Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Disney or Bust: 1300 miles

Okay, so this is my first post detailing our Disney vacation.  I have read how some blog readers dislike when bloggers drag out vacation posts.  Eh, well, I use this is as an online journal so I really don't want to cram a 10 day trip into 1 or 2 posts.  At some point, I think I will write up a trip report on disboards.com with Disney info. That way I can avoid going into Disney overload here.

Here was our original itinerary:

Friday, August 24th - Begin driving
Saturday, August 25th - Continue driving
Sunday, August 26th - Check into Beach Club (Disney resort)
Monday, August 27th - Epcot
Tuesday, August 28th - Magic Kingdom
Wednesday, August 29th - Magic Kingdom
Thursday, August 30th - Pool and Epcot
Friday, August 31st - Hollywood Studios
Saturday, September 1st - Animal Kingdom
Sunday, September 2nd - Drive home
Monday, September 3rd - Arrive home

It should take approximately 24-25 hours, which includes stops for food and bathroom breaks, to drive to Florida from where we live.  This is based upon our first trip almost 2 years ago and my brother's trips.  (We aren't speed demons either.  We usually drive around 70-75 mph.)  We had originally planned to leave after lunch on Friday.  I thought we could use Friday morning to nap and finish packing.  As our date of departure approached, Rich told me that he would rather leave first thing Friday morning.  The more I thought about it, the more I agreed.  Maybe we could arrive at our resort early enough on Sunday to enjoy lunch and an afternoon playing in the pool

Day One

After showering and packing up toiletries and almost forgotten items, we began what would turn out to be a not so planned journey.






With an 8:45 AM departure time, we successfully avoided any traffic headaches in Providence and Connecticut.  Then we needed to make the bridge decision.  The conservative approach is to take the Tappen Zee.  Or should we risk the GW?  We checked our INRIX Traffic app - the GW was red and the Tappan Zee was orange.  We took the GW.


Random person selling random items in the middle of the road.


So, of course, traffic continued to back up after we made that decision and some of that seems to have stemmed from an unannounced lane closure right at the bridge.  We lost maybe an hour or so due to traffic.  Not a big deal.  Not a big deal.


We have a travel journal to document driving times and expenses.  I hadn't been writing down the mileage very often though.  We entered New Jersey right before 1:00 and I recorded the mileage - 192 miles.  We stopped for lunch at the first rest area and lost 40 minutes.  That's to be expected though and we were still in high spirits.  Our goal was to drive into Virginia before looking for a hotel. 

We knew that we would hit Friday afternoon/evening traffic somewhere.  I guess I didn't expect it to happen when it did.  Almost all of New Jersey was traffic and then we rolled through Delaware.  And when I say that we rolled, we rolled. Traffic was so slow that passengers were walking along next to their cars.

At 6:15, we stopped for dinner at Cracker Barrel off of exit 80 in Maryland.  By this point, we had only traveled 363 miles.  Nine and a half hours on the road and that was all!  I wanted to cry.  We were determined to reach our goal of "into Virginia" so we popped a DVD in for the girls and continued on our way.  The girls will sleep in the van but not so easily.  Well, let's put it this way - when you want them to sleep, they won't and when you don't want them to sleep, they will.  So it was well past their bedtime and they were still awake.  Shortly before we reached Virginia, Emily said, "Little Lion says he's getting tired."  I felt really bad.

A few minutes past 9:00, we pulled off exit 161 in Virginia and found a Hampton Inn.  They did have two rooms available but they were not connected.  Allie and Grammy shared a room across the hall while I shared a bed with Anna and Em shared one with Rich.  We quickly unloaded what we needed for the night and hurried the girls to bed.  Our upstairs neighbors arrived around 10:00 and stomped back and forth for 20 minutes or so and then our next door neighbors showed up.  They had a toddler who knew two words - WAH and NO.  I listened to WAH and NO on and off through the bottom of the connecting door until midnight.

I had thoughts of never traveling again.

Day Two

I was awake early.  5:30 AM.  I wanted the girls to get some sleep though so I didn't move.  We ate the freebie breakfast at the hotel and hit the road shortly after 8:00.  The girls easily suffer from motion sickness and we have found that the best way to combat this to have them eat something before we start driving.

We convinced ourselves that this would be a good driving day and we would be able to make up for the time that we lost the day before.  A half hour into driving, we had to stop at the Virginia Welcome Center because someone had to poop.  And then it started raining.

9:37 AM - Traffic - "Move it you.  Get to whatever vacation you are going to."  Allie.

At 11:00, we stopped at exit 11A (still in Virginia) for lunch and gas.  I wrote down how many miles we had traveled.  609 miles.  We were back on the road at 11:30 and drove about 5 miles before traffic stopped.  Completely stopped.  Long story short - due to flooding, Route 95 had been shut down.  Almost 3 hours later, our total mileage was only at 626 miles.  In a span of 3 hours, we had moved 17 miles.

