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Old 04-09-2012, 11:40 PM   #31
WishUponAStar
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We drive from Sulphur, LA (2 hours East of Houston) and have done it several ways. Leave at 7:00 and drive it all the way, half way, or stop one hour away. Each had advantages and disadvantages. You can leave early and drive until the kids can't take it anymore, use your phone to make a priceline ressie. McDonalds and truckstops have hotel discount books. We have left at 9:00pm, driven all night taking turns and arriving tired but early, check in and head to the parks for a few hours before napping. Kids sleep all night, don't need to be fed or need as many bathroom stops. We have left at 3:00 am, drive until breakfast and our first gas stop 4 1/2 to 5 hours (Mobile, AL for me). Stop at fast food places that have play grounds give the kids a chance to eat and run for a while. On our last two trips we have left at 3:00am driven all day and gotten a priceline room at a retirement place called The Villages. It is one hour away. Spend the night, wake up and in one hour you are checking in at your WDW resort. Stopping halfway, between Pensacola and Tallahasee, still leaves another full day of driving. Kids don't look forward to two days on the road. We have left at midnight. Driving at night offers several advantages- less traffic, cooler, few big trucks, no construction or delays, stopping at large well lit truck stops for gas is good too at night. Disadvantages are that it is night. Car trouble is always a fear. At any rate it is 12-13 hours from Sulphur (843 miles) if done nonstop. Figure in any gas stops, meal stops, restroom breaks and you can determine your arrival time. I made a spreadsheet with driving times and distances from my area if anyone is interested email me at epcot1988@yahoo.com
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:23 AM   #32
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we are in northwest houston and have driven the past 2 years, most recent being the 2nd week of March (with a 5 & 1 year old).

as someone mentioned, do what you can to avoid baton rouge around 4pm on a weekday. the past 2 years, we got caught up in it and will make sure we don't in the future. also, this past March, there was construction right after 210 near L'Auberge. We took 210 and avoided heavy congestion and saved tons of time. I would check on the status of that and plan accordingly.

the first year, we stopped in Pensacola for the night, went to the beach in the early morning and then headed to Orlando. the kids loved it. On the way back, we drove straight to the house, leaving Orlando early AM.

this march, we brought a small cooler with food so we limited our stops to mostly bathroom breaks. we stopped in Biloxi (probably should have driven further) but we found a cheap hotel and ended up getting there earlier than expected. So, we went to sleep early and left about 5am and drove to Orlando. We arrived in the afternoon, checked in and had a lot of time to spend at Magic Kingdom. On the way back, we stayed in Pensacola and went to the beach.

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Old 04-12-2012, 03:52 PM   #33
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we are in northwest houston and have driven the past 2 years, most recent being the 2nd week of March (with a 5 & 1 year old).

as someone mentioned, do what you can to avoid baton rouge around 4pm on a weekday. the past 2 years, we got caught up in it and will make sure we don't in the future. also, this past March, there was construction right after 210 near L'Auberge. We took 210 and avoided heavy congestion and saved tons of time. I would check on the status of that and plan accordingly.

the first year, we stopped in Pensacola for the night, went to the beach in the early morning and then headed to Orlando. the kids loved it. On the way back, we drove straight to the house, leaving Orlando early AM.

this march, we brought a small cooler with food so we limited our stops to mostly bathroom breaks. we stopped in Biloxi (probably should have driven further) but we found a cheap hotel and ended up getting there earlier than expected. So, we went to sleep early and left about 5am and drove to Orlando. We arrived in the afternoon, checked in and had a lot of time to spend at Magic Kingdom. On the way back, we stayed in Pensacola and went to the beach.
We leave Houston at about noon so we are always hitting Baton Rouge in that rush hour window. It's absolutely killer. This year I've been watching the traffic patterns around 4:30 in Baton Rouge online and trying to find a way around it.
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:21 PM   #34
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For our trip from Long Beach, MS to Orlando, my wife got so worked up and excited over the trip that she compiled a spreadsheet of every exit and rest area along the way, complete with which brands of gas was sold at the exits.

I'm sure I could get you a copy if you had use of such a thing.
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Old 04-13-2012, 11:58 PM   #35
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For our trip from Long Beach, MS to Orlando, my wife got so worked up and excited over the trip that she compiled a spreadsheet of every exit and rest area along the way, complete with which brands of gas was sold at the exits.

I'm sure I could get you a copy if you had use of such a thing.
I did something similar with truck stops on a spread sheet. Do a search for truck stops such as Flying J, Loves, etc. Sort by state and it shows which are on major highways or interstates, exit numbers and if they have a restaurant or not. You can plan gas stops, meals, bathroom breaks, etc. Of course a GPS can do almost the same but I like having a piece of paper in my hand.
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:33 PM   #36
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Howdy from Sugar Land! I just wanted to say Hi, and have a great trip!
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Old 04-14-2012, 03:39 PM   #37
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Old 04-17-2012, 10:04 AM   #38
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DH hates to fly so we drive from Chicago. The first time we did it we drove straight through. Of course this was with no kids - just us. But we would never do that again.

We love road trips so driving was not a problem for us. And for long road trips especially we like to leave at night. We switch off and there is much less traffic at night. Our straight through drive was fine (except hitting Atlanta during AM rush hour) until we hit the Florida border. Then we got really tired. But we still okay to drive and since we were so close we didn't want to stop so we pushed on. We arrived in the early afternoon, but that day was still shot for us because we were so exhusted. On the way home we stopped when we got tired and it ended up being a perfect spot for us to stop so we always make that our overnight on the way home now.

