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Old 11-27-2012, 02:20 PM   #1
DaniH
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Driving for the first time from SE Michigan, Any tips?

Hi Everyone, Just wondering if any fellow Michiganders have any tips for first time drivers to Orlando. My husband & I are planning on driving straight through from Saturday to Sunday in December.
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Old 11-27-2012, 02:55 PM   #2
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We have driven from the Detroit area a number of times. Pretty much I-75 south until you get to Florida. We usually drive straight through on the way down and usually stop for a night on the way back.

Don't speed too much in Ohio or Georgia. We always see the speed traps out.

My recommendation would be to time your drive appropriately so that you don't end up going through Cincinnati or Atlanta during rush hour. On a weekend it would certainly be better, but you can really waste time if you get caught up in it. The other thing is that in Atlanta and Macon, you take the bypass instead of going through town. Our experience is that it's quicker.

We usually stop at the first rest area when we cross the Florida state line for a break. They usually have free orange juice samples. To us, it lets us know that we've arrived.

Stop for Pecans at a stop on the way home. The price is usually right if you find the right place.

Travel safe, and good luck!
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:21 PM   #3
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I live in Southwestern Michigan and my tip would be to not do the drive non-stop. It is really much easier if you stop at least once. It is a 20 hour drive, that is an awful long one to do with only 2 drivers without stopping. If money is part of the reason you chose not to stop, there are many little bookletts at the rest stops that have great rates on hotels in the area.

That may not be what you were hoping to hear, but that is truly my best advice.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #4
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I live in Southwestern Michigan and my tip would be to not do the drive non-stop. It is really much easier if you stop at least once. It is a 20 hour drive, that is an awful long one to do with only 2 drivers without stopping. If money is part of the reason you chose not to stop, there are many little bookletts at the rest stops that have great rates on hotels in the area.

That may not be what you were hoping to hear, but that is truly my best advice.
I agree. We're just south of Cincinnati, and we wouldn't think of making the trip without a overnight stop. Even a six hour stop at a $50/night motel can make all the difference.

Which weekend are you leaving? You won't run into any traffic whatsoever in Cincinnati this weekend. Bengals are out of town. I wouldn't even worry about Bengal traffic the following weekend (we're playing the Dallas Cowboys on Dec 9). If you're travelling right before or right after the game, just stay in the far left lane on I-75 once you pass Kyles Lane going north, and you'll whiz by any traffic.

No worries about Atlanta Falcons football traffic whatsoever if you're leaving this weekend. The Falcons play Thursday night, so they're off this weekend. And they play at Carolina the following weekend.

Only other bits of advice...take it easy, watch your speed and remember your free orange juice at the Florida Welcome Center.
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Old 11-28-2012, 10:35 AM   #5
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I agree with taking the Macon bypass saves you some time. As far as the Atlanta bypass ship it and drive through Atlanta using the HOV lane if needed. We have found all the semi's and traffic on the Atlanta bypass can be a nightmare. If you are hungry as you drive thru Atlanta make a stop at The Varsity for lunch. Great coneys and frys and you may see someone famous . Several Presidents have had lunch there. The book Along I75 has a lot of useful tips for driving from Detroit to Florida. Once in the WDW area avoid I-4. I agree with the others that you should stop for the evening. I always see on the billboards some great advertised pricing for Perry Georgia hotels. Stayed in that area before myself. You are then about 6 or 7 hours from disney. Tipton is also another area to spend the night. Susan
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Old 11-29-2012, 11:08 AM   #6
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driving straight through from Saturday to Sunday in December.
Decide when you want to arrive and work backwards. If it is a 20 hour drive I would set it up as follows.

Plan on arriving at noon. Noon arrivals for diving set up a lot of things on the drive. That would mean you leave detroit at around 3:00 or 4:00 saturday afternoon.

you will hit cincinatti around 10:00pm, and atlanta around 3:00am.

You then hit the florida state line around 7:00am. Stop for a nice long breakfast at cracker barrel in Ocala florida.

You then have a stress free 3 hour drive from ocala to disney.

We drive from st louis and it is slightly shorter (16 hours) so we leave around 7:00pm.

My wife drives as far as she can, usually to nashville (5 hours). then I take the final 11 hours. The stop for breakfast is the perfect rest for me.

Driving at night is great. The kids sleep 80% of the trip. No fights in the back over who gets to watch what movie. I hate stopping to sleep. cheap hotel rooms disgust me, and i want to get the drive over. A quick nap by the pool on our arrival day is all i need to recoup.
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Old 11-29-2012, 03:08 PM   #7
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Decide when you want to arrive and work backwards. If it is a 20 hour drive I would set it up as follows.

