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Driving Solo: A Parent Free Disney Road Trip Guide

The road trip…. a classic family experience.  Growing up, it’s almost mindless. You hop in and enjoy the journey, but there are many aspects you may not have considered.

Driving to Walt Disney World is a great option for your first solo road trip.  It’s not difficult, but there are many things that can help you make it there more smoothly.

Sit back, and plan ahead so you can enjoy the ride!

Planning the Route

In this day and age, there are  a lot of helpful apps and websites.  You put in a route, and they will tell you the time of arrival and give recommendations like hotels and dining.  Not sure where to stop? Many apps will tell you your exact midpoint.

https://roadtrippers.com

Talk to your elders! On my journey to Walt Disney World, our exact mid-point wasn’t the best city, but me and my driving partner didn’t realize that.

galveston-ferry

One of the coolest parts of my May road trip was the free ferry from Galveston to Bolivar in Texas. You drive a car on the boat and it takes you across the Bay, saving driving time.

His parents took the drive many times and had great recommendations. We went with their choice for a stop over city and it worked out much better.

The internet is your best friend when planning. Many sites have reviews from actual users that can be very helpful.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/

Want to find the cheapest gas around? Gasbuddy , a fantastic app, will use GPS coordinates to see which gas stations are nearby and which is the cheapest.

Driving in Florida:

Be prepared for tolls!!! Florida has a lot of them, especially in the Orlando area. Bring cash or buy a Sunpass in advance.

The Sunpass website has a toll calculator if you want an estimate on how much cash to bring. Under settings on Google Maps, you can select avoid tolls if you want to compare routes without them.

https://www.sunpass.com/tollcalculator

Florida is larger than most people realize.  Driving from Texas to Florida, half the drive was in Florida alone. If you are coming from the west, you may be driving in Florida a while. Some parts of Florida, like Pensacola, are much different from Orlando.  The drive was very pretty, but dangerous at night as the lighting wasn’t as good as you might find in a metropolitan area.

Disney property is really easy to navigate. There are bright road signs leading you to the parks and resorts. The major road on Disney property is World Drive.

disney-traffic-sign

Iconic Disney Road Sign. Photo courtesy of orlandoparknews.com

World Drive starts in Celebration, passes over Highway 192, and ends behind Magic Kingdom. All the theme parks except Animal Kingdom have entrances directly off of World Drive.

disney-parking-lot-sign

Parking tip: Disney parking lots are huge! Take a photo of your lot number. You won’t regret it!

Parking is $20 per day at Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. At those theme parks, parking is free if you’re a Disney Resort guest or have specific Annual Passes.

disney-bus-magic-kingdom

Disney Buses are a great way to get around. Photo courtesy of wdwmagic.com

Parking at Disney Springs and the Disney Water Parks is free for everyone.

Must haves:

Pre-downloaded Music and Media– The radio can be spotty on the open road. I recommend downloading  some music, podcasts, and/or ebooks.

My personal favorite Disney Podcast is the DIS Unplugged!  Check them out below or on YouTube.
http://www.disunplugged.com/

Snacks and Drinks– Stock up on snack and drinks in bulk at your local grocery store before the drive.  Stopping at gas stations for Powerades or Snickers can really add up and take time.

Portable Electronics– Keep those phones and other devices powered up for the road! Also, a portable speaker is great if your car doesn’t have an Aux option.  The iHome Mini Speaker is an affordable option that will fit in a cup holder.

Have a safe and fun drive!

Olivia

*My opinions expressed do not reflect those of the Walt Disney Company. All products and websites mentioned were not sponsored.

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Olivia Reed
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Olivia Reed

Olivia, 19,is currently pursuing a Hospitality Management degree in Texas. But over the summer you may find her making magic at Walt Disney World! Some of her Disney favorites include Dinosaur, Dole Whips, UP, and the Polynesian Resort. Follow her on Instagram @oliviarosalindreed and Twitter @orreed.
Olivia Reed
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Pacific Sunwear of California Inc

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