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Old 04-26-2013, 10:45 PM   #1
ORMom2Four
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Driving from Portland UPDATE Post #1

Okay, never thought I'd ask this as we have ALWAYS flown down to LAX from PDX. It's so much easier just to head to the airport and be in LA only a few hours later!

However, Dh and I now have 6 kids who all need tickets (so we need to buy 8 airline tickets-yikes-$$$$) and we are thinking about driving from Portland down to Anaheim in May. It will not only save us money not having to buy flights but we won't need to rent a mini van either. The price for 8 flights and a mini van is running around $2000. I am not sure how much gas we would use. We drive a Honda Odyssey.

It's been awhile since I've been on the Disneyland board, but I seem to remember quite a few of us here who are from the Pacific NW

Anyone driven that route? Google maps says 14+ hours. Possible to do in one day without stopping at a hotel?

UPDATE:

Trip is done and we did drive. There were a few positives to driving.

*We did not have to coordinate prices with flights/hotel rooms to the days we wanted to spend in the park. Even a $20 increase in flight price really ads up when you are buying 8 tickets!

*We had a lot of time together in the car.

*We saw some beautiful parts of Southern Oregon that we don't get down to visit.

There were some negatives to driving.

*We were all exhausted at the end of each day. This exhaustion caused a really bad argument between Dh and I as soon as we walked into our hotel room when we finally arrived at the Disneyland Hotel.

*It is NOT FUN driving. Because Dh has problems driving (he falls asleep due to sleep apnea issue he has) and the older teens didn't feel comfortable driving the van, I drove 100% of the way.

*We spent a solid 4 days traveling. That is a LOT of time that could have been spent doing other things much more productive.

All of that being said, we will not drive it again. It's not worth the 4 days devoted to traveling. It took us 10 hours to get to Sacramento, and 7 hours from Sacramento to Anaheim the next day. On the drive back, it took almost 9 hours getting from Anaheim to Sacramento due to terrible traffic jams that went on for about 80 miles! Then 10 more hours home. Nobody even wanted to get in the car on the last day.....

AAA gas estimate had us around $300 (if I am remembering right?) We saved receipts and spent $347 on gas round trip. Ended up getting home with 3/4 tank full.

Spent $120/night for 2 nights in a hotel room in Sacramento for a stop there and back. The room was nice--2 bedrooms, family room with a kitchen and a full, free buffet breakfast for all 8 of us!


Last edited by ORMom2Four; 05-14-2013 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:00 PM   #2
gardengirl2790
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We live just south of Portland, in the suburbs, and drove this route once. We stopped in Santa Nella for the night which worked really well for us. My in-laws drove straight through in their motor home. Let's just say that we who stopped were in a MUCH better mood than those who spent all night riding in the motor home upon arrival at "The Happiest Place on Earth". My family could not do the 16 hour drive straight through, our vacation would have started out horribly. However, everyone is different.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:38 PM   #3
Aaron70Monte
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I've done the drive from Vancouver, BC down I5 3 times. From Portland, I would split it up into 2 days. This way there is no panic to get there and you can enjoy the drive more. Making it 2 days will give you the opportunity to stop once in a while and not rush your meals. Somewhere near Sacramento might be a good first day stop.
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:42 PM   #4
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We are about 60 miles south of Portland and we have made the drive before and we are going again in June. We make a big road trip vacation out of it though. We are big baseball fans (like you couldn't tell from our signature ) so we are stopping in Sacramento the first day and taking in a game. Then the next day we are stopping in Visalia for another one. We will get into Anaheim on a Friday and by Wednesday we will be heading to San Diego for a Padres game. We are leaving Anaheim that Friday and heading to Vegas for a few days. Of course we will be seeing a Las Vegas 51's game while we are there. Then on to Reno for a couple of nights and a Reno Aces game before we head home. Do you see a pattern here? We will be gone for about 2 weeks total. Not a vacation for every family but it's just right for us!
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Old 04-26-2013, 11:59 PM   #5
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Growing up in Portland I've taken the I-5 route from Portland to LA probably at least 15 times. Many of those as a kid in the back seat of my parents car, and some driving as an adult. It was almost always a 2 day trip, but on two occassions my wife and I drove straight through in one day. Left about 5am and made it to the LA area around 8pm....only stopping for restroom breaks and a fast food lunch. It can be done, but that was when we were younger and before having a child. I couldn't imagine doing that with our DD in the car, much less with six kids.

