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Old 07-19-2011, 04:42 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Driving from Ohio to Disney--hotels & tips?

I'm driving to Disney for the first time ever (well, except the high school trip on a bus, but that doesn't count) and had a couple of questions...

We're leaving on Saturday, September 10, and thinking of going all the way from Ohio (near Columbus) to Jacksonville on Saturday, staying at a Hampton Inn there, and then to Disney the next morning. There's a few issues with this plan. One is that the trip down, according to Google, is 14+ hours, which would mean we could leave at 6AM and get there around 10PM. Would we have any issues with such a late check-in if we had booked the room ahead of time?

The second issue is that I want to get to Disney as early as possible. We're staying at POP, and I know the normal check-in time isn't until 3PM, but they have the early online check-in. I guess I just want to make sure I'll be able to get our passes into the parks, even if we can't get into our room when we get there. Will we be okay?

Thanks for any help :-)
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:19 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm driving to Disney for the first time ever (well, except the high school trip on a bus, but that doesn't count) and had a couple of questions...

We're leaving on Saturday, September 10, and thinking of going all the way from Ohio (near Columbus) to Jacksonville on Saturday, staying at a Hampton Inn there, and then to Disney the next morning. There's a few issues with this plan. One is that the trip down, according to Google, is 14+ hours, which would mean we could leave at 6AM and get there around 10PM. Would we have any issues with such a late check-in if we had booked the room ahead of time?

The second issue is that I want to get to Disney as early as possible. We're staying at POP, and I know the normal check-in time isn't until 3PM, but they have the early online check-in. I guess I just want to make sure I'll be able to get our passes into the parks, even if we can't get into our room when we get there. Will we be okay?

Thanks for any help :-)
Just call the hotel and tell them you will be checking in late. No problem. At Pop if your room is not ready, you can still leave your things off and go to the parks. It is done all the time. They will call or text you with your room number.
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Old 07-19-2011, 08:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I have driven to the World from Columbus (Upper Arlington) many many times. Isn't Jacksonville kind of out of the way some? We used to stay in Ocala or some place south of the Florida line on I75. Usually the room was ready even if we were early arriving. Have fun!
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Old 07-19-2011, 09:59 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I have driven to the World from Columbus (Upper Arlington) many many times. Isn't Jacksonville kind of out of the way some? We used to stay in Ocala or some place south of the Florida line on I75. Usually the room was ready even if we were early arriving. Have fun!
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It depends which way you go. We're not looking at I75, but maybe I'll check that out. Thanks!
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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We drove from north of Cincinnati in 2010, which was a 14+ hour drive (on-road time only). We left at 6 a.m. on a Saturday and stopped in Georgetown, KY for a picnic breakfast. We did a picnic lunch in southern TN (there are only 2 rest areas in TN on I-75S), and put up for the night in Tifton, GA. From there, we had about a 4-hour drive to WDW.

For our next trip (Sept. 2012), we are considering leaving around 9 p.m. on a Friday and driving thru the night. By our estimates, we should be in southern GA by our normal wake-up time. Plans include an overnight stay near Daytona.

This is one site I have found quite helpful in planning our WDW trips where we drive. Everything for the I-75 Traveler | The I-75 Exit Guide
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Old 07-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We drive from near Toledo (I-75) and stop in Lake City, FL for the night. Country Inn & Suites . It's right off of 75 in Lake City and only gives us a 3-hour drive to Disney the next morning.
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Old 07-20-2011, 05:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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We live on the east side of Columbus. We always drive to Disney. The past 2 times we stayed in Orangeburg, South Carolina. We usually leave around 5:30 or 6 in the morning and stop for the night when the kids would get tired of riding, which would be around that town. Then we'd get up and usually make it to Pop Century by 1 or 2:00. Our room was ready and we were able to check in early both times.
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Old 07-21-2011, 08:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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We go from the D.C. area down 95, but we do the same type of thing as you are planning. Long drive the first day--and we stay at Hampton Inn in Santee, SC. I guarantee the room with a credit card, and we've never had one sold out from under us, since they know they'll get paid whether or not we actually sleep in it.

