Family With Medals
  • On Mar 21, 2011
    Liz from NJ Asked Note: This answer was provided prior to the change to planDisney and may still contain references to Disney Parks Moms Panel.

    Experiences, policies, pricing and other offerings are subject to change and may have changed since the date of this answer.

    We will be driving to Disney World from NJ with our 4yr old son in September, we have a DVD play and plan to bring plenty of snacks and activities for him. Has anyone ever done this drive with a 4 yr old and what was your experience?

    We drove many times from PA to WDW when our son was younger, starting at age 2. We broke up the drive into two days with 1 overnight stop. Our child was used to long car rides of 6 hours to visit family. However, sitting still in a car for 2 full days takes some survival skills.

    The DVD player is a life-saver on long car trips. We also made CDs with Disney music. I made a binder with maps of the route and included a cut-out car with velcro. At strategic points, I applied velcro to the map and would have my son move the car to the next location. This way, he could visually see that we were indeed getting closer to WDW. I numbered the locations and would tell him "move your car to #3" and he delighted in that activity.

    At that age, we always stopped at fast food locations with play lands. Our son knew he had to eat first and then he could play for fifteen minutes. Packing snacks and familiar drinks is a great idea. We instituted the "mandatory" restroom break after learning the hard way that if he didn't go on each stop then he'd be asking for a restroom five minutes after we were back on the road.

    A new fast food toy, a snack chosen at a convenient store or a new toy wrapped in tissue paper are all ways to encourage a fun car ride. We also played a lot of games including the ABC game. A is for Aladdin, B is for Baloo, etc.

    It's a good time to watch a WDW vacation planning video and read out loud about WDW! An inexpensive digital camera will allow your child to take pictures of his vacation through his eyes. It's a good activity in the car. Make a game such as "take a picture of a red car". For night driving, make sure your child has a book light.

    Think of it as the start of your vacation and brainstorm ways to spend quality time together in the car as well as instituting some mandatory quiet times where Dad can listen to music, mom can read a book and the little one can watch a movie.

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Meet the Panelist: Kimberly, Tennessee

I am a stay-at-home mom with a 12 year old son. I thrive on planning vacations, especially to WDW. Inspiring families to vacation at Disney with a memorable itinerary and budget-saving tips is extremely rewarding for me. Learn More About Kimberly

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