As covered in our first part, traveling to Walt Disney World in Florida by car with a family is not simple. However it can also be structured to match your family eating and sleep patterns. The change from normal straight thru drives happens to extend the travel an extra 28-30 hours, but may be worth it to enjoy your entire trip.
We leave Connecticut with a packed minivan usually on a Friday or Saturday morning by 9am. This puts us with many other travelers..and also forces us to maneuver off 95 throughout the trip. More on that later. Our car is usually packed with a soft cooler of drinks and lunch as well as a full grocery bag of snacks. Our three kids under 10 will be equipped with electronic devices and movies in the car in order to make the full day travel go by easier.
The first stop is usually in New Jersey followed by a stop soon after traveling over the Delaware Memorial Bridge. Our first detour begins here as we leave 95 to take 1/13/113 down the beach town highways through Maryland leading to the Chesepeake Bay Bridge into Virginia Beach, where we will stop for the first night. The bay bridge into Virgina Beach is an attraction itself as it goes over and under water over a 20-mile stretch that is truly amazing for kids to see. Upon finishing the bridge, we arrive at the hotel for a quick swim and off to bed.
After a good night’s sleep (which is sometimes a stretch being night 1 of hotels for these kids), we head out using the country highways of Virginia to connect to 95 just north of North Carolina. Once we have crossed into NC, we make a brief stop at the Oasis rest area off exit 168. We began stopping here some years back as it is the only Dunkin’ Donuts you will see for hundreds of miles. It is actually a plussed up service station that adds stuffed mountain lions and billy goats to its visuals, similar to what you would see at a museum. After the annual fun of popping in there we continue until a lunch stop somewhere close to South Carolina. With a few more breaks along the way, we arrive at our Day 2 destination in Kingsland, GA. After a quick pizza delivery and dip in the pool, it’s off to bed.
The final drive begins at 8am the next morning which allows us to arrive on WDW property around 11am. We usually time this out to grab lunch at a resort quick service, then meet other guests in our party who fly down to begin a half day adventure until our rooms are ready.
While we may lose an extra day in Florida, this travel style works for our family, allowing long days in the car to simply replace long days at school or work, with the rest of our eating and sleeping patterns not altered. This has helped us enjoy our trips even more.
We hope this style helps any other families out there, always looking to hear stories from others.