Input for driving to WDW from Ontario

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by Lostboys, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Lostboys

    Lostboys Earning My Ears

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    Hello everybody. This Sept my family and I will be driving to WDW. We've flown every time we've gone and have decided this time would be nice to drive.

    We live north of Toronto, and are planning on taking I-95, and taking 2 days with a pause somewhere to sleep on the way (hotel). As this is our first time driving this route, does anybody have advice?

    Are there any areas to avoid during certain times? I've read that Washington can be difficult during rush hour.

    My thoughts right now are leave at 5am, drive til about 8pm with one long stop for dinner. I know we can't take food across the border, so is there anywhere to stop on the other side after we cross to grab beverages and snacks?

    Is Fort Erie the best place to cross?

    How accurate are the estimates that it's close to a 20 hour drive?

    Google maps shows 90-79-77-95, is this better than just heading directly to 95?

    Thank you for any input/advice.
     
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  3. TheoDawg

    TheoDawg Mouseketeer

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    Not sure where to cross, but we just drove from Cleveland, Ohio and it's supposed to take a 17hrs. We left at 1am and at around 5pm we stopped in Savannah,GA for the night thats 16hrs already. From Savannah(Port Wentwoth, GA) to Orlando it's 309 miles a 5hr trip, 6.25hrs later we got there.

    22.25hrs for a 17hr trip. Food and bodily functions kill time. If possible leave earlier than 5am and drive till 5-8pm time then stop eat and sleep.

    Our first driver slept from 6pm till midnight, then I got in from work and we left at 1am. He drove for 6hrs with 3 pee/gas breaks, I tried to sleep then drove for 4 hrs with 1 break, then he drove again after his 3.75hr nap(control freak about driving) all the way to Savannah. After dinner, beers, swimming, and sleep, we ate our free hotel breakfast at 7am and got on the road at 8am. Then the control freak drove the rest of the way.

    We drove from Disney to Charlotte and slept and left at 8am.
    The return trip was dangerous we missed a 75 car pile up by less than 3hrs. http://www.nbcnews.com/video/nightly-news/51388877#51388877
     
  4. rjan67

    rjan67 Mouseketeer

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    You can bring snacks across the border - anything that is packaged or beverages are fine. Just no fruit or vegies. You can bring them is they are individually labelled with a Canada or U.S. sticker -but I wouldn't bother as it may just be cause to bring you in and search your car. We usually drive down 75 so I don't have any advice on your drive. Have a great time!
     
  5. JenluvsDisney

    JenluvsDisney Mouseketeer

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    We live in Waterloo, just a bit to the West of you in Toronto. We've driven the route suggested to you by Google maps often and really enjoy it. The actual driving time predicted is likely pretty close, especially if you have a heavy foot (like my hubby does)! But of course the stops for gas and food add on to the time that you're on the road.

    We've found that, if we leave home at about 2am, we can usually be near Columbia, SC by around 8pm (depending on traffic) where we usually stop and sleep until about 6am. It usually only takes us around 5 hours to make it to Disney the next day. We have two kids, though, and they tend to slow us down a bit as they seem to need more stops for bathrooms/snacks/etc.

    To help minimize the stops we have a rule that each time we stop we do EVERYTHING: gas, pee, get food. That way you avoid filling up with gas only to get another half hour down the road before somebody needs a restroom.

    And once we get to the border of the state where we think we're likely to stop and sleep for the night, we stop at that state's welcome station (usually only about a mile from the state's border). They always have lots of coupon books to help you get a better price on a hotel or motel. And if you get there during business hours (usually 9am-5pm) they have staff on hand that can even make you a reservation if you need it.

    Good luck and enjoy the adventure!
     
  6. Stitch'sCousin

    Stitch'sCousin DIS Veteran

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    I did a quick check and it looks like it is almost 300km longer if you head over to I95 instead of doing the 90-79-77-95 which is the way we drove. Make sure that you stay at or under the speed limit if you do the highway 19 shortcut through Summersville WV (which is where google maps sends you) as they are very strict with enforcement in that area. If you are looking for something interesting to do, consider the autotrain for your return trip. It will take you and your vehicle from Sanford FL (leaves around 4pm) to Lorton VA (arrives next morning around 9am). This shaves nearly 1200 km off of your drive and leaves you with a one day drive back to S. Ont. We really found it beneficial on the return trip when you don't have WDW to look forward to during the drive.. There is a thread on it here - http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=402667
     
  7. dancin Disney style

    dancin Disney style <font color=blue>I found one to share with some fa

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    A few things....
    1) if you take the 77/79 route, which is the most direct from the GTA you won't go any where near Washington.
    2)the drive from north GTA will be 21-22 driving hours depending on where you live
    3)the autotrain, while fun, has become very expensive


    When we do the drive, we live in Oakville and use the 77/79 route, we leave home around 2:30am and drive until 9pm. This usually gets us to the Savannah, GA area and leaves approx 3.5hrs the next morning. We pack all our drinks, snacks, breakfast and lunch. We only stop for dinner which is usually at a fast food type place. Our total hours on the road end up being 23-24.
     
  8. Lostboys

    Lostboys Earning My Ears

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    Thank you for all of your input. I think I'll stick to the google maps directions and save 300 km. I'm the only one driving, so it's going to be a long couple of days. I was hoping to get the most of it out of the way the first day and then a short drive on day 2 and unwind on arrival. I know you can't check into your rooms until 3 sometimes, so I was aiming for arriving at WDW Resorts close to that time.

    There's some great advice and tips posted. Thank you again.
     
