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Transportation Discuss Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW in the Vacation Planning forums; Greetings lads! I was wondering if I could get some real first hand reports on how long the actual drives times people have experience from the Philadelphia area to WDW? ...
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    jsloan409's Avatar
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    Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    Greetings lads!

    I was wondering if I could get some real first hand reports on how long the actual drives times people have experience from the Philadelphia area to WDW?

    Some many different outlets have so many different time tables and I would appreciate some real first hand reports.

    Thank you much!!

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    I drove from Philly to WDW about 7 years ago and did the trip in about 13 hours. Of course, you have to time your start time to miss rush hour in either Philly, Wilmington, Baltimore or DC.
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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    Hi,

    Wow, 13 hours he must have been doing 110 m.p.h..

    I have driven to wdw from Lancaster 7 times in the last 5 years. It takes me about 17-19 hours. I usually fly at 10-15 above the posted speed limits.

    Hitting Baltimore - D.C. before or after rush hour is vital. You can get tied up in traffic for hours.

    There is also a bypass around Richmond, VA take it. It adds a little extra time but is a lot easier.

    I suggest staying the night half way down, usually South Carolina or Georgia if you are going with little children. Or you risk making the same mistake I did. I was exhausted from driving the kids slept in the car. So they were ready to run and I went to bed. You can usually get a room for $40-$50 it makes the trip so much better.

    Just remember that when you hit Florida you still have 6 hours to drive.

    Have a safe trip.

    Chowhound

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    17-19 hours sounds about right. I have never done Philly to WDW, but I've done Philly to Atlanta numerous times and Atlanta to WDW even more. The trip (if you don't make too many stops) from Philly to Atlanta will take you about 10-11 hours and is a good place to stop. It takes me around 6.5 - 7 hours to get from Atlanta to WDW with one quick gas/food stop (we don't waste any time getting to the Happiest Place on Earth!) and do not go more than 10 mph over the speed limit as the cops usually crawl all over those roads in south GA and FL.

    If you don't already know this, here's a quick tip that many people don't know about yet and can save you about 30 minutes of trip time. You can bypass all of the I-4 traffic by taking a brand new toll road that not many people travel on yet. When you get on the Florida turnpike, keep your eyes peeled for Toll Road 429. It takes about 30 minutes from when you first hit the Florida Turnpike. It is a large interchange with signs taking you to either Apopka or Tampa. Stay in the right lane to go to TAMPA. After that, stay on 429 for about 10-15 minutes and get off at Exit 8. Stay in the Disney World lane and follow the road around. It will put you on Western Way and you will end up driving right next to Coronado Springs. It is a HUGE time saver!
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    tizzo is offline E-Ticket Holder
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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    I guess I'm a bit of an expert on this topic. I drive between FL (about an hour East of WDW) to NJ (about 45 minutes from Philly) and back at least once and sometimes twice a year.

    There are many factors affecting your drive time that are out of your control, and consequently there is a range. I did it once (and only once) in about 15 hours, and I've had the occasional trip that took 20 or 21. But typical is about 18 hours. I've probably taken about 15 round trips in the past 10 years, and probably 25 of the thirty one-way segments has been between 18 and 19 hours. Note that I drive "commando style", which involves only stopping for gas when the tank is almost empty, and only getting food or using the bathroom during those gas stops. It would obviously be a different story with kids.

    Of course there are ways to improve upon this. Most recently, I tried something new on the way home to FL. We left NJ in the middle of the night, around 2:30AM as opposed to around 6AM which had been our habit in the past. This cut the trip to around 16 hours, mostly because we were able to get past Washington DC before people got up and started heading to work. Since I've only tried it once, I don't yet know whether this result is repeatable, but it seems like it should be. You might be able to do even better if you leave around bedtime and drive through the night. Also keep in mind that the evening rush around Washington DC starts earlier than most other places (go figure), at around 3PM.

    Unfortunately there is always an element of risk built in to such a trip. Traffic congestion is less likely at night than during the day, but other factors like bad weather or accidents can happen any time. Therefore I would strongly suggest that you plan so that even if you don't arrive on the same DAY you intend it won't be the end of the world.

    By the way, I concur on the I-295 beltway around Richmond, especially if you're any where near rush hour. Besides the congestion, I-95 is relatively windy through Richmond, which added to the congestion and aggressive driving in that area makes it a bit scary. And the bypass only adds a couple of miles. It's something like 33 miles on I-295 to get around maybe 28 or 29 miles on I-95.

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    17 - 19 hours sounds right from our experience. Have you considered the Auto Train though? You pick it up in Lorton, Virginia. That is about 3 1/2 hours from Philly. The train leaves Lorton at 4:00 P.M. and arrives in Sanford, Florida at 9:00 A.M. the next morning. It takes 45 - 60 min to get your car from the train and then it's 35 - 45 min drive to WDW. While on the train you get a great dinner, served by waiters in a dining car complete with boothes. Also, they show movies (we saw Bolt and Bedtime Stories) in the Lounge cars. It is a fun, relaxing way to get to Disney! Our kids LOVED it. Also, it lets you stay a little later in Disney on your last day, since it leaves at 4:00 P.M. to go back to Virginia and the station is less than 40 minutes away! We had enough time for a character breakfast and some quality time in Downtown Disney.

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    I have done this drive numerous times. The key is avoiding the traffic around DC. We leave Oxford, PA (Southern Chester County) usually around Noon to avoid as much of the DC traffic as possible. We normally stop for dinner around Rocky Mount, NC and for the night near Savannah, GA. (About 10 hours of trip). Get up and head to Orlando next day (About 5 Hours). We always stop at the Disney Outlet in St. Augustine, plus we have to hit Sonny's for lunch.

    We used to live in Orlando, so we have done this trip from both angles and I would say the fastest I have done it is about 14 hours, longest around 18, with the average at about 15 hours and change.

    As for the detour around Richmond, I never take it. Richmond used to be part of my sales territory and I would often see 295 back up at the intersection of I64 with beach taffic, etc. I also look at it as "the shortest distance between two points is a straight line".

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    I just did this. Well, I drove from NY, but I stopped in Philly. Like the poster above I spend the night in north GA after about a 10 hour trip, and leave right after rush hour. If you do that you will avoid the rush hours in Orlando and Jacksonville. Orlando's can be rough.

    I seriously suggest you do everything you can to avoid rush hour around the Baltimore - DC - Raleigh area. Leave early or late or time your lunch and dinner breaks. I'm glad I did.

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    Re: Advice on actual driving times from Philadelphia area to WDW

    It takes us about 15 hours. We drive a long day the first day, stopping overnight in southern SC. The next day was only 3-4 hours. We were in the park by mid-afternoon and caught the parade on Main Street. The first day of travel was a bit long, but the reward was being in the park for 1/2 a day the following day. Our stops are only for gas and fast food.

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