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  1. #1

    Default From California to Florida

    Hopefully, towards the end of June 2009, my friends and I are planning a trip to DisneyWorld. The thing is, none of us have done the roadtrip thing and they left it up to me to plan a fun adventurous trip to Florida. So here I am researching, with time, on what to do to plan a trip from Los Angeles to Orlando. If any of you have done this before please let me know the do's and dont's of this trip. I want to accumulate information on how much it will cost approximately, best scenic roads to take, great places to eat and visit, good economic places to stay, etc. The whole nine yards on info basically. Please post!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Step One

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Actually, the most important piece of advice I can give is that a group's roadtrip should never be planned by just one person.

    Roadtrips involve millions of options and choices, including what roads to take, what places to stay and eat, and how to break up the time you have available. Those choices are what make roadtrips fun, and what makes every roadtrip different.

    If you've got a group of people going, but they expect one person to do all the work, you've got a bunch of potential problems. The person who does all the planning will have done all the work and thus will expect the trip to go exactly as they have planned out. Other members of the group will have their own opinions, and may not agree with those decisions, but they won't have said anything until you're on the road. That creates conflict, which is never a good thing, especially when you've got a bunch of people packed together in a car for hours at a time.

    There are lots of resources all around this site to help you plan your trip, but I would start by recommending the roadtrip compatability quiz which you and your group should go through so everyone knows what they expect out of this trip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Plan A

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Well, if you found the forums, it's just another click to all sorts of RoadTrip Planning help, so be sure to look around all the useful information there. Probably the first thing you should do is get a large format atlas, so that you can see what your route (basically I-10) look like and what's along it and/or not too far from it so that you have an idea of what's available for attractions along the way. And while your friends have left it to you to do the planning, by all means sit down with them one evening and take the RoadTrip Compatibility Quiz so that you are all agreed on exactly what it is that you're supposed to plan.

    Once you've got an idea of the 'what' and 'why', you can start laying out the 'how'. There are several on-line mapping routines that will show you the route and let you play around with alternatives, but a word of warning: Do not for one minute believe their driving time estimates. They are based on very unrealistic assumptions. Instead, plan on traveling no more than 500-550 miles a day. That will allow a few moderate breaks from driving and let you see a few things. Just remember to plan on fewer miles if you're going to be stopping for a while at a major attraction.

    There are plenty of moderately priced motel chains out there, including Motel 6, Red Roof, Super 8, Travelodge, and others. Visit their web sites or a local motel and get a list of their locations so that you'll have an idea what's available where you plan to stop for an evening. As for other expenses, read through this post to get an idea of budget ranges.

    That should get you started on planning a great trip. Best of Luck.

    Last edited by AZBuck; 12-19-2008 at 10:30 AM.

  4. Default

    Living in the South, DisneyWorld is a quick trip for us, so I can comment on that portion of your trip:

    Because you'll approach the state from the west, you'll avoid some of the difficult roads leading into Florida. Florida's a looooong state, and you'll feel like you're driving forever, but you're coming from a good direction.

    Disney's expensive, and people often try to save money by buying tickets ahead of time over the 'net. Do not expect to find BIG discounts on Disney tickets; if you see them, perhaps, BOGOF, it's probably a scam of sorts (or a timeshare promotion). You're not going to get more than about 10% off Disney tickets. There are safe ways to do this and unsafe ways to get a price less than the gate price:

    The worst choice is to buy over eBay. Let me put it this way: I have old, old tickets (in my scrapbook) from previous years. If I were dishonest, I could post them on ebay and tell you that I'd bought 5-day park hoppers but ended up using only 3 days from each. I could tell you that my tickets still have 2-days of park time and 1-water park day left, and I'm willing to sacrafice them because I need the money. This, of course, is a total lie because those old, old tickets are entirely used up . . . but you wouldn't know that 'til you reached the turnstiles. Disney would not help you because the tickets all say "non-transferable" and they have laws against selling partially-used tickets. At that point you'd be stuck, and once you got home and were out for blood, you'd have a devil of a time locating me (because if I were dishonest and was trying to scam you, I'd have used a fake address) and an even worse time getting anything back. I would NEVER buy tickets from eBay -- way too risky!