  9. nat1234

    nat1234 Mouseketeer

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    Drove down my last trip and will be driving down again this Sept. I have a GPS and I also got a trip tic map from the CAA. Between the two we managed to get there. Really it's not a bad drive. Have a safe trip.
     
  10. iluveeyore

    iluveeyore DIS Veteran

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    We live in Fort Erie, and we always take the 90-79-77-95 route - it's a very stress-free drive, lots of nice rest stops, and plenty of places to stop for gas and food. We usually drive as far as we can the first day, but if you're breaking it up into two, Charlotte, NC or just past it is a great place to stop, as it is more than half-way. Charlotte is the busiest area, so if you'll be going through any time between 5-7 pm, I would stop just before it, say in Statesville, which is just as nice and very close, so you can get through Charlotte early the next day. We've taken this route so many times, we don't even need maps anymore - have a safe and wonderful trip! Oh, and if you are not booking a hotel ahead of time, stop at the Welcome Center/rest stop of whatever state you'll be sleeping in and grab a coupon book - they always have good deals for travelers at hotels along the route
     
  11. who's ur daddy?

    who's ur daddy? Mouseketeer

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    I am just in awe of you folk who can do the drive down. :thumbsup2

    I would love to have our own car down there, but I can't fathom driving more than 4 to 5 hours tops...in a day...
     
  12. Pinkgurlshubby

    Pinkgurlshubby Has not been blessed by the TF <font color=darkorc

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    It's a great drive you will love it, especially driving through the Virginia's. We crossed at Niagara Falls because it's only 40 minutes from where we live but managed to make 2 huge mistakes. My parents had been the last to use the GPS and it was set to avoid all major interstates and toll roads. Needless to say when my brain finally kicked in to what was happening we had driven about 120 kilometers in over 3 hours. It took us about 27 hours to go but the time was pretty close to Google maps to come back.
    The drive is less stressful than my daily commute to Toronto
    One thing you will notice is there is no shortage of service stations. You can always get gas, coffee and snacks and rest rooms.
     
  13. Ken_Breadbox

    Ken_Breadbox Mouseketeer

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    I guess driving's not for everyone. When you live up north, it might be a four to five hour drive one way to get groceries...
     
  14. Ken_Breadbox

    Ken_Breadbox Mouseketeer

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    Dissenting viewpoint here.
    We drove from Waterloo in 2010, using the same route we're talking about here, and I will *never* believe Google Maps again. We left at 3am, got to Charlotte at 6pm, and there was maybe 90 minutes worth of stops, total, in that. The next day was another 10.5 hours. Just gruelling.
    The scenery was beautiful, don't get me wrong. But we really missed having Dave Hunter's ALONG I-75 with us for the ride. That book eats miles and hours.
    The biggest thing I'd warn prospective drivers about: speed limits. You'll see more officers in one state in six hours than you'll see in a month of driving the 400-series here, and every one of them is itching to pull you over. Especially around Summersville WV. This "city"--it's barely a town, but it calls itself a city--has officers absolutely everywhere, and then can and do pull you over and ticket you for one mile an hour over.
     
  15. Pinkgurlshubby

    Pinkgurlshubby Has not been blessed by the TF <font color=darkorc

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    For sure. We were in no hurry. 2 drivers, figured we had a lot of time to get there so no hurry. Never had any worry until we hit the Georgia border. At that point I set the cruise control to the GPS speed. wasn't taking any chances,
     
  16. alexensmom

    alexensmom Mouseketeer

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    I am lurking on here because I needed a good laugh about Summersville. :lmao:I live an hour north and travel a lot on I79. Every time I get close to Summersville and see an Ontario license plate I say a little prayer and hope they know about the speed trap. :rotfl: Even I keep my speed at 50mph through there, but once your back in 65mph it's all good. Through WV your pretty safe at 5mph over the speed limit.

    FYI...I would avoid the McDonalds there. The service is always slower than slow even when you're the only one there. The Sheetz station is new and nice and clean compared to the Go Mart that is on the left as you drive into town. :thumbsup2

    Safe travels everyone!pixiedust:
     
  17. iluveeyore

    iluveeyore DIS Veteran

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    Also forgot to answer your question "is Fort Erie the best place to cross" - yes! Taking the QEW Niagara, it actually ends at Fort Erie crossing, so just follow it till you get to the border - if you take the exit to Niagara Falls, you will be driving through Niagara Falls, stoplights, streets, etc to get to the border crossing, and basically going out of your way, because you will be heading back towards Fort Erie, but on the other side of the border.
     
  18. minnie mum

    minnie mum Unapologetic Disney Fan(atic)

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    One more tip for your trip. When paying for gas by credit card at the pump, many (but not all) service station pumps will ask for your zip code. Obviously Canadians don't have one.
    We just got back from our trip, and DH had success MOST of the time by entering 01000 as the zip. Some station pumps didn't ask for it. The one time that this didn't work, we had to prepay with cash inside.
    Gas was really cheap compared to home. And the further south, the cheaper the gas. The cheapest was in the Carolinas. Then it went up again in Florida.
     
  19. nepean

    nepean Mouseketeer

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    There can be a lot of truck traffic on 95 especially after dark. We try to leave Ottawa around 6am and drive straight through with 3 drivers, even though 2 do most of the driving. Lots of places to stop and stretch your legs. We try and stop every 2-3 hours for a few minutes
     
  20. lee-annl

    lee-annl Earning My Ears

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    We took that route our last trip down and decided we won't do it again. We found it to take longer. We're going to stick to I95. It is pretty straight forward and there are a lot of places to stop.
     

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