Our 10.5 hour drive (which took us 11.5 with stops) to Disney was one of the longest car ride we have ever done with four children. Living in Turkey and then on an island meant our road trips were VERY short. (We have put more miles on our van since moving back to the States than we did in 4 YEARS overseas if that tells you anything!) We did drive from the East coast here to TN when we moved here. But we had two vehicles and grandparents and made a lot of stops.
[By the way: I consider myself a PRO when it comes to flying with kids. But driving? Not my major area of expertise currently.]
JB and I were VERY worried about this drive. Because of his work schedule, we were forced to drive to Legoland in one day. (John didn't get off work until 7pm the evening before.) We discussed doing an overnight drive, but neither of us are "stay-awake-late" people so we opted for a very early morning and a very long drive.
The kids did OUTSTANDING! One thing we do when we travel, whether it be flying or driving, is throw ALL regular rules out the window. Yes, you must still be respectful and kind and obedient. But as far as technology rules and what you can eat? Nearly anything goes. Popcorn for dinner is totally acceptable. Three movies in a row is absolutely permissible. We try to drink a lot of water since it is free and easy on trips which we hope balances out the surplus of skittles and jellybeans we experience.
Here is a photo of my four little munchkins after the sun came out that first morning of our trip.
One fun idea that my mother-in-law got from some magazine I get but hadn't read: A Map on the ceiling showing where you are going to go.
I tried it with blue painter's tape and stickers. The next morning most of the stickers had fallen, but the kids still got the idea. I wrote the names of various cities on the blue tape and we talked about which cities we were at as we drove. This also gave them an understanding of how much farther we had to go. (Although my "map" was not drawn to scale.) We also used our smart phones to pull up some information on each state we passed through.
Now we are home. And now our littlest munchkin is under the weather. While I really, really dislike seeing my children sick, having Hannah slow down a bit and snuggle with us a little bit more is never really a bad thing. Here she is with Daddy just before he returns to work to do four, 12-hour shifts in a row.