All Roads Lead to Walt Disney World
By Jennifer and Dave Marx
Copyright (c) 2001-2007 - MediaMarx, Inc. Permission granted to reprint.
Why put your vacation on hold until you reach Disney? Plan visits to nearby points of interest, and make reservations for your overnight stays. Nobody likes a late-night motel hunt.
Keep the kids busy. Many families bring enough games and activities to last the entire journey, and some invest in DC-powered TV/VCR combos, or portable DVD players. Books-on-tape (or CD) are another great idea. The Harry Potter books are more than enough for a two-day journey in each direction.
Nothing is more expensive or frustrating than a breakdown when you're far from home. Service your car before you leave - check the tires, brakes and air conditioning, change the oil, and top-off all fluids.
Let's not fool ourselves. Driving is still more dangerous than flying. Improve your family's odds by switching drivers frequently and traveling no more than 500 miles per day. 24-hour marathon drives may get you there sooner, but you'll pay for it in risk and exhaustion. And face it, after a high-energy Disney vacation, the last thing anyone needs is a drowsy driver behind the wheel.
Make the most of your AAA membership. The auto club offers travel discounts, the latest news on highway construction, all the maps you can possibly want, and their famous Trip-Tik route planning service.
Veteran Disney drivers will appreciate the highway interchange on I-4 in Orlando. Exits 26C and 26D feed Osceola Parkway, which is the most direct route to Disney's Animal Kingdom park, the Blizzard Beach water park, Disney's Wide World of Sports, Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and the All-Star resorts.
So, just what roads do lead to Orlando? East Coast travelers usually cruise south on I-95, switching to I-4 near Daytona. Drivers a bit farther inland (to as far West as Pittsburgh) pick routes that include I-77, I-79 and/or I-81, eventually joining I-95 in South Carolina.
I-75 figures into the plans of nearly anyone from Ohio to Chicago, St. Louis and beyond, as nearly every preferred route merges with I-75 before it reaches Georgia. Those farther south and west inevitably gravitate towards I-10, which hugs the Gulf coast until it, too, meets I-75 in Florida. Once on I-75, Disney World-bound travelers head south past Ocala, Florida to Florida's Turnpike, which cuts southeast towards Orlando and I-4.
If your route includes I-75, consider Dave Hunter's invaluable guidebook, Along Interstate 75 (Mile Oak Publishing). Dave maps out every mile from Detroit to the Florida border (and back) in loving detail, covering the services available at each exit and every point of interest along the way.
Looking for more travel and vacation tips for Walt Disney World? Pick up a copy of the PassPorter Walt Disney World guidebook. PassPorter guidebooks are available in bookstores and over the phone (1-877-WAYFARER). And, of course, you can order PassPorters on the Internet at http://www.passporter.com