Timing is everything!!!!!
Now that you have decided to go to Walt Disney World there are a lot of things to do before you go. What to pack, what to do when you get there, what tickets to buy, how much is it going to cost, where to stay, what to eat and how to get there. So, where to begin. We will discuss how to get there, specifically driving, from the north east. When it was me, my wife and two children we flew all the time. Then we doubled our kids and had to make a tough choice, fly or drive.
I know what you are thinking, driving in the car to Walt Disney World from the north east, what are we thinking!!!!! It took my wife a while to convince me to drive. However, a few factors came into play on the final decision: cost of flight, and tons and tons of luggage for a large family. So, I finally relented and we drove. The drive actually worked out a lot better than I thought it would. I feel like it adds extra days to our vacation since we arrive early the first day and leave after watching Illuminations on our last day.
My wife and I drive with our four kids, ages 8, 6, 5 and 3 from Connecticut. As the kids get older and personal schedules change, we have modified our driving schedule, however keeping a plan of arriving at 6:00am on our first day to make the most of it.
Originally we use to leave at 7:00pm two days before the day we checked in. We would drive through the night while the kids slept and my wife and I would switch driving throughout the night. In the morning we would arrive at my wife’s cousin’s house in North Carolina at about 8:00am with stops for gas and switching drivers. We would spend the day visiting and resting before the next leg of our trip. We would continue our trip at about 7:00pm (the kid’s bed time). Since we are DVC (Disney Vacation Club) Members and have a full kitchen we would stop at a local store and buy milk, bread, etc. for the week. We pack the items in a cooler with ice until check in. We typically arrive at our resort between 5:30 and 6:00 am. We do this because we will eat and freshen up before hitting the parks. Occasionally our room will be ready which is nice since we will shower, unpack and eat in the room.
Another one of our preferred driving methods is to leave at 3:00am (our kids will fall back to sleep quickly during the transfer from bed to car) the day before check in. We make a stop about 8:00am in Delaware to visit family, eat breakfast and let the kid’s burn off energy. We get back in the car about 11:00am with sandwiches packed. We drive as long as our bladders can hold, which we are fortunate our kids travel well.That being said, we bring a child potty seat for emergencies (and it makes a great stool at the hotel). The only problem with traveling during the day is traffic. Timing is truly everything. If you leave too late or too early coming from Connecticut you have to worry about New York and New Jersey traffic. Our break in Delaware not only helps with eating and letting the kids run, but also lets us leave to avoid Washington D.C. traffic and Richmond Virginia traffic. Don’t miss the opportunity to stop at the Virginia Welcome Center at mile marker 132. It is a nice area to let the kids run and play for a bit. Typically we break for dinner in either Virginia or North Carolina depending on traffic. During our dinner break we change the kids into their pajamas and settle them in. We generally make one more bathroom stop before the kid’s fall asleep for the night. On this over night of travel my wife and I switch a couple of times to ensure that we are a little rested for the first day of our Walt Disney World vacation.
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