    I've purchased tickets from This place has been in business for YEARS and has a good reputation. The tickets arrived at my house in one week, and I was very pleased with the transaction. My SIL purchased from them, but she waited 'til the last minute and had them delivered to her hotel. Not such a good idea. The rooms were in her husband's name, they couldn't find her -- her tickets arrived a date later after several phone calls. TicketMania isn't the only discount ticket vendor on the net, but it's the only one I can personally recommend.

    Disney will suggest that you buy tickets for every day you're there. That doesn't really make sense. Say you drive in and arrive at 3:00 in the afternoon. By the time you check in, get settled, and make the trip over to the first park you plan to visit . . . it's 5:00 pm. Yet your first-day ticket is full-priced. Dumb. Instead, on your first night, visit DownTown Disney or Pleasure Island (free, though food and activities will cost you something). Or go to the bridge near Epcot or the Polynesian hotel's beach and watch fireworks for free. Likewise, on your last day, if you're planning to leave at noon, don't pay for a ticket. Instead, plan to hit a water park (which is half the cost of a park ticket) on your last morning. Plan your time and don't let them talk you into paying for more than you need.

    Now, if you can afford to pop for a 10-day ticket with no-expiration dates, it's not a bad bargain. I bought these for my family as a Christmas gift YEARS AGO; we've had two Disney trips on them, and we still have one park day and two water parks left on them. Buying this way does give you a lower per-day cost, and with our tickets we're getting into the parks for 2003 (?) prices -- that brings up another eBay question: Why would I sell these tickets, when I couldn't buy them at this price again? More reason to be suspect of Disney tickets on eBay. But don't buy way ahead unless you can genuinely afford it because it does tie up your money.

    Where to stay in Disney? Try to stay in an on-site Disney hotel. I'd sacrafice other things to make this happen. When you stay in an on-site hotel, you get into one of the parks an hour early every day -- and that makes a big difference. There's a campground, which is pretty expensive for a campground, but think about whether you'll be up for walking around the parks all day, then coming back to a hot tent and Florida bugs. Also, by staying on-site, you'll have FREE use of Disney's transportation, which is very efficient. It'll allow you and your friends to break up if you can't agree on what parks to visit. Don't assume that on-site hotels are always expensive; even in the summer, the Pop Century and All-Star hotels are pretty easy to grab for $99/night. I just read this morning that someone's managed to get $38 at Pop Century -- that's a pretty incredible price, but I wouldn't be surprised if the economy drives Disney to offer some good prices in the near future.

    If you're trying to save money, don't be swayed by Disney's much-advertised dining package. You can do the math and make it look like a great deal, BUT that's only if you're going to sit down and eat three-course meals twice a day. If you compare it to what you and your friends will probably eat and be perfectly happy with (fast food, cooler meals), the dining package is pretty expensive.

    June. June is my personal favorite time to go to Disney, even though it's packed and hot. The parks open early and stay open late. They run multiple parades, shows, and fireworks. I feel like you get more for your money in the summer months. However, you have to plan ahead: Be there when the gates open. You'll be able to take advantage of the least crowded time of day, then when the crowds arrive, you'll be ready to go back to your room for a mid-day break. Then mid-afternoon when all the families with the cranky kids are leaving, you come back and enjoy the parks in the cool of the evening. If you're staying on-site, it's easy to hop on a Disney bus and go back to the room for a mid-day rest. Also, note the parade and fireworks times; rides will be more empty during these times. The Unofficial Disney Guide gives great advice on how to make the most of your time.

    What to see in Disney? You won't be able to see everything, even if you're there a week. I'd suggest that you get a guide book from the library and get a general idea of what you want to see, then use online boards to get up-to-date information.

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