A couple of questions for all of you "drivers" out there

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Kris1971's picture
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A couple of questions for all of you "drivers" out there

Hi gang! My sister in-law and her husband are heading to WDW for the very first time in October. I've been helping them plan a great trip, but there are a couple of questions, I can't answer for them, so I'm reaching out to my favorite WDW crew. These questions are directed to anyone whose ever driven to WDW from Pennsylvania or locations near PA.

1) Am I correct in assuming it is about a 17 hour ride from PA to Orlando (with stops built in for food & bathroom breaks?

2) If so, how far do you usually drive on the first day?

3) Where do you stay when you stop for the night (favorite hotel, city to stop in, etc.)

4) Do you book your overnight stay in advance or wing it when you get close to where you want to be?

5) And based on where you stop, how long does it take to get to WDW on that second/last day?

Any and all feedback is welcome! I really appreciate the help!

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It is 16 hours driving time for us. That does not include stops. We do not book our overnight stays in advance because we just go till we feel like stopping. We do always stay in a Hampton Inn though. South of the Border is just about exactly the half way point for us. When we leave first thing in the morning we try to get to Georgia or close to it. It is 5 hours from the Georgia border to Disney.

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Coming from the very top of Pa near New York State, it took about 25 hours non-stopish. We did take a couple naps in the car for like 2 hours or so. I highly recommend splitting the drive between a couple drivers or stopping somewhere to stay. There is the autotrain that leaves out of Virginia and stops in Sanford, Fl.

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We drove for the first time this past April from Ohio and it took us like 14-16 hours. We drove to Atlanta the first day and stayed over night and then the next day from Atlanta to Orlando it took about 4 hours....Not a bad drive either way. We booked our hotel ahead of time and we always stay at Country Inn and Suites.

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My family's driven from Canton, OH(about and hour west of Pittsburgh), and we usually made to about Columbia, SC by the time we were ready to stop for a night(about an 8-9 hour drive). We didn't have to leave super early in the morning or anything, which was nice for the driver, and we didn't have to feel like we were in a rush. We didn't really plan it out too much- if whoever was driving felt like they could go further, then that was absolutely okay with everyone else! And with all the technology now, it's not too hard to find a hotel anywhere you are, although if it were me I would try to find a little more populated of a city before I stopped.

17 hours sounds about right, including breaks

If you stop around Columbia, it takes about another 6 hours to make it to WDW

Kris1971's picture
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Thanks guys/gals! I think I'll recommend they shoot for Columbia, SC or somewhere in Georgia so their trip to the magic is much shorter in the morning. I also appreciate the tip of finding a hotel on the way down when they are ready to stop so they're not stuck trying to make it to a reservation. I appreciate the feedback. Keep it coming!

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We drive down from southern Ontario. For us it is about a 19 to 22 hour drive depending on how many stops we make and how long we stop for. We have narrowed it down to when to stop before Atlanta to avoid the rush hour both ways. We don't stop at a hotel anymore but when we did it was at Valdosta Georgia. There is a hotel right across from the exit that was pretty decent and had rooms for walk-ins. We reserved rooms once and they were horrible compared to the one we got when walked-in. We just sleep for a few hours in our suv at a rest stop. A lot of them have security and I am always pleasantly surprised at how clean they are. It has gotten to the point where I would rather stop for a bathroom break at a rest area than a gas station. Although there are a few places where we stop for gas where I know the restrooms are spotless. We also pack a cooler of cold meats, yogurt, fruit so that we don't get tempted to stop for fast food. On a long drive the possibility of getting sick from bad food is high and it sure would ruin the trip. Plus it saves a lot of money and shortens your stops.

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My family was in WDW once and myself and a few others stayed home because of work/school, but something came up for me so I was able to join the Fam, and drove 22 straight hours from Minneapolis to Orlando. Left at 1pm and arrive at 11am Orlando time the next day, hopped on a bus and went right to EPCOT! Felt like a half hour drive because I was so excited. Only stopped when I needed gas. It was pretty fun!

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1987(sort of)-Fariway Villas (I was not born yet, but could hear all the sounds of WDW)
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coreyp wrote:
My family was in WDW once and myself and a few others stayed home because of work/school, but something came up for me so I was able to join the Fam, and drove 22 straight hours from Minneapolis to Orlando. Left at 1pm and arrive at 11am Orlando time the next day, hopped on a bus and went right to EPCOT! Felt like a half hour drive because I was so excited. Only stopped when I needed gas. It was pretty fun!

Now THAT'S commitment! I don't know if we'd ever drive from MN, but if we did it'd only be if we were planning a few day road trip with fun stops along the way!

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Allie wrote:
coreyp wrote:
My family was in WDW once and myself and a few others stayed home because of work/school, but something came up for me so I was able to join the Fam, and drove 22 straight hours from Minneapolis to Orlando. Left at 1pm and arrive at 11am Orlando time the next day, hopped on a bus and went right to EPCOT! Felt like a half hour drive because I was so excited. Only stopped when I needed gas. It was pretty fun!

Now THAT'S commitment! I don't know if we'd ever drive from MN, but if we did it'd only be if we were planning a few day road trip with fun stops along the way!

If you do, pick me up along the way. Im just south of the Twin Cities, so it's not even out of your way!

__________________

Follow along on our adventure as we make the move for a great life, and move to Orlando!

https://adventuresinears.wordpress.com/

1987(sort of)-Fariway Villas (I was not born yet, but could hear all the sounds of WDW)
1991-Fairway Villas (My first official trip to WDW)
2000-Fort Wilderness Campsites (last family trip before siblings got married and had kids)
2004-Caribbean Beach
2008-Pop Century
2012-Contemporary Resort (Honeymoon)
2015- Caribbean Beach (daughter's first trip)
2017- Cabins at Fort Wilderness

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It depends on where in PA you're driving from--it's a big state! We drove from PA (south central area) once for our honeymoon in 2003. From our house, I-95 makes the most sense, but depending on where in PA you're traveling from, I-81 would probably be better. We figure roughly 2 hours from our house to the other side of DC, 3 hours each through VA, NC, and SC, 1.5 hours through GA, and 2.5 hours into Orlando--15 hours total. We stopped in Savannah, GA on the way down, which took us 12ish hours. Savannah is a very pretty town, but if you plan to see any of the historic area while you're resting from the drive, take a tour. It's a rather difficult city to navigate because it has many squares and fountains. Charleston, SC is also a nice place to stop, but I believe it runs a bit more expensive than Savannah and it's a huge detour off the interstate. On the way home, we stopped in Hilton Head, which we think was probably a nice place, but we only saw it in the dark! We were traveling in January and we hit WAY more traffic around Jacksonville (apparently this is a very popular place) than we anticipated and it was dark by the time we reached Hilton Head. We left in the dark the next morning because we were anxious to get home and we had to be prepared to go back to work the following day. A stop in Hilton Head could possibly be done on rented DVC points, so it would be a way of starting or continuing the Disney magic!

One important thing to consider when driving from PA is traffic. Driving down I-95, you are subject to the peak traffic in half a dozen major cities. We were just discussing yesterday the possibility of driving to WDW next fall. We figured that from our house, our best bet would be to leave around 1am to drive straight through because that would keep us out of the major rush hour traps and put us at our resort right around check-in time.

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