New twist for my next trip


#1

My daughter and I have decided to drive to WDW from NJ this August. Our trip will be extended by 4 days (not at WDW). We are leaving NJ on 8/19 and taking our time driving to orlando for our 8/21 check in. I have NEVER driven this far before and have no idea how to begin picking hotels to stay in along the way.

I woud love to hear from Mousebuzzers who have driven from the NJ, NY, PA area. Where do you normally stop? Should I attempt to go straight through?

We are excited as this will be our first time having our car at WDW. We have always wanted to do the outlets and this will enable us to. We are also excited about being able to stop and see things along the way.

Which landmarks should I make sure to stop for?

Is is better to leave early morning or evening. The 19th is a Friday, so there will be some traffic to contend with I am certain. Which areas should I avoid?

Lastly, WDW is pretty much a straight run down 95 South according to my DBF who has driven it twice. IS there a sneaky route that will save time?

Thanks to all for your help in advance.


#2

Don’t drive straight through it is too many hours of driving. Look at stopping about halfway through on the first day. Also stop in Savannah Ga it is very nice, and we like to stop in St. Augustine Fl.


#3

We’ve done the drive twice and have enjoyed it quite a bit. We stop at the half way point; hotels are a hard one, we’ve stayed at two questionable places in the past. Last year I booked Fairfield Inn and Holiday Inn Express Hotels, both are little more pricey, but well worth it the comfort and cleanliness and they offer a free continental breakfast.


#4

Going north I seem to stop somewhere around Exit 106 in North Carolina.
Going south I’ve either been on the Auto Train or stopping in Myrtle Beach to visit, but assuming an 11 AM departure and an 8 hour driving day (600 miles) I would stop somewhere between Florence, SC and Summerton, SC.
There is no real sneaky route that will save time.
Sure, you can play some games going around Baltimore on one of the even numbered loop interstates, but you’ll probably do just as well going straight down 95.
Again, the DC Beltway going east and south is probably the best way to go, but you won’t see DC from the road.
Then again, Streets and Trips suggests that you stick to I-95 through Baltimore and then pick up the Baltimore Washington Parkway (SR 295 and then I-295) which then eventually rejoins I-95 just before the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac.
Or, you could do a little sidestep at Pennsylvania Ave (yes THAT Pennsylvania Ave!) and cross the Anacostia River into DC proper and pick up I-395 so you can get a glimpse of government buildings and monuments, and once you’re in VA, the Pentagon. You could also go west on I-495 into Va and then at Exit 44, pick up the George Washington Parkway and drive down the west bank of the Potomac for views of Georgetown, monuments, and Arlington National Cemetary, before picking up I-395 and then rejoining I-95.
The only other bypass that is suggested is to take I-295 to the east of Richmond instead of going through downtown.
I would consider hitting DC no later than 2-2:40 PM though.
As for motel choice, I haven’t made a reservation for a hotel in either direction since my first trip to Florida in 79. Since then, I’ve just pushed until I couldn’t go any further and picked a decent looking newer building to stay in. For the few hours I’m stopped, I really don’t need more than the bed and a shower.


#5

When DW and I have to choose a hotel to stop at along any trip we always choose a Holiday Inn Express. We have been super pleased with the quality of rooms as well as the breakfast. A little thing that we have learned is that if you drive a little longer into the night and check in around midnight or after they will give you a discount (military, triple a, etc) whether you qualify or not. This of course can not be a guarantee but has been true for our trips.

Another driving tip while in Florida is to use 429 instead of 4. 429 never has any traffic and is an amazing little secret route. I think that you will enjoy having your car there. You will have so much more freedom!


#6

Thank you for the replies all. I have tons to consider with this new twist on our trip. I think it will end of saving me up to $400, but not penny more than that. It’s a lot to consider when I am adding days to get there instead of the mere 2 hours it takes by plane.

Sara’s plane anxiety was at an all time high this past trip. She starts freaking out about 5 weeks away from the trip and doesn’t stop until the plane takes off. Driving will save us some stress I think.

I have never been to South of the Border and was told it’s a must from one of my employees. Anyone have thoughts on that?

I like that I will have the car to do restaurants at other resorts and can avoid taking cabs. I will still use the WDW transportation for EMHs in the AM, but after our mid-day break, I think driving is a good option.

I am considering leaving crack of dawn early on the 19th and driving my butt off until evening. My goal is to get to Florida some time on the 20th and do the outlets, stay in orldando and be fresh for our first day on the 19th. I will just have to see how it goes. Having never driven this far in my life, I have no idea how long I’ll make it until I need a break. That’s a major reason I am leaving 2 days before I check in so I don’t push it to hard to try and get there to fast. If I think I have tons of time, I’ll take it easier. I don’t want to be exhausted on my first day at WDW.

Keep the responses coming. I appreciate all the great advice and tips.


