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Kid-Friendly Road Trip Tips for Driving to Disney

“Are we there yet?” Does that sound familiar? Long road trips can be challenging for adults, let alone kids! I’m personally not a fan of being confined to my seat for long periods of time. Kids in particular can get cranky when sitting too long. Fortunately for my family, it’s only about a 90 minute drive to Disneyland, so we often drive up and back in the same day. But if you have a longer road trip adventure ahead of you, it’s helpful to have a bag of tricks ready to occupy and entertain the kids when driving to Disney!

Here are my kid-friendly road trip tips for driving to Disney!

Knock out travel boredom with these helpful Kid-Friendly Road Trip Tips for Driving to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

1. Reward Good Behavior

In the days leading up to our vacation, I use a “Disney Dollar” system to reward good behavior and pay for jobs done that are above and beyond the usual chores. The kids can use the Dollars earned on souvenirs during the trip. Cash prizes speak to everyone, don’t they?! Whining and fighting in the car doesn’t have to be the norm, especially if you give incentive towards good behavior.

You could incorporate this tactic on the road, handing the kids Disney Dollars that you print at home as reward for appropriate behavior. Whining or fighting may “cost” them their cash. Kids can then cash in their faux money for the real thing at the end of the road. Bribery? Maybe…but if it gets you a few hours of peace, so be it!

Knock out travel boredom with these helpful Kid-Friendly Road Trip Tips for Driving to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

2. Feed ME!

There are lots of fun Disney dining ideas to use in the car, from sippy cups, plates, snack bags and water bottles. Stock up on Disney-themed food snacks in the store or online to feed the kids on the road and it makes the anticipation to your destination all the more fun!


3. Draw Me a Picture

I converted this empty Chick-fil-A salad container into a self-contained art box. We dine at Chick-fil-A about once a week and I always order my favorite, the Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch dressing! So why not upcycle those sturdy salad boxes into something useful? I decided to turn my boxes into a road trip art box.

My kids could entertain themselves for hours with drawing so having an art box for a road trip is ideal. But I don’t want crayons melting between the seats or markers making their way to the floor so it’s best to have everything contained in one box per child (no fighting over the art supplies this way either!)

Knock out travel boredom with these helpful Kid-Friendly Road Trip Tips for Driving to Disneyland and Walt Disney World

I gave my son a sheet of Disney themed stickers to decorate his box and filled it with drawing implements. A good supply of blank drawing paper, printable Disney coloring pages and activity sheets attached to a clipboard is sure to keep him occupied in the car!


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4. Play a Game

One of our favorite travel games is “Guess Who I Am”. One person gives three clues about a Disney character and the other people in the car have to ask questions until they are ready to guess. The game would go like this: “I am yellow, I like honey and I live in the woods”. Then the other people could ask yes or no questions about characteristics, like “Do you wear clothes?”, “Do you talk?” or “Do you have fur?”. The game goes on until someone is ready to guess, “Winnie the Pooh!” Obviously this game can be played to the child’s age with more recognizable or obscure characters.

Or try the Alphabet Game and take turns naming Disney characters through the alphabet, like “A is for Aladdin, B is for Bambi, etc”


5. Answer the “Are We There Yet?” Question

Mouse Ears Mom has this perfect printable countdown calendar to use in the days leading up to your vacation. What if you took this concept into the car? Tape the pieces across the inner door frame of the car or across the ceiling (someplace where your child can see it) and move the Monorail to count down the hours until you reach your Magical destination!

You could also print out a map and slip the paper into a plastic sleeve. Use a wipe-off marker to show kids how far you have gone on your route.

Photo Credit: Mouse Ears Mom

6. Give them Early Souvenirs

Everyone loves a present! Stock up with a few fun things that you can wrap and surprise the kids with on the road. Coloring books, the new Disney LEGO figures, a character t-shirt and glow-sticks (for them to use in the parks at night) are all fun & cheap.


Driving to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Knock out travel boredom with these helpful kid-friendly road trip tips

7. Stories and Songs

I’ve never been able to read in the car (I get motion sickness!) but toting books in the car can occupy the time nicely. If you can’t read, consider a story on disc that everyone can enjoy along the way. And of course Disney music from the parks and soundtracks will get everyone singing and in the mood for the wonderful times ahead!


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Driving to Disneyland or Walt Disney World? Knock out travel boredom with these helpful kid-friendly road trip tips

9 replies
  1. Rosanne
    Rosanne says:

    I’m sad that you’re going to have to move from Disney Dollars to Disney gift cards. 🙁

    These are really good tips. As my son gets older, the harder road trips have gotten. It was so easy when he was a baby and he would sleep the entire time!

  2. James Cameron
    James Cameron says:

    We’ve driven to Walt Disney World from New York many times, and these are some great ideas! I especially love the idea of the travel version of the countdown calendar. Though I think my kids like asking “are we there yet?” just because they know it will drive me crazy.

  3. Kimberly
    Kimberly says:

    I love these ideas! Coloring Disney coloring books is so much fun! I’ve been known to do that myself. In fact, I was coloring last night! I also love the idea of listening to a Disney story CD!

  4. Mary
    Mary says:

    Love the repurposing of the Chick fil a container. Let’s just say I am always finding stray crayons in my car. Especially after a road trip.

  5. Heidi Strawser
    Heidi Strawser says:

    We’ve made the 18 hour drive to Walt Disney World several times with various ages of children over the years. These are all great tips! We’ve tried them all! On our first trip to Disney, when my oldest was 5, we got to the highway (7 miles from our house) and she asked the dreaded question – “Are we almost there?!” WHAT?!! Needless to say, over the years, I’ve had to learn all the travel tips and tricks! Fortunately, our kids have always been really good travelers.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] How are you going to get there? For us, Disneyland is just a 90-minute drive away, so gasoline is really our only expense. If you’re coming from farther away, the travel expenses are often the most costly part of your vacation. If you’re flying in, check out this article about flying to Disneyland from fellow blogger Leslie from Trips with Tykes. If a long drive is part of your travel plans, check out this post with Kid-Friendly Road Trip Tips for Driving to Disney. […]

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