Keeping up with Disney news is tough, but someone has to do it. So when I was reading an article from wdwinfo.com about whether or not to drive overnight to Orlando—click here to read the article—a smile started to spread over my face and ended up with laughing out loud. What was making me giggle? The thought of US driving to Orlando! I wanted to rename the article—why we fly to Orlando (or anywhere else for that matter).
I get it; the idea of driving to see the mouse. More flexibility and ideally less cost. A drive allows for stopping at various sights along the way, possibly seeing family if they, too, are in the vicinity, bringing your own food, even pets can join the fun. So, yes, I understand the reasons behind choosing to drive.
From where we live, the drive to Orlando is about 20 hours. I’ve done it once, as a passenger when I was 11. And, yes, we piled into the car either late at night or early in the morning. There are only a few things I remember from that trip: stopping for gas somewhere in Georgia where my brother hit the switch on the gas pump that wiped out the total for the sale before we paid, eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at Howard Johnson’s where we stayed, and having to strategically use the tickets in my ticket booklet at the Magic Kingdom—the only park open in the mid-seventies.
Flash forward to me as an adult and licensed driver. I’ve driven long distances either by myself or with a passenger such as to Houston to see family—a 17 hour jaunt.
Then, I got married. The husband is a good passenger when he is watching movies with the boy in the backseat of our van or sleeping. But he’s not the best at navigating new terrain and can get lost trying to find familiar places in the rain. Yes, there are GPS systems and we have one, but he also gets nervous driving on highways and freeways, even though he’ll say, “just get me to the highway” thinking that he can then just drive forward and not have to think or consider anything. Basically, either I have to drive or navigate while he drives, which either way keeps me engaged for whatever the duration of our trip. And, since I have to be engaged, I might as well drive.
Our longest car trip to date is 8 hours—to Branson. Our limit, or should I say mine, is about 3 ½ to 4 hours which is great as that takes in several airports within that diameter.
So, we fly. We tell people that we fly so we can stay married. There are several elements of truth in that statement. Less driving means less fatigue, less arguing, less resentment and more enjoyment for all of us.
Being a family of three, the cost of flying is less than larger families. We also fit nicely in a row of 3 seats across on an airplane; no dividing up the family into multiple rows. Our pets stay home, so no worries there. And, we still bring our own food along with us to cut down costs and provide tastier options. As far as time and flexibility goes, given that we have multiple airports to choose from, we’ve done very well finding flights that meet our timeline needs.
The husband has gotten very adept at navigating airports, luggage, and airport security. One of my favorite stories was when he stayed behind to get our gate checked roller bags at the jet way as the plane was too small for the bags to fit in the overhead bins. We were at Chicago O’Hare Airport in December and the boy and I moved along to use the restroom and then wait for the husband near the gate. It took longer than I expected, but sure enough, there he came with the three red Mickey bags in tow. Seems that the workers unloading the plane decided to take a break after delivering 2 of our 3 bags. The workers told the husband that there were no more bags. The husband directed them to check again as he knows and saw the third bag being loaded onto the plane. He must have been quite forceful as the third bag was with him. He told me that he was more scared of telling me about the missing bag than of the workers unloading the plane. Maybe he is ready for a long drive!