Have you driven to Walt Disney World before? Our Research TravelingMom shares why, after her last road trip to Walt Disney World, she will save for flights for her entire family before enduring the long trip again.
Never Again: Four Reasons I Won’t Drive To Disney
As a wife and mother, I always look for way to save money on my family vacations. But some money-savers cost you dearly….and I don’t mean in cash! After my family’s road trip to Walt Disney World last year, I decided that I’d cut out the character breakfast, the room service, the in-park souvenir sweatshirts – anything! – but I would splurge on plane tickets. Here’s why.
1. You’ll want to maintain your sanity (and energy) between leaving your home and arriving at the “Most Magical Place on Earth.”
No matter how excited the people in your car are to be headed to see Mickey and friends, a long car ride takes a lot out of a person.
Trust me, you are going to need your energy walking around the park, praying for coveted dinner reservations to magically open up due to cancellations and wrangling kids on sugar highs after consuming more Mickey bars than you or your wallet care to admit.
Confession: my youngest actually had a potty accident in the parking lot of the Grand Floridian last year when we arrived after our long trip. It happened like this: my husband was really tired of driving. He just wanted to get to the hotel when my youngest piped up from the backseat, exclaiming he needed to go potty. My husband pointed out that we were just 5 miles away from Walt Disney World. We weren’t going to stop with our final destination just within reach. Well, needless to say, it took the concierge by surprise when, while we were handing our luggage off, my youngest scrambled out of the car, announcing he just had an accident.
2. Precious vacation time shouldn’t be spent in a gridlock between Atlanta and Orlando
The last time we drove to Orlando, there were many, many squabbles and arguments inside of our car. I am sorry to say that they weren’t just between my two children. No matter how smoothly a road trip seems to be going, being stuck in a car for upwards of 13 hours doesn’t tend to bring out the best in people. Read about our Hungry Hungry Hippos incident on our last trip for just one example.
All of the maps told us that our trip to Walt Disney World last year would take us roughly 13 hours. But the truth was, from our home in Kentucky, we arrived at Walt Disney World 16 hours later. Each and every time we head to the sunshine state lately, there has been a reason for us to drive through Atlanta. And each and every time we have darkened Atlanta’s doorstep, we have hit gridlocked traffic.
You worked hard to earn your vacation time. Don’t give up a single second more than you have to.
3. Sometimes flying can be cheaper (or at least competitive), depending on where you live!
For years, we have lived under the assumption that we couldn’t afford to fly anywhere as a family of four. This is partially true because our home airport isn’t exactly offering any reasonable fares. It wasn’t until recently that I started pricing fares out of an airport that is about an hour and a half away. It made a world of difference.
As you are calculating the cost of your flight versus the cost of your drive, be sure to factor in the wear and tear on your car, parking costs once you arrive at the parks for the day, and the cost of a hotel room if you will be staying overnight while on the road. Also remember snacks and meals on the road can get costly (especially if your kids are anything like mine and want a snack at each gas station). Speaking of which, the cost of gas between your home and Walt Disney World really adds up.
I know you might think it would be good to have your car with you in WDW. But Disney transportation is so convenient – and even fun! Who wants to drive back to the resort after spending 12+ hours running from attraction to attraction? Let a Disney driver take you back to the hotel in style.
4. By the time you get back home, all of the pixie dust from Walt Disney World will be gone.
Traffic delays and general exhaustion from your time at the happiest place on earth only seem to amplify on the car ride home. The 16-hour car ride I referenced above? The return drive home seems to stretch on forever. Somewhere in Atlanta when the car isn’t moving, the family considers relocating permanently and having personal possessions shipped to your location on I- 75.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you get there. As long as you and your family have a good time together, you won’t care if you flew or drove. But for me, it’ll be the friendly skies!
Tell us in the comments: Have you had a road trip that made you question your sanity before?