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Disney World Road Trip Itinerary
Want to see how much money we paid round trip to drive to Florida from Pennsylvania? Scroll to the bottom of this post for a complete breakdown! (Note: these prices are from ’15 and have likely increased since then.)
Road Tripping to Disney – Pennsylvania to Florida
I received one question over and over again on Facebook and Instagram during our last vacation. “Can you please tell me where you stopped along your road trip and what your travel times looked like?” It sounds like there are a lot of you out there who are considering a similar drive. To date, we have completed 5 round trip drives from PA to FL, always with at least one kid in tow.
Other lengthy road trips include a drive from PA to Arkansas in 2009 with a 6 month old Lily, from PA to Niagara Falls in 2009 with a 9 month old Lily and a drive from PA to Texas in 2010 with a 2 year old Lily. We have also made the drive from PA to the Outer Banks in NC 5 times – twice with just Lily, three times with both kids. Ah, yes, then of course there was our longest trip EVER: our road trip to Yellowstone National Park! We are certainly no strangers to road tripping!
Road trips versus airline travel can be a great way to save some money, but this depends on several factors including current gas prices, how many hotel stays (and at what cost) you require to get from Point A to Point B and also how much money you spend on meals and snacks along the way.
This post is a little different from the rest of my Disney content. Instead of a review, this post is a complete comprehensive breakdown of how we spent all 10 days on the road. I will also list certain Disney highlights on the itinerary, including what parks and restaurants we visited during our days away.
We traveled from 2/13/15 through 2/24/15. We drove with one 6 year old and one 16 month old from the Philadelphia suburbs in Pennsylvania to Orlando, FL. Our trip included a five night stay in the Disney Parks, one night in Cocoa Beach, FL, and three nights on the Disney Dream cruise ship.
Our goal for the road trip this year was to minimize the amount of stops that we made and, when making stops, keep them as short as possible. We tried to focus on using highway rest stops for bathroom breaks whenever possible, instead of pulling off of exits to find, say, a fast food restaurant, for bathrooms. This not only cut out wasted time driving off of the highway, but also cut some frivolous spending on drinks and snacks.
Total miles from our house to our Disney resort: 1034
Total travel time prediction as per Google Maps with NO stops: 16 hours
5 AM – Left house (had packed car the night before, filled up the gas and changed the oil the day before) It was incredibly FRIGID and WINDY as we got started!
7:05 AM STOP – Bathroom stop at the Maryland House i-95 Travel Plaza
9:25 AM STOP – Bathroom/gas/snacks stop at the Wawa in Stafford, Virginia off I-95 Exit 143A-B
1 PM STOP – Bathroom/lunch stop at rest stop at Johnston County Rest Area on I-95 at Mile Marker 48. We packed rolls, lunch meat, cheese and chips. Bob assembled the hoagies of the back of the car and we ate them after we got back on the road! (Just one of the many awesome road trip hacks we have learned over the years!)
2:15 PM STOP – Gas stop off of I-95 Exit 31 (Saint Pauls, NC)
6 PM STOP – Spent the night at the Inn at Ellis Square in Savannah, GA
10 AM – Left Savannah, filled up gas tank before getting back out onto I-95
11:55 AM STOP – Drinks/snacks at Starbucks (1044 Dunn Ave Jacksonville, FL)
3 PM STOP – Final destination at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower in Lake Buena Vista, FL
Disney – had dinner at the Spirit of Aloha dinner show at Polynesian Resort
Day spent at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Lunch – Disney Junior Play ‘n Dine character meal at Hollywood & Vine
Dinner – California Grill at Contemporary Resort
Breakfast – Chef Mickey’s character meal
Checked out of Bay Lake Tower at 11 AM.
Drove to Disney Character Warehouse Outlet Store (Orlando International Premium Outlets 4951 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819) for some shopping. Grabbed lunch at a fast food restaurant and ate as we drove.
3 PM – Checked into the Country Inn and Suites (9009 Astronaut Blvd, Cape Canaveral, FL 32920)
Boarded the Disney Dream!
8:45 AM – Started the drive home
11 AM STOP – gas/snacks stop in Jacksonville, FL
* Lost at least an hour in near-standstill traffic due to bad accident further up the highway
3 PM STOP – bathroom stop at rest stop on I-95 in SC
6 PM STOP – dinner/bathrooms at fast food restaurant off I-95 in Dillon, SC
7:45 PM STOP – bathrooms/drinks/gas at Sheetz in Smithfield, NC
9:30 PM STOP – Spent the night at the Country Inns and Suites off I-95 in Emporia, VA.
Total Drive Time – 12 hours 45 minutes
7 AM – Got onto I-95
11:30 AM STOP – gas/snacks at the Maryland House i-95 Travel Plaza
1:15 PM – HOME!!!
Total Drive Time – 6 hours 15 minutes
TOTAL DRIVE TIME FROM FL to PA – 19 hours
p.s. Have fun cleaning the car after a road trip this long with kids. We’ll be sending our car to be detailed very soon!
Here is a price breakdown on our round trip drive for food, gas, hotels. There is a big variable that you have to keep in mind if you are thinking about cost and driving. That, of course, is current gas prices. At just over $2/gallon this last trip was by far the cheapest we have ever driven to Florida from Pennsylvania. This year we paid easily half of what we paid for gas last year!
Totals are over a 4 day span, 2 days down, 2 days to get home.
Total spent on all food (meals, snacks, drinks): $122.33
This includes a dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack in Savannah. Saved a ton of money by packing snacks, drinks and stuff to make sandwiches for lunch on the way down.
Total spent on all gas: $227.20
Saved a little on our first gas fill up thanks to a $25 Wawa gift card we had! But still, $200 and change to drive to AND from Florida? FANTASTIC!
Total spent on two nights at hotels: $121.07
Cashed in Wyndham points I had been saving to stay at the Inn at Ellis Square completely 100% FREE.
Paid $121.07 for a 1 BR suite at the Country Inns and Suites off I-95 in Emporia, VA.
EZ Pass reset during our trip: $35
I lost track of what the exact tolls cost, the majority of them occurring between PA and Wash DC, but they were not more than $35.
Complete total cost to drive from PA to FL and back: $505.60
Compared to current airfare for 4 (R/T PHL to MCO) as per Travelocity: $1,990.80 ($498/ticket)
OUCH!!! Keep in mind – that is ONLY the price of airfare. That does not include food, gas to airport, airport parking, shuttle or car rental in Orlando, etc.
This one was a no-brainer for my family. We are fortunate not to have time constraints with work which give us the flexibility to take 2 days to get to FL and 2 days to come home. I know that time is a big factor for many families when deciding if they should drive vs fly.
But there you go. Those were the numbers that we faced. We could have saved $498 on airfare if we didn’t buy Landon a ticket since he’s under 2. But if you want realistic numbers, I’ll tell you right now there’s no way we’d be wrangling that wild 30-lb manbaby for an entire flight. NOPE. Not happening. Landon would get his own seat.
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