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View Full Version : Which Route to Orlando


jba2
08-06-2011, 12:15 PM
I'm going to be driving to Disney in a couple of weeks. Because we usually drive down in the winter we always go down I-75. I know the way through West Virginia is shorter but I'm not familiar with that way. As I'll be the only driver, I'm going to spread the drive down over 3 days. I know there are lots of places to stop along I-75. Are there many places to stop going the other route?
Please share your driving experiences and tell me which route you prefer.
TIA

Polydweller
08-06-2011, 12:27 PM
We drove the I79 route on our last trip. Basically there are hotels etc at every interchange from NY to Florida. No worries about finding a place at all. Liked the route and will do ut again next time. Only tricky spot is US 19 near Summersville,WV. Police patrol constantly and can be rigid about speeds. Not really a problem and not a reason to avoid the route, just to be aware of. Beautiful, mountainous terrain from Pennsylvania through North Carolina too by the way. Oh, and lots of reststops along the way as well.

Ken_Breadbox
08-06-2011, 12:51 PM
We drove the I79 route on our last trip. Basically there are hotels etc at every interchange from NY to Florida. No worries about finding a place at all. Liked the route and will do ut again next time. Only tricky spot is US 19 near Summersville,WV. Police patrol constantly and can be rigid about speeds. Not really a problem and not a reason to avoid the route, just to be aware of. Beautiful, mountainous terrain from Pennsylvania through North Carolina too by the way. Oh, and lots of reststops along the way as well.
Dissenting viewpoint here. We left at three in the morning last Thanksgiving Monday, took the I-79 route down on everyone's advice it was shorter.
It wasn't.
Google and Bing both say it is, but for whatever reason, we pulled into Charlotte, NC at 6:00 p.m. That's fifteen hours of driving, and we had maybe 75 minutes of stops all told. In other words, more than two hours longer than Google and Bing say it is. The traffic on I-79 was pretty intense. Nothing a 401 veteran should get alarmed at, but we pretty much had to do the speed limit the whole way--and the previous poster is right about Summersville: unless you want a ticket, you'd best do UNDER the speed limit in case their radar is off. I wouldn't put it past them.
The I-75 route is less scenic, but Dave Hunter gives you a travelogue that eats up the miles (not to mention a clue as to where all the speed traps are likely to be). We came home this way and it was over an hour shorter all told.

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
08-08-2011, 11:13 AM
Everytime my family and I have driven from Toronto - Orlando we always take I-75 because we think it's the easiest and most direct route.

thehowells
08-08-2011, 11:30 AM
we plan on driving from london, next sept
with 2 young children (6 and 4) who are used to long drives, does knoxville seem like a good place to stop and have a sleep?

iluveeyore
08-09-2011, 08:25 AM
We always take the Virginia route, especially since we live across from Buffalo, it would add too much time to drive all the way over to the 75 and down. It's a beautiful route, we've never had a problem with time, and we never stop for more than a 'rest' stop along the way until we reach our hotel for one night. We always try to get to Charlotte or Columbia (about the 12 hour mark from here, probably 13 hours for Toronto), lots of places to stay for the night. We always stop at Welcome Center/rest stop for whatever state we'll be staying in to get a coupon book to help with the room cost. It's true about the 19, that's the only place we actually do the speed limit - otherwise, we just go with the flow of traffic and we make really good time. Staying in North/South Carolina the first night really makes the second day drive easy and we always get into Orlando by mid-afternoon. We usually leave at 3 or 4 am, arrive in Charlotte area around 3-4 pm, get a room, have a good dinner somewhere, then relax and get a good night's sleep - up and gone by 6 am, for the last leg (usually about 9 hours from the Carolinas) and arrive at Disney by 3 or 4 pm. DH has done the drive himself once when I wasn't feeling well, and had no problems at all - loads of rest stops for him to get out and stretch every few hours.
Have a safe and fun trip whatever you decide!:goodvibes

Tim in CA
08-09-2011, 12:38 PM
We've driven a few times to Fla, and my parents drive it every year as they have a winter place down there. Their preferred route is the I-90 to -77 to -79 to -26 (IIRC??) then -95. They've driven both, and find the more eastern route more senic, and because you don't have to drive through any really big cities (Charlotte would be the most major city) you avoid traffic snarl-ups, rush hour etc.

Also, as someone mentioned you can take the US-19 bypass that links IIRC I-77 and -79 together, but we missed the cutoff coming home one year (following GPS and not paying attention to road signs) and it didn't really add any appreciable time to our trip, and was still quite scenic.

I personally don't like the I-75 route because you have to drive 3 hrs west to Windsor before you make the cross over to then head SSE for the rest of the trip. Driving the east route you're driving as straight a route to Disney as you possibly can.

Also, unless you aren't great for long stretches in the car, doing the trip over 3 days seems a bit much. From Hamilton it SAYS it is a 20 hour drive time.... but we usually do the actual drive time in about 17-18 hours total. My wife does all the driving, and we don't speed any more than maybe 5 miles above the speed limit.

When we have done the overnight stop we usually do so around Columbia or a bit further south along the route so that the second day in the car is a short one, and has worked out really well for us. Last time we drove we actually found that we were hitting our regular stop place about 7AM (we start the drive at night so our kids sleep through a good 8 hours of the drive and makes things so much easier) and so decided to push on to see how much further we could go, since we were almost in Georgia at that point. Suffice to say we did the trip in a straight drive and it was pretty easy...so we're going to try it again this year.

