OniHaunts Christmas 2012 Pt. 2: 4 things everyone should know about driving 2000 miles to Disney World on Christmas Week
Continuing my previous post. Those of you considering driving 2000 miles to Florida for Christmas need to know a few things.
1. This is difficult, foolhardy, insane, and should only be attempted by professionals probably maybe.
Driving to Disney World on Christmas Week is not for the faint of heart or the first time Disney World traveler. If you don’t know the parks pretty well, know how to use Fastpass, and/or have a wizened guide with you I advise you to go when the park crowds are lighter so that you can enjoy everything slowly. If this is your once in a lifetime trip I also advise you to go when the crowds are lighter so that you can ride everything at an unhurried pace. During Christmas Week you will probably only ride the rides you can Fastpass because the lines will range from 1 hour to 3 hours each. Even though Disney handled the crowds so well that I was shocked, the crowds will still be very high.
If you don’t even know what Fastpass is or how to use it then no. Just no. Don’t do Christmas Week. Driving to Disney for Christmas Week is like playing the video game on Hard Mode.
If you are frequent Disney traveler, this is for you. No other time of year can you see the parks running on all engines with decorations, entertainment, and seasonal food that is this awesome. If you are a nutcase and this is your 2nd or 3rd time going this year like us
WELCOME ABOARD TO THE CRAZY TRAIN TOOT TOOT THIS TRIP IS FOR YOU! TOOTY TOOT TOOT!
I have to say that this was probably one of the best trips we ever did!
2. This drive is LONG. VERY VERY LONG.
It will take you at least 2 days to reach Orlando if you live as far away as New Jersey. The map says 11.5 hours till Savannah. It took about 15 hours of near nonstop driving between 2 people just to get to Savannah, GA which is 4 hours away from Orlando due to holiday traffic adding 3ish hours to the trip. SHEESH. If you can make it as far as Savannah I highly recommend the Hilton Garden Inn.
3. The food.
If you don’t like fried or carby foods and need good coffee, you should really pack food and canned or bottled coffee to bring with you. Trust me. This at Cook Out in South Carolina was our best option on the road. There are no Starbucks like there are up north, so you can’t even get regular crappy coffee:
As much as I like a crazy meal like this every once in awhile I don’t particularly care for it when I have to sit in a chair for over 10 hours that day. Next time I will try out Steve’s Original PaleoKits. (Thanks to SaggyZ for writing me to tell me about them.)
4. The Christmas Traffic.
I-95 is only 2 lanes from much of the trip in NC, SC, and GA. This makes it pretty terrible. During Christmas it was worse. When it turns back into 3 lanes south of Savannah it picks up, but that is not the largest share of the trip. I would drive to Orlando again, but probably not at Christmas. Like I said above this provided us with an additional 3 hours on the road that we could have done without. (Note that I didn’t say we wouldn’t go to Orlando for Christmas again, I’d by lying to you if I said we weren’t planning our Christmas 2013 trip already.)
So, how did the trip go?
The first day (Saturday) was a 4AM wake up to go from NJ – Savannah, Ga. As I mentioned before due to traffic we had total standstills in the MD/VA/NC areas and it took almost 15 hours to get to GA.
Whoever had the idea of making I-95 2 lanes only should probably be slapped in the face with my feet. Because of the bad delays I was unable to see Savannah, Georgia beyond checking into our hotel and sleeping. Oh well, maybe next time. (I hear there are some Haunted Houses in GA…)
By the time we got to our destination, it was pretty much like this:
The next morning we were up at 4AM again. Yep, we felt like we just came out of a washer and dryer set on “PUMMEL THEM” mode OMG:
We BOMBED IT to Orlando to check in at Disney’s Art of Animation resort in about 4 hours. On the way I saw the most BREATHTAKING sunrise I have ever seen IN MY ENTIRE LIFE. Because it was 30 degrees the night before and this day was warming up to about 70ish a delicate fog was emanating off of every body of water as the golden-red sun began to light up. This picture does not do it justice.
I also learned that in Florida you can have a sparkling rainbow INSIDE A CLOUD. Again, this picture does not do it justice. In real life it was glittering and bright inside the cloud:
After 20 hours on the road, you have NO IDEA how welcome this sight was:
Art of Animation had this tree out to welcome us and there actually was a wandering musician playing Christmas music:
We stayed in The Little Mermaid wing at Art of Animation, which was AWESOME because this was my favorite movie when I was little – right at the age when I wanted to go to Florida so badly but had to deal with awful things instead.
The shower curtain pulled back to reveal Ariel’s little cave! Ha!
Well played, Harknell. Well played.
I highly recommend AoA resort. It’s like a Value tier resort but BETTER in every way except for the pathways. For some reason the paths try to funnel you to go through the center of the resort every time. You could clearly see where people were cutting through the grass and leaving crushed grass behind to get to the parking lot or main building faster. At every other value resort you can get from the staircase to the parking lot with no problem. This was the only issue we had at AoA.
The food is far better than every other Value resort on property. Made from scratch American and Indian food awaits you – also real cappuccinos and hand made lemonade as opposed to the fountain stuff everywhere else. I come here to eat even when I am not staying here. The prices are really good for what you get here when compared with other offerings on Disney property.
I’ll write more later as this post is getting long!