Plan on arriving at noon. Noon arrivals for diving set up a lot of things on the drive. That would mean you leave detroit at around 3:00 or 4:00 saturday afternoon.

you will hit cincinatti around 10:00pm, and atlanta around 3:00am.

You then hit the florida state line around 7:00am. Stop for a nice long breakfast at cracker barrel in Ocala florida.

You then have a stress free 3 hour drive from ocala to disney.

We drive from st louis and it is slightly shorter (16 hours) so we leave around 7:00pm.

My wife drives as far as she can, usually to nashville (5 hours). then I take the final 11 hours. The stop for breakfast is the perfect rest for me.
I love your time line idea. But the thing I don't like about this one is that you go by the prettiest scenery in the dark! After Cincinnati and before Atlanta you get the rolling hills and the mountains. I would hate to cruise by all of that in the dark.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:24 PM   #8
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If it is this weekend that you are traveling, you do NOT want to stop at the Varsity, or anywhere in downtown Atlanta, this weekend. The SEC Championship football game (Georgia & Alabama) is at the Georgia Dome on Saturday. There will be football fans everywhere --- even today, Thursday, they are probably already there. Sticking to the interstate and driving through shouldn't be too bad.

Aside from that ---- We live in metro Atlanta, and we do typically prefer to drive through town rather than to go around the perimeter unless the timing puts you just before or just after a major sporting event.

One thing that I will mention ---- many people do not realize that there are some stretches of I75/I85 inside the perimeter (I285) where the lanes are slightly narrower than usual. Drivers need to be extra careful because it is easier to drift out of your lane, and sometimes you will feel like another car is very close to you on the side.
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:36 PM   #9
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Tipton is also another area to spend the night.
I believe that you may mean Tifton. It's about 4 hrs from WDW.

Valdosta is another good area to stay overnight. It's just a little over 3 hrs from WDW.

Macon is about 5-1/2 hrs from WDW. Perry is about 5 hrs.
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Old 12-01-2012, 04:47 PM   #10
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I believe that you may mean Tifton. It's about 4 hrs from WDW.

Valdosta is another good area to stay overnight. It's just a little over 3 hrs from WDW.

Macon is about 5-1/2 hrs from WDW. Perry is about 5 hrs.
Yep Tifton
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Old 12-02-2012, 03:49 PM   #11
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Thanks for all the info!

Great tips guys! We are leaving on the 15th and arriving the 16th. I really just want to get the drive done. If we are really exhausted we can always find a hotel I'm sure. I'm pretty good at long distance driving so I'll be the primary and I sleep great in cars so I should be able to recharge pretty well when my husband drives. My plan was to leave at 8 or 9 am and take plenty of rest stop breaks and a long break for dinner so we'll probably take a little longer than the 20 hrs google projects. Probably more like 22-23. That way we can either hang out at the pool til our room is ready or head over to Epcot for a bit then come back & take a nap. I think we'll probably hit Atlanta in the middle of the night so that shouldn't be bad but if anyone knows about any football traffic in Cincinatti that would be great.
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Old 12-02-2012, 08:10 PM   #12
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if anyone knows about any football traffic in Cincinatti that would be great.
Bengals technically don't even play that weekend. They are playing the Eagles in Philadelphia on Thursday, the 13th.

Assuming you're coming home the following weekend, the Bengals will be playing the Steelers at Pittsburgh on the 23rd. However, if you're staying an extra week and coming home on the 30th, you may have some problems. The Bengals are at home against the Baltimore Ravens, and a win could mean a playoff berth. Tentative kickoff at 1 PM on the 30th, but that could change to 4:25. Or even 8:25, if TPTB decides it's important enough to be on Sunday Night Football.
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Old 12-04-2012, 05:44 PM   #13
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Nope we're coming back on the 23rd so we're good. Thanks!
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:51 PM   #14
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Hi Everyone, Just wondering if any fellow Michiganders have any tips for first time drivers to Orlando. My husband & I are planning on driving straight through from Saturday to Sunday in December.
My son and I are driving from Ypsilanti to WDW for the first time later this month. We are planning to stop overnight in Byron, GA.

I am hoping for another mild winter so that the weather won't have a negative impact on our drive.
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:10 AM   #15
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My son and I are driving from Ypsilanti to WDW for the first time later this month. We are planning to stop overnight in Byron, GA.

I am hoping for another mild winter so that the weather won't have a negative impact on our drive.
I hate this kind of winter but I am hoping it stays like this until we get back I grew up in Ypsi! Small World!
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