View Full Version : driving to Disney: first time!!! HELP!?!

05-02-2004, 07:51 PM
We will be driving to disney in october from southern maine for the first time. I'm still trying to figure out the best route. We're thinking of going 95 to 495 to 90(mass pike) to 84 to 81 to 77 to 26 to 95 to 4. Does anyone know how much longer this route is compared to taking 95 all the way down? I think I would prefer to bypass NY, NJ, Wash., and Richmond. We plan on leaving on a Friday night around 11 pm and driving at least 14 or more hours on the first day and stopping overnight on Saturday. Our ressies are for Sunday. Any help will be greatly appreciated.:thewave:

05-02-2004, 09:08 PM
I am not sure how much farther that route is than 95. Last summer we used the AAA triptik which took us mostly on 95 (from Mass.) We left at 4 am on a Friday and got around NY and DC with little problem. The only traffic we encountered was in Virginia where there was some construction that caused the backup. Also, going around Richmond was easy. We stopped at Rocky Mount, NC for the night. I know this isn't the way you wanted to go but I just wanted to let you know we had a great trip down (and back) going this way. Good luck however you go. This was our first time driving and will definately do it again.

05-02-2004, 10:06 PM
I am driving down in 2 weeks...I am using AAA Trip Tik and they are having us go straight down 95. My parents drove to FL a lot as i was a kid and they always took 95. I don't know if it is shorter or better but just thought i would let you know how AAA is sending us.

We are driving from CT. I will let you know how it goes when we get back.


05-02-2004, 10:41 PM
Thanks Amy. I can't wait to here how your trip went. Have a wonderful time!!:thewave:

05-03-2004, 12:37 AM
Not sure, but wasn't a bridge on I-95 damaged by a fire and has to be rebuilt?

Somewhere in the northeast.

05-03-2004, 07:26 AM
I believe that bridge (in Bridgeport, Conn) has been fixed ahead of schedule. I check the I-95 website daily(www.usastar.com). Anyone driving 95 should check out that site. Great info on lodging, road conditions etc... :thewave:

05-03-2004, 09:24 AM
I've driven from my home in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC down to Florida many times and I'd suggest hitting the Baltimore-DC area in a non-rush hour time if you can swing it (after 9 a.m. but not between 4-7 pm or so). Around Richmond we've always taken the bypass (in fact we do that around every city we encounter - there is another one in Florida - Jacksonville or somewhere?). I think if I was going to hit rush hour around DC and Baltimore I'd rather hit the morning rush when I was driving South and the evening rush when I was driving North but either will slow you down so just be ready! Perhaps plan a meal break at that time or etc should you find yourself here around rush hour. The best radio station to listen to for traffic in the DC area is WTOP (http://www.wtopnews.com) - you can go to their website and get the locations of their 3 locations on the dial (some work better north of DC and some south).

Please wave to me as you drive past DC on your way to Disney! :teeth:

05-03-2004, 09:47 AM
We have driven to DW many times and have done both routes The 84-81 rt is about 50 miles longer but we find it to be shorther in time. The 84-81 Rt has much better rest stops, hotels and scenery in my opinion. It also has way less traffic. I would suggest the 84-81 rt way over 95 any day

05-03-2004, 10:00 AM
What's the speed limit on 84-81 compared to 95? Anyone know?

05-03-2004, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by goofyforwdw
We have driven to DW many times and have done both routes The 84-81 rt is about 50 miles longer but we find it to be shorther in time. The 84-81 Rt has much better rest stops, hotels and scenery in my opinion. It also has way less traffic. I would suggest the 84-81 rt way over 95 any day I second this recommendation. The AAA recommendations are by rote, and almost computerized; if they can give you one highway, they will, and since I95 goes from ME to FL, AAA will always send you that way. The Mountain route (84-81) that goofyforwdw recommends is much more scenic so easier on the eyes, and avoids most of the major Eastern cities which will be easier on your nerves, and probably save you traffic time. (and we're not talking Portland traffic either; we're talking Maine Turnpike between Kennebunk & York on the last day of a summer holiday weekend traffic :crazy2: Yuck. Avoid them if you can!)

Sounds like an adventurous trip! Enjoy the ride. Have a great time.

