Driving from Houston to Orlando..advice needed please!

Discussion in 'Disney World Tips' started by pktbMouse, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. pktbMouse

    pktbMouse DIS Veteran

    Feb 12, 2009
    I was wondering if anyone could give me advice. We plan to drive to Orlando for the first time in May this year with a 9yr old and a 3yr old. We are planning to stop overnight both ways but I would welcome advice if you have done the long drive thingy. Where do you stay? do you do halfway or do you drive as much as possible on the first stretch? Also advice on the kids doing the long journey would be great too. I think we are going to hire a van to do the trip as my expedition isnt very comfy on long roadtrips. I would rather fly but hubby wants to do the roadtrip this time so...any help would be welcome...thank you
  2. shannonstar

    shannonstar StarGirlJapp

    Mar 25, 2009
    I hate driving to Disney, but have done it twice now.

    For stopping, I recommend Biloxi for the overnight. There are casinos, a beach, etc and it is about 1/2 way.
    Another option is Tallahassee.

    As for driving with the kids, bring lots of digital items (games, DVD players). I would also advise doing most of the driving at night if they will sleep in the car. That's just from experience. If you guys take turns driving, it shouldn't be too much of a problem.
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  4. anl

    anl Mouseketeer

    Mar 12, 2008
    We drive from Beaumont and we just drive as far as we can...definitely don't stop to sleep before Florida. But we made stops along the way just to let the kids get out. With kids it seems less stressful if you aren't on a time clock that first day of driving.
  5. ChristyG

    ChristyG Earning My Ears

    Jan 25, 2012
    Hi neighbors! We drive from Orange. We usually leave early in the morning and will get to Pensacola early afternoon. We check into a hotel on I10 and then drive down to the beach until sunset. That lets the kids get out some energy and play at the beach! Have a nice supper and then head out the next morning and arrive in Orlando in the afternoon. I think I already have a reservation for when we go in June if you would like the name of the hotel.

  6. Hootch

    Hootch DIS Veteran

    Mar 4, 2006
    drive. Our drive time may be a little less than yours but not much. We break up the trip for a couple of reasons - a major one is the kids can't take 15 hour drives too well.

    I recommend a stop. I see a couple of places noted above. If you want to stay at a beach stop at Pensacola. I10 runs close to the Gulf. There is an interstate spur there that runs to within a couple of miles of Santa Rosa. Look to get to Pensacola or further on the way there to reduce the second day driving.

    Electronics work well with kids. Your kids appear to be at a prime age for Disney movies. If you are taking electronics for the drive check if the van has a built in inverter. Our older SUV has one but the new one doesn't. Your kids will forget to charge their things at the hotel and will be stuck with a dead game and a bad mood. I saw one at WalMart recently for about $40 that has two plug ins a USB charging connection. (We're driving to the West Coast and back this summer with the SUV without an inverter.)
  7. ohainat

    ohainat Earning My Ears

    Mar 21, 2012
    I just wanted to wish you luck on your trip!
    We're driving from Iowa to WDW this Sunday in our Expedition with 3 kids :eek: first trip to WDW! (I'll have to come back and post an update on how comfy the Expe goes for us. Maybe save you a few bucks renting! We were going to rent a van too)
    We're stopping in TN to break up our trip and recharge but also stopping probably every 2 hours for a 10 or 15 minute break to stretch and take a potty break.
    We're packing lots of snacks so we don't have to stop for hungry passengers. We've loaded up the ipad and ipods with movies and games. We're also going to try driving early early in the morning so that the kids will sleep and it wont seem like such a long drive ;)
    We can't wait!! :cheer2:
  8. Bearikens

    Bearikens Mouseketeer

    Sep 3, 2010
    I just wanted to add some additional information related to the kids watching movies. A couple of years ago we took our God Daughter to WDW and bought a DVD player. Even with tinted windows, the sunlight shining onto the DVD screen made it difficult for her to see the movie...so, she put a blanket over the player (on the back of the driver's seat) and her head. Oh, you might want to bring headphones for the kids to listen to the movie or playing games. My GD had this Catz and Dogz games and the sounds they made almost drove my DW and I crazy. Just something to think about.

