One of the biggest discussions for many people when planning a vacation to Disney World…especially if you are trying to save money….is the one about how you are going to get there. You know, it’s the “are we driving or flying” conversation. Obviously, many folks don’t have an option, but if you do, you may very well have considered driving…or maybe you even have driven in the past. If you’re trying to have an Affordable Disney Vacation, then driving may be the best and most economical solution for you.
But will you and everyone in your family go crazy on a drive to Disney World? Can you survive with your sanity intact? Sure you can!
I live in Maryland, about 14 hours of straight-through driving down I-95, from my house to Orlando. I know this because we have driven to Disney World on more than one vacation. Like anything else related to planning a Disney vacation successfully, planning a long drive will also require some planning to insure that everyone enjoys it. Because you can all enjoy it.
Here are a few tips that may help make it a magical journey for your family:
- Personally, I’m a big fan of breaking the trip up into manageable parts. I know that not everyone likes doing it that way, and honestly, I think it’s a matter of preference. I grew up taking “road trips” every summer, so I love the idea of stopping, exploring, and seeing new things and places along the way. Now I readily admit that this can add time and cost to your trip, so weigh the adventure aspect against the money and time.
- If you have the luxury of time at least, consider getting off the main roads from time to time and enjoy the local scenery. Taking even these brief breaks can recharge everyone’s battery, and allow the driver to relax a bit. Better yet, pack a picnic lunch or dinner, and stop for a relaxed break where the kids (and grownups) can stretch their legs and let off a little steam.
- Games for the kids are a must. You can do this several ways: you can purchase some simple “car games” that will be entertaining but not take up a lot of room, or you can opt for the traditional games that we all grew up with: looking for license plates from other states, “I Spy” etc. Don’t discount how much fun these can be either: we probably logged many hours….and laughs….over the years just playing I Spy. You would be amazed how quickly time flies! If you opt to buy some new games for your children, keep them “new” to preserve the desirability factor, and introduce one at a time. Maybe each time you get to a new state, or something like that.
- I think many/most folks have access to car or portable dvd players so this is the perfect time to make use of them. Bring along some favorite movies or shows to pass the time. Again, having some new ones just for the trip would be even better: if you don’t want to buy, then rent them. Clearly, anything Disney is appropriate here. Bringing out dvds of the Disney parks can build the excitement as well as help everyone decide on what they want to see and do once you get to Disney World.
- This last tip is one of our favorites, and is, in fact, one that we still use today to drive to the beach: audio books. This can be a fascinating way to spend the time no matter your age, and honestly no matter if you have read the book or not. Listening to someone read and “act out” the story can really pull you into a great book…and before you know it, you’ve traveled several hundred miles.
Driving to Disney World does not have to be something to be dreaded: in fact, it can be a great deal of fun! The key is to do some planning, be flexible, and use some imagination. Before you know it, you’ll be driving under the welcome sign….and you just may wonder where the time went so fast!