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Driving From Toronto To Orlando

We recently did a road trip from Toronto to Orlando, it is about 20 hours one way, and took us 2 days with a four year old. We split our drive into two parts, the first was from Toronto to Charlotte, N.C., and then proceed from Charlotte to Walt Disney World Resort. Here are some tips of how to drive from Toronto to Orlando.

The Itinerary:

The first part of the leg was from Toronto to the Boarder. Please note, that there are strict laws on what fruits and vegetables are allowed to go across the boarder, so we opted for snacks that are processed and water only.

For our first break we stopped at Pittsburg to grab lunch, we opted to save money by going to grocery store and picking up salads and sandwiches. This part of the trip is about 5 hours from Toronto. Mostly going on straight highways, once you got past Buffalo.

After Pittsburg, you will be going through the Appalachian mountains which have beautiful scenic views of mountains. Keep in mind the road is windy, and if it rains visibility may not be great. There was also a bit of construction, but no traffic so you will make it in good times. Once you get past two tunnels, you are almost done with the mountains, this ride felt like forever, but was only about 5 hours. The views were so incredible that you get used to the beauty.

We then arrived in Charlotte, which was overall 12-13 hours depending on stops. We got out to stretch legs every 3-4 hours and fuel up at the same time to ensure that our gas was never close to empty. In charlotte we opted to stay in Westin downtown, which is a short 5 minutes from the I77 highway. It is in a beautiful location right across from the stadium and NASCAR Hall of Fame.

On the next day, since we got a good night sleep, we opted to go visit NASCAR Hall of Fame, and it was totally worth it, even for not NASCAR fans. The museum has beautiful displays of cars, history and for those that love racing qualifying simulation and real simulation which are mostly geared for adults. For Disney fans they had Cars Lightening McQueen there, which made our four year old super happy. Tip it opens at 10am on weekends, if you show up a few minutes early you will have zero crowds and can enjoy the museum fairly quickly.

We continued the drive starting the afternoon, it would take us around Savannah and then Jacksonville and into Orlando. We had time for Savanah, Georgia but were tired so decided to proceed straight to Orlando. We arrived in around 8-9 hours. With a nice night sleep we could have energy to explore the following day.

Due to time constraints we opted to go home the same way we came, what was nice about the drive is that we saved money on car rental and flights. There was no shortage of gas station or rest areas.

Other detours, if we had more time there could have been many places we could have opted to de-tour on the way there or back to extend the vacation and it included:

  • Savannah, about 30 minutes from I95.
  • Hilton Head, South Carolina – about 30 minutes from I95.
  • Charleston, South Carolina – about 1 hour from I95.
  • Daytona Beach, Florida – About 20 minutes from I95
  • Staying in Blue Ridge Mountains – about 2 hours from Charlotte.

Tips for surviving a road trip with children:

Keeping children entertained for 10-12 hours a day in the car is difficult, with luck they will take a nap. However, our four year old did not on the first day. Here is how we dealt with it:

  • Loading your tablet with their favorite shows and movies. We restricted screentime to a 1 hour limit every 4 hours. We also packed headphones so that adults could talk or enjoy some quiet time.
  • Playing games and bringing books for them to enteract with, he loves books with flaps and map books kept him entertained for a while.
  • Doing quick exercises every 2-3 hours when we would stop for washroom break and gas. Running around the car was a fun activity, just make sure you park far away from any incoming traffic.
  • We decided to eat in the car to save time, and had snacks mostly healthy ones such as fruit salads or veggies to nudge on.
  • Talking about the destination ahead kept them eager to arrive and excited to go on the road trip.
  • We loaded music from his favorite Disney movies and shows to do sing-alongs, mind you adults could only keep up for 20 minutes.

Overall doing a road trip is an affordable way to visit Walt Disney World, it is also a great way to bond with your family. For more scenic routes and kids attractions download visited app for the ultimate list.

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