We are back from our Family Extravaganza at Walt Disney World! I try to go to Disney a few times a year, but we really only plan family trips every to every other year. This was the longest trip we’ve ever taken and it was so much fun!
My plan is to do a trip report post every Monday, with regular posts tucked in between during the week. I can’t wait to share this trip with you all!
I get SO many questions about driving to Disney World. I wish I would have taken more pictures, but driving to Orlando is long and messy and basically my van ends up looking like a rolling trash can in a matter of hours. However, I did take some pictures (and screen shots) of how we prepare and survive the drive.
When we travel as a family we saddle up old Goldie (my mini van) and hit the road. Flights from our part of the country are stupid expensive and it is just much more economical for us to drive as a family of five. (Plus it means we can use the extra money to stay longer…)
So… how do we do it?
Prepare, prepare, prepare….
I always want to surprise my kids with a Disney trip, but that isn’t what works best for us. Especially in the case of taking a road trip. Baby Sister does not love road trips. Middle Sister has terrible car sickness. Older Sister needs to be prepped on everything in life. Months leading into the trip I talked to them about our travel day. I let them know that we would be waking up when it was still dark and that they would need to hop in the car in their pajamas and sleep until the sun came up. I explained that we would be in the car all day long, but it would be so worth it. We talked about the food they would want to eat that day, what games they would want to play, what movies they would want to watch… you get the picture. I tried to make it an enjoyable experience for them.
Other than that I did the obvious things… I got my car ready to travel, including two brand new tires. We bought a USB multi port car charger and packed all of the electronics. (I highly suggest getting one of those- the port and the electronic entertainer.) I packed lots of food and things to keep them busy. I also packed blankets and neck pillows for the girls. I had high hopes of them sleeping off and on during the day.
Doing the thing…
We filled up with gas and packed the car the night before. I also bought travel toiletries so we wouldn’t have to worry about packing them at the last minute- I always end up forgetting something, especially when it is so early in the morning.
Joke was on me! I actually woke up at 3:45am and I wasn’t going to try and go back to sleep for a few minutes.
After a quick shower and some coffee/tea making, we went upstairs to wake the girls and hit the road. We left our house just before 4:30am.
Once the sun came up we were all hungry for breakfast. We had an assortment of yogurt, bananas and mini muffins. I bought a little mini trashcan at the Dollar Tree and kept it filled up with Target bags. The girls would pass it around after each meal or snack and keep the car somewhat clean. This worked well… for the first five hours or until they started sneaking food. However, I like having a little trash can back there and so it will stay.
Screen time came after breakfast and they rotated the iPad around. Big Sister had books to read (and for the record… Babysitters Club) and sticker pads to play with. The Little Girls each had a tote full of Dollar Tree goodies.
Not pictured are the cookie sheets I bought each girl at the Dollar Tree to use as a ‘tv tray’ or desk. Most things in the basket worked really well. The only thing I will never do again would be puzzles. They just ended up all over the floorboard of my car.
We chose to only stop for gas and potty breaks. Our meals were packed for the day. The girls had each chosen one of those fancy lunchables (the kind that comes with the drink and candy) to go along with all of the other
bribe nutritious food that I packed for them. (For the record, I am now slowly weaning them off of Doritos.) Gregg and I had chicken salad and crackers from the mini cooler and lots of iced tea.
The morning went without any real issues and we arrived in Florida around noon.
Don’t they look thrilled?!?!
The Florida travel centers are really nice. We changed the girls out of their pajamas and let them run around for a little while. Once we got back in the car they were all….
(And yes, I did wake her up and make her put her seatbelt on the right way.)
They slept for a while and Gregg and I listened to podcasts. (My best friend takes several road trips and year and told me that podcasts have made her trips go by so much more quickly. We agree!)
Once we were well across the panhandle, the girls woke up and we decided to play some family car games.
These can also be found at the Dollar Tree.
We loved the travel bingo game. It was one we had never played before. I loved that Baby Sister could join in on that one since there were pictures with each word. The license plate game is alway our favorite. We are all pretty competitive with it!
We debated on whether or not to stop in Ocala or to drive into Orlando for the night. We settled on Ocala, but regretted it in the long run.
We arrived around 6pm to a soggy city. Many moons ago we had an amazing experience at Red Robin, so we decided to stop there for dinner. Sadly, it was not as we had remembered. No big deal… we had about 1,000 packs of mini Doritos to choose from in the car! We wouldn’t go hungry that night.
We stayed the night at the Country Inn and Suites. I always pack a small suitcase for this portion of our trip so we don’t have to take everything out of the car. We just brought in our toiletries, the small suitcase and the ice chest.
Our hotel ended up being right off of the interstate and made for a very noisy night. I ended up turning the noise machine on full blast around midnight and we all finally fell asleep. The next morning we enjoyed the complimentary breakfast, took quick showers and HIT THE ROAD!!!!
DISNEY WORLD HERE WE COME!!!!