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Old 09-02-2013, 08:25 AM   #1
spaceranger1217
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Question Driving from NJ to WDW

Good Morning!!
I was hoping some of you could help me out with a few concerns I have about making such a long drive. We will be heading out Feb 2014 and I want to have my ducks in a row as soon as possible

We made the drive a couple of years ago and I remember the drive back was brutal!! However, if we want to make this trip, driving is our only option due to budgeting. We will be 3 adults and a 1 yr old which is one of my biggest concerns.I would love to hear from others that have made the drive with a little one. Did you have to make more stops? How did you entertain? How to stretch those lil legs?

Also we will be on a time crunch coming back home. I have to be back to work on Monday so when is it best to leave WDW? Im trying not to worry so much since there is so much time but it would really ease my nerves to hear some suggestions. Just an FYI but we will be participating in the 5k on Friday.

We are also thinking of spending a day on the way down doing something cool . Has anyone done this and if so what did you do??

Would love to hear from you guys!
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:39 AM   #2
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Are you planning on stopping overnight? If so, you may want to reconsider flying. I estimated the cost of stopping for one night each way, tolls, gas, and some food (I planned on packing a lot, maybe one meal out). By the time I added all that up, I realized we were saving less than $100 by driving. With two small children, the $100 wasn't worth it.
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Old 09-02-2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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We drove last year from NJ with 2 adults, a 4 yr old and a 3 yr old. We just got back Sat night from our NJ to WDW car trip with 3 adults and the 2 kids. Last year we stopped for the night in Savannah Georgia and then in Virginia on the way back.

This year we stopped again in Savannah (12 hours each time) and then drove straight through on the way back. (16 hours) I suggest bringing a little bag of tricks for the 1 yr old. Pulling out something new to play with every 2 hours or a tablet or dvd player for movies. Even a CD filled with fun kid songs.

Anytime we stopped to fill up the tank or use the restroom everyone got out and stretched their legs. Bring lots of drinks and snacks too.

We actually decided to drive from NJ to Vero Beach and Fort Myers Fl next summer.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:50 AM   #4
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First of all.... dh and I drive to SC or Orlando all the time.... second of all... when you decide to stop make sure you stop at a welcome center for the hotel coupon books... the prices are much better than that when you walk in... and you can find cheap food along the way... dh and I like WAWA sandwiches and salads...healthy too.(easy to eat and drive) also we always find a deal if you sign up for some of the southern eateries...little mom and pop diners... once in a blue moon .... you'll get coupons in the mail for like TGIF and you can use them there...dh and I stayed in Florence SC on the way down and we found a great restaurant called FATZ... loved it and for drinks, apps and entree and desert was 40.00 for the two of us.. and if you fly your gonna have to rent a car as well..and car rental is expensive.... so driving is better..(What kind of automobile do you have) my Nissan Sentra to 56.00 for the way to SC and 56.00 back... you can not get a flight for 112.00 so you figure with gas food and hotel ( breakfast included) was about 225.00... can you get a flight for all 4 of you for 225.00 (driving to Florida would cost me about 300.00) I know I can't get 3 people down to Florida for 300.00 ... it would be about 1200.00 from Jersey
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzyq9241 View Post
First of all.... dh and I drive to SC or Orlando all the time.... second of all... when you decide to stop make sure you stop at a welcome center for the hotel coupon books... the prices are much better than that when you walk in... and you can find cheap food along the way... dh and I like WAWA sandwiches and salads...healthy too.(easy to eat and drive) also we always find a deal if you sign up for some of the southern eateries...little mom and pop diners... once in a blue moon .... you'll get coupons in the mail for like TGIF and you can use them there...dh and I stayed in Florence SC on the way down and we found a great restaurant called FATZ... loved it and for drinks, apps and entree and desert was 40.00 for the two of us.. and if you fly your gonna have to rent a car as well..and car rental is expensive.... so driving is better..(What kind of automobile do you have) my Nissan Sentra to 56.00 for the way to SC and 56.00 back... you can not get a flight for 112.00 so you figure with gas food and hotel ( breakfast included) was about 225.00... can you get a flight for all 4 of you for 225.00 (driving to Florida would cost me about 300.00) I know I can't get 3 people down to Florida for 300.00 ... it would be about 1200.00 from Jersey
some very good tips.