05-03-2004, 10:51 AM
Originally posted by Fonzy13
What's the speed limit on 84-81 compared to 95? Anyone know?

Generally the same. I would take the route that others recommended other than I-95. If you don't like it, go back on i-95.

05-03-2004, 11:54 AM
I'm not sure why everyone goes around Richmond. We just returned on Saturday from our WDW trip. We went straight through Richmond in both directions. On the way down, we hit Richmond around 6:30pm on a Friday night and on the return is was around 1pm on a Saturday afternoon. There weren't any problems in either direction and its a rather small city.

05-03-2004, 11:56 AM
Thanks everyone for all your advise. I think we will take the 84-81-77-26-95-4 route. Sounds a lot less stressful and who wants to be stressed out when they're heading to "the happiest place on earth!" :thewave:

05-04-2004, 08:49 AM
We are driving the same route you are in just 11 days...YIPPEE!! I will post how the drive was when we return!::yes::

We are driving from Central Maine with our three children. Leaving in the wee hours and staying the first night in GA. Disney is just a short three hours the next day. (at least that is the plan...lol) This will be our first time so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out! I am sooooo excited though:Pinkbounc


05-04-2004, 10:08 AM
Elizabeth, I can't wait to hear how your trip went !! Where in Maine are you from? I'm from Biddeford. Drive safely and have a magical trip! :thewave:

05-04-2004, 07:54 PM
Funny that route is part way to Atlanta for me... I usually take 287 to 78 to get to 81....then pick up 85 rather than 26. Somehow it seems to me that way would be significantly longer but maybe not from Maine...well 50 miles is longer.

I'd suggest going into a AAA office and actually consult with a live person but this also depends on when you plan to leave. If you are driving straight through and starting at night I think I'd just head down 95.

The one thing I'd definitely not do is take the bypass around Richmond...the only time I would consider it is rush hour. I did it twice and it definitely added time to my trip plus I didn't get to see anything.

05-04-2004, 09:53 PM
Originally posted by doubletrouble_vb
... If you are driving straight through and starting at night I think I'd just head down 95... Good point, but at some point on 95 you are gonna hit a major eastern city at Rush Hour, and that is gonna be :crazy2: aweful. Avoiding NYC, Philly, Baltimore and Washington are worth doing, unless you are hitting NYC at midnight and be past the Washington Beltway before 6AM (hey! that's not a bad plan). I also concur that talking to a real person in the AAA office would be best, and they are the professionals after all.

If you are leaving in the wee hours from anywhere near Portland, that will put you near NYC at rush hour, so Tappan Zee Bridge route is well advised. You have a decent chance of hitting some other major eastern city rush hour as well. So IMO the inland route will likely help you avoid these, plus give you a pretty ride thru the Blue Ridge mountains. Good luck.

05-05-2004, 04:43 PM
A friend of mine said they went from maine doing 95-495-290-90-84-81-64-95-4. They said this was also a good alternative and we would by-pass Boston, Hartford, NY,NJ, and Wash. Does anyone have any comments on this route? Thanks everybody for all your help. Disers are the best!!! :thewave:

Robert P
05-06-2004, 09:17 AM
Okay, I'll throw in here, but a little late:

We drive from NC to Mass. (outside SW Boston) twice a year, and have basically went both routes (95 vs. 81/77). goofyforwdw is correct, the diff. in miles is around 50 (Checking our notes, the trip from mid NC to Mass is 40 miles longer by going inland, and the other trip leg from here to WDW are almost equal, 40 to 95 vs. 77/26/95). Our driving time is faster inland, by avoiding the major 95 cities.
The only major snag we have hit going inland was the dreaded GW Bridge (as we cut across PA south of 84), which we have sworn off now. We now take the Tappanzee, and drop back down to 95 in CT.
The inland route, the possible snags are Roanoke, VA in afternoon rush (small poss.), and Charlotte, NC either a.m. or p.m. rush (big delays poss). Both of these added together pale in comparison to any of the major I-95 problem areas.
Speed limits are similar between routes, except you will have more VA miles, where there was no 70 mph (only 65) speed limit, and radar detectors are illegal.
Inland tends to have more commercial traffic (i.e. big trucks), but overall is not nearly as crowded. Much more laid back than when we have taken the 95 route.
Hope that helps. If you have questions, feel free to send them.
Robert P