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blessedfam 03-26-2014 07:48 AM

NY Road trip to Disney (any tips?)
We can't afford to fly and thinking driving will save lots!

JessZacc 03-26-2014 08:04 AM

We do it every time. It's fun. We are headed there is May and my boys are excited for the road trip. If we are driving right through we leave late afternoon the day before. I pack a cooler with plenty of food, drinks and has plenty of snacks. Do you have kids? Make sure you have pillows, blankets, games, plenty of stuff to do. Portable dvd player, electronics etc.. Stop at rest stops for a break even if it's just to stretch everyone's legs. We stop for a nice breakfast after driving all night. Everyone needs the break. We are. Family of 5 so flying is out of the question with prices what they are right now. We can drive there for about $400 round trip.. Can't beat that...

blessedfam 03-26-2014 08:18 AM

Thank you! So if we leave around 2 pm on a Friday...what is the safest and better way to drive there ? Any good restaurants, family stops you recommend?

blessedfam 03-26-2014 08:18 AM

How much tolls to prepare for?

Physics Guy 03-26-2014 09:37 AM

We are a family of 5 and drive every year as well (from Long Island). Although we do it differently.

We leave at the crack of dawn (maybe 5 am), drive until dinner, which usually gets us around NC where we have a nice dinner and stay overnight at a hotel. The next day we could drive straight through, but we don't, we usually stop in Savannah and spend the late afternoon, again a nice dinner, walk around the city, then up and at 'em the next morning and it's a short trip to Disney. This way we're there early and we're rested, not feeling exhausted from driving.

On the way back, we stop again overnight in Va, and then usually a night in Baltimore for some fun. Or we drive straight home from Va if we're feeling like we just want to get home.

Yeah, a family of 5 traveling at peak off-school times can run over $2000 in airfares. No thanks.

I have an ezpass so I'm not very good at keeping track of tolls.

I'm also a tech junkie so all the kids have electronic devices filled with movies/games/music and an inverter/battery packs for charging whenever we need. I can also use my phone as a wifi hotspot with unlimited data so the kids can stay connected while traveling. That REALLY came in handy the year we were driving up the east coast following hurricane Irene using my laptop to try to find a hotel that wasn't booked.

Physics Guy 03-26-2014 09:49 AM

Also forgot one of the best benefits... Having your own car! You can go wherever, whenever. No waiting for buses, etc. Although I may consider cabbing it to DTD after hearing the parking lot nightmare stories with all the construction.

We also sometimes go off-site for dinner (Sweet Tomatoes or something), plus we have family in Gainesville and Jacksonville so we could visit them as well.

biondagirl 03-26-2014 09:49 AM

We are from outside of Philadelphia and drive whenever we go. For a family of four, it isn't easy or cheap to fly any more.

We've done the trip a few different ways. Once we left on a Friday morning around 9 and got to Jacksonville, FL at midnight. We stopped and spent the night there and was in Orlando by noon the next day.

We've also planned and stayed in Santee, SC. Rested up for the night and drove the rest of the way into Orlando.

So much of the trip depends on traffic. Last August we left late (delayed by the rest of our party) and hit traffic in Virginia. It really tied us up.

We pack lots of movies for the kids to watch and their DS's and ipads/iphones, snacks and juice and water, too. Depending on the ages of your kids, I've packed coloring books and crayons. We stop for lots of coffee and potty breaks.

I don't think we pay a toll until we get to Florida. We probably fill up on gas three or four times?

We love driving. Our kids are so used it, it just adds to the adventure. I always recommend it, but every family is different.

The ride home isn't as fun. You're tired from the trip and the kids are sad it's over! My husband likes to the trip in one day and around Maryland, it gets real hard. But, we still keep doing it.

Have fun planning!

robndani 03-26-2014 09:58 AM

I wouldn't suggest leaving at that time. I MADE (lol) my husband do that with our 18 month old twins because I thought it was the best time. He said no... it was the one time I should have listened to him!

We are from NJ and we hit AWFUL rush hour traffic in the DC area.