I can never figure out what people do for food when they fly? I see it in all the budgets for driving. when i fly for work, the airlines don't give free food coupons for the day. unless im missing something.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:12 PM   #6
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I'm in NJ and we drove every year when I was a kid. I hated it. Now, I fly with my husband and 3 year old. We find that the time we lose while driving is worth the extra money to fly.
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Old 09-02-2013, 02:21 PM   #7
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I'm in NJ and we drove every year when I was a kid. I hated it. Now, I fly with my husband and 3 year old. We find that the time we lose while driving is worth the extra money to fly.
we drove when I was a kid also. got married and dw will not fly. scared to death. she don't like elevators either. so we just started driving. I drive about 40k miles per year so its no big deal for me and it makes dw happy. that's all that matters.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:19 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by dvczerfs View Post
some very good tips.


I can never figure out what people do for food when they fly? I see it in all the budgets for driving. when i fly for work, the airlines don't give free food coupons for the day. unless im missing something.
When you fly from NJ it takes less than 3 hours. I can go for 3 hours without food so I have no idea why anyone would include it in comparing costs. The reason most people include it in the cost of driving is because they wind up stopping at restaurants which cost a lot more than eating at home.
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Old 09-02-2013, 09:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spaceranger1217 View Post
Good Morning!!
I was hoping some of you could help me out with a few concerns I have about making such a long drive. We will be heading out Feb 2014 and I want to have my ducks in a row as soon as possible

We made the drive a couple of years ago and I remember the drive back was brutal!! However, if we want to make this trip, driving is our only option due to budgeting. We will be 3 adults and a 1 yr old which is one of my biggest concerns.I would love to hear from others that have made the drive with a little one. Did you have to make more stops? How did you entertain? How to stretch those lil legs?

Also we will be on a time crunch coming back home. I have to be back to work on Monday so when is it best to leave WDW? Im trying not to worry so much since there is so much time but it would really ease my nerves to hear some suggestions. Just an FYI but we will be participating in the 5k on Friday.

We are also thinking of spending a day on the way down doing something cool . Has anyone done this and if so what did you do??

Would love to hear from you guys!

The good thing about that age is that they sleep more and will likely nap through a good portion of the trip, the bad thing is that once things go south with a baby it may take quite a while to get things back on track. You may want to think about leaving in the evening on the way back and driving straight through with the adults taking turns driving and sleeping.

Since you have 3 adults, one will obviously be in the back with the baby so as long as that person doesn't get car sick from reading they can entertain the baby by reading books and showing him/her pictures. Plus that adult can keep an eye on the baby while the baby snacks. When my kids where that age they needed at least one long break on a 5 hour car trip, plus other stops for diaper changing and nursing (not sure how close to 1 the baby is). We weren't daring enough to go further than that in the car with young kids.

Just remember to really compare the costs and see if you are saving enough money to make it worth your while. The bigger your family the more likely you are to save money by driving vs. flying. I am flying my family of 5 down to Florida out of Newark on a non-stop flight on Jet Blue for a total of $1248, this includes all taxes and fees and one checked bag each. With parking near the airport (got a deal) and gas to get there that comes to a total of $1315.

When I figured out the driving costs, it was going to cost us at least $480 round trip in gas and tolls in our minivan. Plus we would definitely stay in a hotel both going up and coming down which would add on at least another $220. A trip that long would almost require another oil change so I would say add in another $20 in oil. That brings us up to at least $720. Add in a couple of restaurants and the savings drops even further, although I would still save a chuck of change. Maybe we would save $500, maybe less. Since you are only 4 people though, you would save even less by driving since you need one less plane ticket and if you stop someplace "fun" on the way down, you may be adding on significant expense.

If you are staying on property, you don't really need to rent a car, we didn't get one last time and never felt the need for one.

I'm not trying to dissuade you from flying, we were going to drive this time too to save money. However, my husband would have had to take off at least 2 additional days from work if we drove or we would have to cut short our vacation, plus our first day down there would be shot. Once we actually ran the numbers and researched flights, we felt it wasn't going to work for our family. Just make sure you crunch the numbers and that you save enough to make it worth your while.

Now we are going to fly out of Newark at 9am and reach MCO just before noon which means plenty of time at the park that day, plus we fly out of MCO at 7:15pm and get in just before 10:15pm so we will get a nice chunk of time on our last day too.

