Here are my kid-friendly road trip tips for driving to Disney!
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!
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 month and I always order my favorite, the Cobb Salad with Avocado Lime Ranch dressing! So why not up-cycle those sturdy salad boxes into something useful? I decided to turn my boxes into road trip art boxes.
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. It’s best to have everything contained in one box per child (no fighting over the art supplies this way either!)
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”.
This pocket-sized version of I-Spy is just what the Disney fan ordered for long road trips! World of Disney Eye Found It Card Game is great for the car, airplane travel or while standing in line once you’re in the parks.
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.
6. Give them Early Souvenirs
There are a variety of reasons why you should pre-purchase souvenirs before your Disney trip. One way to make your Disney road trip more fun is by surprising the kids with an early souvenir. After all, 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, Disney LEGO figures, a character t-shirt and glow-sticks (for them to use in the parks at night). These are all fun & fairly cheap things that you can surprise the kids with.
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. I have some suggestions for books that kids should read before a Disney trip. Don’t forget the Kid’s Dramamine for Motion Sickness Relief!
Another thing to consider is listening to a downloaded story that everyone can enjoy hearing 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!
8. No-Mess Creativity
You have to love these sets that feature favorite Disney characters. Crayola Color Wonder and Imagine Ink are our favorites and we’ve used these on road trips or on the plane.
Flying to Disney?
Leslie from Trips with Tykes has all tips with Everything You Need to Know About Flying to Disneyland.