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Old 06-24-2010, 08:27 AM   #1
randy2005
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Driving to WDW May 2011

We are planning a trip in May 2011. Dh has his heart set on driving. Kids will be 6 and 2 1/2. We will be leaving from Boston MA. Is this doable? Mapquest said approximately 21 hours and that is not with stops and so forth. We plan to leave on a Friday morning around 3am, stop for the night whereever we are and arrive on Saturday. We would just stay at the hotel that day and swim and relax. I am afraid of how the kids will be. Any advise is appreciated. It will save us approximately $600 from flying.:yay
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:39 AM   #2
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We leave from Jersey and generally leave on Sat mornings, stay over between GA and FL on Sat night, then arrive Sun early afternoon.

The last time we drove, we did it with an 8 year old, 7 year old, and 2 month old. It was actually not a bad trip! With tvs in the car, stopping for bathroom breaks and food, it wasn't bad at all!

We are leaving again on Saturday, but now have an 11 year old, 10 year old and 3 year old. I'm hoping this weekends trip is as calm and uneventful as the last!
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Old 06-24-2010, 09:01 AM   #3
lathamary
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We drove from Fargo, ND with our RV in April with a seven year old and a 2 year old. According to google maps it's 24 hours straight driving. With gas, bathroom, leg stretch, and overnight stops, in reality it took five days to get there and five days to get back. I prefer to fly and get there in 3 1/2 hours

You can plan all you want, but you're most likely going to end up making many more stops than you planned for. On the way there we did one 12 hour overnight drive, and it took us a whole day to recuperate from that. We spent two nights in St Louis, then did two eight hour days after that, and then the last day was only a three hour day. (we took a detour and spent a night in St Augustine on the Ocean. Added a few hours to the trip but totally worth it!)

On the way back we did six hour days, and that was better, but still got very, very, very long. If you're not driving "for the fun of the drive" and you're driving "to save money", you might regret it.

We love Fort Wilderness, so we'll probably drive the RV down again sometime. We just have to plan ahead and give ourselves a generous amount of time to get there and get back so that it's not too pushed and stressful.

Sorry to play the devil's advocate, but I'm just being honest about our experience.

Good luck, and have fun!
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Last edited by lathamary; 06-24-2010 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:05 PM   #4
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I don't know... I'm purely looking at it from a cost perspective. On Mapquest I plugged in a route from Boston to Lake Buena Vista. I estimated your car got 25 miles per gallon since I have no idea if you're driving a Suburban or Prius. The fuel cost each way is approximately $150. ($243 for a vehicle getting 15 mpg and $104 for something getting 35 mpg) Multiply that by two to cover roundtrip gas. Then you can assume about another $100 for a hotel in between. Then, at least, four meals while on the road. I'm making up a number here, but just assume $100. You're up to about $500 and out nearly two days each way.

What's hubby's motivation to do all of that driving? Are you staying on-property? If so, you don't need to have your car.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:39 PM   #5
randy2005
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Hubby just thinks it will be fun to drive. We have a Toyota Sienna so we would have plenty of room. I have plenty of time to think about it. Just wanted to get some insight. Thanks
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:17 PM   #6
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We just got back last night from driving WDW to Chicago. Not a bad trip. We left at 3am from Chicago and got to Atlanta in just over 10hrs stayed at a cheapie hotel, back on the road at 5am got to WDW a little over 6 hrs later (room at Beach Club villas not ready but the pool was open!). Going was fine, even fun, coming back the first day was ok the second day was grueling (would've driven more on the first day), it didn't help that we ran into a Tornado/thunderstorm 1 hr outside of Chicago (out last hour of the trip!). It is easier to drive with kids at night (less fighting), it helps to have a lot of movies and a cooler full of juice and water. Good luck! We saved a ton by driving (large family including grandma and her wheelchair!)
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:53 PM   #7
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I thought of another thing... and this is what bothers me most about driving... is that it really messes with your system to be sitting that long. My digestive track was all messed up - you need to be up and moving around for your digestive system to work properly. Plus, it really bothered me to have to keep my kids buckled into their car seats for that long (yes, they were buckled up in their Britaxes in the RV). It's just not good to your body to sit all day for several days!

Lots of stops to walk around help... so driving is totally feasible. Just trying to help you be aware of all the issues
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:28 PM   #8
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We’ll be driving from Chicago in September and are actually really looking forward to it. We might be singing a different tune once we actually do it, but like your DH, my DH and I think it will be fun lol (drove with my parents a few times as a kid, maybe that’s why). We’ll be driving with our 2 boys and plan to buy a DVD player for the car and then I’ve been collecting books, puzzles, and fun toys for my 3 year old to do in the car and he won’t get those until we actually leave so they are still new and fun - the DVD player will be back up and we won’t be turning that on until he really gets antsy. We plan on leaving early - around 3am so we can get several hours in while the boys are sleeping and then when we stop overnight our plan is to find a hotel with a pool so the kids can play/swim for a few before bed. Both of my kids love the car so I’m hoping we have that on our side - we’ll stop for meals and then I’m planning to stop at least once between meals for potty breaks and to stretch our legs and such.

We’re driving because we want to, the cost savings is a bonus. We’re estimating 300-350 on gas round trip and meals we’d be paying for regardless. I haven’t checked airfare since as I said we want to drive, but for 3 of us to fly to Florida not long ago it was over 1K and we’d need 4 seats this time. We’re anticipating 2 days driving with one overnight. We might decide to stop and do something along the way and take an extra day, might not! Nice part about driving!

Job09 - sorry to hear you guys got stuck in those storms! The worst of it just missed us but even so it was an interesting night.
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Old 06-24-2010, 06:41 PM   #9
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We always drive. Our kids were 10, 5, and 2 last year. We're about the same distance (22hrs), but we always drive straight through. We think this makes the trip much more managable for the kids (they sleep about half the trip so it's just one day of driving instead of two). DH actually enjoys/looks forward to the drive and we've never heard any complaining from the kids.

