Disney Information Station Logo

Go Back   The DIS Discussion Forums - DISboards.com > Disney Trip Planning Forums > Budget Board
Find Hotel Specials & DIScounts
 
facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS UpdatesDIS email updates
Register Chat FAQ Tickers Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read





Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 05-16-2003, 07:08 AM   #1
mom2smjn
Disneynut who married Disneyfreak and had Disneykiddies
 
mom2smjn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: upstate/central NY
Posts: 200

Question Has anyone taken the train??

We are trying to plan a cheap trip this year, so with 8 of us(my parents want to come) flying is out! Also with my mom being on oxygen most planes won't take her and the very few that do want her to pay $80 PER LEG of the flight to use their O2!!

Driving is an option (we have done it this way) but my parents feel they will be very uncomfortable in the car for 24 hours.

So I thought the train may be an option.

Here are my questions:
1. Would it work out cheaper the take a regular train and rent a car than take the auto train?

2. If you take the auto train can we take just 1 car and 8 people(my parents would rent when we got there) or should we take both cars?

3.Would it be better/Cheaper to take the auto train down with 1 car and we drive home parents fly home nonstop(pay O2 1x)


Thanks

__________________
Kelly & Fred
Mom and Dad to Sarah, Matthew, Jacob and Noah!
<br>
<Script language='Javascript'>var rndNum = Math.floor(Math.random() * 10000);eval("var CDTDate" + rndNum + " = 'December 06,2003 3:00:00 PM EST';");document.writeln("<form name='CDTform" + rndNum + "' action='Javascript:void(0);'>");document.writeln(' <font size=2 color=darkred> Disney here we come! Granny and Papa 1st visit! </font><br>');document.writeln("<input type=text value='' size=40 name='WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII'>");document.writ eln("</form>");if (theFunction) theFunction += "var d = new Date();";else var theFunction = "var d = new Date();";theFunction += "var c = new Date('" + eval("CDTDate" + rndNum) + "');";theFunction += "var diff = (c - d)/1000;";theFunction += "var days = Math.floor(diff / 86400);";theFunction += "var rem = diff - (days * 86400);";theFunction += "var hours = Math.floor(rem / 3600);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (hours * 3600);";theFunction += "var minutes = Math.floor(rem / 60);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (minutes * 60);";theFunction += "var seconds = Math.floor(rem);";theFunction += "if ((days < 0) | (hours < 0) | (minutes < 0) | (seconds < 0)) ";theFunction += "var out = 'We LOVE you Mickey!!!!';";theFunction += "else ";theFunction += "var out = ' ' + days + ' days ' + hours + ' hrs. ' + minutes + ' mins. ' + seconds + ' secs.';";theFunction += "document.forms.CDTform" + rndNum + ".elements.WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII.value = out;";setInterval(theFunction, 1000);</Script>
<br>


<br><br>
<a href="http://pages.ivillage.com/udderlyfantastic/Disneytrips_tips.html">Come see our 2001 trip report</a> including MVMCP!!
<br><br> GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!<br>
<a href="http://pages.ivillage.com/udderlyfantastic/mysites/">Lots of sites to visit</a><br><br>
<br><br><a href="http://quizilla.com/users/Royal-Highness/quizzes/What%20type%20of%20Disney%20Fan%20are%20you%3F/"> <font size="-1">What type of Disney Fan are you?</font></a><BR> <font size="-3">brought to you by <a href="http://quizilla.com">Quizilla</a></font>
mom2smjn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2003, 10:21 AM   #2
Mary Anne
Not sure what season that is
I couldn't figure this out It was driving me crazy
 
Mary Anne's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 3,588

I can only relate my experience.

30+ years ago my mom would not fly, we took the train down from NYCity. NEVER again, it persoanlly cured my fear of flying real quick.

From time to time we've talked about doing the auto train. I have never once found it to be cheaper then flying and renting a car. (There are 4 of us).

That said, my BIL lives and dies by the auto train. He got tickets for 4 and his midsize car for about $700 which he felt was a great buy. Keep in mind that for the Auto train you have to drive to outside of Washington DC. Not sure how far you'd have to travel for that.

You will pay for two cars no matter how many or few people travel if you load two cars on the train. Meaning two people and two cars will pay more then two people and one car.

I have to say that the cheapest way would be to drive Most easiest but probably most expenseive be to fly and the auto train wich might work will will probably cost as much as or if not more then flying.
Mary Anne is offline   Reply With Quote
|
The DIS
Register to remove

Join Date: 1997
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 1,000,000
Old 05-16-2003, 11:25 AM   #3
erinch
DIS Veteran
 
erinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 1,748

We will be taking the autotrain down this year for the 4th time.
We love it. My kids love the freedom to move around, the free snacks, the movie, the sense of adventure; we all love the "free" sitdown dinner with the carafe of wine and the fresh flowers on the table.

My hubby and I love getting up early in the morning and having breakfast while leaving the kids to sleep; love being able to leave everything packed in the car without having to jimmy it into suitcases to go on the plane. We love not putting the extra wear and tear on the car, having to haul things in and out of a motel at least one night on the way down, and not arriving exhausted from 2-3 days of driving--and knowing we have the same on the way back.