One year our vehicle (almost new) died on us, so we had to stay overnight a couple of hundred miles north of our goal. I just called the 800 number for the hotel where we had reservations and cancelled it before the deadline stated on the reservation, which was 6:00 pm. Be careful as some chains, like Comfort Inn may not allow cancellation within 24 hours of the reservation. But Hampton Inn definitely does.

We normally check-in at WDW by noon or 1:00 pm, pick up our park tickets, and have lunch. Even if the room isn't ready yet we can hit the parks or DTD, leaving the stuff in our car; however, almost every time in the past 11 years, the room was ready for us.

I would be realistic about how far you want to drive. I am over 60 so I can't do those marathon drives anymore. We go about 9 hours and then stop before I start weaving all over the road. If your kids will sleep a bit in the car, then you might be able to go a little further before stopping. Have a great trip!
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Old 07-22-2011, 06:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi there! Keep in mind that if you reserve your hotel online, make sure you don't use one that offers a discount with no option to cancel. Some hotel chains offer a better deal if you pre-pay for your room, but the fine print says you cannot cancel, no matter what. There's usually an note next to the super discounted rate letting you know. Have a safe and wonderful trip!
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Okay...I've driven from Cincinnati down I-75 at least a dozen times.

You don't want to stay in jacksonville...it's out of your way by at least 2 hours.

You want to stay along I-75...probably around Valdosta.

That's what we did in April last year and March this year...and it is the easiest way.

get the Along I-75 book...it will help a LOT! Hit up your local closing borders and pick one up...I keep one in my car all the time.

Jacksonville...is off to the east...and you'd be going about an hour that way off your path...then an hour back. Unless you have a special reason to do Jacksonville...I wouldn't.

I'd definitely recommend I-75 with a stop in Valdosta Georgia.
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Old 07-29-2011, 12:12 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Okay...I've driven from Cincinnati down I-75 at least a dozen times.

You don't want to stay in jacksonville...it's out of your way by at least 2 hours.
Actually, from where I am in Ohio, it's quicker by about 45 minutes to go I-77 to I-95, and therefore right by Jacksonville. Thanks, though!
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Old 08-04-2011, 05:47 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I-95 is actually the way we will be going in Nov. It all depends on where you are located in OH. We are on the border of OH/WV so we drive I-70W to I-77S then down to I-95. We are also looking to stay around Jacksonville OR Kingsland, GA then drive the rest of the way in the morning. Good Luck!!!
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Old 08-05-2011, 09:17 AM   #13 (permalink)
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another thing that I'll offer up as a tip is that if you ARE planning on doing a marathon trip to get to Disney the same day, might I suggest you NOT do a stay at Pop the first night if you are planning to arrive at 10pm... you'll spend a decent chunk on a hotel room that you won't be able to enjoy at all. If you do plan to get to Orlando that night, why not stay in a local area hotel that will be much cheaper, then continue on to Pop the next morning, check in (they can hold your bags if room is not ready) and head off to parks for the day.

If you leave early enough in the morning, and take your time on the drive you should be able to do that drive pretty easily if you travel well in a car. All depends on how you and your family travel, but the drive down your doing is pretty easy (I drive it with my family from up here in Canada when we go) and there are plenty of places to stop along the way should you need it.

Good luck on the drive!!

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Old 08-05-2011, 03:49 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I can't imagine beginning my fabulous Disney World vacation with a gruelling 14 hour drive!... OMG!!

I would seriously encourage you to trim that first day down to 10 or 11 hours if you can...

The only other advice I have (which may not apply to you if you take I-95) is that I've been told I-75 through Georgia Goes. On. For. Ev. Er.
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Old 08-05-2011, 04:24 PM   #15 (permalink)
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I can't imagine beginning my fabulous Disney World vacation with a gruelling 14 hour drive!... OMG!!

I would seriously encourage you to trim that first day down to 10 or 11 hours if you can...

The only other advice I have (which may not apply to you if you take I-95) is that I've been told I-75 through Georgia Goes. On. For. Ev. Er.
Well, it's just DH & me, and we are taking I-95. DH will being doing most, if not all, the driving. I asked him time and time again if he was sure he wanted to do 14 hours, and he said that was fine. What I'm most concentrated on is that we'll only have 2, 2 1/2 the next day before we actually get to Disney.
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