Driving from Toronto area w/baby....questions

Discussion in 'Canadian Trip Planning & Community Board' started by ksafavi, Jul 9, 2006.

  1. ksafavi

    ksafavi Earning My Ears

    Jul 4, 2006

    I have just a few questions for those of you that have driven to WDW from the Toronto area...(BTW we are going this year at Halloween)

    Do you think that it would honestly be easier to fly or drive with a 6 month old?

    What is the shortest reasonable amount of time that it would take with 2 adult drivers and 3 kids in the van?

    How much do you usually spend along the way in snacks, entertainment, hotels?

    Did you spend more or less on gas than you thought?

    Would you rather drive, fly or go another way if you had a choice?

    Thanks a bunch!!!

  2. cslittle999

    cslittle999 DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2002
    Welcome to the DIS Ketherine.

    You've asked some tricky questions. Tricky because they depend a lot on how your family typically travels. You didn't say how old your other children are but I am going to assume that they are fairly young.

    It depends on your baby. The flight is relatively short. Worst case is your baby crying all of the way. If you are going to fly I recommend getting a flight out of Buffalo. The cost will be significantly less that anything out of Toronto.

    If your baby is good in the car then driving can be fun. It is easy to bring everything that you will need. Take advantage of the rest areas and let the baby and the other kids have some play time.

    It is 21 hours of driving time (including breaks) for our family (me, DW, DD9, DS7). We take the I90/I79/I77/I26/I95/I4 route. I expect that time to reduce a little bit as our kids get older because we will need fewer stops.

    We stay in a hotel one night on the way down. You can usually find something nice in the $70 to $80 range. We bring all of our snacks and drinks with us. This is the biggest benefit of driving. We also pack lunch for the first day. We bring all of our entertainment with us too. On the way home we stop twice. This allows us to have some shopping time on our final day. Here is a link to a thread on a great, inexpensive toy. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=830721

    Depends on your vehicle. Our mini-van gets a fairly consistent 700km per tank. Less when you're going through the mountains. Since we've driven twice now we have a very good idea how much it will cost. You can use this site to get a cost estimate. http://www.fuelcostcalculator.com/

    Here is a link to a thread that asked this very question back in June. http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1134842

    Here are some other driving threads:

    http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1014683 There is a post of mine in this thread that details out our travels times. We keep a trip log when we go places so we know how long it will take the next time.
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  4. ksafavi

    ksafavi Earning My Ears

    Jul 4, 2006
    WOW! Thanks..that's awesome answer! It is really helpful! Now I really have some good info to help me decide...but I think we are leaning towards driving...

    --Ketherine :thumbsup2
  5. cslittle999

    cslittle999 DIS Veteran

    Dec 26, 2002
    We enjoy the drive. The driving through the mountains has some amazing scenery. We always make travel maps for the kids so they can track our progress. It avoids the are we there yets. :) We also put together small presents to open whenever we cross a border (country or state). Little things like glow sticks, books on tape, food treats, disposable camera for them to take pictures... It make them anticipate the next small milestone instead of how long you still have to drive. Some people swear by in car DVD but we personally haven't felt the need.

    One other factor is how much time off you have. My work has a very flexible schedule so I don't have to shorten my vacation because of the longer travel time.
  6. Daydreamer64

    Daydreamer64 DIS Veteran

    Apr 28, 2003
    We are big on driving- we don't have a lot of extra cash to fly and we really like the convience of packing everything that we need and not choosing to leave anything behind or having to rent equiptment for the baby at our destination.

    A great thing about driving is the trip itself - we stop and take pictures at the first rest stop in each state in front of the state welcome sign. We enjoy playing road games like I Spy or games like car tag/farm animal/ billboard advertisements food names bingo and so on... . The boys learned how to navigate with maps. The have fun telling us how many miles to "X" or we should be at "Y" by whatever time they calculate. The boys have learned all about driving, road hazards, map reading and navigating through these trips. You might be surprised at the conversations and subjects that get brought up during trips like "Why are there so many crosses on the mountain tops in the Carolinas and in the Virginias? What is a piggy-backed truck and why are they dangerous? Do people really live in those little shanty houses? " Our trips have been quite educating sometimes with the things that the kids hear and see and ask about.

