Travel Tuesday Tales: Flying to Disney World but Wishing We Were Driving

I booked our flights for our Disney Christmas/New Years trip last week and was not happy with the many American dollars that it cost. Not that I was especially surprised, since this is not only the busiest week of the year, but also one of the most expensive. So while I gritted my teeth while booking, I kept thinking “Why not drive? Why not drive? Why not drive?”


So why NOT drive? Lord knows it would be a lot cheaper during this week, even taking into consideration the cost of gas, meals, and even a place to stay overnight on the way down….but…..

We fly, dear Disney friends, because while I LOVE road trips, for my family…not so much. And they have good reason for feeling that way….

When growing up, my family took a road trip every summer, and I just loved the sense of adventure, the chances to stop and explore new places and things, and the fact that the journey itself was part of the vacation. So for our first several trips to Disney World, we either drove or combined a driving/Autotrain trip…and I loved being able to take our time getting to Florida, checking out some of the pretty neat places between Maryland and Florida, and just making our vacation a little longer, and even a little more relaxing.

But as we started trying to visit Walt Disney World more often, this frankly became a problem: when you are making more, shorter trips, adding a couple of days or so, on either end just for travel wasn’t generally possible. After all, there are only so many vacation days to go around each year…

So one year we decided that we would do the drive in one day down and one day back: 14 hours of compressed family time, no significant stopping, exploring or extra fun. Just get in the car well before dawn, drive like no other, and arrive at Disney that evening.

This was our first visit to Disney World during Christmas week and we were to leave the morning after Christmas. We packed the car the night before, and I was sure to include lots of food, car games, audio books, dvds, you-name-it.

I am a planner, and I was prepared. 🙂

Up the next morning at 4 a.m. I quickly turned on the Weather Channel to check the weather report for I-95 and heard that there was this “tiny little area of precipitation” in North Carolina that wouldn’t amount to much, but travelers should be aware…….Hmmmm…..precipitation on December 26?

Well, we made it to North Carolina and found out that this little area of precipitation had pretty much shut down I-95 in North and most of South Carolina, since apparently the south doesn’t get any winter weather, so they don’t seem to have salt or snow plows. A light dusting of snow and ice paralyzed this major north-south highway….and there we sat. For hours. Not moving. Anywhere.

And the longer we sat, the more I listened to my family ask…over and over and over……”Why didn’t we fly? Why didn’t we fly? Why didn’t we fly?”

Sigh…..That was the last time we drove to Florida.

Every trip since then, as I start to plan, I am reminded (like I could forget) that flying is sooo much quicker, and more efficient, and that we can get there in just 2 ½ hours……yada yada yada

I know I know. And they are right: we don’t want to waste valuable Disney parks time sitting on I-95 in an ice storm, we want to get there and get going! So this year, we will still be getting up at 4 a.m., but with a 6:30 flight, we’ll be at the parks by 10 enjoying Pirates of the Caribbean and having a Dole Whip.

And my dear family will remind me yet again: “Gee Mom, isn’t this better than sitting on I-95 in an ice storm?”

Yes, it certainly is. 🙂

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8 Responses to Travel Tuesday Tales: Flying to Disney World but Wishing We Were Driving

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  2. Kelly says:

    I feel you! We are leaving in two weeks and just purchased our tickets…we had the exact same story…minue the ice storm…haha. I could not believe what we paid in tickets. This may be the last trip that we fly for in a while. I think if we want to continue to go as much as we do, we are going to have to drive….ugh!

    • Nancy says:

      It’s a tough decision to make, especially as I try to save as much money as I possibly can while creating the best possible Disney vacation. There are trade-offs and at times I have to go with “our time is worth something too”….So we’ll just save in other areas instead for this trip. Next time? Who knows, maybe I can convince them to give it a try again 😉

  3. Joy says:

    I hear ya on the flying/drive decision. We are headed down the second week of Nov. and had planned on driving afterall it is only about 9-10hrs for us. but then SW put out a deal and we thought why not? this will be the kids first trip to DW and also their first flight, I could almost just explode with excitement. Also knowing I won’t be ready to lose my mind on the drive and let a kid out somewhere in Alabama is very exciting:)

    • Nancy says:

      Have an absolutely wonderful time Joy! I am sure both the trip there and back…as well as your time in Disney World will be great! 🙂

  4. Kelly says:

    Yeah that sure coulf make for a great blog post…lol.

  5. Kelly says:

    It is always wonderful to find that great flight deal!!! Congrats and enjoy your trip!

  6. Pingback: Affordable Disney Vacations: Saving Time AND Money with Disney’s Magical Express | Chip and Company

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