Decided to Drive

This may be way too specific of a question, but I’m hoping that one or two of you may be able to provide me with some insight :smile:

A few weeks ago I posted a topic asking about the pros/cons of driving to Disney. Well after thinking about it and the number of other splurges we are doing on this trip we decided that we will be driving. We will be driving from Tulsa, Oklahoma.
My question revolves around the best route to get to Disney. This is where the question becomes super specific and probably only applies to those people who have driven to Disney from the west or midwest. Google is suggesting 3 possible routes to get to Disney. One involves me going south through Shreveport and through the gulf to eventually wind through Tallahassee. The other two both involve me going through Memphis, where they differ is that one has me going through Atlanta and then south. While the other has me going south through Birmingham and Montgomery and into Florida. Having never driven to Disney, I’m wondering if anyone has suggestions on what route to avoid or any other tips they could give me coming from my part of the country? Sorry for the long and detailed question!

I’d personally go Tulsa-Parris-Shreveport-Jackson-Mobile-Pensacola-Tallahassee etc… The route through Memphis takes you through several large metro areas that will slow you down. I don’t know bad Tallahassee traffic is, though.

Are you planning to drive straight thru, or split it?

Good catch! I should have added that information in. My thought now is to leave in the middle of the night Thursday and get a good 12-13 hours in. Stop Friday afternoon and let the kids have some time out of the car and then leave Saturday morning and be to Disney by the early afternoon.

Take a look at Destin, FL for a stop then. Not far out of the way, and probably about 14 hours with gas and a meal stop unless you are a slow driver. The beach there is gorgeous. After that, a 6.5 hour drive to WDW with one gas stop.

Looking on Google Maps, it shows the 40 route to actually be almost an hour shorter. My drive times seem to fall apart when going through big cities, though. I’d still probably go through Pensacola even if it were a bit longer, because beaches vs farmland when you stop over.

That’s the other odd thing. The Google drive times seem to be a bit all over the place. You raise some good points about driving through metropolitan areas and the value of staying somewhere nice.

We start from Little Rock and have tried the Memphis-Birmingham-Atlanta-Orlando route and the Memphis-Birmingham-Montgomery-Florida route. I prefer the Atlanta route but it is a few more miles but we make better time as it is all Interstate from Birmingham. I do not like the road from Montgomery to I-10.

If you choose the Atlanta route, plan the time you go through Atlanta. I always try to go through early in the morning or in mid-afternoon to avoid rush hour. I’ve only done the Atlanta route. Except for getting through Atlanta, it is very straight and easy to drive. Valdosta is a good place to stop. There is a water park there, not Disney level, but fun for kids after sitting in the car all day.

I only have a general rule to offer by way of advice. Add at least 2 hours on top of whatever Google is telling you. Anything can and will happen during a road trip.
If I Google directions to WDW from home, it tells me 19 hours. I know for a fact it’s closer to 21-24 hours. The only way it can be 19 hours is if I could somehow drive only at night for the whole ride and we were the last people on Earth. :smirk:

That’s also a really good point! The one thing I have been noticing is that the total time of the drive varies from day to day up to as much as an hour. I’m hoping that if we leave in the middle of the night, I can get a solid chunk of driving in before the kids wake up.

Good to know! I’m wondering why exactly do you not like the road from Montgomery to 1-10?

I always beat Google Maps on trips of 8 hours or less. However, That drive time doesn’t take meal breaks and gas stops into account, so on a drive like 14 hours per Google, I expect 16 hours.

Full disclosure, I live in the Northeast. Worst roads, narrow 2 lane highways, few alternate routes and super aggressive drivers.
I hope you have nice, multi-lane highways that can handle the occasional roadwork or accident. Road trips are a classic American way of vacationing. Someday I hope to rent an RV and really hit the road.
Anyway, I hope you have a great and uneventful drive!

google maps will change time predictions based on time of day you map and the traffic. They take into account the traffic so if you are mapping at 6 pm eastern the drive through Atlanta will be longer than 2am. I would try to tell how lenghth of drive on the time you plan on going through the area and map accordingly. Good luck we always add an hour as well for bathroom breaks snacks etc. My kids are pretty fast and this still takes an hour extra

It’s non Interstate from Montgomery to I-10. I live in Birmingham and have driven a couple times. I’d stick with the Shreveport route I think. Atlanta can be a mess

Another thought I have had recently is to leave right after work on Thursday, drive for 4 or 5 hours and then put an 8 or 9 hour day in on Friday. That way Saturday we have a much shorter drive and can truly enjoy arriving at Disney. If I want the Shreveport route, I’m thinking Shreveport then either Destin or somewhere around there then onto Orlando. I need to map it out assuming I do the other routes.

We drove straight through from WI last fall. The time from Google maps was almost dead on. Kids did great. It was too hard on my wife and I to ever do it again. If you have the time split it up. Have fun stay fresh

I agree with cutting the 14 hour first day shorter. I’m getting to old to enjoy driving that long. But it doesn’t seem like you are making your Saturday morning drive any shorter.

Yea if we end up stopping at Destin then it’s about the same drive Saturday. My thought is whichever way I go, if we can make it to Tallahassee on Friday we will have a pretty nice drive on Saturday.