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Old 04-04-2007, 10:13 PM   #1
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 40

Driving CT to FL- Need Help Please!!!

Thank you to everyone first of all. I am still in the process of re-reading everything that was said in the driving sticky, and starting to feel my head spin . . .

Leaving next week for Orlando, and usually I'm the type who researches and plans everything to death. However, with this trip, I find myself overextended with work and family activities and really need your help.

Driving from CT (an hour and a half north of NYC) to Florida. Still trying to decide whether to leave Thursday late afternoon or night, or Friday am or afternoon. Would like to take advantage of night driving so the kids can sleep. Thinking I'd like to take 95 down as long as we are not hitting the bad spots during rush hour.

Please share any advice you have if you've driven from the Northeast down to FL. Our room reservation starts on Friday so I prefer to drive straight through. DH is being a grouch and thinks it's not doable.

Any suggestions on safe/good places to stop and eat/refuel? When do you think we should leave on Thursday (if I can manage to get Friday off work)? Thank you so much. I'm really starting to freak that I don't have it together for this trip. . .
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:15 AM   #2
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ok....with children it will be wise to stop at least every two hours for a break. and of course you are bringing dvd's gameboys, mp3's, laptops etc? LOL

safe stops are usually well lighted truck stops and rest areas...flyingj...Petro's etc.....

Honestly we are great drivers but straight through to FL. is likely to be "killer" with kids I would expect to crash for the night, any time by the carolina's...South carolina if you push it..... We usually stop in Va. I am NOT pleased with the quality of South Carolina hotels off 95....

its all well and good to drive while the kids sleep, but when do YOU sleep? LOL

good luck and have a great trip!
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:07 AM   #3

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Hi from eastern CT! Traffic Friday could be very heavy, so I would advise you to leave as early as you can on Thursday and then stop somewhere overnight. After some sleep, you can then push through to Orlando on Friday.

It sounds like you are already stressed and tired, why risk and overnight drive?
If you get some sleep on Thursday night, everyone will be happier on Friday when you get the WDW! Have a great trip.

DVC member & always behind on my pts! I added on at BLT!!
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:59 AM   #4
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I-95 and Alternate in Delaware & Maryland (DC By-Pass)

I use to live in Northern Delaware, and know the area very well. Since you'll need to stop for the children and for fuel, I'm gonna take you on a route different from what I usually recommend.

Take I-95 South in Delaware, and proceed to the rest area in-between the North and South lanes. This place has a selection of food and the restroom are "usually" clean. The fuel prices are actually better than that found in the area's gas stations off of I-95! (...go figure)

After leaving the rest area, proceed South to the next exit, which is Exit 1. (Notice how the exits numbers skip exit didn't miss an exit, so don't worry. This was done years ago, as DelDOT was going to put in another exit at one time, however they elected to do something else.)

Take Exit 1 South, which is Route 896 South. This will eventually take you over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal on the Summit Bridge. Once over the bridge, the road will bend to the left (slow down for this curve as you might not see the redlight there until you're on top of it). You'll now be next to Summit Airport, and the road will bend to the right. Once past the airport, get into the right-hand lane at the redlight to continue straight.

After the redlight, the road turns into US Route 301. You'll enter the town of Middletown, Delaware (you'll be on the West side of town here), and stay on 301.

From Middletown, take Route 301 for a scenic drive through Agrarian southern New Castle County and the Maryland Eastern Shore. This will take you over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (no toll on the Southbound side), where the road turns into US Route 50 West. The distance from Middletown is about 65 miles.

Stay on Route 50 West after Annapolis, Maryland for a few miles and look for signs for US Route 301 South (the exit is on the right). Take 301 South and this will take you through a mix of good driving areas and areas with redlights. However this part of the drive will allow you to relax a little, find numerous gas stations, restaurants and potty-break places.

Route 301 will take you over the Potomac River Bridge (toll...EZPass) into Virginia. Stay on 301 through Camp A. P. Hill (Army base) and it will lead you back to I-95 just North of Richmond.

I find this route saves at least 1-2 hours of drive time, and it keeps you away from the DC Beltway (and I've NEVER found a good time to get onto the DC Beltway!). The drive is more relaxed, and if you drive this stretch during daylight, the kids get to see some good views from the bridges. As you go over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, and if it's clear, look to the left side when approaching the Western shore. In the distance, you may be able to see the golden dome of the U. S. Naval Academy chapel (Go Navy!!! Beat Army!!!)

I hope this little bit helps, and good luck with the drive.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:34 AM   #5
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Leave at 2:00 am, take the TZ and get on the GSP. Follow south to the NJ Tpke. Take that to the Deleware memorial Bridge. Stay on 95 through DE and MD, tkaing the Fort McHenry Tunnel. Get on 295 (the B-W Parkway) and stay on it all the way through DC until it meets 95/495 at the Wilson Bridge. It should be about 6:30 am if you don't dawdle and don't make more than one five minutes stop. This will allow you to bypass the worst of the DC rush. You will be headed away from it before it becomes a madhouse.

From there just stay on 95 south, the only diversion would be to take the Richmond By-Pass.

If you keep the stops to a minimum it should take you 18 hours or so.

The only place that you need to worry about stops are: between the last service area north of Baltimore and Woodbridge, VA, there really is no good place to stop. We also don't like the rest areas in GA at night, and prefer a truck stop.

There's a great fuel stop in Stoney Creek, VA (exit 31) with clean restrooms, a well stocked, clean, friendly snack shop, and a Starbucks!