I don't recommend the drive straight thru, it isn't for everyone, but a one overnight stop is easy to manage (it is what my older parents do all the time). Should also mention that we have never had problems with traffic, speed traps, finding a place to eat/stay/gas along the route either.

Good luck in whichever route you choose BTW!!!

Tim

CR Resort Fan 4 Life
08-09-2011, 01:11 PM
we plan on driving from london, next sept
with 2 young children (6 and 4) who are used to long drives, does knoxville seem like a good place to stop and have a sleep?We once drove from Toronto - Knoxville is one day, so it can be done if you are able to drive that far.

Csaks
08-09-2011, 05:45 PM
We do the Virgina's route as well. I can't get past the fact I need to go 3 hrs west before I start going back South east to get to Florida. It makes more sense to me to go through Buffalo and go. But thats just me. We have left at 3 in the morning and stop in Hardeeville, SC on the Georgia border the last two times. It makes for a much shorter second day.
Do be aware of your speed through US 19, they are not joking about the strict enforcement. I was doing 58mph (cruise control) in a 60mph zone and I guy passed me by no more than 5mph and BUSTED! Charlotte and Columbia were the only places that even came close to Hwy 401 traffic but I always seem to go through there on the way down or coming home between 4 and 6 pm.:eek:

We have gone at the end of October and the end of November and the big thing at that time of year seems to be Deer strikes. Last year I watched one come out and hit the SIDE of a mini van, van and occupants were OK but the deer wasn't. On that same trip I came around a corner and there were two dead in the middle of the highway, one on the yellow line and the other on the white dotted line. I had to clip the one on the dotted line and broke the spoiler on the bottom of the bumper on the truck. November of '08 we counted 30 dead at the side of the road from Pennsylvania to North Carolina. That means 30 people had a bad night on the road.

damo
08-09-2011, 06:26 PM
We drive the route about 6 times a year from Oakville. It is pretty much exactly 12 hours to Charlotte every time stopping for lunch and potty breaks. Once you are through Charlotte you are through the mountainous drive and it is pretty straight forward from there. There are many, many great place to stop along the way and lots of very nice rest stops. It is a very pretty drive for the next 4 hours through Savannah and once you get to Jacksonville, the traffic really flies. It is another 4 1/2-5 hours from Savannah to Orlando.

elcycad
08-24-2011, 03:41 AM
We've driven a few times to Fla, and my parents drive it every year as they have a winter place down there. Their preferred route is the I-90 to -77 to -79 to -26 (IIRC??) then -95. They've driven both, and find the more eastern route more senic, and because you don't have to drive through any really big cities (Charlotte would be the most major city) you avoid traffic snarl-ups, rush hour etc.

Also, as someone mentioned you can take the US-19 bypass that links IIRC I-77 and -79 together, but we missed the cutoff coming home one year (following GPS and not paying attention to road signs) and it didn't really add any appreciable time to our trip, and was still quite scenic.

I personally don't like the I-75 route because you have to drive 3 hrs west to Windsor before you make the cross over to then head SSE for the rest of the trip. Driving the east route you're driving as straight a route to Disney as you possibly can.

Also, unless you aren't great for long stretches in the car, doing the trip over 3 days seems a bit much. From Hamilton it SAYS it is a 20 hour drive time.... but we usually do the actual drive time in about 17-18 hours total. My wife does all the driving, and we don't speed any more than maybe 5 miles above the speed limit.

When we have done the overnight stop we usually do so around Columbia or a bit further south along the route so that the second day in the car is a short one, and has worked out really well for us. Last time we drove we actually found that we were hitting our regular stop place about 7AM (we start the drive at night so our kids sleep through a good 8 hours of the drive and makes things so much easier) and so decided to push on to see how much further we could go, since we were almost in Georgia at that point. Suffice to say we did the trip in a straight drive and it was pretty easy...so we're going to try it again this year.

I don't recommend the drive straight thru, it isn't for everyone, but a one overnight stop is easy to manage (it is what my older parents do all the time). Should also mention that we have never had problems with traffic, speed traps, finding a place to eat/stay/gas along the route either.

Good luck in whichever route you choose BTW!!!

Tim
Really helpful post:goodvibes. I was planning to stop at St George, but Columbia also seems to be a viable option:thumbsup2

melly_jane
08-24-2011, 07:26 AM
Hi
We live in Brampton and will be driving down again in a month :)

It will be our 4th drive down. We go I-95 thru virginia and the carolinas. We enjoy the drive and we break it up over 2.5 days or so. We leave around 3pm Thursday....drive until dinner around 7pm. Then another few hours and we end up in WV over night there. Then up early and on the road by 7:30 drive all day (rest stops and food stops along the way) til about 10 pm or so....in Kingsland GA. (approx 1 hour from the FL border) by lunch time....AKL :D

Never found any probs with speed traps or traffic or food or hotels.

i make sure to have entertainment and snacks and drinks for me and DH and our 2 kids dd7 and ds 4.

good luck!

Lisa Anne Colling
08-24-2011, 05:39 PM
We have done both routes. Much prefer the Virgina route. We live above burlington, so for us it takes about 2 hours less then 75. We love the scenery, there is so beautiful rest stops, hotels along the whole route. If you have a GPS, it's good at giving you the heads up of when to turn on to the next highway. We only encountered traffic once in our many trips and that was because of an accident at Pittsburg and truly in comparison to QEW traffic it was nothing. Enjoy!!!!! Safe travels!