Road tripping MO to TX

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by avinsmomma, Feb 14, 2013.

  1. avinsmomma

    avinsmomma Earning My Ears

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    We are planning to drive the 13 hours from our home in Missouri to Galveston, TX with our 3 year old son. Does anyone have tips or suggestions on making this drive? We're planning to leave early and travel 6-7 hours, stop for the night near the TX/OK border then drive to the Galveston area the next day, spend the night there and board the cruise ship the next day.
     
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  3. ChloroFiend

    ChloroFiend DIS Veteran

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    Where in MO? I've driven from Dallas to Chicago numerous times; the former is home now, the latter used to be.

    If you're near KC, the easiest way is to probably just ride I-35 all the way to Dallas, and then hop I-45 from there.

    If you're off of I-44 or near St. Louis, I'd suggest taking I-44 into Oklahoma, then taking US-69/US-75 all the way down to Dallas. It's primarily 4-lane highways, though it goes through a bunch of small towns. It's actually quite quick of a drive, with the added convenience of plenty of opportunities to stop.

    45 between Dallas and Houston is relatively construction free right now; you might run into some around Houston, but nothing terrible. Traffic in both cities around rush hour can be epic, so plan your timings accordingly! There's really not much in the 3-4 hours between Dallas and Houston, so be warned...bright side, the speed limit is 75 a good part of the way.
     
  4. MikeAndNick

    MikeAndNick If you can dream it, you can do it.

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    My son and I did road trips every two years from California to North East Texas from the time he was 2 years old. Last time we went to Texas by the way of Yellowstone park and Mt. Rushmore. He always had cars, army men, Lego's and color books within his reach. We also spent lots of time playing car games.
    1. Theres a Car -- When there is not many cars on the road we look for cars any place and say "theres a car"
    2. ABC game - The first person finds the letter "A" anyplace outside the car. Then the next person has to find the letter "B" and you keep going
    3. 123 game - Same as the ABC game but you start with the number 1 and move up. It gets interesting when you get into double digits. You have to find both on the same sign or car or truck.
    4. Where are are you going - You pick a car or truck and tell the others where you would take the vehicle and what you would see driving in that place. Note: the place does not have to be on earth... use your imagination
     
  5. avinsmomma

    avinsmomma Earning My Ears

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    We are coming off of 44 between St. Louis and Springfield. Good info to know about Dallas/Houston!
     
  6. mbrocker

    mbrocker Mouseketeer

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    We're doing the same -- but from OH to TX. Our first really big road trip. Yeah, I'm freaking out a bit. Great thread idea!
     
  7. FrogMBA

    FrogMBA Mouseketeer

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    I am driving 22 hrs from Michigan to Galveston. Most of the trip will be down us 59. Hope to do it in 2 days.:drive::drive:
     
  8. green country

    green country Earning My Ears

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    Plan on lots of breaks. Someone mentioned Hwy 69/75 that runs through OK.
    It is a very popular highway with truckers. There are some McDonalds that have playgrounds in McAlester and Durant, OK if I remember. There is also a McD in Vinita that is a glass house over I-44 that is different.
    Pack a DVD player and maybe plan on riding in the back seat at times to keep your little one company.
     
  9. nkochrn

    nkochrn Mouseketeer

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    We are about to make the drive from Kansas to Florida with a 3 y/o and 5 y/o! We plan to split the drive into 3 days and drive around 6 hours/day. DH and I are usually up until 11pm, so were planning to get several hours of driving in at night, like 8pm-Midnight, this way the kids will be sleeping for a lot of the trip. I very rarely can sleep in when I'm on vacation or in a hotel, so I'm guessing we'll be on the road by 8am every day. We've researched some places along the way to stop that would give kids a chance to run off energy and stretch. I'll be on the lookout for big malls with play areas and we've spotted a few discovery centers.

    This is what I have planned so far to entertain the kids:
    • DVD's-Planning to purchase a few new ones they haven't seen
    • Leapsters-DS LOVES his!, Nintendo DS, Cell phone games
    • Little Gifts-I have several little dollar store toys that I plan to give them spread throughout the trip, like random gifts.
    • Color Wonder Books with Markers
    • Travel Bingo-I've seen a few different ones for kids

    ETA: When is your trip? We are leaving Kansas City on Feb 28th, maybe I'll be able to bring back some things I've learned after our trip :)
     
  10. avinsmomma

    avinsmomma Earning My Ears

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    We leave mid April! Good luck!
     
