When planning our WDW trip we did take the time to price out airfare..its been exceptionally high lately and most round trip flights were between $400-$500 per person. $3000 in airfare on top of our Disney budget wasn't going to work so the plans to drive were made.
Yes driving. To Disney. From Oklahoma with 4 little kids. We are officially crazy, and well cheap :)
It's about 1300 miles EACH way. That's around 20 hours, without stops. And well you know how stopping is with kids.
We left our house on Friday July 18th and drove the 4ish hours to Ft. Worth where my parents live. This is a relatively easy drive for us and the kids generally get insane the last 45 minutes. We made sure to have the car completely cleaned out before we left and luggage out of the way.
We used a large Thirty-One thermal bag for snacks.
***TIP--Bring a roll of small ziploc bags in your snack bag!! Great for divvying up snacks, a sick bag if needed (thankfully not) trash, wet clothes, potty accident, the possibilities are endless!
***TIP---We also have a designated electronics bag (robs job) that houses all our chargers, ipad, kids tablet, extra batteries (a must) all the cords we need, an extension cord and a power strip. Yes, really. They were awesome to have!!
We also bring a small cooler with ice and drinks.
***TIP---Make sure to have pillows and blankets for a long ride! We had small Disney Fleece blankets that we have had forever and all the kids brought their pillow pets! Rob likes to freeze us out and everyone naps better with a pillow and blanket!
On the way to Texas the kid's watched 2 movies and we made 2 potty breaks. We made it to TX early evening on Friday where we stayed at my parents house. Grandma Juju and I hit up Dollar Tree to make sure we had extra snacks and PONCHOS!!
***TIP---Go find a Dollar store and buy $1 ponchos FOR SURE. No one wants to pay $20 a pop for ponchos and daily rain is pretty common in FL!
I spent around $45 on extra snacks, glow sticks, glow wands, Disney coloring books, Disney stamp sets, Disney lanyards with character keychains for all 4 kids and 6 ponchos. Many of these would prove great buys later!
Saturday morning we got up bright and early and left my parents house at 6:30AM. Google again would like to tell you that's 17 hours...Google clearly doesn't have 4 kids, 3 of whom are potty trainers. Ok, Stella has been potty trained forever but she tends to freak out if she HAS TO GO!!
Along this stretch of drive, we stopped for breakfast which took an hour, several potty breaks, a couple gas stops, a fun stop in Monroe, LA to see the Duck Dynasty HQ, a snack, more gas, more potty and finally around Pensacola FL dinner at a McD's as we attempted to find a hotel for the night. Well, Pensacola in the summer has no hotels available...so we pushed through to Tallahassee for the night in a $75 room right off the highway. We were in the car from 6:30A-12:30AM, and we still weren't at WDW yet! That's traveling with kiddos.
***TIP---pre-book your hotels for travel along the way. We have gone with the flow and pre-booked and I highly recommend pre-booking!
Along the way we watched movies on the DVD players, took turns with electronics, had small toys and colors/coloring books for the little ones.
***TIP---use an oldschool CD case for movies, so much easier than messing with cases!
About halfway through the day I pulled out the new Disney coloring books. After dinner in Pensacola we gave everyone melatonin and they conked out (after barely napping in the car ALL day) and we pushed through the last few hours of driving.
Our hotel had a free breakfast on Sunday so after that and gas we were on the road again! We were just about 4.5 hours from Disney at that point. As we got closer, and Rob nearly killed us taking a breakneck turn for a rest area my dad (who is a truck driver by the way) told us to take the lead. Famous last words...
Actually my phone took us the shortest way but it brought us in the back of the resort and straight to Riverside. It MAY have caused my slightly OCD Dad a near panic attack with him thinking I had us lost and we were NEVER gonna get there but it took us right there! Love you Dad! :) We made it! It wasn't too hot but the humidity was THICK and as soon as we were checked into our rooms and had picked up our rental stroller and rental ECV for my Dad. Like open up the heavens POURED down rain. Welcome to Disney :)
Next up, dinner at Chef Mickey's and our first trip to Downtown Disney!