Our next goal location to stop for the night was the Savannah, GA area.  At 5:15, we were still in North Carolina.  We stopped for dinner at (you guessed it!) Cracker Barrel.


Exit 109 in GA greeted us at 10:00 that night.  We managed to find a reasonably priced suite with three beds at a Quality Inn & Suites.            

Day Three

We slept in a bit (we all needed it) and ate another freebie breakfast at the hotel before beginning the final leg of our drive.  It was 9:15 when we finally hit the highway again.  I had pretty given up on my dream of lunch at Disney but I was still hoping to find some time for the girls to swim.

So as most of you know, Grammy and I sewed outfits for the girls for this trip.  My plan was to take pictures of them each morning.  (Oh, how I laugh at that plan now.)


Anna looks exhausted and something was up with Allie.  We would figure that out later in the day.

Grammy found the shirts at TJ Maxx (I believe) and made the skirts.  And yes, Anna is wearing her skirt backwards.


The skies were bright and sunny that morning but that all changed as we approached Orlando.


I had watched the weather channel the weekend before we left and there had been no tropical depressions or hurricane threats to Florida.  A few days later, Isaac was born.  I had been (somewhat obsessively) checking the weather forecasts and hurricane predictions and knew that it was probably going to be raining when we arrived in Orlando.

And rain it did.


We arrived at our destination at 2:45 Sunday afternoon.


Total drive time:  31.5 hours


Meggan King said...

I loooooove Disney!! Drag this vacation post out as long as you desire! You know you'll have one devoted reader! The girls look so adorable in their outfits!

Lisa L said...

I love disney, too, and spend way too much time reading the disboards. Hope you were able to enjoy most of your vacation.

Sarah G said...

I ran the Disney Princess half last year. It was my first ever time at Disney and i cannot wait to go back. I'm so excited to relive that trip through your pictures. More!! More!! More!!

pyjammy pam said...

the girls suddenly look SO OLD. wow.

i hate knowing where this is gonna go...

Marcia (123 blog) said...

you have SUCH patience. I won't even drive 10 hours with the kids :)

Kayla S said...

I absolutely love your blog... I stumbled upon it while playing around on Blogger and have sat and read through posts for almost an hour now. Your girls are beautiful & the moments you capture with your lens are priceless!

Anonymous said...

Sarah, don't feel like you have to keep it short! I love Disney and I love this blog so keep on as long as you want.


Elizabeth said...

I love reading about Disney! Can't wait to read more. Did you all surprise them with the trip? How and when did you tell them you were going?

BreezieGirl said...

I'm right there in the "drag it out" support - I love your writing and I love Disney. Share all the details!

I also agree with Pyjammy Pam - the girls suddenly look so grown up! And I hate knowing that things are gunna go downhill for Allie. Poor thing. :(

Angela Bailey said...

Yikes!!! I'm glad you guys made it safely, even though it wasn't really speedily!

Where in NC did you guys stop to eat? I live in NC! :-)


Anonymous said...

you can never have too much disney

Stacey L. said...

Drag it out. We live close to Disneyland and go once a month and I'M contemplating a trip to Disney World in a couple years, so I need to study your plan. Oh, and you guys are lucky you have a cracker barrel. We don't have ANY in Ca.

Wendy said...

Not sure if you stuck to your schedule but if you did, we were at the Magic Kingdom on Tuesday and at Hollywood Studios that Friday, too. I know you said plans were really changed, though, with one of your daughters being sick.

I love your pics, too - just posted a few on my blog a few days ago. We had all that rain until Wednesday, too, and then it just got sooo hot!

Sarah said...

Thanks for the comments - I'm happy someone wants to read this!

Angela - I think it was exit 11. I love the Carolinas.

Elizabeth - We didn't fully surprise them. They knew we were going but they didn't know when. As we were packing, we told them that we were going on vacation - maybe to their cousins' house in VA. Well, they got so excited over that idea, I was afraid to disappoint so the day we left, we told them that we were going to Disney. So not a complete surprise but enough of one.

Pam & BreezieGirl - my babies are little kids now. It's crazy!

Jilly said...

Bring on the Disney! I used to live in Orlando.

Lurene said...

Love Disney! We just drove to Disney (from PA) last November, and stayed at the Beach Club, so I can't wait to read all about your trip. We loved Beach Club, but didn't get to use the pool much because it was too cool most days.

Teej said...

I would love to hear all about this trip. I grew up in Orlando, and I find Disney fascinating!

Wendy said...

I know you love the long family road trips, but there is no bloody way in hell we will ever drive to Disney :*)It's just over 11 hours now from where we moved to in Ohio to MILs place in NH. I don't even want to do that :P

Just the Tip said...

OK I'm caught up on the driving too & day 1/day 2. I'm exhausted just reading about it!

Also we live off of exit 132/126 in Virginia! =)

95 sucks..it has accidents on a regular basis from those exits north.