  11. PrincessAbby'sMom

    PrincessAbby'sMom DIS Veteran

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    We are venturing on our 1st road trip too...Illinois to Galveston Tx , we all get car sick... But saving around $1000 by driving should help that! Lol

    Plenty of movies, little games, books, cooler of snacks & food & drinks, little figures he can play with in hand (GI Joe, Dino's, little people), CDs or music he would like. And stop & let him run around at a rest area would help some too!

    Good luck & have fun!
     
  12. FlowerMouse

    FlowerMouse 1st time Disney cruiser

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    I drive between TX and IL at least once a year. This year, I am driving from TX to Vancouver. Talk about packing challenges need to pack for desert and mountain snow. :scared1:

    I highly recommend going to Mcdonalds website and search for restaurant location. ( You have to search before option appears.) Once you do, an option appears "trip planning". Select this search Mcdonalds between your destinations for ones that have play places. This way you know which exits to take. For long drives, I usually stop at McDonalds at least once per day to let the kids energy out. Not my favorite thing to do but makes the drive so much better. To me stopping at McDonalds without playplaces are a waste of time.
     
  13. mbrocker

    mbrocker Mouseketeer

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    Sidewalk chalk is an awesome thing to have on a road trip. We'll also pack a cooler, pillows, stuffed "huggers", something for the boys feet to rest on. DVDs, tablets, playdoh, magnetic letters and cookie sheet, stickers, magnadoodles, hot wheels, iPad, kindle, books, music .. Holy moly ..I hope I still have room for luggage! :)
     
  14. avinsmomma

    avinsmomma Earning My Ears

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    Do you all make reservations for hotels along the way or do you wing it and stop when the kids can't ride anymore?
     
  15. UmmGooD

    UmmGooD DIS Veteran

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    We started driving everywhere since we had 2 kids. The cost to fly is getting too expensive and frankly it is more stressful lugging stuff for the kids through the airport than it is to drive for 2 days in my eyes.

    Our first road trip was 8/2011 when we drove from Austin to WDW with 2 kids 7 and 2. The second road trip was 3/2012 when we drove to LA for our MR Wonder cruise with 3 kids 8, 3, and 3 months. The third trip was back to Northern California 12/2012 to visit family. Our kids at that time were 9, 3, and 1 year old.

    The trip when our son was 3 months was the craziest. We have a Honda Odyssey van with the rear seat entertainment so that helps. Here is some other things we do.

    1. We buy a bunch of apps for our 2 iPads that we DON'T tell the kids about. When they start to get restless I say "Hey have you tried this new game?".
    2. We take a couple new movies they haven't seen before and don't tell them about them until we are on the road.
    3. We make the new goodie bags that they haven't seen and give them to them when we start the trip.
    4. We try to book hotels with indoor pools (since we mostly travel when it is cool). We time our day so after dinner our drive is done and the kids can swim. We had a problem where the kids are wild from being in the car all day and the swim wears them out so they'll go to sleep at a reasonable time.
    5. We try to stop at least once every 100 miles. Make everyone get out of the car unless a child is napping.
    6. I limit our drive to 650 miles MAX. We leave really early each day like 6a.m. and are usually done by about 6p.m. The kids eat, swim, and then go to sleep around 9.
    7. We have lots of games to play but usually only the 9 year old will participate.
    8. We spread the kids out in the van so they can't reach each other. Once we tried having them all in the middle row and it was CRAZY. They can get cranky and if you have one that is an instigator they can cause a huge uproar in the car.
    9. Since there isn't usually anything good to eat when we have time to stop we let the kids pick where we are going to eat.
    10. Avoid free breakfasts in the hotel. They add a TON of time before you can leave.
    11. We book our hotels LONG in advance using refundable rates. Then the week before I check to see what the non-refundable rates are and switch to those if they are cheaper.
    12. I plan the trip on google maps to figure out how far to go. The time estimates are good. If google maps says it is 9 hours without stops always add 2 hours for stops.
    13. Bring a small ice chest full of water, kids juice, snacks. Kids are not very forgiving (especially in the middle of Texas where it can be 100 miles until the next gas station).