If we're going straight to Disney (sometimes we visit family in FL first), we arrive in the early afternoon so DH can rest while the kids and I go to the grocery store, unpack, and hang out at the resort. We all go to bed early and are up and ready for EMH for our first day in the parks.



*I was a bit worried about the drive last year because DS2 was just recently potty trained. It worked out fine as DH drinks so much Mtn Dew while driving that he always has to go to the bathroom before the kids.
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Old 06-25-2010, 02:19 PM   #10
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I wouldn't do it. I see no fun at all in being cooped up in a car for 2 days with 2 small kids. I figure if I can't find good airfare then I will skip the trip.
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Old 06-25-2010, 08:10 PM   #11
chepic
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We have done it many times from RI and just did it again in April. We leave at 3:00 am on Sat. morning and have stopped anywhere from South Carolina around 6:00 to this past trip into GA at around 9:00pm. We get up the next morning, have breakfast, hit the road by 9:00am and you are in Disney anywhere between noon and 2:00 depending upon how far you get the night before.

We have now 5 and 9 y.o. sons. We have them each bring a few books, matchbox cars, movies for the portable DVD player, an ipod, their leappads, the crayola markers that don't mark anything but the paper, plus car games. The boys are pretty good, and we get out every 2-2.5 hours for a 15' break. We stop for lunch (bring our own in the cooler) and I love the fact that it costs about $600 versus $2000 to fly and another $150-$200 to rent a car once we are there. We prefer the freedom of having the car since we love to go to the other resorts.

We are DVC members, so we bring the week's supply of food that we will need in the condo which also saves money since the stores near the parks are more expensive than here.

For the way home we usually leave around 4-5 am in the morning and have stopped in DC/VA before and we have also done the dreaded drive all the way through (my DH prefers that.) He usually grabs a redbull or one of those energy drinks and sips it down somewhere around 9:00pm. The only traffic we have ever hit on the way home is in New York at the tolls....always have spent 1 hour in back up even though it is a Sat. night at 1:00 am.

Take the drive!!! We actually enjoy the time together as a family....you know, the whole bonding thing. Also, our 9 y.o. was able to get all his homework done on the way down in the car, so he was able to enjoy his vacation...yes homework given on April Vacation!!

hope this helps

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Old 06-25-2010, 09:32 PM   #12
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We drove from Newport News, VA Oct 09 when we went for the first time, leaving when my daughter got out of school on friday, driving about half-way, and then taking a lazy day in the morning to meet a flight in Orlando at around 3. It wasn't bad at all from here. We are going again next May and will will be driving again.
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:48 PM   #13
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I did the drive from Boston once with a 4 1/2 year old and I swore I'd never do it again. We left around 5am and arrived at midnight the next day so it took us well over 21 hours. Granted I stopped around 2 or 3am and slept for 6 or 7 hours and then was back on the road. Grabbed something quick for breakfast and for lunch we stopped at South of the Border for about an hour. It was a super looooong boring ride but I was still in college and my travel plans got messed up so at the last minute I decided to take my little cousin to Disney and to see extended family that lives in FL (we actually stayed with them) and that was the only way I could afford to pay for my little cousin and I to go. It just seemed never ending, we ran into tons of traffic and construction...same thing going home plus the weather was just awful going home. My cousin didn't seem to care, she was just excited to be going somewhere (she had no idea what Disney was). The only way I'd consider doing the drive now is if I was sightseeing along the way and making lots of stops. I'm used to long drives, I drive 14 hours every summer to go camping for two weeks and usually drive straight through but when i'm going to Disney I just want to be there as quick as possible.
My one recommendation since you have a little one is to perhaps change your leave time to just after dinner and drive through the night. That's what I do for my 14 hour drive, this way my kids sleep most if not all of the ride which makes it easier on everyone. If one of you drives while the other catches some zzz's, then either you can switch or stop and get a hotel in the morning. Try to find a hotel that has a pool that the kids can play in while the one who drove gets some sleep and then after lunch or dinner it's back in the car to finish the drive. This way the kids don't feel like they've been cooped in a car all day. There is far less traffic late at night so you'll make better time. That's just my 0.02 if I were to attempt it again.
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Old 06-26-2010, 12:01 AM   #14
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We drive from Oklahoma to Orlando all the time. We are about to make our 7th trip the end of July. It's my parents, me and my 3 kiddos. Yes they are all in car seats. I can't afford air fare, plus flying stresses me out and also I have an SPD child. She would be a nightmare on that plane. We drive a Sienna and it's about 21hrs. We stay over night 1 night, we usually make the 1st day be a 15hr day. We always stop at a playplace and let the kiddos play. Eat in the car then stop again so they can run. Sometimes we stop at the welcome centers, they love stopping there.

We don't stay off sight, so having our own car is a plus. My kids love the car ride. Movies books on Cd's and games. I'm homeschooling my 6yr old this yr and i'm making this trip an educational one for her too. I have a map and she is going to put a star on every state we drive through!
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Old 06-26-2010, 05:16 AM   #15
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My experience driving 8 hrs to Virginia Beach with my 2 year old was pureeeee torture. She cried the whole time she wasn't sleeping (about half), she does NOT like being tied down and takes her arms out of her straps in her carseat (she was 1 on that trip). So, I think it depends on your child, my first DD is an angel traveler and will sit quietly a whole car trip and not complain. As a kid my mom drove me, my brother and sister to Florida SEVERAL times and i remember it as being really fun, and like an adventure! So, I plan on doing it when my 2 year old grows out of her terrible 2's
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