#7

We just did this drive in November from Northern Jersey. We left our house at 6:30 am on Friday morning and we stopped for lunch in Virginia, then continued on and had dinner later around 7:30pmish…I dont remember what state we were in at that point. Ofcourse we did do bathroom breaks, etc at rest stops along the way, because we did have DD’s with us, who are 5 & 1. We ended up stopping at 10:00 that night at “Hampton Inn” in Brunswick, GA. We got a coupon at a rest area right before the exit, and with the coupon the room was only $79 for the night. And, you also get a free continental breakfast in the morning…but this breakfast was actually really good, it had the usual continental breakfast stuff, but also had hot breakfast foods. It was VERY good! When we woke up in the morning, we only had a 3 hour drive to Disney!! Definelty check out that hotel, it was VERY CLEAN and nice!
Have fun on your road trip! We had a great time!


#8

[QUOTE=NJMommy;1058641]We just did this drive in November from Northern Jersey. We left our house at 6:30 am on Friday morning and we stopped for lunch in Virginia, then continued on and had dinner later around 7:30pmish…I dont remember what state we were in at that point. Ofcourse we did do bathroom breaks, etc at rest stops along the way, because we did have DD’s with us, who are 5 & 1. We ended up stopping at 10:00 that night at “Hampton Inn” in Brunswick, GA. We got a coupon at a rest area right before the exit, and with the coupon the room was only $79 for the night. And, you also get a free continental breakfast in the morning…but this breakfast was actually really good, it had the usual continental breakfast stuff, but also had hot breakfast foods. It was VERY good! When we woke up in the morning, we only had a 3 hour drive to Disney!! Definelty check out that hotel, it was VERY CLEAN and nice!
Have fun on your road trip! We had a great time![/QUOTE]

Thanks! I will write down Hampton Inn is Brunswick as a possible stopping point. I intend to keep a list of hotels listed in this thread, so I have possibles along the way in case I poop out.


#9

I’d say we’ve driven about half of our Disney trips. We usually leave at 4am, which gets us out of the area before rush hour hits and continue driving until dh is used up. For your first trip driving, I’m sure you will take advantage of the stops, as it will be a long trip. But, for dh, the last two trips, we hit Georgia, where we usually stop and he turned to me and said I’m still good. Let’s keep driving and maybe make it closer to Florida. Both times, I ended up calling to Disney to get a value resort room for the night because he drove straight through. But, I’m sure that was adrenalin working as we were all so excited to get to Disney. On the way home, it’s another story. Just keep in mind, that going home is a lot more stressful. You are tired, sad about leaving Disney, and it just seems like you are never getting closer to home.

I do like having the car at Disney though. Not because of driving around Disney. Once we get there, it’s parked the entire time and we use Disney transportation. Why I like it is because I practically pack the whole kitchen! Bottled water, beer, wine and all breakfast and lunch foods. It is a very affordable vaction between the airfare savings and food and drinks.

Enjoy your trip. It will be a new adventure. But, make sure you take a break when you need one with driving. You’ll get there soon enough!


#10

Yeah, going there we are going to be pumped and push it and coming home is going to be a drag. I gave myself 2 days to get home too. I have a feeling it’s going to be harder going home…lol

I do like having the car at Disney though. Not because of driving around Disney. Once we get there, it’s parked the entire time and we use Disney transportation. Why I like it is because I practically pack the whole kitchen! Bottled water, beer, wine and all breakfast and lunch foods. It is a very affordable vaction between the airfare savings and food and drinks.

I like that there will no limits to my packing. Besides not having to limit myself on clothes and comforts of home, I will be able to pack the kitchen sink. I like that I can bring wine, water and food and get it cheap! We are on the DDP (bounce-back for free DDP from last trip) and most meals will be covered, but I like having snacks in the room…especially WATER and maybe an adult beverage and not have to pay a small fortune for it. Glasses of wine at the resort are RIDICULOUS…I can bring a few bottles from home and save TONS!


#11

[QUOTE=Buzz’s#1Ranger;1058638]
Another driving tip while in Florida is to use 429 instead of 4. 429 never has any traffic and is an amazing little secret route. I think that you will enjoy having your car there. You will have so much more freedom![/QUOTE]

SR 429 is of absolutely no use to any travelers coming in from the northeast who have traveled south on I-95. Picking up I-4 in Daytona and taking it all the way to WDW is the only logical route. SR 429 does not even connect with I-4 anywhere, much less I-95. This only works for people who have arrived in Florida on I-75 and picked up the Turnpike in Wildwood (which is northwest, not northeast of Orlando).


#12

Brunswick is a certified haul from the Philly area. 783 miles from Bellmawr to Brunswick and about 11 hours and 45 minutes travel (without meal or fuel breaks). I think that’s past your level of endurance.
One of the reasons that South of the Border is so popular is because it is nearly the midway point between NYC and Miami. This is why I strongly recommend only driving part way into SC on the way south and part way into NC on the way north. 550 miles is about the limit for a pair of uninitiated long distance drivers and even seasoned drivers won’t much much farther when they aren’t on a hard edged deadline to arrive at such and such a time.
If you drive 75 all the way instead of average speeds of 66 MPH, then you can cut off an hour. But that still doesn’t add in food and fuel stops.