    Oh and if you are driving through Dallas make sure you get an In-N-Out burger. I am ex Californian and I just had to put that in.
     
  16. PrincessaJasmine

    PrincessaJasmine Mouseketeer

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    Great tips above! One thing I didn't realize on roadtrips when my kids were younger is that the carseats have far less cushion than what we adults sit on. We made sure to stop more often to allow them to stretch their legs.

    I agree that the In-n-out burgers are worth a stop!
     
  17. maria-fan-22

    maria-fan-22 DIS Veteran

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    Hey! I'm from Oklahoma and have made drives between OKC and Houston, and OKC and st. Louis a couple of times.

    As a tip. In Ardmore, Oklahoma (30 or so miles north of the OK/TX border on I-35, there is a gas station and convienience store with fairly well priced gasoline and very nice bathrooms. I always stop there. Take exit 32 to the east and it's on the right.

    2424 12th Avenue Northwest
    Ardmore, OK 73401

    Also about a mile north of the OK/TX border, there is the worlds largest casino called Winstar, It's kinda cool to see as your drive along because they made the facade look like landmarks from all over the world. As you drive by it's fun to see which ones you can name.

    Have a good drive! pirate:
     
  18. MissAndrea

    MissAndrea Mouseketeer

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    We are hard core road trippers but I'm not sure I even have any tips. We always drive since it's cheaper than flying....it means more vacations that way. :thumbsup2 We've driven from Kansas City to WDW 3x and from Branson to WDW 3x. Each was a 18-24 trip and we drive straight through! We'll leave Friday at 3:00 as soon as DD12 is out of school. She's fine watching movies until bedtime, then she sleeps until the next morning (lots of pillows and blankets). I usually sleep shortly after getting on the road, then take over driving from about 10-3am while hubby sleeps. Then when he takes back over, he'll drive for an hour or so then starts to get tired so we'll stop at a rest area for an hour or two then get back on the road. The next morning, DD is usually fine with watching movies again for a while but the last few hours she starts asking how much longer. I made her a huge Disney activity/coloring book a few years ago and she'll work/color for a while. Now she has her own phone and we have a tablet so texting/playing on apps will take some extra time.

    Our longest road trip was a 2 week trip from Branson to Colorado, up to Grand Tetons, then to Yellowstone, then over to Mt. Rushmore, and back down to Branson. We've taken several 12-13 hour trips which after all the long trips we've done, seem like a cake walk. New Orleans, Galveston, and Denver are about 12-13 hours so we will get up early and drive straight through so we arrive early evening. Don't worry too much about it and just be prepared. Have a list of road trip games, bring some travel games, coloring books, colors, and movies. As long as you have movies, you can go hours without ever hearing a word from them!! He might even sleep a while.

    Enjoy the road trip! You can make some great memories on them. And keep a camera handy. Road trips are the best!!
     
  19. txSleepingBeauty

    txSleepingBeauty <font color=blue>New Rule:<br><marquee><font color

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    My how times have changed. When I was a kid in the 80's my parents just threw my 3 older brothers and me into the station wagon with maybe a couple of books and a deck of cards. We'd drive straight through from Houston to Pittsburgh every summer......Good luck! and avoid Dallas and Houston during rush hour like the plague.
     
  20. Crystal Brewer

    Crystal Brewer Mouseketeer

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    With MsAndrea on this we've always drove with 2 DSs Also vacation 2x year My Boys older now Luv the tech offered now tho honestly when they were younger we traveled nights The excitement for the adults made for not wanting much than power naps anyway & boys would sleep lrg percent of time not putting them off schedule They are 12&16 we will be leaving at 2am in 5 wks for a 12-13 hr trip to see Mickey:-)
     
  21. tictoc

    tictoc Mouseketeer

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    We always timed it out I their terms. We always had a movie on. Before leaving they would pick the movies they wanted to watch. So instead of getting there in 18 hours it was 10 movies. Plus because the movies were prechosen there was no fighting over what to watch.
     

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