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princesssatheart
03-13-2012, 08:43 PM
We are taking the autotrain in June and am wondering if anyone has reviews of their trip. I am also wondering if you can put an SUV with a Thule storage box on top on the train.

DanPadavona
03-13-2012, 10:17 PM
I have not personally taken the autotrain, but I have a friend who swears by it. She and her family drive from upstate NY to northern VA, hop onto the autotrain, and arrive the next morning in Orlando.

She has done it several times and is convinced its the best way to get from here to there. I'm intrigued and I really want to try it sometime too.

MdmMim
03-13-2012, 10:50 PM
Looks like the Thule may be a problem.

http://http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am/Layout&cid=1241337915810 (http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am/Layout&cid=1241337915810)

Pooh2
03-13-2012, 11:12 PM
We took the Autotrain in May of 2009. On the trip South, there was only one other person in our coach car and we were able to spread out for the night.
On the way back, the train was sold out and the coach car was a bit noisy.

The food was not bad in the dining car, we skipped the breakfast as we had brought our own breakfast snacks.

The train was on time both directions. We waited quite awhile for our car on either end.

Overall, we found it to be relaxing way to travel as I do not care at all for flying.

skoi
03-14-2012, 08:07 AM
We use the Autotrain quite a bit. Let me start with a disclaimer: I love to take the train, so I'm pretty biased in favor of train travel. But besides that, we like it. We travel mainly in off season, so in terms of what it's like one a crowded train, can't advise. We've gone coach and with a sleeping car.

If you put out the money for a sleeper-- we've done the family sleeper and on the last one the family sleeper and another roomette since there were six of us- you get your private room which is turned down at night at the time you specifiy, then turned back into regular seats when you go to breakfast. Dinner is better for sleeper passengers. Breakfast is the same.

When going coach-- we've always had room to stretch out. There is now a plug in every set of seats, so you can bring portable DVD, laptop, etc and not have to depend on batteries. The seats are big, they recline. They give you a pillow and blanket but we always bring our own. Food is nice-- nothing great. There are free snacks in the lounge (cookies, party mix, fruit), water and hot drinks are also free. There's also free wine at dinner.

They play a movie in the lounge twice a night.

I'm pretty sure the box on the SUV wouldn't be allowed.

We've been late once, usually are on time or early. We've had mixed results with how long it took them to get our van back to us. Once, we were the second car off, once, the last (but that was on the way home so no big deal).

We usually drive overnight on the way down, two days on the way back, and I much prefer the train to all the driving. It's more relaxing.

Capt_BJ
03-14-2012, 09:37 AM
from: http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am/Layout&cid=1241337915810


Roof-Mounted Racks
We cannot carry vehicles with temporary luggage racks or bicycle racks attached to the roof. Factory-installed roof racks are permitted, but must remain empty during the trip.

Empty, factory-installed ski and luggage racks are okay; temporary luggage and bicycle racks are not. Luggage and bicycles may not be attached to the roof.



what many people do is put the box inside the car when they arrive at the station . . . put it back on top @ the other end . . .

Tink's Pixieduster
03-14-2012, 04:00 PM
We are taking the autotrain in June and am wondering if anyone has reviews of their trip. I am also wondering if you can put an SUV with a Thule storage box on top on the train.


You should check out the somewhat leeeeenghty thread here on the DIS boards (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=402667&highlight=autotrain).

I suggest you look at the first page for general information and then go to the last page and work your way back since the thread started almost nine (:eek:) years ago. There are reviews and photos from DISers scattered throughout.

DSis and I took our first Auto Train trip last September and we are using it again this fall. Although it takes longer and is generally more expensive than flying, we consider it a part of our vacation and enjoy the adventure. We booked a bedroom going down and two roomettes on the return last year. Our attendants were wonderful and visited with us to ask if we needed more pillows/blankets, what time to turn-down/wake-up, etc., both going down and returning, and the rooms were comfortable.

Enjoy the journey!

princesssatheart
03-14-2012, 04:37 PM
[QUOTE


what many people do is put the box inside the car when they arrive at the station . . . put it back on top @ the other end . . .[/QUOTE]


That is a VERY interesting idea! I would have never thought of that! That might just be the solution to our problem! Thanks!

princesssatheart
03-14-2012, 04:45 PM
We are driving to VA from CT. I booked roomettes for the return trip, but didn't for the trip down. I am now thinking maybe I should dish out the extra money for rooms on the way down so we are not completely exhausted when we get to FL. We will be there for 2 weeks, but only one of the weeks in Disney. I don't want my first few days to be just recovering from the train.

crzy4mickey
03-14-2012, 09:33 PM
We were thinking of taking the auto train or just the train and I have a few questions...

#1 DH is 6' 2" will he have enough leg room if we just go coach or are the roomettes big enough to accomodate him?

#2 if you get to Lorton, Va towards the time cut off is it possible you would be the last car boarded and the first one off?

#3 If just take the reg train and not the auto train you go into Kissemmee correct? Is there a place to rent a car just to get us to the resort or is it easier to get a taxi/mears car?

#4 when is the "off peak" time to take the train?

Thanks!

mykidslovesdisney
03-14-2012, 09:42 PM
We are heading back for our 8th annual trip to WDW via the Autotrain.

We are taking the autotrain in June and am wondering if anyone has reviews of their trip. I am also wondering if you can put an SUV with a Thule storage box on top on the train.

on our first trip w had a removable cargo bag on the van. We unloaded everything into the van before it was loaded on the train. Upon arriving in FL watching all the other vehicles unload there were plenty that had cargo bags on the top. We left it intact on our return trip and just had a to sign a waiver before loading. We have used our soft side cargo bag for the last 7 trips. Amtrak has new car carriers recently and that may made a difference in allowing them to be left on the top.

#1 DH is 6' 2" will he have enough leg room if we just go coach or are the roomettes big enough to accomodate him?

He should have decent leg room in coach. The seats are spaced further apart than airlines. We are able to raise the foot rest to a horizontal position and not hit the seats infront of us. The roommettes are small. He will be longer than the bed and once the seats are made into bed there is extremely little room to move. If you check out the transportation board there is a thread on the AT and someone posted great pics of both. It is towards the end of the thread.



#2 if you get to Lorton, Va towards the time cut off is it possible you would be the last car boarded and the first one off?

No last car on is not first car off. They load the vehicles into the car carriers and then connect them to the trains. Then upon arrival they unconnect and move them to another location across from the train to unload them. We have been #3 and # 5 off a few times and one trip we must have been the last vehicle off.

#3 If just take the reg train and not the auto train you go into Kissemmee correct? Is there a place to rent a car just to get us to the resort or is it easier to get a taxi/mears car?

The kissimmee station is small but easy to get to. We only went there to exchange tickets when our return train was cancelled. There would be taxi's available.


#4 when is the "off peak" time to take the train?
We have only traveled in the summer and the train has been sold out the last few years. In the fall it is crowded southbound due to seniors returning south. the spring is crowded northbound since winter is over.


Hope this helps!
Good luck if you make the trip. We love the AT bc it is not just a mode of transportation it is part of our vacation!

skoi
03-15-2012, 11:06 AM
Wanted to add that we have traveled in September (at different times of the month) and two weeks before Christmas, and found the train to be fairly empty in coach going both ways.