For those folks driving!

bluezy

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 7, 2008
Due to everything going on my fiance and I will be driving down for the first time EVER for our July trip! I am looking forward to going through all the resources here to get us ready to go!

We are driving down from Philadelphia!
We've made the drive from about an hour north of Philly many times. We do the I-95 route because my husband does the driving and he doesn't mind the Wilmington/DC/Baltimore/Richmond traffic. Honestly, once you're past Richmond it's like you're "home free" until Jacksonville. :D In 9 drives, we've only had 2 bad slowdowns in the DC area. One was a major accident that had both sides of I-95 closed for 8-9 hours. We knew about the accident before we even left home but figured since it would take us a few hours to get to that area, everything would be cleared up by the time we got there. It wasn't. We didn't realize just *how* serious the accident was -- there were numerous fatalities. :( While we routed around that with Waze or Google Maps, so did everyone else since they were forcing everyone off of the highway. So we were on alternate highways and back roads with thousands of cars and trucks. It literally took us 30 minutes to move a mile through a small town. I think the total detour was about 12 miles but cost us about 2 hours of time. The other delay (different trip) was not as significant and was in the days before GPS/mapping apps. And it was our fault -- we left later than we had planned to and hit DC around 4:00 on a Friday afternoon. Yeah, we weren't thinking and should have taken a different route. If you have EZ Pass, they have (toll) express lanes through the DC area that can skirt you around the heavy traffic -- just be careful as those tolls can add up quickly. They fluctuate based on the time of day and the amount of traffic. We quickly racked up about $20 in tolls to bypass about 10 miles of heavy traffic. It was worth it, but there can be some sticker-shock involved. We have also breezed through DC with almost no traffic and no slow downs. It's just the luck of the draw.

For our drives we used to leave home around 4:30-5:00 a.m. We stop for bathroom breaks and get out of the car and go in to a restaurant for lunch (usually something like Panera or Cracker Barrel). We're not "commando" drivers. We usually arrived in Savannah, GA by about 7:00 p.m. We'd get a room and then either head out for dinner or have pizza delivered to the room. We'd hit the road by about 7 or 8:00 a.m. and have about a 4 hour drive to Disney. We prefer to drive during daylight hours and we like being able to get a good night's sleep before arriving at Disney. The last thing we want to do is start our vacation exhausted. We do like to hit a park for a few hours late in the afternoon/evening on arrival day. We usually just do our 3 pre-scheduled FPs and maybe have dinner and then head back to the room. We feel it's totally worth the extra couple of dollars to add that park day and knock out a few rides. I know a lot of people feel like it's a waste of money to go to the parks on arrival day, but it only costs us ~$25/person to add that extra day so we feel it's totally worth it.

The last few times we've made the drive, we actually split it over 3 days on the way to Disney. We'll leave around 10:00 a.m. and drive until about 5:00 that day. The next day we drive until we hit northern FL -- usually about 8 hours of driving that day. And then we have a 1-2 hour drive in the morning. We enjoy this laid-back drive on the way down but we do still do the 2-day drive for the trip home.

I agree with the others who say to make sure you use Waze (we actually run Google Maps on a 2nd phone so we can quickly compare detour routes if needed). The I-95 exit app is also very useful. We don't make hotel reservations for the drive. We just drive until we're ready to stop for the night and get off at an exit with a lot of hotels. Then we use an app (hotels.com, expedia, etc.) to book the best rate for one of the area hotels.
 

rg35

DIS Veteran
Joined
Jul 26, 2012
We drove down from the NYC area in December. We left our home at 4am and stopped for the night in GA, but, we're further North than you are. We do better leaving really early in the morning than leaving in the early evening and driving through the night. I'm really glad we took the overnight break because we were better rested than if we drove straight through. It made touring the parks the next day better too!
We do the same thing when we drive down from NYC.

We just bought a new minivan with adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assist, so I was really looking forward to driving down this year but we cancelled our August trip because COVID-19 is running rampant throughout the south.
 

FlappyFish3D

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 17, 2020
anyone drive down in the last few days? Is the checkpoint on I-95 South still being actively used? Was anyone stopped and questioned or made to fill out a form?
 
  • java

    <font color=darkorchid>I am embracing the Turkey B
    Joined
    Jan 18, 2005
    Yes wondering what are the check points like now
     

    DanSchwartz

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 8, 2020
    Are they waiving parking fees when staying overnight at a Disney Resort during the passholder or Florida resident special deals?
     
  • KStash

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 22, 2015
    Hi ya'll, I'm making the drive (by myself) the second week in November from Baltimore. I'm trying to decide whether to stop or go straight through. I'm fine with leaving at 4 am. But I'm going to need a lot of caffeine, which means a decent number of rest stops, lol. Anyone drive straight through by themselves?
     

    MulanMom

    MK is my happy place!
    Joined
    Jan 17, 2002
    Hi ya'll, I'm making the drive (by myself) the second week in November from Baltimore. I'm trying to decide whether to stop or go straight through. I'm fine with leaving at 4 am. But I'm going to need a lot of caffeine, which means a decent number of rest stops, lol. Anyone drive straight through by themselves?
    I have from Eastern PA. We left at 4am and planned a stop overnight in SC. I was with my 2 kids. As we approached the exit for the hotel around 5pm, traffic was lightening up and I still felt like driving. We cancelled the hotel before 6pm and rebooked with the same hotel chain in Lake Buena Vista for the night. Got there around 9:30. I stopped about every 2 hours, including a longer lunch break.

    Hope this helps!
     

    KStash

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Nov 22, 2015
    It does, thanks! I think I'm going to try to make it straight through. According to google maps, it's about a 13 hour drive from Baltimore. If I leave at 4 am, I think I could make it by 8 pm or so, making quick stops every 2-3 hours to stretch my legs and use restroom. :)
     

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