nap one of use could zoom back to the hotel while the other stayed with the 2 older kids. then they just took a bus back to the hotel if nap time wasn't finished yet. i can even recommend some decent hotels along the way if you plan to stop! have a great trip!!

KateMW
01-24-2010, 06:29 PM
Are you flying out of Chicago? Because if so, there are TONS of nonstop flights at all times of the day to Orlando. The prices are pretty good compared to other airlines. You can always wait and see if they have a sale in the next couple of months. We got our tickets from SW for $100 round trip during their last sale.

We would NEVER drive. The hassle isn't worth the $ you save and we would want to kill ourselves by the end of it. That's just us though...;) We love to fly and it's so easy!

Jazcat
01-24-2010, 06:58 PM
we live in St. Louis and have driven both times however the last time I fell asleepat the wheel and sideswipped a semi thank god no one was hurt. we still plan to drive but now will drive during the day and spend the night at a cheap hotel we now have twins so we will need that hotel night sleep. also we drove during the night I don't recomend doing that also you can pull over at rest stops and sleep a few hours if that all you need and then no need to pay for a hotel

kwitcherkicken99
01-24-2010, 09:27 PM
Are you keeping an eye out for the last minute getaways on Southwest and AirTran? I'm looking at flying out of Indy for around $730 for 4 of us on Delta. I think US Air was around $800. Keep digging for fares.

As much as I enjoy having a car on property, we're flying this time around. I'm tired of taking 19 hours to drive when I can be there in 6. However, since we're flying, we are staying at a value to offset the cost. I'm trying to find ways to increase our budget without digging into our income so we can stay mod, but frankly, I'd rather fly! LOL!

deerhart
01-24-2010, 09:41 PM
Southwest should have their june fares for sale again in like late March early april. They went off sale about 2-3 weeks ago.

We fly out of St. Louis and the rock bottom prices for us are between $74-$85. This puts our tickets for a family of 4 at just about $750.00 (same as last year) But we DO fly out first thing in the morning and last flight at night back.

Doc CW
01-24-2010, 09:57 PM
I personally enjoy the drive I enjoy driving and its cool to see a car in VA and then you see that same car later when you are in GA or FL. We also listen to music and we sing the whole way, not very well though. We Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah our whole trip down and if we stop for the night before we go to bed we sing There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow. We are Disney crazy even with driving. :banana:

MSMomTJ
01-24-2010, 10:08 PM
We considered driving, but we decided that flying was better for us. We want to have as many days as possible at Disney, and driving from MS to Orlando will take up too many days.

I loved taking road trips as a child, and I can't wait to take them with my kids. But, my husband and I are not that comfortable with driving in places we don't know, so we will have to work our way up to driving far!

ZanyToes
01-24-2010, 10:15 PM
We are driving for the first time this April. It's about an 18 hour drive for us as well. We are leaving a day earlier and spending the night halfway into the trip.. we'll actually arrive about 2 hours earlier than we would have with the flight we choose! It will save us $800 to drive.. and includes gas, food and hotel! It'll be an adventure I'm sure but I'm looking forward to it.

kirs10a
01-24-2010, 10:26 PM
Have you checked flights out of Bloomington? I've been pricing flights from 5/29--6/3 and they're running $170/person. HTH!

Bloomington also has free parking...a plus!

starsweeper
01-24-2010, 10:34 PM
We drove all but one time when I was a kid (14 hours). We usually did it in one day there, but broke the trip into 2 days on the way back.

disneymarie
01-24-2010, 10:49 PM
I often receive email specials. You can watch up to days before you leave for specials too. On a Sunday last year ds said he was going by train to Disney, taking the auto. I went online and found an $80 flight for Wed. and met them there on Thursday to granny sit.

we drove back. But, i and dd get anxiety/panic, she gets car sick. I have a lot of arthritis in the lumbar and back. Had I known, I would have booked flights back.

If a last resort, would drive, but with last minute seats to be filled maybe you can find something.

The other thing too, lf you do not have a travel friendly family, lots of stops are needed, stressed drivers, whiney kids, days lost on endless miles, it is not good times.

Sign up for Orbitz, hotwire and watch the fares.
But, if you find a great fare, and then go back later, it will be higher....It is a way to hook in on some sites.
I also agree to watch for alternate airport. To get on a nonstop flight for just over 2 hours as opposed to 2 days each way on the road is not worth it if flights are found for $900. Between raising gas cost, tolls, food on the road and motel....
You could save money staying a day earlier or later to work out flights at another hotel.

However you get there, enjoy.

mickeymaker2003
01-24-2010, 11:01 PM
We drove it with a 2 year old from Bloomington, IL last year. We left about 3 or 4 pm (after my husband got off work). We drove through the night because we had four adults who could drive. Arrived at about noon the next day (we only stopped when we needed gas or to go to the bathroom and did fast food meals). We planned an extra night in the hotel, so we didn't go to the park our first day. It took us about 100 gallons of gas round trip.