Now on the way out there we make a few stops and make it part of our vacation. It makes the trip more enjoyable without being so tired to start the trip. Out last trip we stopped in Gatlinburg for 2 nights since DH had never been there. Then one night in Daytona Beach so we could watch the sunrise and so we would only have a short drive to WDW.

For our upcoming trip we are camping for one night about 6 hours from home. It's where we got married and we are leaving the night before so we can arrive really early and have a nap and then the whole day. The next morning we are driving to just outside Knoxville (about 5 hours away) to stay with family for the night. Then that next morning we will have a long drive going the rest of the way to WDW with a scenic detour through the Smokeys. Then we are just camping and relaxing at FW for 2 nights before we meet up with the rest of the family at BWV and start touring the parks.

Make the drive part of our vacation has really helped to make our time at WDW more enjoyable.
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:26 PM   #39
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Thank you all for your advice.... for our way down to Orlando, I did some research and checked reviews and I have a list of good hotels (all under $95 a night with a pool and free hot breakfast!) starting from Biloxi all the way to Tallahassee (didnt book anything, just going to call on the road). We will see how far we can get before we stop. On the way back we booked 2 nights at the Days Inn Panama city beach for a little beach rest before heading home. We are leaving Friday 4th May, around 7am when we check the dogs in for boarding, coming back 14th May. We have hired a mini van for the trip so it should give us more room and be a little more comfy. We will see how it goes...Im sure the trip will be fine..having said that we may be flying again next year no matter what the cost!! We could have flown for the same money but the vacation would have only been 6 days long in total. Driving definitely gave us more nights and allowed us to stay in the CBR as opposed to last year when we stayed in POP. My 9yrs olds birthday is coming up next week so we are getting him an Ipod and filling it with games. We have the little tv for the car, new DVD's, games for the DS, hubbys has put stuff on the Ipad and I am buying little games and stuff and putting them in a box. Again thank you all for your advice...if you can think of anything else, please let me know. I will be sure to tell you guys how the trip went.
We depart from the Cypress area on May 4th too! Taking our grandaughers (9 & 7) for their first trip to Disney. We plan on leaving at 4:00 a.m. on the 4th and go to just east of Tallahassee. The next morning leave around 8:00 and head on to Disneyworld. Coming home we will stop in Biloxi then back to Houston. We are pulling our fifth wheel and will be staying at Fort Wilderness. Have a great trip!!
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Old 04-23-2012, 10:50 PM   #40
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We depart from the Cypress area on May 4th too! Taking our grandaughers (9 & 7) for their first trip to Disney. We plan on leaving at 4:00 a.m. on the 4th and go to just east of Tallahassee. The next morning leave around 8:00 and head on to Disneyworld. Coming home we will stop in Biloxi then back to Houston. We are pulling our fifth wheel and will be staying at Fort Wilderness. Have a great trip!!
Howdy Neighbor! I'm from Conroe, not too far at all!

I do have a question though - I saw that you are bringing your 5th wheel and my eyes just about bugged out of my head. Might I ask why you would bring the camper that far with the cost of gas? I have to wonder if you could stay in a pretty fancy on site hotel with the premium dining plan for the cost of hauling it! We upgraded from a large pop-up to a small-ish 5th wheel last summer, but I'm almost regretting it with the cost of fuel. (And, I hate backing the new one up, but that's a whole new topic!)

I'm just being nosy, if the question is too intrusive I would surely understand.
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Old 04-24-2012, 12:26 PM   #41
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Hi all! We are near Beaumont (Groves to be exact) we are going to WDW for Thanksgiving this year. We haven't decided yet if we are driving or flying but I enjoyed reading the tips.
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Old 04-27-2012, 11:09 PM   #42
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Our trip was 12 hours. I bought little gifts for our kids and planned to give them to the kids periodically on the way down to keep them from fighting. Gifts included stickers, little figurines, books, candy, small stuffed animals, WDW maps, glow sticks after dark, card games, and other toys.

We drove for 1 hour and stopped at a rest area. After another 1/2 hour, the kids started to whine. I gave them their first gift. I told them the only way to get another gift was to work together to play games. We played the alphabet game and what am I thinking of (Disney themed). I also asked DD multiplication questions & asked DS what letter does this word start with. When they started getting tired of playing games, I announced that they had won another prize.

We talked a LOT and had some wonderful family togetherness time. The kids didn't pick up their dsi's and we never even turned on the radio. We didn't leave until 4pm so we stopped for the night after driving for 8 hours.
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Old 05-28-2012, 08:58 PM   #43
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Sorry, know this is a little old. But Howdy to all the Golden Triangle neighbors.

We drove back in 2010 from Beaumont, left around noon and took our time since it was our first road trip together. We spent the night in Tallahassee and drove the rest of the way in the next day. I have family that went last Thanksgiving, they left Beaumont early in the am, around 2am I think and drive straight in. They said it was a loooonnnngggggg day. Personally I liked splitting the drive.

Hope everyone stays safe in their travels. Best wishes.
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Old 05-28-2012, 09:19 PM   #44
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Well we just changed our plans. I posted in this thread a few months ago about driving there. I was still planning too until last week. Decided to check Allegiant Airlines as they have started to fly nonstop from Laredo to Orlando. Tickets were so cheap for the days I wanted to go (93.40 each way per person) that it didn't make much sense to drive anymore for the three of us. This way, we have room for some days at Cocoa beach! We leave in 10 days!
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Old 09-19-2012, 03:22 PM   #45
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Driving solo. Can I make it in 13 hours from the Med Center area? I'd leave 5:30-6am to hit Baton Rouge after morning rush hour.

Have Mobile, AL resv. for the return leg with the family.

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