Ray Pilgrim (NDD#104) (11 Posts)

Ray grew up with Disney having visited Disneyland several times as a kid, and Walt Disney World once. He had always had fond memories of the trips, but really became a Neurotic Disney Dad when he started to take his kids to the Disney Parks. His oldest child has Autism Spectrum Disorder. So taking his kids to Disney took a little more planning and some lessons learned the hard way. To help others, he and his wife have created Disney for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder (WDWAutism.com) to help others plan their magical trips to Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Cruise Line. WDWAutism also has planning aides to help families prepare for their trips. Rachel and Ray also produce a weekly Disney Parks planning podcast called Mouse Travel Tips.


Photo Credit: Ray Pilgrim

We’re heading out to Walt Disney World in May.  Now, when we head out to WDW we normally drive for several reasons.  First, the cost of driving 5 people in a car is a lot cheaper than flying 5 people.  Second, we like driving through the country and looking at the scenery as we drive by.  Last, we have a son that just does not like to fly.

We have taken Josh on several flights, and it seems that we just don’t have a good experience flying.  In fact, if we mention flying or airplanes he lets us know right away we aren’t flying anywhere.  So, we as a family drive everywhere, and there are some benefits to driving.  Sure, it takes more time to drive, but we can stop at any time and stretch our legs.  We have our choice of foods to eat in the car.  We don’t have to worry about having any electronics on or off at any time.  Also, we don’t have a little boy telling us the whole trip that he wants to get off the plane.

For Josh and also for his sister, we do several things to get ready.  The first was something we have done since he was young.  We take small road trips so the kids are used to being in a car for a while.  So, now a 22-hour road trip is nothing to them.  The next was hard for me to do, but we take a short break every couple of hours for them to stretch their legs (personally I would just drive nonstop but we need our breaks).  When they were younger, we would stop at a Wal-Mart, and they would walk around and get a small toy.  Now that they’re older, we stop at the gas station and take care of business.  We also get small toys for them to play with or electronic devices for entertainment.  Josh and Becca have their own electronic devices and headphones (special ones that limit the volume they hear).

We also play games, listen to Disney music, and just have fun. There is nothing like seeing your kids play hide and seek with blankets in the back as they sit side by side. As you plan your trip, see what else is on the way that you may want to visit. On our drive to Disneyland we took a detour to see the Grand Canyon.  It took time from our trip, but how often does one get to see the Grand Canyon? One last hint, although it can be hard on Rachel and me, is trying to drive as much as we can through the night.  The kids can sleep the night away and wake up closer to Walt Disney World.

Photo Credit: Ray Pilgrim

These are just a couple of the things we do to help Josh on a road trip.  With the right planning, a road trip can be a fun and exciting way to get to our final destination: Walt Disney Word.  Yes, it’s a longer trip, but road trips build great memories that we will remember.  What tips do you have to share from your road trips?

One thought on “ROAD TRIP

  1. My family takes quite a few road trips every year, but my
    kids are still a little young. So with them I let them fill up their back packs
    with toys and we make frequent stops at parks or rest stops and play outside
    for about 15 minutes. That’s all it usually takes for them. I bring my iPad
    with me as well on all our road trips. Working for DISH Network I have the TV
    Everywhere with them. The kids can watch live TV from anywhere we are at. They
    love that they can watch all their favorite shows and not miss a thing. They
    can also access all their DVR recordings and watch those as well. This
    would be great for any age and it keeps them quite for hours.

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