    Hope this helps
  9. Disney Mommy 3

    Disney Mommy 3 DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2006
    Hi Amber! It's me!! LOL!!!
    I am 'neigbors' with both you ladies, I actually know anl!! Isn't that hilarious!!! Anyway, my advice:FLY!!! :rotfl: We drove there 3 times as a kid, so I went when I was about 7, 11, and 18...of course, we didn't have any electronics or anything to play with like the kids have now,...just lots of books, crossword puzzles, etc...honestly, I hated it every single time!!! but, my parents also made us stop for 2 nights...they would NOT drive too far when it was dark..so it made the trip seem endless!! Then the 3rd afternoon we would be close enough to stop and go to Disney the next day,..what a drag!! If we ever end up driving it, I will push as far as Florida for sure the first night, then on to WDW the 2nd and hit the parks the 3rd morning,...I get headaches too badly to try and do an all night drive,..it just wouldn't be worth it. for us, it just seems like we NEVER could get through Louisiana, then getting on the other side of Alabama seemed like it would never get there! So, for me, Fl would be the goal for sure!!!!
  10. TXMama09

    TXMama09 Mouseketeer

    May 3, 2010
    We are driving from Texas as well...with a 2 1/2 year old :sad2:

    We are stopping in Tallahasse on the way down. Then, on our return trip we are most likely stopping in Biloxi. Gulf Shores was an option but it's more expensive!
  11. Echo queen

    Echo queen <font color=darkcoral>I like the idea of being clo

    Feb 18, 2005
    We are not driving:banana: I love reading tips about driving. Good luck:wizard::banana:
  12. akclayton

    akclayton Mouseketeer

    Sep 1, 2011
    We live a little over an hour south of Houston. I remember when my parents drove us to Disney. It's a long tiring trip. The first time, they took 2 stops. Slidell and Pensacola. On the way back, we only stopped in Biloxi. That may be a good option for you. I would Priceline a hotel using name your price that way you don't spend more than $50 for the hotel. The state lines all have very nice rest stops. Nothing like what you see in Texas. They have good bathrooms, some have air condition information centers some of which used to offer free or cheap drinks. It's good to take a break at those. Even some of the normal rest stops aren't that bad to stop at. Each time you stop even if its to get gas, get them out and let them roam or stretch. Dvd players are good as well as color and activity books. Give them some Disney ones to help get in the Disney spirit.
  13. martinolichfamily

    martinolichfamily DIS Veteran

    Jul 22, 2009
    We lived outside of Houston in humble when we drove...we actually have made that drive 3 times with our kiddos....the first two times we stopped...one trip we stopped in bayst louis, only because my DH Grandmother lived there...the second trip..we drove into FL (can't remember which town) and our third trip we drove straight to Disney! I can say that we had no problems driving straight through..the kids were happy in the car with movies and games systems...I also packed each kiddo a backpack with some new items....Disney color books, plastic twistable crayons ( they don't melt in the heat!), colorwonder set, and anything else I found in the $1 section at target! :goodvibes. We also have an expedition and everyone was good. Also, plenty of snacks! One year we stopped for lunch to have a picnic in Alabama...it was nice..we all were able to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
    We are headed to DL this summer and will be flying for the first time...I can say that I'm more nervous to fly with all of us then to drive! But I'd rather be there in 3 hrs vs. two days!

    Next year we will be driving again...this time with our 3rd child..well have DS (11), DD(6) & DS(1 1/2)! But this time well be headed from Dallas area....so I'm thinking well drive to humble at my in laws and overnight then drive straight through! But this time get up early and head out early! When we drove straight through the last time we didn't plan on it ....so we left by 8am ... Had a hotel booked in FL...DH decided that he didn't want to stop so we cancelled that room , called. POP to book room only for one night and kept on a driving! We got to POP around 1am. We slept in the next morning and then headed to Ak later that day!

    Good luck in whatever you decide and have a great trip! ;)
  14. fitnessmouse

    fitnessmouse DIS Veteran

    Dec 23, 2008
    Make sure your kids can stand watching dvd's in the car. My kids get nauseus (sp?) from it and puke.

    Trust me, you do not want that in your car, on the carseat, under the fabric, between the seatbelt, yuck, yuck, yuck.

