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View Full Version : Auto Train...Good? Bad?


kmk160
01-03-2009, 07:17 AM
I know there have been some threads on here before about this but wanted to see if I could get some thoughts or info on the Auto Train.
My DS, 5, is begging to take the train in Dis but I am a bit reluctant with a 5 and 3 year old on a train for that long.
We are heading down in Aug and any thoughts would be GREAT.
Thank you in advance!!

Capt_BJ
01-03-2009, 07:26 AM
All about autotrain

http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?p=19722453#post19722453&highlight=autotrain

toystorymom
01-03-2009, 09:04 AM
We took the Autotrain this past August with our 3 kids (11, 8, 7) and we all really enjoyed it. It is a long time on the train but many of those are overnight hours and the kids all slept through the night both ways. DH & I slept okay, better then we expected. We usually drive, so any rest we got was more than we were used to, especially for DH who does all the driving! Unlike driving, the kids can also move around, and there is always immediate access to the bathroom. I think we would definitely do it again if we could get a good price.

Let me know if you have any specific questions, I will try to answer them.

kmk160
01-03-2009, 09:56 AM
Thank you ToyStoryMom.
I have to admit that I am most considering this for my son who has for 3 years in a row, asked that we take the train.
Part of me is telling myself that it might be a once and done thing so I should just do it but there are so many BAD reviews out there that I am hesitant.
Did you simply use your coach seats or did you have a roomette?
Any info you have is GREAT.
I want to add that we're spending 3 days in Vero beach before spending 8 in Disney.
As of now, the rental car rates are ABSURD for that length of stay and maybe doing the AutoTrain might eliminate some costs.
Thank you all!!!

sunsetandgower
01-03-2009, 10:12 AM
I grew up taking the Autotrain to Florida from NY

bad bad bad bad bad

I hated every second of it, could never sleep on it - the worst part of the whole thing wasn't even the train though, it was driving from NY to Virginia, and the next day being stuck in the car with no sleep from Virginia to South Florida.

It probably wouldn't be as bad going to Orlando - but it is just a horrendous experience, especially for kids. Being cooped up like that is no fun, especially for a fussy sleeper.

pepe of ohio
01-03-2009, 10:30 AM
We've done the Auto Train once back in the 70's, just for the experience, it's a 9 hour drive to Lorton for us but the experience was great. We found we had no use for the car once on property and have since just used regular Amtrak for over 15 trips to WDW. Train travel isn't for everyone, especially fidgetity travelers. We enjoy the down time, relaxing, having a drink and sandwich watching the scenery roll by. We've done coach seats the whole trip and roomettes on certain legs sometimes, both were great, no big deal sleeping one night is coach but the roomettes are private, sleep lying down, include all meals but pre-booking expensive, we just ask in DC if any are available and get a discounted rate while in route but some times none are available. Food is decent in the club car and dining car but pricey. A/C gets alittle cool at times so we bring a blanket. We do novels, gameboys and maybe a portable DVD player at times, pack a lunch, drinks and snacks. We've been late and on time but we always arrive safely.

We board in northeast Ohio and that train goes to DC and there we switch to the southbound and arrive in Kissimmee. Total trip 27-29 hours, big layover in DC but it's part of our experience, we've done it many times and know what to expect. We're not flyers, hate driving at our age and the price r/t can't be beat. I would recommend a train trip to anyone just for the experience, relaxation and a unique way to see the states. I'ts not fast but it is relaxing and you can walk car to car, coach car to club car, tons of area around your pair of seats and fairly clean enviroment.

naf917
01-03-2009, 10:46 AM
We have done it twice when we went to vist family in Flordia. Our kids (4-5 and 1-2) were younger so the train was much less of a hassel with car seats, pack and play, food and toys for the kids. Pack everything you needed for the week in the car and things you need for the night in a carry-on. We did buy the sleeper car. My oldest son loved walking around the train from car to car and sleeping in smaller bunk bed. After dinner we set up the DVD player for him to watch and fall asleep. We had no problems sleeping, the beds weren't the most comfortable but they will do for a night.

Once our oldest started school the trips got shorter so taking the plane made more sense, but we would definately look into the autotrain again if we get to go to Disney for a week or more.

jodifla
01-03-2009, 10:49 AM
Thank you ToyStoryMom.
I have to admit that I am most considering this for my son who has for 3 years in a row, asked that we take the train.
Part of me is telling myself that it might be a once and done thing so I should just do it but there are so many BAD reviews out there that I am hesitant.
Did you simply use your coach seats or did you have a roomette?
Any info you have is GREAT.
I want to add that we're spending 3 days in Vero beach before spending 8 in Disney.
As of now, the rental car rates are ABSURD for that length of stay and maybe doing the AutoTrain might eliminate some costs.
Thank you all!!!

I have a train loving DS. We did the autotrain twice, when he was 3 and 4. Both times, we were moving cars one way between Michigan and Florida, and were on our own (no DH along). Using the train cut the drive down by two-thirds.

My DS LOVED LOVED LOVED it. He was SO thrilled with the whole experience. I enjoyed watching him have so much fun. He slept great in the roomette, I had a harder time. But I plugged in my portable DVD player and watched movies while snuggling in bed, so it was OK.

I wouldn't do it without a room, but I would definitely do it again!

We

sunsetandgower
01-03-2009, 11:26 AM
Maybe having a room makes a difference - when we did it it was in the cars with the regular seats.

Horrendous, horrendous experience.

toystorymom
01-03-2009, 11:28 AM
Obviously you will get a lot of different opinions on this!

We were in coach because, as a family of 5, we would not fit into one room, and no way was I going to pay for 2! The whole reason we normally drive is because it is so much cheaper. We got a good deal on the AT last year and decided to give it a try.

We love having our own car in Florida also, makes things much easier for us.

My theory on anything is that you never know until you try. Try the AT, you may love it, you may not. If you hate it, you never have to do it again. Either way, you will have a great Florida vacation!

Poohbear5
01-03-2009, 11:40 AM
We've booked the autotrain next April/May for the first time. We'll be driving 9-10 hours to get the autotrain. We were planning on driving but booked the train when the gas prices spiked to $4 last year.
We figure it's a new adventure, maybe we'll love it, maybe we won't but we'll have tried it at least once!

Capt_BJ
01-03-2009, 05:53 PM
I've done it twice

smallest sleeper each time

no, I could not sleep much either time. too much rocking and on the north bound leg the sleepette was right behing the engine - that horn blows about every 23.457698 seconds ALL night. On my south bound experience in JULY the A/C in my car was a wee bit weak. BUT the shower worked and the privacy of the roomette was a BIG BIG plus for me. (bring a cooler with your refreshments of choice....you ain't drivin' and AMTRAK ain't an airline if you catch my drift :rolleyes1

mine was NOT a round trip...but two legs a couple of years apart (I moved a classic car this way) so what I mean is my first experience left me very willing to do it again....

Having a sleeper ..... I found the food BETTER than expected (I think the sleeper menu and the coach menu are different)

I'd go again in a second....