Best wishes on what ever you decide.
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Old 09-02-2013, 10:03 PM   #10
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Not sure where you are in NJ, but with the $9 fare club we are flying out of Atlantic City airport for under $170 per person total. Which for you with a lap child would be pretty affordable.

As far as driving, we do long distance drives during ski season. We have 3 kids and just the two of us. We always leave late at night and take turns driving if one of us needs to sleep. Having the most amount of night driving we can keeps the kids peaceful. If it's a 12 hour drive we leave after lunch so we only have a dinner stop, then a nice long night.

Lots of iPad movies, snacks, toys etc. You have plenty of grownups and just a small baby. It shouldn't be too bad at all! Good luck!
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Old 09-03-2013, 04:09 AM   #11
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I would consider driving roughly halfway, book a hotel close to 95 that is inexpensive but with decent reviews on tripadvisor. This way, you get a good nights rest, and arrive in WDW refreshed.
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Old 09-03-2013, 05:39 AM   #12
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We always drive from NJ. As someone said before your 1 year old will probably be able to nap for a lot of the trip. I would also stop overnight. We try to make it somewhere in SC. I'm not sure I agree with the fliers that it's cheaper to fly. Even if it's $200 cheaper to drive, it's still $200. Also you can bring whatever you want. You should come over to the 2000+ round trip diving thread, there are a lot of people from NJ who will give you great tips on driving.
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Old 09-03-2013, 11:38 AM   #13
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We just finished a trip which was 1300 miles with a hotel stop each way.

I try to plan a little more drive time for the first day of a two day drive - in this case we did 12 hours day 1 and 10 hours day 2.

I plan for a 10-15 minute bathroom and stretch stop every 3 hours and at least one meal stop of 45-60 minutes.

I do about 70% of the driving and my wife spells me once a day for 3-4 hours.

When our daughter was younger we make sure she had drinks and snacks, books, toys, drawing materials, and a portable movie player. Movies are a great time passer!
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:02 AM   #14
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[QUOTE=patclairesmom;49461486] I'm not sure I agree with the fliers that it's cheaper to fly. Even if it's $200 cheaper to drive, it's still $200. /QUOTE]

I didn't see anyone on this thread claim it was cheaper to fly. I did see a few people say it might not save as much as you think and to run the numbers to make sure it makes sense for you. If only two people are going, flying can be cheaper unless your car gets super great gas mileage and you drive straight through and pack all your food. Once you are dealing with a family of 4 or more, driving will probably always be cheaper.

You are right, $200 is still $200, but that would mean you are "making" $100 dollars driving down and $100 driving back. If you can earn more than that in a day at work, that $200 you save may be costing you money.
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Old 09-04-2013, 12:57 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Suzyq9241 View Post
First of all.... dh and I drive to SC or Orlando all the time.... second of all... when you decide to stop make sure you stop at a welcome center for the hotel coupon books... the prices are much better than that when you walk in... and you can find cheap food along the way... dh and I like WAWA sandwiches and salads...healthy too.(easy to eat and drive) also we always find a deal if you sign up for some of the southern eateries...little mom and pop diners... once in a blue moon .... you'll get coupons in the mail for like TGIF and you can use them there...dh and I stayed in Florence SC on the way down and we found a great restaurant called FATZ... loved it and for drinks, apps and entree and desert was 40.00 for the two of us.. and if you fly your gonna have to rent a car as well..and car rental is expensive.... so driving is better..(What kind of automobile do you have) my Nissan Sentra to 56.00 for the way to SC and 56.00 back... you can not get a flight for 112.00 so you figure with gas food and hotel ( breakfast included) was about 225.00... can you get a flight for all 4 of you for 225.00 (driving to Florida would cost me about 300.00) I know I can't get 3 people down to Florida for 300.00 ... it would be about 1200.00 from Jersey

3 of us are flying round trip on September 27th from Philadelphia Airport for $743 and renting a car for 8 days for $200.....It's well worth the extra $350 to have the 2 extra days in Disney rather then spending those two lost days in the car and not having to make that drive.
(Since you said it is $300 one way to Disney)

We bought our air tickets in May.

Everyone sees it different though.

Last edited by JimboCh; 09-04-2013 at 01:07 PM.
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