Monday, March 6, 2017

Traveling By Car To Walt Disney World

Traveling to Walt Disney World is nothing new for our family. I have been lucky enough to travel to Walt Disney World 22 times and Disneyland once.  Currently, we are planning our first Disney Cruise for 2017. Of the 22 times I've traveled to Walt Disney World, 17 were by car, 3 by plane, and 2 by church bus! I've been as a child, teenager, and adult. I've also traveled with children, teenagers, adults, and alone. I've planned a solo trip, a trip for my immediate family, trips with friends, trips with multiple generations, and trips with up to 37 people on a youth mission trip.

While each trip is completely unique and different, one thing is the same-  you have to travel to get there! While flying is SO much easier, I'm too frugal to do this. I'd rather spend the extra time to travel and have the extra money to spend on meals, souvenirs, or extra days at the parks.

Planning is crucial with traveling to Walt Disney World- especially with children in tow. While an airplane trip is easier, as I mentioned above, you still have to keep the kids entertained during a flight with potential lay overs or driving in the car.  Below are a few of my tips for traveling by car to Walt Disney World.

  1. I always pack surprise goody bags for my boys with Disney themed games, books, coloring books, movies, snacks, candy etc. Consider going to the Dollar Tree or the dollar bins at Target for cheap Disney themed goodies for the kids. Party themed stores also have inexpensive Disney themed treats.
  2. When you do have to stop, make it a multi-purpose stop! Get gas, stretch, and use the restroom all at the same time. Stop for lunch and let the kids play on the playground if you are eating fast food. Plan a picnic at a rest stop and make time to run around in the grass. 
  3. Pack easy to eat, non messy snacks for everyone to snack on while you travel. Don't forget wet wipes for hands and faces.
  4. Play group games in the car: I spy, car bingo, the ABC game, the color game, mad libs, or the license tag game. Include as many family members as possible. 
  5. Make a Disney themed playlist or CD for the car ride. Include your favorite movie songs and park attraction songs.
  6. Watch a Disney movie in the car or listen to a Disney book on CD. 
  7. Bring "crafts" for the ride such as crayons, paper, coloring books, stickers, dry erase markers, and pipe cleaners (twist them into different shapes and creations). Don't forget a lap desk or clip board to provide a hard surface for the crafts.
  8. If your kids are older, bring a hand held game system for them to play or download Disney themed games onto the iPad, Kindle or whatever tablet or phone you own.
  9. Bring a small pillow and a Disney themed blanket for each child. This will help cut back on fussing when everyone wants to nap at the same time. Don't forget each child's favorite "thing" such as a lovie, stuffed animal, passy, etc. 

These are all tips for traveling with my children who are 8 and 4 years old. Funny thing is, many of these tips will also work with teenagers as well! In July, 5 adults traveled with 32 middle school, high school, and college students to Walt Disney World. I encouraged everyone to pack their own pillow and blanket along with magazines, books, iPads, and iPhones.  Everyone brought salty and sweet snacks along with drinks to share with the group- so we were never shorthanded on food.  I did not pack goody bags for the group or provide craft items, but we did listen to many Disney songs and played many of the games listed above. I honestly believe teens still enjoy the "childish" games such as ABC game, I spy, and the license tag game. And if they don't, they'll just put their ear buds in anyway!

What do you do to help your family stay sane while traveling?

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