Best tip of all. ;)
I have to admit that the first tip was most amusing. We're heading up to South Carolina in about three weeks, and we're taking a 'battleship'.
Then again, we have eight people going, so.. Prius ain't gonna cut it, unless we're clowns.
But I am a total advocate of eating locally/ at places that aren't available in your hometown... I get a little irritated when my friends want to eat at Mickey D's, or Islands, or California Pizza Kitchen, and we're 200 miles away from home. It's not often that we can travel to a new place, so why not try something new? Even if you don't end up liking it, at least you can recommend others not to eat there.
There are a few exceptions... I did eat in McDonald's once in Hawaii only to say that I was eating Spam, Eggs, & Rice at a McDonald's... with Pineapple on the side.
So I would totally urge everyone to skip the chain restaurants when traveling. It'll make things more memorable, one way or another!
And I also agree about "don't drive when you're tired"! I guess this might be antithetical to "longer driving days", depending how you do it, but sometimes getting a hotel on the way and splitting up the trip is a pleasant surprise - you might even get a complimentary breakfast, and you can start fresh on your day!
Small-car roadtripping is a different model than battleship roadtripping. (Though it is not an option if you've got five or more people on the trip.) Small-car trips rely on light packing, keeping the car clean and stopping along the way (though not always for gas!)
I feel homework and an itinerary is a must. I overload mine so I can change it if I have too. Always know your options when visiting an area in case something is closed that you wanted to see.
Also ask the locals where they take their families to eat and visit. They hardley ever go to the big attactions but often know about cool obscure ones that you may never heard of. I have seen a great many things because I asked this simple question.
However you and I disagree slighty on a couple of things:
1. Eating in the car. While with kids you may be right about the mess, there is a simple solution to this problem. My hubby and I always have cheese, hummus, chips and red wine. We often drive around an area a little and look for a cool view and then pull over to have a little snack. Car air can get stale and this helps revitalize you.
2. I COMPLETELY agree with creating "travel only" days in the Itinerary. However we often drive a bulk of it at night. Less cars, baby is asleep, and you can wake up the next morning in a hotel and head straight out to your destination. However my husband is an excellent night driver and if you are not, I would advise against this.
3. Finally don't forget to visit yout National & State Parks along with theme parks. They are low cost, have accomidations for families and you'll have fun while learing at the same time. Kids love National Parks if you do it with them. It makes for a bonding experience they will never forget and they will bring their own kids to the parks in the future.
I also like 6. I could definitely see the advantages of that. I found a really good local diner near Disneyland that I would never had enter if I hadn't been so tired after leaving the park. I only went there because it was close to my hotel.
But, if you have to drive, get some good podcasts to listen to as a group. Stuff You Should Know is a good one and there are several Disney podcasts that are fun.
Personally, I agree with Megan -- you gotta eat in the car or it ain't a roadtrip!