Driving to Disney World Overnight

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Currently, my family and I prefer driving to Disney World as opposed to flying (read why here). We have experience driving both overnight and during the day. We were actually forced to drive overnight to beat a hurricane one time! Recently, I see people mentioning or inquiring on social media about driving during the night. Thus, today’s post is all about driving to Disney World overnight!

Wonderful World of Animation show in Hollywood Studios.

The Good

There are several good things to driving to Disney World overnight. These include:

  • No hotel cost. That’s right, you won’t need to spend money on a hotel for the night! If you do the driving in 1 shot, then you can save that money and put it back into your Disney World vacation budget 🙂
  • Little to no food cost. When we drove to Disney World overnight, we stuck to our usual eating schedule and did not stop for meals during the drive. I made sure to have snacks on hand in case we got a bit hungry, but we did not have to worry about getting full meals while on the road. Wallet win!
  • Little to no traffic. This was great! We didn’t have to worry about any traffic around the major cities as we passed by in the wee hours of the night. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand being stuck in traffic. So, this is a major “pro” for me!
  • Peaceful driving. Since there will likely be little to no traffic and everyone will (*hopefully*) be asleep, the drive is actually peaceful. We put on our favorite tunes (mine, of course, is Disney music!), and just drove through the night!
  • Kids stay on sleep schedule. If your child is a good car sleeper, then they will likely sleep through the drive. They may wake up a bit earlier than normal, but they pretty much stay on the same sleep schedule as at home. If your kid is like mine, they are always less cranky when on the same sleep schedule!
Concept art for the new nighttime show called Epcot Forever!

The Bad

Of course, there are some “cons” to driving to Disney World overnight. These are the ones we experienced in our travels:

  • Eye strain when driving. Our original plan was to split the driving into 2 large chunks for my husband and I. However, we did not anticipate the eye strain when driving at night for longer periods of time. The bright lights in a dark environment can get tiring, so we ended up driving in 2-3 hour spurts and switching.
  • Not quality sleep. Unless you or your child sleeps like a log in the car, then you and your kids may not get quality sleep. We found our son woke up more than usual and we were only able to take short naps (however, the bucky eye mask improved quality of sleep the second time we drove overnight!).
  • Exhaustion/ recovery time. You. Will. Be. Tired. Fortunately, we were able to nap and recover when my son napped the next day. If you’re 1 of those people that can power through, I envy you! If you’re not, then plan on taking time to recover from the exhaustion of driving overnight!
  • What if you need to stop? It is always best to be safe when driving. So if you are exhausted, it is best to stop at a hotel and rest. This will eat into your budget and mess up the sleep schedule, but better to have everyone safe! So just keep this in mind.
Happily Ever After in Magic Kingdom!

The Supplies

There are several things I recommend having with you when driving to Disney World overnight. We found these items to be priceless!

Rivers of Light nighttime show in Animal Kingdom!

The Tips & Tricks

After driving overnight to Disney World more than once, I have a few tips and tricks up my sleeve! These include:

  • Blocking any ambient lighting by the kids. Since we switch driving, we learned that opening the car doors turned on the lights that, inevitable, woke up our son! I highly recommend you turn off those lights or block them somehow! The name of the game is to keep the kiddos asleep!
  • Using the Waze app. In our experience, Waze was really good at alerting us to anything (potholes or animals, for instance). Plus, this added level of interaction helped keep us alert while driving. The directions were clear and easy to follow! I highly recommend this app!
  • Checking travel forums. As mentioned in the beginning, we had to drive overnight to beat an impending hurricane! My husband was smart and checked out Disney travel forums to see which route(s) people were taking. Based on the posts in the forums, we made it to Disney World without any mishaps!
  • Not overdriving. Be sure to switch off or pull over. It is better to get some rest if you need it!
Driving to Disney World overnight
Be sure to ride in style… like Mickey and Minnie!

Have you driven to Disney World overnight? If so, add your tips to the comments below!

Happy travels!


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