We're thinking of going to Disneyworld later on in the year. We went once before and we flew to Orlando. What with all of the recent flight delays, we're thinking about driving there. Our kids are 5 and 8.
My question is this--are we nuts? Orlando is 1000 miles and Mapquest tells me it is a 15 hour drive. Has anybody every driven this before with small kids? If so, I want your stories.
We drive everywhere...we have three kids....8, 4, and 2. We have a dvd player in the car, special snacks, and a cooler of drinks. I also go to the $1 store and pick up several toys to pull out throughout the trip. I found journals at the dollar store that they could record special memories throughout the trip--they loved that. I also print games and coloring sheets off of the computer....anything special and new always helps out. I pack them each a small pillow and blanket, flashlights, sunglasses. We usually stop and sleepover at a hotel. Be careful stopping for gas at night....the bright lights always wakes them up. Have fun!
We just drove to Tampa from St. Louis with a 6,8 and 2 year old. Due to the fact we only had a total of 5 days for the trip we drove through the night, with my husband and I taking turns sleeping. My oldest two had no trouble sleeping in the car but the littlest made it difficult. Another idea would be to leave around 3 or 4 that way they would sleep for the first couple hours, then you could entertain them with all the other wonderful suggestions you have received. I'd say a DVD player is a must, granted they were not around when we were younger, but we also didn't have to remain buckled! There are some fun books full of car games, and as already stated, dollar stores come in handy!
With the price of gas however, you'll have to see which is more expensive (if that is a factor for you) I know we drove because 5 plane tickets was outragous!
Congrats on beating the cancer and the weight loss!
We have not driven to Disney but we have driven from St. Louis to West Palm Beach, to Destin and to Sarasota/Longboat Key. Destin was a one day trip. West Palm and Longboat Key were two days in the car. We drive as far as possible the first day and then try to do another shorter day on the second day so that we have some time to do something when we finally arrive. We have 4 kids (now 10, 8, 6 and 3) so I like to plan a cheap hotel on the way down, but we have gone without advance reservations and once we had trouble finding a place with a crib (but I think that was in rural Mississippi on a different trip.) We have a DVD player in the car. We also like to get cheap little toys, wrap them in giftwrap ahead of time and then when things get tough, I toss each of them a little "gift" to open in the car. My 3 year old was really tough about 2 years ago - cried at least 50% of the time in the seat. We finally just had to tune it out! That was awful. Snacks are big - we let them get some stuff at gas stations along the way.
It probably comes down to how much money are you willing to spend on a flight and how much time do you have for the trip. We went to Disney last June and we were going to drive. But then we figured that it would be a hard trip (we had just taken another shorter road trip about a week or two prior and weren't up for another) and we could get an extra day at Disney if we flew. We only had a certain number of days to spend total. If you stay near the park they have shuttles to all of the parks and other Orlando attractions (depending on where you stay - check ahead) so you may not need a car. Personally I recommend staying at a Disney property - the shuttles to the Disney parks are better at the Disney hotels than a hotel off the Disney property. I'm happy to share more if you like.