View Full Version : Driving from N. NJ - How far the first day?

08-22-2002, 03:12 PM
We have driven to WDW before but due to various last minute problems we did not leave when we wanted to on our last trip. I hope we have worked all the bugs out this time and need some advice. We have three kids (9, 7 and 6) and will be at WDW the 1st week in Dec. We can't decide if it is better to leave on Thanksgiving night (around 8:00 pm) and drive all night while the kids sleep or wait and leave around 5:00 am the next morning. I think driving all night will wipe DH out before the vacation has even started - he disagrees. If we left in the morning can we get to GA by Friday night (I would like to only be about 4-5 hours from Disney on Saturday morning). Any advice from others who have driven and what has worked for you is appreciated.:confused:

08-22-2002, 07:05 PM
Hi, driving from South Bergen County, planning on leaving 4am Thanksgiving morning and going straight thru with 3 drivers. Wonder what the traffic will be like that day??

08-22-2002, 07:17 PM
We drive down twice a year and live near Philly. We drove down last year the day after Thanksgiving and it was the best trip we ever had!!! I don't think we saw more then a half a dozen semi's on the road! I think all the truckers where home for the holidays, We leave around 5 AM and drive for 12 to13 hours, we stop at St Marys GA. This is exit 3, which is 3 miles from the FL state line, it's not a bad drive for 2 adults but I don't think I would do it with small children! My son drove down with 2 little ones, he has a van with a TV and VCR, he said he wouldn't make the trip without the TV! He stopped in SC, for the night, then finished the trip the next day, he said it was just to much sitting for the children.
I think you should think about taking 2 days to make the drive, it's a long drive for children to sit and do nothing, even games and the TV will wear off after 6 or 7 hours. Good luck!!!

08-23-2002, 12:21 AM
Hi Lisa -

We just came back from Disney on August 11th. We drove down from eastern Pa. We left on Friday, Aug. 2nd. The first day we left our house at 4:56 a.m. and got right on I-78 which is only a block away. We stopped only twice to get gas and our total stopping time was 30 minutes. We got to Savannah, Ga. at 4:50 p.m. Of course my daughter is 20 and my son is 16, so that makes a huge difference in your stops. We had to stop for longer periods when they were younger. At any rate, we stayed overnight in Savannah and then hit the road the next day at 8:33 a.m. (i have a record we kept of the exact time we left, when we reached certain towns, etc. for future reference :), anyway, we left at 8:33 a.m. and reached Exit 67 to Epcot/Downtown Disney (we were staying at Old Key West) at 12:47 p.m.

This is the third time we drove down - the first time was in 1994 when my DD was 12 and my DS was 8, the next time in '98 DD was 16 and DS was 12. We always leave early in the morning - I am just not good to drive at night - I get hypnotized by the road and it's too long of a drive for one person. My daughter helped drive this time and hopefully my son will be able to also drive next time, so with 4 drivers, we are thinking of driving straight through.

At any rate, you know your own kids - if they get bored easily, if they will sleep some of the time, what it takes to entertain them. One thing we did have the other two trips was a vcr/tv combo my husband put together. We took some of my kids favorite tapes and just watching one or two tapes sure did help the time pass by more quickly. I believe somthing like that can be rented or purchased as well, but it will be much more expensive.

Whatever you do, enjoy! And just be safe! One thing I saw during the day was traffic moving at 80 - 85 mph constantly. Thank God we didn't see any accidents, but a lot of "near-misses", that's for sure. It is a tiring day, there is no doubt about that - but I have to say our trip went more smoothly this time than it ever did before - we had no problems with construction or hold-ups of any type. We just kept on moving with the rest of the traffic and made really good time!

Good luck!


08-23-2002, 02:16 AM
In addition you might want to make a reservaton ahead of time since you willbe traveling on a holiday weekend.

08-23-2002, 04:00 AM
We leave from 4 blocks from the NJ line about 6:30 and get at least to Lumberton, NC (WDW by 3:00 the next day)and as far as 30 miles short of the Georgia line (WDW by noon the next day) by late evening (7:00-8:00). It all depends on traffic and your driving endurance (not to mention how the kids are doing) on that particular day.

Driving all night will catch up to you and make at least one day of your vacation less enjoyable, so you really don't save anything, and may even lose a little. Once you get into the Carolinas the road is so straight the only movement you arms get is a lane change, so fighting off the drowsies is quite a challenge, especially when it's dark and there's nothing but the road ahead to look at. Don't overdrive your limitations, get there safe and enjoy your vacation.

08-23-2002, 12:04 PM
Thanks for all the input. We drove 2 years ago when the kids were 7, 5, and 4 with no TV/VCR and the kids are great travelers -we don't have to stop often, just for meals. I did have alot of things for the kids to do. I really am going to try to convince DH to leave early Fri. morning and I think we will be able to make it to GA. Good point about making reservations ahead of time - I never thought about this being a holiday weekend since we never travel on the holidays.