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Old 07-18-2010, 10:09 AM   #1
siouxi31

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Driving to WDW from Chicago-any recent experience?

We haven't driven to WDW in years but will be driving this August. Based on the advice of this board, we're planning to drive 355 to 80 to 57 to 24 to 75. Even though it's a longer distance, we were hoping that 57 would provide a smoother ride, less trucks, and just an overall more pleasant experience.

My girlfriend decided to take this route for the first time as well, and they left yesterday at 3:30AM. Granted they stopped for breakfast which took about an hour but aside from that, they didn't arrive in Macon until 8:30 PM (Eastern time). They were slowed on 57 by construction traffic in southern Illinois, stopped (without moving) for one hour on 24 in Tennessee due to an accident, slowed in Kentucky on 24 for construction, and then had some slow going through Atlanta on 75.

15 hours is about what my husband and I expected in order to get to Macon, GA. Is our estimate accurate? This is about how long it took my girlfriend. With all of the hold-ups she experienced, should it have taken less time or is this your normal experience?

Since many dissers are experienced with this route, I'm wondering if any of you have had recent experience that was less than desirable from your previous experience.

My questions are:

1) would you recommend avoiding this route this summer and take 65 through Indiana instead? Although, maybe there is construction traffic on 65 this summer also.
2) Do you have any advice on how to determine in advance if there is construction traffic on this route? Maybe a preferred web-site that would provide this information?
3) How long has it taken you to get to Macon (assuming that is the stopping point for most)?


Any other words of wisdom on this drive, or alternate drive from Chicagoland, would be appreciated.

Thank you,

Susan
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:54 AM   #2
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My first thought is to check out each state's respective Department of Transportation website for road construction. Here's a list of the ones I know of for sure.

Tennessee
http://www.tdot.state.tn.us/tdotsmartway/

Georgia
http://www.georgia-navigator.com/maps/georgia

Indiana
http://indot.carsprogram.org/main.jsf

Illinois
http://www.gettingaroundillinois.com....aspx?ql=const

**added**
Even if you aren't a AAA member, you can use their online "TripTik" tool to see construction and map out routes.

http://www.aaa.com
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:43 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by siouxi31 View Post
Any other words of wisdom on this drive, or alternate drive from Chicagoland, would be appreciated.
We took part of this route from the St. Louis area (I-57/24 from Mount Vernon, IL/I-75/Florida Tollways) last September, and had a very smooth ride -- even through Atlanta.

Of course, this was before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act became law earlier this year, meaning there may now be some new construction/infrastructure projects on the trip, down (best to check-out those links in Post #2).

Also keep in mind that if you have an I-Pass on your vehicle, it is not valid for use on the Florida tollways.
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Old 07-20-2010, 09:40 AM   #4
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We did it last month, left the house at 2AM and arrived into Orlando by 7 for dinner, wasn't that bad at all..our only delay was slow going for a bit around Atlanta..

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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Take I-65

Currently I-65 from Chicago to Indy isn't too bad. I'd then suggest taking 465 around northeast Indy back to I-65. This is a few miles longer than the western portion of 465 but avoids quite a bit of construction. Alternately you could go over to Cincy from Indy. I-75 thru KY is probably better than I-65, but I don't know once you get to TN.
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Old 07-20-2010, 07:36 PM   #6
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We just returned from our trip to WDW 10 days ago. We drove from Racine, WI. Left at 3:15 AM, drove down I-65. This was our best drive in the 10 years we have been driving it. There was not much construction. We were traveling with 4 children and made it to Ocala, FL at 9:15 PM central time ( 10:15 PM eastern). We found leaving at the time we did put us in all the major cities at the right time.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dis_Dreamin View Post
My first thought is to check out each state's respective Department of Transportation website for road construction. Here's a list of the ones I know of for sure.
........
**added**
Even if you aren't a AAA member, you can use their online "TripTik" tool to see construction and map out routes.

http://www.aaa.com
Dis Dreamin, Thank you so much for providing the links to these sites as well as mentioning Trip Tik on AAA. These look VERY useful.

mjbens01
Thank you for the suggestion of 465 Northeast. I have added this to my list of tips while driving to make sure we take the path of least resistance

Minniedap
This is great to know! I can't believe you made it all the way to Ocala after leaving Racine at 3:30AM. That's swift driving. I'm quite impressed and we may have to use your timing as our goal

HHSTigerFan
Wow! Your timing was amazing too. When I first read this I was thinking that we should leave at 2AM just to get the driving over with in one day. Then, I remembered I'm 44 and don't do well without sleep It's good to know one can actually make it there in a day.

JB2K
Thanks for the reminder on the IPass LOL! We will be looking at the links Dis Dreamin provided.

You're all so wonderful. Thank you for your comments.

Susan
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Old 07-21-2010, 08:25 AM   #8
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Actually I misspoke, we did the trip last month, not last year..

It was a good trip and we made good time, the kids did a great job..And I am guessing we have a little shorter trip that you as we live in the far SW suburbs..

We left the house at 2AM, stopped south of Effingham for a little gas and drink and then drove about 40 miles south of Paducah for breakfast, were there by 7:00..