    AND, we are big on just enjoying life itself :3dglasses :sunny: -- if we see signs for something interesting then we stop- we have stoped for ice cream/dairy factory tours with free icecream cones at the end of the tour- mmm yummy. We have visited Amish/ Minnonite farm homes to buy their fresh breads/baked goods that they sell to the public- still warm and melty from the ovens- it's fun to see how other people/cultures live-- when they have extra baked goods they put signs out by the road. We've enjoyed a fresh, just picked, still warm from the sun watermelon from a farmer in South Georgia- that was the best watermelon that we've ever had. We also picked fresh strawberries from a farm in Pa. and snacked on them during our trip. There are so many things to see and do on a road trip. :goodvibes We know we are getting close to Florida when we start to see signs advertising "live baby alligator" :joker: .

    Road trips can be lots of fun but they can also be long drawn out ordeals if there's trouble with the car or the kids are motion sick. I prefer driving to flying for so many reasons- we might fly someday when the boys only need a book to keep them busy and can carry their own luggage but for now we are drivers for sure.

    We take road trips up to Erie Pa. and New York ( Jamestown ) from Atlanta Ga. and it takes about 18 hours one way with our kids. We head up through S. Carolina, N. Car., Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pa.and finally NY. then back down through Ohio, Kentucky, Tenn then Ga.

    A few words of advice - trust me on this :wizard: - take a portable DVD player if you have one- it makes it so easy to say- "we'll be at the hotel or lunch or "whatever" by the end of your movie". My oldest sons don't use the player as much now but it has been a life saver when we have been stuck in traffic or when they're just bored out of their minds from driving for hours :happytv: .

    We take 30 to 40 min. breaks :hourglass about every 2 to 3 hours to let the kids run and more importantly let the little ones out of their car seats since they are so restricted when in them. We always take a good long dinner at some place like Cracker Barrel to stretch our legs and get some shopping done and play checkers with each child. We usually pack lunches and have fast food sometimes for bkfs.

    Our big boys each get a gallon size ziplock baggie with their name written on it. I fill it with individual snack sized ziplock baggies with popcorn:: : lemon drops, cinnamon hearts, sour patch kids, gummy worms, pretzel sticks, popcorn, pringles individual snack packs, cheeze/ peanutbutter crackers, and trail mix ( peanuts, raisens, M&m's mixed ). - I do not pack chocolate or gum as these things tend to get lost and melt all over the seats.

    I freeze their juice boxes and put them in a small 6 can, soft-sided cooler and we always enourage bottled water for the road. I know that everyone has a fair share and there is no fighting :dance3: over who ate the last whatever because each child is in charge of his own bag and decides how much and when to eat out of it. Also, they know that they have to make the bag last for the whole trip -on the way there, at the resort and on the way home- so they are limited on how much junk they get on the trip.

    Each child is allowed to pack a small backpack full of toys, game players, videos, washable markers, paper and so on. They are each responsible to keep their "stuff" in their bags when not in use and they also put their snack bags in the packs so they can just carry them with us to the rooms and resort checkins.

    Also, the trip pictures taken by the kids with their own disposable cameras are always good for a great laugh. Some of the pictures that we have come home with are funny - like the time that my middle son was 4 years old and the whole roll of film was of the restrooms, food and "shoes"?? that he saw from his level of the world and decided to take pics of. He also had pics of the back of our heads and our bottoms because he said that is all he ever gets to see in the car and while we are walking because we told him to stay close and stay behind us when we visited places on the trip. :rotfl: :teeth: :rotfl2:

    Hope you can use some of this information for a great trip if you choose to drive :moped: .
  7. Bonnie40

    Bonnie40 <font color=red>Sweet tomatoes, yum<br><font color

    Feb 18, 2002
    Here's an interesting story...my family (3 kids) has always driven to Florida for vacation, starting when my youngest was just 3. We've done it a number of different ways...I75, I90/I79/I95, driven through the night to let the kids sleep, done it a number of times straight through.

    We have always felt like the drive was part of the vacation. We enjoy the scenery and love the feel of driving further and further south. Don't get me wrong, at times it's challenging (we've never done the DVD thing!)!

