Wait.. before you answer those people who ask, "Are
you crazy," there is a method to this madness! With
a little planning, driving long distances to the
House of Mouse can be pleasurable and interesting
-- no matter the ages of those riding with you.
For the little ones, there are several things you
can bring along to keep them occupied. One of the
best items is a TV/VCR combination. While television
reception may be limited, especially when driving
out in the middle of nowhere, having the VCR is
great! You can bring along your Disney movies to
help introduce -- or reinforce -- the characters
and make them familiar to little ones who might
otherwise be a little afraid to run up and give
them a hug. Break out a few new things for them
-- pipe cleaners (for making animals, shapes, letters
and numbers), small "Magna Doodle" games, stickers,
books, sunglasses and of course, snacks. Goldfish,
gummy bears and Cheerios are bit hits! Don't forget
the hand wipes!
Older children may like hand-held games, drawing
pencils with sketchpad, CDs with player (don't forget
the headphones!) and maybe a crossword puzzle book
One fun family game is trying to spot the different
states' license plates. It's fun to see how many
you can find while on the road. You get extra points
for spotting Florida license plates in your own
state! Drivers are NOT allowed to play!
In addition to the little ones' snacks, think of
small portion snacks such as cereal bars, trail
mix, nuts, Pop Tarts (no toasters -- sorry!) and
individually wrapped hard candies. Also, make sure
you keep a cooler handy with water, juice and soft
drinks. Just don't to forget to gauge how far the
next rest stop is down the road!
And speaking of rest stops, make sure you take advantage
of them. The bigger ones that are frequented by
the large 18-wheeler trucks are often patrolled,
have rest rooms that are cleaned frequently and
have room to walk around and stretch tired legs.
The Welcome Center in Ocala even has fresh orange
and grapefruit juice -- a refreshing introduction
to the Sunshine State!
A good thing to have is either the baby shades that
stick on the windows, or something that can be placed
on the window to block out sun. My littlest does
not like Mr. Sun to shine in his eyes. As a last
resort, I have it on good authority that a sweatshirt
tied around the seat belt and placed "just so" works
One last tip -- from someone who learned the hard
way -- make sure you take large enough trash bags
to hold all your car trash. It is amazing to find
out the amount of things that need to be thrown
away and stack up if you don't have somewhere to
An added bonus to driving to Disney World, is all
the interesting things and places you'll see along
the way. Driving from Texas, we travel on and on
and on the bridge over Louisiana's Atchafalaya river
swamp, the USS Alabama in Mobile Bay and the Don
Garlitz Museum of Drag Racing, just to name a few.
So go ahead. Hop in the car and take off. Nothing
is better than everyone in the car bouncing up and
down is when you finally drive under the Mickey
sign that welcomes you to Walt Disney World.