Monday, November 29, 2010

Getting from Here to There

As we have recently mentioned in this series(Not Okay Part III), my husband is vehemently opposed to the new TSA security screenings. He would rather stand on principle against them and give up travel all together than have to go through the stressors of the enhanced full body scan or the fairly invasive pat down. I, on the other hand, can’t imagine not traveling, and I’m not giving up Disney. So, in an effort towards not have have a fight with him over our coming vacation, I began looking into and comparing alternative modes of travel from Rockford, IL to Orlando, FL. I looked at a couple of different things in breaking down our travel considerations that include door to door travel time one way, round trip transportation costs, food during travel, and a hotel on the road for the driving option.

Time invested - 8 hours / Costs Est. $650

Pros: This is the least expensive and fastest way for us to get from point A to point B. I know that can handle 3 hours on a plane without pain issues from my fibromyalgia. Cons: The trouble still remains that security is an issue to my husband. However, we have learned that Orlando Sanford Airport is opting out of the TSA program. In part II we addressed what’s going on at Sanford, and how it's future may improve by switching o private security.

Time invested - 30 hours / Cost Est. $1050

Pros: We could somewhat decide how long we are on the road, when we leave, and where we spend the night. If we were traveling with the kids, this would also be the most economical option. Cons: Extended travel time. I’m not sure how my body will react to being in the drivers seat for more than four or five hours at a stretch. This will also ad wear and tear on an older car. This is a heck of a long drive, however with two drivers and 8 hours at a hotel to sleep, it may be our best option.

Time invested - 43 hours / Cost Est. $2,700

The train, which was our first choice of alternative travel turned out to be the most difficult option to make work. Pros: I wouldn’t have to be behind the wheel the entire time. We might get to make a quick sight seeing stop in D.C. It’s not as cramped as an airline or the car. No charge for baggage. Cons: 43 hours one way travel time is a heck of a lot. We would have to go all the way to Washington D.C. and have an eight hour layover before continuing on to Orlando. Because of health concerns (my fibromyalgia, and weak back) we would need a room, that alone added the bulk of this cost. Without a room, costs would have been about $800.

Since our travel will be in early October of 2011, we have some time before we make a decision in how we will travel. I will be watching the news for how the TSA scans are developing, and what the overall impact is to travelers. There is rumor of new software being created that would give a less personal image, either making them more blobby, or more stick figure like.

UPDATE: I first wrote this piece almost a week ago, and in that time I've become increasingly intrigued with the idea of driving to Disney next October. It holds some options that I hadn't really considered at first. One of the things that we don't do a lot of in EPCOT that we always want to is buy wine. I have been dying to get a bottle of Magicale in my collection. By driving, we can transport our purchases home with no trouble or hassle at all. On our last trip we also felt that we were rushed through what we were doing on the final day. If we drive we can make sure that we get to take our time getting packed up and on the road home on our schedule, not rush by having to catch a bus.


  1. The ex and I drove down for Christmas week in 2002. We left Chicago at 3:00 am Christmas morning and made it to Tifton, GA in about 18 hours. I drove for all but about 3 or 4 hours of that time (him steering toward a bridge piling in Tennessee kinda freaked me out)and I was whipped at the end of the day. We got up early the next day and drove the rest of the way to WDW. We were on a boat over to MK by about 2:00 if I recall correctly. On balance, I really enjoyed the drive down. I loved having my own car and having the flexibility to stay an extra day and go to the beach or Cape Canaveral.

    A few things I remember particularly well - the first hour or so of driving at 3:00 am was some of the physically hardest driving I have EVER done. Once I got past about 4:30 things smoothed out. I would advise NOT making a reservation in a particular place for the drive down. I was thinking we were going to stop around Atlanta but I was fine to drive for several more hours. On the other hand, I got it in my head to make it to Valdosta before we stopped. When we got to Tifton, I was so over it! Valdosta was another hour down the road, I never would have made it. Bottom line is that driving costs you more in the way of time, but if you have the time it's actually a good option.

  2. LoL... was that the trip that the Ex walked into a pole and you got a free day in the MK?

    Driving down as a kid we always made it to at least Macon, GA before stopping. That's 14 hours from Rockford, if we travel through Illinois instead of Indiana. I'm always up on "event day" around 4am, so I think we'll leave about then. SBUX would be open by the time we reached that point.

  3. Yep, that was the trip! Hey, I had our tickets with me but they never asked to see them! Just hustled us back to the first aid station. Besides which, we bought dinner and snacks and I had to buy Ian a sweatshirt when he got cold.

    I honestly wouldn't mind driving down in August since it's kind of turned into a location scouting trip. Our reservations don't start till Sunday so we could leave super early Saturday morning and get there Sunday noon-ish. Eh, we'll see.

  4. hi, I normally take the train, living in new york, its just one train from ny Penn to orlando. i look at it and tell people, its a adventure to itself. just a comment about the 8 hr layover. there are two trains that leave ny penn to miami that stops at washington dc and orlando. they leave about 3 hrs apart, so they arrive at washington dc about the same time apart. i had a friend who was going to meet the miami bound train at washington dc. while they would be at washington dc early enough to meet the earlier train, amtrak wont allow a connection, cause they are concerned if your first train might be late and miss your connection. if anyone is interested in further information, feel free to contact me privatly at brooklyn_ny99 at yahoo dot com.


  5. another thing worth mentioning about upgrading to a sleeper room onboard a train. the rooms are for two people, but you only pay once, even if one or two people. getting a sleeper room means going first class and your meals are included, you just have to leave a tip. there are also juices and coffee available in the sleeper cars.


  6. Thank you so much for the information Bruce! I appreciate your input for my readers. :D