    Anyway, my daughter was lucky enough to get a CM job at WDW this summer and had to fly (out of Buffalo) for the first time. We were all wrecks about it, but it worked out fine. I had promised to fly down and see her and was lucky to get a great Ding rate with SW out of Buffalo. I took my mom and my youngest son (14). While there, both my son and my daughter commented that even though flying was convenient, they much preferred to drive!

    Guess what? We're driving down on August 19 to have a short vacation and bring her home and everyone's looking forward to the drive!

    Driving has made many more memories for us (thankfully mostly good!) and my kids still wanting to drive is a testament to how much they enjoyed them.
  8. Debbie

    Debbie DIScovering DIS magic-missing my colours

    Jun 28, 2000
    ::yes:: You hit the nail on the head, Bonnie! We're flying this trip, and my DD15's first comment? "What about Cracker Barrel and Waffle House?"
    We always use Dave Hunter's Along I-75 and do some of the side trips. It makes for an enjoyable, informative trip. The only downside that I can see is the trip home. :moped:
  9. Addicted2TheMouse

    Addicted2TheMouse <font color=purple>Yeah, yeah, we all hate Stitch,

    Jan 4, 2006
    We drove many times when I was a child and I agree with the other posters. Many of my best memories are from the drive down. The drive home sucks though because you don't have the same sort of excited feeling.

    Anyway, I'm not against driving in general BUT I would never drive with a baby. It's just my opinion but I don't think it's fair to a 6 month old to have them in the car for that long. I think about 3 is probably the youngest that I would subject a child to that drive. I flew with my 5 month old last year and it went really well. That would be my suggestion.
  10. mickgoof

    mickgoof Earning My Ears

    Jul 5, 2006
    We have always driven to WDW even when kids were small. Usually took the two days and tried to go longer the first day. Travelled I75 as we cross at Sarnia. This trip we are going to leave at 2pm and try driving straight thru. If we all get too tired there are lots of cheap places to stay on the way. We stop every three hours - seems to be a long enough stretch to drive - and DH is a smoker which is not allowed in the vehicle. Snacks are all taken from home for the trip but watch what you take. Check out the Canada/Us customs sites to find out what you can take across the border.pooh:
  11. Drivercan

    Drivercan Mouseketeer

    Mar 27, 2006
    I wouldn't recommend booking your hotel room in advance. Try printing out some coupons from roomsaver.com for the States where you think you might stop. The rest stops along the way always have books filled with coupons for hotels off the interstate. We stuck to Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inns. We used coupons and always got 2 adjoining rooms so that we and our 2 children could spread out. We made sure that the hotels had a pool as that was part of the vacation for our children too.

    We flew back in 2004 and drove this year. I don't think I would fly again. When you count in the time to get to the airport, waiting for check-in, waiting to board, delays, renting your car at the airport etc. you aren't really saving that much time by flying.
    My husband hates flying too.

    We drove I-79/I77/I95 on the way down and I75 on the way back. My husband (the driver) preferred I75 but the other route was faster.

    We are thinking about driving to Winnipeg next summer and was surprise to see that it is just as far as Orlando!!

    Have fun!
  12. F4disneyfan

    F4disneyfan <font color=deeppink>It all depended on my mood in

    May 4, 2006
    We didn't drive from TO but still from Ontario with our youngest daughter when she was 8 months old and she was fine she actually slept for most of the trip then with our sone when he was about that same age and again no issues as he slept for most of the trip also.
  13. alohamom

    alohamom DIS Veteran

    Oct 31, 2003
    Ok, you guys are making me want to drive down and just turn aroung and come back! We have only driven once and that was before the kids! I don't think we could ever do it again as both DH and I have some back pain issues that make even day tripping uncomfortable. I am jumping in here to mention that diaper rash (yes) can become a huge issue for a 6 month old sitting for so long. Be prepared with some extra amounts of your favorite zinc moisture barrier cream or even Canesten. We found this out the hard way going on a 4 hour car trip from the GTA to northern Kingston area and my little daughter suffered for about a week later. I changed her frequently but that adds to your travel time and you cant always stop exactly when you need to so she ended up developing severe diaper rash that of course led to lots of tears etc. Just a heads up if you do decide to drive.

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