I have no good alternative, since that's the first and last time we drove there, but I'm sure other people would know a good time/plan!

pas130 03-26-2014 10:35 AM

We've had great luck leaving anytime after 7pm from central NJ. That said, if you are not a night driver (my DH is I am not) I'd suggest earlier (3am...the kids sleep a bit) and you should avoid DC traffic..smooth sailing after that for a bit) or after 9am...there's a VERY helpful thread on the Transportation board. It's titled FOR 2000+ miles roundtrip drivers only (or something like that) But there is SO many helpful people there who have been there!

blessedfam 03-26-2014 12:01 PM

Thank you all Any specific hotels you recommend to stay on the way At savannah??

minnie mum 03-26-2014 12:20 PM


Originally Posted by pas130 (Post 51045780)
We've had great luck leaving anytime after 7pm from central NJ. That said, if you are not a night driver (my DH is I am not) I'd suggest earlier (3am...the kids sleep a bit) and you should avoid DC traffic..smooth sailing after that for a bit) or after 9am...there's a VERY helpful thread on the Transportation board. It's titled FOR 2000+ miles roundtrip drivers only (or something like that) But there is SO many helpful people there who have been there!

This thread is a very great help for those new to driving down to Disney. Lots of tips and tricks on best hours to travel to avoid the heaviest traffic. Other threads there will also have lots of tips for long distance travel in general.

JessZacc 03-26-2014 12:22 PM

We have left from here (South Jersey - near Philly) late afternoon or like dinnertime and drive all evening and through the night and haven't encountered any problems. We just follow 95 all the way there. I have done trips where we have stopped and we have stayed in South Carolina usually. That will be an added cost though for the hotel room. We prefer to just go right though taking turns driving and then rest a little when we get down there. We check in and then rest a bit. Then check out the hotel and maybe head to downtown disney for a late dinner. Always works well for us. I guess it depends on your family and your kids and how long of a ride and driving times can be tolerated etc.. Good luck and have a great trip!

gaudioli 03-26-2014 12:25 PM

We are a family of 5 too and air is just not worth it to me.

First time driving down in many many years. Extended family drives down every year from NJ and gave us this plan we will try:

Drive all day until we get to Pooler, GA (11 hrs depending on how many times you stop etc.). There is a nice (Holiday Inn Express, sleeps 5, clean and nice). From Pooler to Orlando is 4 hours.

We plan on leaving at like 3 or 4am...getting to hotel early enough for dinner let the kids stretch their legs, try to get a decent nights sleep. We at least we know it's only a quick (lol) 4 hour drive the next day. Since hotel check-in isn't until 3 we aren't in much of a hurry. Stop in Publix for some room snacks and water. We don't plan on doing anything but checking in, pool, get our bearings and get ready for a full week.

Good luck!

3Gsandme 03-26-2014 12:26 PM

We drove from Ohio in Feb/March with three kids. We love road trips, so it wasn't a big deal for us and, yes, I think we saved a lot of money over driving. We drove straight through on the way home and I wish we hadn't. I was miserable, but we were racing bad weather and had to do it.

We really don't make reservations for trips like that. We just kind of go until we can't. We made it from just outside Pittsburgh (where we live) to Charlotte day one (which didn't start until 4:30 when dh and the kids were off work and school). I guess my best road trip advice is to pack a lot to do (we really rely on iPods now. You can pack so much entertainment onto them and they take up zero space). We have a converter for the car that allows us to charge three devices at a time from the front outlet and there's another in the back that dd's tend to rotate their Nintendo chargers through. I usually pack "dinner" the first night (protein, fruits, veggies, snacks, drinks, etc) so we can avoid road food at least once. And, we try not to be stingy with the stops. Five or ten minutes at a rest area with a ball or bubbles or just walking makes such a big difference.

AshleeH 03-26-2014 01:23 PM

We don't drive that far to WDW (13 hours, for us), but we did do a road trip from Kentucky to California last year (30 hours). We broke it up over a couple of days - DH and I don't do well with driving all through the night. I can't get much sleep as a passenger and even though DH can, I worry about one of us sleeping at 3:00 a.m. while the other might be getting tired while driving.

The biggest help for us: Movies. We brought all their favorites and I bought a few to bring out as surprises every 6 hours or so. Well, that ended up working better than expected - I bought Thor, Captain America, Iron Man 2 - and while they did watch both Iron Man movies several times, I also got them Iron Man: Armored Adventures and they ended up watching that non-stop to California and back. People thought we were crazy (our daughter was four months old at the time), but we planned well and it was a fantastic trip. I'm actually a little more nervous about this year's trip to WDW because she will be 18 months old and more opinionated now :).

At some point, we're hoping to do a Disney Cruise to Alaska - if we drive, it will be about 36 hours and I am seriously considering it. It's just not feasible to pay for a cruise of that magnitude and airfare. It's sad that hotels and gas are cheaper, but my kids get to see the country, so it's a good tradeoff.

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