Some people think we are crazy for driving from Tennessee to Orlando every Disney trip, but that’s ok. I like to be a little crazy sometimes and it helps A WHOLE LOT to cut costs down. When the children were younger the drive to Disney was fine, but I can’t lie, the ride back home was just down-right painful. I am not sure if it is because we have what Honey and I consider to be the ‘perfect driving plan’ now, if it is because we have all become accustomed to the drive, if it is because the children have gotten older and more self-sufficient, or if it’s a happy harmony of all of the above, but the ride gets easier every trip. Seriously.
Part of our ‘perfect driving plan’ involves packing the entire car the night before we leave so that it takes us little to no time to leave the next morning. We all go to bed by 9 or 9:30 p.m. and I get up at, brace yourself, 3:15 so that we can leave by 4 a.m. I am very lucky that I seem to have an ‘off switch’ and can go to sleep within minutes of laying down. I am also a morning person who does just great with a little coffee. I take the first three hour drive shift because Honey is not a big morning person. Honey usually drives most of the rest of the way to Disney because he is just not a ‘passenger seat’ kind of guy.
So how do the children do during the drive? Well, normally they are sleeping angels the first 3-4 hours and then when it’s my turn to sleep they need snacks, movies, drinks, headphones, crayons that have fallen on the floor and more. Thankfully, the Princess is also known as “Little Hope” and has now taken it upon herself to assist with all needs while Mama sleeps. Praise The Lord for self-sufficiency!!
Here are some tips on how I have made it super easy to help this self-sufficiency process. I have each child pack a back pack with all of their favorite toys and place said backpack right beside or in front of them along with their pillow pets and blankets. I also have the big tote of a mix of healthy snacks and snacks that they hardly ever have placed right in between all three children so they can reach what they need when they need it.
We always buy 2-3 new movies that they haven’t seen before for the drive. The ‘never seen before’ part is extremely important and helps hold their attention. I pack every travel sized game that we own for the girls to play. C-man is usually just fine solo in the back seat with his DS and book. Honey actually asked this past trip about 4-5 hours into the drive, “We didn’t leave C-man at home did we? We haven’t heard a peep out of him.” We usually limit the video gaming time but the road to Disney is just not one of those times.
The ride home? Well, it’s still not fabulous, but it’s pleasant now. I pack the car the evening before and we make sure that we leave by 7 a.m. at the very latest. We have found waiting any longer is just asking to combat the swarm of people leaving on a Sunday.
I usually have several tricks in my bag to combat boredom while waiting in line. My first line of defense is the Disney ABC game. Here is how the game works - the first person has to name a Disney character whose name begins with the letter ‘A’. Play then continues to the next person who has to name a Disney character whose name begins with the letter ‘B’ and so on until you reach the letter ‘Z’. I suggest you save this game for those really, really long lines.
My children also love Story Cubes. Even the Baby like to get into the action on this one. Because we have to move suddenly and quickly in line, I don’t really follow the rules suggested. I have each child draw 3 cubes and then tell a story based on the 3 cubes they received. After the 3 stories have been told, play continues with each child drawing 3 new cubes from the bag. The stories can be pretty hilarious and my kids love to play. You can find it at Amazon for less than $8.
|Story Cubes - Great for activity while waiting in line|
I always carry crayons and Disney themed pocket sized activity books that you can find at the Dollar store or the $1 section of Target (Don’t y’all love that addition to Target?) in my backpack along with a pocket sized ‘Spot It’ game by Blue Orange. You can find 'Spot it' at Amazon Here for less than $12.
|My kids love the game 'Spot It' - especially my girls|
For our upcoming Christmas trip I purchased a darling Disney activity book from my friend, Amanda, over at DIxie Delights. The digital personalized download for all 3 of my kiddos was just $5. You can find them HERE at her Etsy Store.
|Dixie Delights Activity Book|
I hope these ideas help make your next trip even more Magical.