Back in the car, made it to south of Atlanta for a Wendy's before 1:00, had one gas stop in southern GA and then on our way to our hotel and a later dinner.. I think total, we were stopped less than 90 minutes the entire trip..

And we did about 80 mph the entire way, blended in pretty well with the rest of the traffic..
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:28 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by siouxi31 View Post
Dis Dreamin, Thank you so much for providing the links to these sites as well as mentioning Trip Tik on AAA. These look VERY useful.
More than happy to help. I spent hours and hours looking at routes down for our trip back in May. Those were some of the sites that helped me, and one that I could find for Ill. to help you.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:39 PM   #10
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You're going to have to get through Kentucky on your way, and being a Kentucky resident, I have to say you're better off driving I-75 through Kentucky than I-65, and definitely better than I-24. I-65 always seems to take longer with its construction projects than I-75. I-75 is also 3 lanes each direction (or more) through 80-90% of the state now, while I-65 still has much longer stretches of 2 lanes each direction. For these reasons, I'd try to be on I-75 by the time you get to Cincinnati.

If you're on I-65 at Louisville, there is a large gap between 75 and 65 that takes at least 90 minutes to cover on I-64, so if you're still on I-65 in Louisville, I'd just continue on I-65. To avoid this, I'd get off I-65 at Indianapolis and get on I-74 heading to Cincinnati. That way you're heading in generally the direction of WDW the whole trip, except for the unfortunate jog west I-75 does to get to Chattanooga, TN.

If it further helps, it takes about 12.5 hours, including stops and going roughly the speed limit, to drive on I-75 from about 40 miles north of the Tennessee line to WDW.
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Old 07-22-2010, 06:24 PM   #11
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I travel 65 from northwest Indiana to just south of Indy several times a month. I have never gotten why so many here dislike 65 and prefer 57. If you do go 64 I recommend not taking 465 around INdy.Take 65 straight through. Traffic is minimalat most times and it is around 10-15 miles less.
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Old 07-23-2010, 08:52 AM   #12
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I'd get off I-65 at Indianapolis and get on I-74 heading to Cincinnati. That way you're heading in generally the direction of WDW the whole trip, except for the unfortunate jog west I-75 does to get to Chattanooga, TN.
That's the route we took, of course we are just NE of Indy so it was a no brainer for us. I'd do it again in a heartbeat too. My two options were that route and one that took us down 65 into Nashville, TN. We opted to go i-75 from Cincinnati all the way mainly because it was avoiding Nashville about a week or two after the floods this summer, but also because it was more in the right "direction' for more of the trip. LOL!

It wasn't much longer of a drive (based on google maps) than via Nashville, maybe 15 minute difference...and what's 15 minutes on a 16 hour drive

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If you do go 64 I recommend not taking 465 around INdy.Take 65 straight through. Traffic is minimal at most times and it is around 10-15 miles less.
I agree with that too. 465 is a slow drive, and I believe there is construction on both the West side and on the North side, when you can just follow the signs right through downtown on 65.
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Old 07-23-2010, 09:21 AM   #13
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A lot depends on the days/times you go. We just did this drive in the last two weeks. We headed down on 7/8, left at 4 am (Central) and took I-57 to I-24 to I-75. We got into Macon, GA at 8 pm (Eastern). Left the next morning at 5:30 am and got into Disney at noon. Some road construction but nothing that had us stopped.

We came home via I-24 and I-57 from TN (after visiting family) on Sunday 7/18. Left at 5 am and had no problem with construction. Got home at 2 pm.
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Old 07-23-2010, 12:57 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Dis_Dreamin View Post
That's the route we took, of course we are just NE of Indy so it was a no brainer for us. I'd do it again in a heartbeat too. My two options were that route and one that took us down 65 into Nashville, TN. We opted to go i-75 from Cincinnati all the way mainly because it was avoiding Nashville about a week or two after the floods this summer, but also because it was more in the right "direction' for more of the trip. LOL!
Another thing that recommends I-75 versus I-65 through Kentucky and Tennessee is that Knoxville is quicker to get through than Nashville, as you discovered. This didn't use to be the case. Knoxville used to be horrible to drive through, with constant construction, traffic cones/barriers, etc. But Knoxville seems to have finally finished some of their construction and now it's probably 10 minutes faster to get through Knoxville than it used to be.

Now if they could just get those Smokies out of the way and straighten I-75 up between Knoxville and Atlanta.
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Old 07-27-2010, 02:25 AM   #15
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We did the I355 -I80-I57-I24-I75 to FL turnpike this past June. Coming back, we stopped in TX to visit family, so we also experienced several other states. No matter where you go, there is road construction - between the normal summer road repair up north to extra road construction due to the economic recovery act.
We definitely prefer the I57 to I65 route (we do several trips to FL during the year and have tried all different routes). The only really bad part was the I57 construction on the northbound side just north of Marion, IL. They do have a detour marked - definitely take it.
We usually leave the Chicago area around 9am and stop just south of Atlanta in McDonough, GA arriving there around 8 or 9pm (their time). By doing that we tend to miss the rush hour traffic in the big cities and stopping south of Atlanta, we avoid the morning rush hour the next day.
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