#13

[QUOTE=Soundgod;1058664]Brunswick is a certified haul from the Philly area. 783 miles from Bellmawr to Brunswick and about 11 hours and 45 minutes travel (without meal or fuel breaks). I think that’s past your level of endurance.
One of the reasons that South of the Border is so popular is because it is nearly the midway point between NYC and Miami. This is why I strongly recommend only driving part way into SC on the way south and part way into NC on the way north. 550 miles is about the limit for a pair of uninitiated long distance drivers and even seasoned drivers won’t much much farther when they aren’t on a hard edged deadline to arrive at such and such a time.
If you drive 75 all the way instead of average speeds of 66 MPH, then you can cut off an hour. But that still doesn’t add in food and fuel stops.[/QUOTE]

We drove in November from Bergen County, NJ (northern part of Jersey) down to Brunswick, GA the first day of driving. We left the house at 6:30am, and did stop to eat lunch (Cracker Barrel) and dinner (Wendy’s), and we had a bunch of bathroom break stops in there too. My husband did the driving the whole way. I think I drove, we probably would have stopped a little sooner for the night, but he was fine, so we kept going. I’m pretty sure it was about 10:00pm when we stopped in Brunswick, GA for the night to sleep. It wasn’t a bad trip at all, and even our two DD’s had no problem with the driving.
Hope this helps!


#14

ok, so with risking sounding like a total moron: I take I95s to I4? Is that correct?


#15

That sounds right… Do not worry about 429 at all- you will not be coming in from that direction…
Iahve never driven that far either, but it sounds like it could be a fun time with your daughter. Will she be old enough to drive yet???


#16

[QUOTE=hanwill;1058679]That sounds right… Do not worry about 429 at all- you will not be coming in from that direction…
Iahve never driven that far either, but it sounds like it could be a fun time with your daughter. Will she be old enough to drive yet???[/QUOTE]

She turns 17 this February, but will not be able to drive out of state for a year…so nope. I don’t know if I would actually be ok with her driving on the highway like that. I may have a heart attack. I am not the best passenger…lol

Yeah, the road trip does sound fun. She’s excited, so I am excited. We can do it as fast or slow as we want. I am just going to play it by ear and not plan that part of the trip. If I put deadlines on the driving, I’ll push it to far I think. I think it may be a good idea for us to leave at 4:30am and drive until dinner. Depending on how we feel, we may just stop for the day and pick it back up again the next morning bright and early. Either way, I will be in WDW soon enough.


#17

Why can’t she drive at 17 out of state. The age is 16 in SC. I know 16 y/o’s from GA and NC can drive in SC. And my kids could all drive in GA and NC at 16. Is it a NJ license thing?

For sure, the best way is to take I-95 to I-4 in FL. The big timing thing is to make sure you are around Wash DC before 4pm at the VERY latest. After that all heck breaks loose. I drive straight through from here on the southeastern SC coast to northern NJ all the time. DC timing is the only consideration for me. I even go straight through Richmond VA and don’t worry about the VA 295 bypass around Richmond. Although, there is less traffic than the straight through RIchmond route. If DW is driving she prefers the Richmond bypass. She likes the wider lanes. And I do not avoid paying the tunnel and bridge tolls to save a buck. The time is more important to stay on track.

As to stopping locations, look for what hotel discounts you are eligable for. This will help if you see a place and you can just pull in. Also, when you stop in NC, SC or if you make GA, stop at the Welcome Center (always the safest places to stop for 2 solo women) or a busy exit and look for the hotel discount catalogues(sp). Then pick a hotel based on price when you get tired. We always found that HI Express is a good, clean value. But I try for Hampton, Fairfield or other slightly higher end locations. The rooms are usually bigger, cleaner, have a better breakfast and they are usually in safer locations (important if it is just the girls traveling alone).

I do northern NJ by myself in usually 13 hours, 14 max, with no long breaks from here in Beaufort, SC (Hilton Head area). I have the cooler loaded w/ drinks, snacks packed and sandwiches made. Except for gas I only hit the state run Welcome Centers. Again, they are safer and generally cleaner.


#18

Yes, that’s basically all you need to do.
Head south and then turn right at Daytona (where I-4 starts).


#19

[QUOTE=Pam&Rich;1058682]Is it a NJ license thing?
[/QUOTE]

I did some checking and found that in NJ itself, you must be over 18 to have an unrestricted driver’s license.

State of New Jersey - Motor Vehicle Commission

[B]What is the driving age in NJ?
In 2001, New Jersey joined 23 other states and several Canadian provinces in implementing a multi-stage driver licensing system.

The new system introduces driving privileges gradually to first-time drivers and applicants under 21 years, extends their practice driving time, and raises the unrestricted basic driver license age from 17 to 18 years.[/B]

Frequently Asked Questions | Driving


#20

Make sure to stop at the Florida Welcome center for Orange juice, that use to be my favorite part of the drive down. I would love to drive to florida but DD has extreme car sickness so, flying just gets the travelling done and over with, with one gravol!!!