Just curious, are you wanting to drive in one day to save $$$ by not staying in a motel, or are you trying to save an extra day in driving?
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
beachdreamr1229
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With kids it pretty much has to be a 2 day trip. A good friend of mine has done Seattle to DL in 24 hours straight of driving, so 16 hours is doable, but depending on the age of your kids, I can't imagine them sitting in a vehicle that long. My uncle used to live in Portland and he always stopped around San Jose or Sacramento for the night. You can probably find a cheaper hotel in either area for about $75 per night (or less depending on deals and how good of a hotel you want). Also consider the cost of gas. It'll probably save you money to drive, but gas prices at least in central and southern California will be around $4 per gallon or even higher.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:41 AM   #7
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We've done it, though generally we stay the night near Sacramento on our way down. (We were leaving from Hillsboro at the time.) We always drive it straight shot home.

We're leaving tomorrow for Desert Hot Springs, but now we're about 1.5 hours south. We're going to try to go straight through. We'll head to Disney on Monday. I think we'll make it.

I think your success depends on how old your kids are, whether or not they're good travelers, or what time you're leaving. My kids are 13, 12, 9 and well traveled via the Odyssey.

Good luck!
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:47 AM   #8
Stitch35
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We drive from Olympia, WA to Disney quite often. We have 2 boys 7 and 4, first road trip they were 5 and 2. We've done the drive through the night get there by early afternoon drive. Lets just say DH was a bear most of the trip after that. Last year was the first time we did a stop over and it made for such a nicer trip. We drive a honda CRV and are budgeting $500 for gas RT, but last year it was only $380 for gas. We stayed in Redding for about $100/night. The kids enjoyed getting out and swimming before the next days trip. It made the whole vacation just feel more relaxed. You could make a full adventure out of it and stop to see some sites along the way. Make sure you have plenty of entertainment, food and drinks. Depending on your kids ages, you might consider a portable toilet as well. There are some places we just really didn't want to stop. I hope that helps! Have an amazing trip!
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:52 AM   #9
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I am in Portland and we always stop in San Francisco. Its 10 hours down, then its normally 6 hours to Anaheim. My kids are older, 16 and 14, but they can not sit in the car for that long ( or can I!!) It just makes everyone more pleasant!

Have fun!
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:04 AM   #10
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We've driven twice and we live in the most northwest corner of Washington. It takes us 24-26 hours with all the feeding/bathroom/diaper stops. (Kids under three) its definitely doable, but planning is important.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:08 AM   #11
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And to add to that we always start our drives before dinner after tiring the kids out. We stop and eat then they sleep all night while hubby and I trade off driving.
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Old 04-27-2013, 01:09 AM   #12
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I did the drive from the Salem area last year :-) However, it was just myself and son so I had to do all the driving, not sure are you and he going to alternate? IF so that would make it much easier to drive thru IMO! We stopped near Sacramento to spend the weekend with an old friend from high school so that was nice.

Plenty of interstate towns to stop at for gas, stretching legs etc. Weed and Yreka, Corning (go to the Olive Pit, fun little break!) are all easy access. Then another stop around Santa Nella.

Google "AAA fuel calculator" and you can put in the year/make/model of your vehicle and your beginning and ending spots and it will calculate your fuel costs based on the current area fuel prices!!! I used it last year and it was extremely close.
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Old 04-27-2013, 12:16 PM   #13
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I'd break it up, but we did do 16 hours from SF to Seattle a few times, once with a baby. It was a lot less fun with the baby!

Bring jump ropes and have everyone jump rope at gas stops and potty breaks. Just that little bit of exercise seems to help my group last during long road trips.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ORMom2Four View Post
Okay, never thought I'd ask this as we have ALWAYS flown down to LAX from PDX. It's so much easier just to head to the airport and be in LA only a few hours later!

However, Dh and I now have 6 kids who all need tickets (so we need to buy 8 airline tickets-yikes-$$$$) and we are thinking about driving from Portland down to Anaheim in May. It will not only save us money not having to buy flights but we won't need to rent a mini van either. The price for 8 flights and a mini van is running around $2000. I am not sure how much gas we would use. We drive a Honda Odyssey.