We are doing it again in Sept. We'll only have three drivers this time. Still planning to drive straight through and add an extra night to the beginning of our trip. As an added bonus, we are going during free dining and will get an extra set of meal credits to go with our extra night stay. I think we might plan to do the Luau dinner show on our arrival night--we don't need a park ticket to do it and then we won't have to take an evening that could otherwise be spent at the park.

Even at $89 each way, tickets for four of us was pushing $800 (and that is before any bag fees). We like being able to go to the outlet stores and get groceries if we want to. If I could fly for $150 per person including luggage, I would, but unless I find a really good sale, I don't see it happening anytime soon so we'll be driving.

mousebymarriage
01-24-2010, 11:04 PM
We live in New jersey and it's approx. 1100 miles to Disney. We have driven a few times and are planning to drive again in less than 2 weeks:cool1:. I like the family time we get to spend together during the drive (although sometimes, I want to kill them! LOL). our normal schedule at home is crazy because of various games, practices, activities etc. so the family time that driving provides is also a bonus for us. I also like the freedom of having my own car at Disney. A huge plus is the cost saving factor of driving especially now with the added cost of luggage fees on top of ticket fees. I also don't have to worry about how much my luggage weighs (I'm a bit of an over packer). We have also flown many many times and yes you get there in a few hours which is also great which in turn gives you more Disney time.

PinkRhombus
01-25-2010, 11:49 AM
It saves us a LOT of driving time. We could get a two hour direct flight from Cincy, but we can fly from here (Louisville) and get only a 1 hour stop in either Atlanta or Cincy. Leave here after breakfast...get there before lunch!

Still...the cost savings has to be substantial for us to drive. We usually DO drive, but we have two free tickets on Delta now, so the cost of two more would be about the same as driving.

But the other tickets we had to buy only ran us $207 each including tax.

tzolkin
01-25-2010, 02:31 PM
We drive. It's a 23 hour trip, but it's much cheaper for a family of 5. Plus we save money because we can bring more stuff with us and go grocery shopping our first day to save money on food costs.

Last May my kids were 10, 5, and almost 3 (and very newly potty trained). We have never had any issues with the drive.

Many people suggest breaking the trip up over several days, but we prefer to get it over with in one shot. Also, driving straight our kids will sleep about half the drive. If we stopped, they would actually be awake in the car for 23 hours. When I was a kid, my parents stopped a few times but soon learned better-- since we had been cooped up in a car all day we just wanted to run around the hotel room and wouldn't let them sleep.

Also, if we're going to be paying for a hotel it may as well be one at Disney. :goodvibes This year we got there in the early afternoon, checked in, ran to the store, moved our stuff in, and let DH get some sleep while the kids and I explored the resort. This works out well because we can just hit the parks early in the morning on our "first" day instead of checking in, etc.

mizv
01-25-2010, 08:39 PM
Thanks all! I think at the time we are planning on driving, but I am going to keep watching the airfares. If we can find a cheap airfare, then we will look to book it.

Thanks again for all of your help!!

3BoysRDisneyFreaks
01-25-2010, 08:47 PM
You could fly out of Milwaukee too. They have some park & fly lots that are currently $5/day which is a good deal depending on what kind of airfare you get. I have been pricing out 6 tickets for November and have been coming in at under $1200 for nonstop.

Keep looking!

FairyGodmotherJen
01-26-2010, 08:22 PM
Thanks all! I think at the time we are planning on driving, but I am going to keep watching the airfares. If we can find a cheap airfare, then we will look to book it.

Thanks again for all of your help!!

We're in the same boat you are...and we'll be arriving the day you leave! Unless I can find very, very good prices on tickets for my family of 5, it just isn't cost-effective. We have another trip planned in August to a family wedding in OR. I don't think we can afford to fly to both, and I'd rather do the drive to Orlando than to Oregon!! :eek: It'll be our first long car trip as just our little family (did it with extended family twice in the past two years - once to OK and once to VA Beach), so I know we'll have some grouchy moments. But we have a two-screen DVD player, each of the older kids has a Nintendo DS, and I'm planning on getting some audio versions of some kids books. It's much more than we had when I was a kid, and we always drove to Disney. I've got the time planned out - I think we'll leave early Friday morning (say 4 a.m.) and drive until about 5, packing a cooler with sandwich stuff for a good long lunch break at a rest stop (complete with a game of tag or two) and do a fast-food breakfast. Hotel and pool that evening to let the kids stretch, and then be on the road by 8 a.m. and to Disney by 1 on Saturday. DH and I aren't good enough at staying awake to drive through the night like my dad used to, unfortunately. Good luck to you!