    So if we do long drives, we let them watch 1 movie in the evening, we drive through the night, and 1 movie in the morning. They also take car/travel sickness medicine which helps.
  15. GinefirW

    GinefirW Earning My Ears

    Dec 13, 2009
    Hey neighbors! I'm in Beaumont and planning a June Disney trip.

    My hubby was getting irritated of all the little stuff I bought, but then I pulled out my old rubbermaid and showed him all the goodies that are going to keep up sane on the trip.

    Hubby is former Navy, now reserves and says that he can handle all the driving in one day. He has done it before. The one big thing that I suggest is headphones, dvd's, books and music players not only for the kids, but for me and hubby. It saves our sanity.

  16. henderkm

    henderkm Mouseketeer

    Sep 7, 2007
    We've done it several times, but it is not our chosen method of transportation. Last summer we drove with DD's 20 and 18, and grandaughter, 2. We live in southwest Houston so we spend about an hour just getting out of Houston.

    We left around 4 in the morning and drove to Tallahassee. The next day, we left around 8 and arrived at WDW early enough to spend quite a bit of time in the parks.

    Coming home, we have tried two different methods. We have stayed in the parks until around 2:30 and drove to Tallahassee. Grandaughter was zonked out in the back seat for that trip. The second day was a long trip. The other method we have used is to drive to eastern Louisiana the first day and head for Houston the second day.

    For the road trip, we took DVD's, Crayola markers that only color on Crayola pages, books. We took a neck pillow for the little one in the car seat and a throw to cover up with. We stopped frequently at roadside parks to burn off energy.

    Your idea of getting a van sounds good. We have a Kia Borrego and it was very crowded, especially with the stroller and souvenirs on the ride home.
    Once we rented a car at Hobby airport for a cheaper rate.

    Good luck with your trip!
  17. Disney Mommy 3

    Disney Mommy 3 DIS Veteran

    Oct 18, 2006
    hey neighbor!! :welcome: to the boards!!!
  18. Friendly Frog

    Friendly Frog DIS veteran with a mouse on her back.

    Jul 31, 2005
    Just wanted to add that if you child gets motion sickness, an audio book is a nice alternative to a DVD.
  19. ChristyG

    ChristyG Earning My Ears

    Jan 25, 2012
    When is your trip?
    We are leaving June 1...stopping in Pensacola...arriving in Orlando June 3. June 3, after driving and being in the car, we have reservations at House of Blues at Downtown Disney and then tickets to Cirques. We are staying at Coronado Springs Resort. Our trip home will be June 9. June 8 we are at Universal...will try to turn in early"ish" and get up early on June 9 and drive all the way home. Seems we always drive straight home....ready to be home by that time!

    It is us...dh 52, me 48, dd 23, dd 11. We will have ipads with movies and games, ipods with music...HEADPHONES....pillows and blankets. We have always driven in a SUV but this year we have a little, but comfy, car. Nervous about that! I looked into renting a van but it was big $$$ so we are opting for being comfy and cozy with each other and toughing it out!
  20. jobro912

    jobro912 Mouseketeer

    Oct 13, 2000
    Howdy...We're driving from Baytown. Leaving June 9 around 10:30 PM...Son is graduating from HS that night, so we're going to leave right after. Of course he is older...We have driven several times, and when he was younger we would stop on the way, and back. Pensacola is a good option for trip there. We often stayed a bit further. Sometimes way further...ie, Ocala. On the way back we try to make it to Louisiana, and stay off of I 12 just north of New Orleans. Have stopped in Biloxi/Gulfport area as well.

    One thing we do when driving is leave a day early, and stay off site the day before check in...Then we check into our Disney resort early on our first day.

    Have a great trip :)
  21. vwaller72

    vwaller72 Mouseketeer

    Feb 18, 2011
    Katy, TX here. Last year we left on the last day of school and drove straight through. We were on the road by noon and arrived in Orlando at 6 AM. The kids (5, 7, 13, 15) were asleep by 11 and slept all the way to Orlando.

    We will be doing the same thing this year but trying to take some steps to make it a little quicker just by making better use of stops and avoiding some of the traffic headaches like Baton Rouge at 4:30 PM. We are leaving on May 31st and coming back on June 9th. On the 9th we'll do a park until around 4 or 5 and drive to Pensacola or Mobile then drive the rest of the way the next day.

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