, , , ,

Mike’s family and my (Kyle’s) family have recently returned from Walt Disney World. We thought it might be a good idea to “compare” trips and show our different plans with what works and what didn’t. Part one will go over the process of getting there. We live in the same town in Connecticut but we take different routes. We will start with my travels.

We did a marathon drive like we typically do. We left our house at 6 pm on a Monday and arrived on Tuesday. We were lucky and Traffic was with us and moved swiftly. We take I95 except in New Jersey until I4 at which point we are in the home stretch and the kids start getting really excited.
I did the first shift of driving and drove straight through the night until about 6am. We only stopped twice during that time, once to let the kids go to the bathroom before it got too late and the second stop was just a gas and go in northern Virginia. My wife and I have a standing rule when we drive, if one of us is sleeping when we stop for a bathroom break or gas, we wake each other up and make sure we give each other our location. When 6am hit I was about at my limit for driving. With my job I am use to working weird hours and driving late nights. I still did not want to stop since traffic was still moving well but safety first, so we switched and got gas in South Carolina (avoiding South of the Border).
Our kids also started to wake up about this time. We had packed bagels, cream cheese and fruit to eat on the go. We kept the cream cheese and fruit cold in a soft sided cooler, this is also where we kept our cold meat for lunch to avoid stopping for too long. Our next stop was in Georgia for a quick bathroom break and gassed up again which would get us to our destination. We did make one other stop before we were done driving. For the first time ever we stopped at the Florida Welcome Center. The kids enjoyed grabbing a couple pamphlets about the Kennedy Space Center, Disney of course and other local attractions. The highlight though was the free orange juice it was a small sample but the kids enjoyed it. At this point we were a mere three hours away. We arrived at our destination, the Doubletree Suites near Disney Springs. We refer to this hotel as our pre-hotel. It’s a chance for us to relax and recharge our batteries before our Disney vacation starts. We arrived about 3:30pm, checked in and got settled. We then went to Disney Springs where we activated our annual passes and got our Tables in Wonderland card. It began pouring while we were in the guest relations office, but in typical Florida fashion the storm passed quickly and was all but over by the time we were done. It was dinner time so we stopped for a bite to eat at the Earl of Sandwich. After dinner we walked into a couple stores before heading back to the Doubletree for a nice restful sleep before our Disney vacation.
The next morning, we woke up about 5:30am. My wife and I got ready for our day while the kids slept in a little bit more. We woke the kids up with enough time to brush their teeth and we were out the door and in the car driving to Kidani Village to start our Disney World vacation.


Mike’s drive:
To start any trip one has to consider who is going. The method of transportation should take into account the people on the trip. My wife does not like to fly. To schedule a flight would simply take away from the excitement of planning a WDW trip. (This is just one reason why we drive to Walt Disney World from Southern NE.)
The drive begins at 9 AM two days before were going to check into our hotel at Walt Disney World. The car is packed the night before …with last minute things (like the children) being added before we leave.
We begin our drive to be behind any rush hour traffic yet before beach traffic in the Northeast. Our first day usually takes us thru New Jersey.. to send us over the Delaware bridge ..taking us down to the beach area through Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. We will spend our first night in the Virginia Beach area. When we arrive the kids go for a swim as we order dinner.
Upon waking up the next morning and getting on the road around 8 AM will head to the country roads to connect back to 95 near the border of North Carolina. We stop here at one of our favorite restaurant is called the Oasis. This is not your typical rest area ..if you can ..make the stop at exit 168. (Don’t want to give away the spoiler).

We arrive in Kingsland, Ga just before the Florida border on the second evening. As with the first hotel, take the kids for a swim, order in dinner..get ready for a mid-morning arrival in WDW the next day.
The drive from the border through Florida moves quickly when it’s only 2-3 hours left and everyone is in good spirits. When we arrive at our hotel we will grab lunch at a quick service at the resort. After gathering our things we will head into the closest park, having Fastpass plus for a few attractions we can wander the park for a few hours. Eventually the room is ready…we can head back and change before dinner at a nearby park or resort.

In the end, we relax at the resort for the majority of the day upon arrival.

So two families leave from the same point taking slightly different paths.  As with most of WDW, you really can choose which way you want to do it. With that in mind we will start detailing how we toured each park and which day we chose for it over the vacation.
We would love to hear your opinions so please leave your comments below, on Twitter @disneyhelp, or on Facebook at Disney Perspectives.