It's been awhile since I've been on the Disneyland board, but I seem to remember quite a few of us here who are from the Pacific NW

Anyone driven that route? Google maps says 14+ hours. Possible to do in one day without stopping at a hotel?
It is possible but it is painful! We lived in Portland until last year (moved to Maine in December). That last year in June we drove from our house in NW Portland to Disneyland. We tried to do it all in one day. We took our own car (Chevy Suburban) and left super early. We have 4 kids and I have to say they were really great about it. (Although I am slightly ashamed to admit how many movies we let them watch in the car that day!)

We ended up stoping in Ashland for drinks/food at Starbucks. I packed a lunch so we ate that in the car. Ate dinner on the road too and then we drove straight through until we got to Valencia. We stayed at the Embassy suites that night (close to Magic Mountain). Honestly, if I was to do it again, I wouldn't drive that much in one day. We were all fried by the time we got to the hotel. Everyone was pretty much done with the car about 4 hours prior. The only good thing about it was that we got up early the next morning, drove straight to GCH. We were able to check in, give them our bags to hold, and still make it to rope drop.

On our way home we stopped in Mammoth and spent the night at the Westin. That was much more enjoyable and made the next day of driving better. Plus Mammoth was gorgeous. Wish we had spent more time there. We took the back roads back and I found that to be more relaxing. Maybe more boring looking at Joshua trees for hours and took a little bit longer, but we did enjoy it more. If I ever was to do it again I would break up the driving a lot more. It is actually a huge reason why we mostly fly now. I realized that we didn't save as much as I thought we would after adding in the hotel stays, gas, food on the road, and just the hassle and time. I would need to save a lot to make me want to do it again, but I am not really a "road trip" person so that might have something to do with it too.

Good luck and I hope you and your kiddos have a great trip!!
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:52 PM   #15
ORMom2Four
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wallawallakids View Post
It is possible but it is painful! We lived in Portland until last year (moved to Maine in December). That last year in June we drove from our house in NW Portland to Disneyland. We tried to do it all in one day. We took our own car (Chevy Suburban) and left super early. We have 4 kids and I have to say they were really great about it. (Although I am slightly ashamed to admit how many movies we let them watch in the car that day!)

We ended up stoping in Ashland for drinks/food at Starbucks. I packed a lunch so we ate that in the car. Ate dinner on the road too and then we drove straight through until we got to Valencia. We stayed at the Embassy suites that night (close to Magic Mountain). Honestly, if I was to do it again, I wouldn't drive that much in one day. We were all fried by the time we got to the hotel. Everyone was pretty much done with the car about 4 hours prior. The only good thing about it was that we got up early the next morning, drove straight to GCH. We were able to check in, give them our bags to hold, and still make it to rope drop.

On our way home we stopped in Mammoth and spent the night at the Westin. That was much more enjoyable and made the next day of driving better. Plus Mammoth was gorgeous. Wish we had spent more time there. We took the back roads back and I found that to be more relaxing. Maybe more boring looking at Joshua trees for hours and took a little bit longer, but we did enjoy it more. If I ever was to do it again I would break up the driving a lot more. It is actually a huge reason why we mostly fly now. I realized that we didn't save as much as I thought we would after adding in the hotel stays, gas, food on the road, and just the hassle and time. I would need to save a lot to make me want to do it again, but I am not really a "road trip" person so that might have something to do with it too.

Good luck and I hope you and your kiddos have a great trip!!
A HUGE thanks to everyone for the advice! I looked up AAA fuel estimate, and they think it will be around $398 for fuel round-trip. Add to that a hotel there and back, that does make it add up! We were having a lot of trouble getting flights that were cheap enough to match the days we want to be in the parks (M-Th). We ended up booking our hotel (check in Sunday, leave Friday) and--right now--are planning on driving, doing 10 hours one day and 6 hours the next. If we can get flights cheap enough though, we will book those!!

This is a last minute surprise trip. DS19 is leaving for the Navy in June for a 6 year enlistment. For the past few months, he would watch his twin 2 year old sisters scream, "I want to go to Disneyland!" whenever the commercials came on and say, "I wish we could go to Disneyland with the babies before I leave for the Navy."

We decided this would be a wonderful way to make some memories before he leaves the nest and surprised everyone with the news this morning
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