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Old 04-05-2007, 10:28 AM   #6
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I've driven from about two hours north of you in MA (home) and from Hoboken, NJ (work) to Disney/central Florida quite a bit. While routes are variable due to construction (if you have AAA use their online Triptik to see where to avoid, travel times, etc.), one constant is I try and reach the mid-Carolinas by midnight or so so I can get some sleep and have a reasonable drive the next day to finish the trip. There are lots of motels at almost every I-95 exit in NC and SC to choose from. Have a safe trip!!
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:24 PM   #7
Lord be willing, If all goes well, The creek don't rise, and there ain't no melt down, we'll do it all again next year.
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Me, DW and 6 year old DD are leaving from downtown Boston next Friday the 13th at about 4:00pm in the afternoon and hopefully checking into the Orange Lake Country Club on Saturday the 14th at 2:00pm. The only time we've driven down to WDW was when DD was 3 years old. Me and DW changed driving when we stopped for gas every 3-4 hours, 200-250 miles.
No Big Deal !
I was a lot easier than I thought it would be at the time.
My wife hates to fly.
The first time we went to Walt Disney World, April 2004 with my 3 year old daughter We decided to go to WDW a couple of months before we went with little planning. We rented some points off the DIS forum, checked the airfares a couple of times and picked up a trip tick from AAA.

We drove from my office in downtown Boston to WDW Old Key West stopping only for gas and bathroom breaks.

After the first 3-4 hours in the car driving the rest of the way to WDW isn't that bad; more like a series of short trips.

Our Trip to WDW started Friday, 3/26/04 at 1 pm: Miles, Stopped, Time

Leaving, Boston to Walt Disney World: Friday, 3/26/04, 1:00pm
1, Boston to New Jersey 212 212 6:00pm
2, N J to Aberdeen MD 183 395 9:07 pm
3, MD to Rocky Mt NC 266 661 1:36 AM
4, NC to Florence SC 209 870 4:40 am
5, SC to S Newport GA 210 1,080 7:58 am
Arrived, GA to WDW 251 1,331 12:00 PM

Started, Friday, 3/26 0 1:00pm
Finished, Saturday, 3/27 1331 12:00pm
A 23 hr trip with 5 stops along the way down
76 gallons of gas, $131 for the gas, 17.78 mpg 58mph
Driving around WDW 21

The Trip Home started Friday, April 2nd 11 AM: Miles Stopped Time

Leaving Walt Disney World to Boston:Friday, April 2nd 11:00 am
1, WDW to St Augustine FL 116 116 12:44 PM
2, FL to Savanah GA 178 294 3:55 PM
3, GA to Florence SC 174 468 6:22 pm
4, SC to Battleboro NC 181 649 9:30 pm
5, NC to Aberdeen MD 295 944 2:17 am
6, MD to Bloomfield NJ 181 1,125 5:30 AM
Arrived, NJ to Boston, MA 237 1,362 9:30 am

Started, Friday, 4/02 11:00 am 0
Finished, Sat, 4/03 9:30 am 1362
A 22 1/2 hr trip with 6 stops on the way home
81 gallons of gas $126 for the gas 17.58 mpg 60.5mph
Driving around WDW 62

157 gallons, $257 for the gas, $44 tolls, 17.68 mpg, 59.2mph 2776

The traffic was a mess from Hartford through Delaware on the way down.
It rained from North Carolina to Boston, Mass. on the way home

Me and my wife alternated turns driving our Nissan Xterra when we stopped for gas. My 3 year old held out a lot better than I thought she would on the way down and on the way back to Boston, WITHOUT, tapes, DVDs, video games, just a lot of singing and sleeping.

It's not that Bad!!!

April 2005, we caught a break in fares and flew down and back out of Logan on a non-stop with American Airlines , $504 round trip total for the 3 of us.

April 2006, we caught a break in fares so we flew down and back out of Logan on a non-stop with Song/Delta , $496 round trip total for the 3 of us.

April 2007, no breaks in airfare, crowded airports, we're driving down.

Good Luck all,
......Are we there yet?...... ......We're going to Disney for my 14th Birthday......

April 2015, Angelina's 14th Birthday at the Sheraton Vistana. ................
April 2014, Angelina's 13th Birthday at Vacation Village at Parkway.........April 2013, Angelina's 12th Birthday at the Hilton Grand at Seaworld
April 2012, Angelina's 11th Birthday at the Orange Lake Country Club.....April 2011, Angelina's 10th Birthday at the Silver Lake Resort
April 2010, Angelina's 9th Birthday at the Orange Lake Country Club...... April 2009, Angelina's 8th Birthday at the Summer Bay Resort
April 2008, Angelina's 7th Birthday at the Wyndam Cypress Palms..........April 2007, Angelina's 6th Birthday at the Orange Lake Country Club
April 2006, Angelina's 5th Birthday at the Sheraton Vistana. ................ April 2005, Angelina's 4th Birthday at the Beach Club.
March 2004, Angelina's 3rd Birthday at Old Key West...........................January 2000, New Year's Eve Millenium celebration at the Grand Floridian.
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Old 04-05-2007, 10:08 PM   #8
Earning My Ears
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Western Connecticut
Posts: 40

thank you for all the great info

Thank you to all of you who responded to my plea for help. I really appreciate it!

I appreciate the concern over driving while tired. I assure you that DH and I will be sure to get rest before heading out, and in the car.

Thank you also for all the great tips on detours and safe rest stops.

Keep the advice coming!
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