Most of all, we love not having to listen to the kids bicker (15 yo boy and 7 yo girl this trip) all the way down, and the constant schlepping in and out of the car for food, bathroom breaks and other constant needs.

In terms of cost, we are a family of 4, with a van. With a AAA discount, we are paying right around $950 to go down in July and come back 3 1/2 weeks later in August. It would be less with a car. That's about what it would cost to fly--with a good rate, from Pittsburgh, but would leave the car rental, which would be exhorbitant. You could drive for less, but when you consider the several months worth of extra wear on the minivan--meaning a new car purchase that much sooner, in our opinion, it's cheaper to take the autotrain than to drive. I booked early--the same trip would be $100 more with the AAA booking now.

In your case, I just tried to configure the amtrak site for 8 people, and the most it would accept is 5. I assume you could add more by calling Amtrak, but my hunch is that you would have to prove all arrived in one car. I think they might have a limit per car, and they don't permit you to go without a car.

Feel free to PM me if you'd like anymore info on the autotrain. We took amtrak across country last year, experiencing the "joys" of coach on both the southern and northern routes. It was disorganized, dirty and pretty stressful. They have huge customer service issues. But---I just flew a on 6 different airplanes in 2 days and it was crowded, dirty and like riding the bus. Only advantage was it was over quicker.
erinch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2003, 08:14 AM   #4
disneywith6kids
Mouseketeer
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: NJ
Posts: 204

We're a family of 8 with 6kids. We just got back and used the auto train. We paid 1200.00 for it but when we planned our next trip we got it for 880. We enjoyed the train. However the rocking back and forth was hard to get used to so if you go bring some sleeping pills or dramamine. We brought our suburban which fits 8 and no one even questioned us. We did use a soft luggage carrier and when we got to the train we just took everyone out of the car and put the carrier in. I would go to the Amtrak web site and email them and tell them you're a party of 8 and you need help booking with the 25% online booking discount and see if they will honor it since there system only allows 5 at a time. We tried with the AAA and the 25% discount comes out a better deal-best wishes.
__________________
<Script language='Javascript'>var rndNum = Math.floor(Math.random() * 10000);eval("var CDTDate" + rndNum + " = 'November 13,2003 7:00:00 AM EST';");document.writeln("<form name='CDTform" + rndNum + "' action='Javascript:void(0);'>");document.writeln(' <font size=2 color=darkblue>Been there, done that, going back AGAIN!! </font><br>');document.writeln("<input type=text value='' size=40 name='WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII'>");document.writ eln("</form>");if (theFunction) theFunction += "var d = new Date();";else var theFunction = "var d = new Date();";theFunction += "var c = new Date('" + eval("CDTDate" + rndNum) + "');";theFunction += "var diff = (c - d)/1000;";theFunction += "var days = Math.floor(diff / 86400);";theFunction += "var rem = diff - (days * 86400);";theFunction += "var hours = Math.floor(rem / 3600);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (hours * 3600);";theFunction += "var minutes = Math.floor(rem / 60);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (minutes * 60);";theFunction += "var seconds = Math.floor(rem);";theFunction += "if ((days < 0) | (hours < 0) | (minutes < 0) | (seconds < 0)) ";theFunction += "var out = 'Happy Thanksgiving !!';";theFunction += "else ";theFunction += "var out = ' ' + days + ' days ' + hours + ' hrs. ' + minutes + ' mins. ' + seconds + ' secs.';";theFunction += "document.forms.CDTform" + rndNum + ".elements.WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII.value = out;";setInterval(theFunction, 1000);</Script>
disneywith6kids is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-17-2003, 09:40 AM   #5
meandtheguys
Dear lady, the Tag Fairies are everywhere, see everything and when possible, tell all!!!! ;)
 
meandtheguys's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Southern Ohio
Posts: 800

amtrak on ebay

I don't know if it will help, but I just discoverd last p.m. through mousesavers that amtrak tickets are available on ebay including the autotrain. We are taking six down with two cars in Sept. and I think we will try to use ebay for one person and one car.
Michelle
__________________
Michelle, content mother of 3 and wife of one!
meandtheguys is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 07:22 AM   #6
Olaf
DIS Cast Member
 
Olaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Anywhere the Air Force Sends Us
Posts: 4,302

For those who have taken the auto train, is it worth the extra money for a sleeper? We're two adults and one 8 year old boy. I live about 20 minutes from Lorton station and I'm really interested in trying this. Thanks.
Olaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 08:29 AM   #7
erinch
DIS Veteran
 
erinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 1,748

we don't spring for the sleeper--we love the autotrain, but for us the sleeper would add almost $900 at the AAA discount. (We have 4). That seems like an awful lot for 2 nights of coping sleeping in seats. The discomfort of an overnight each way, even in coach is much better, for us, than the kids bickering for 2 1/2 days in the car each way and at least one night schlepping our stuff into a motel on the way.
erinch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 09:04 AM   #8
Olaf
DIS Cast Member
 
Olaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Anywhere the Air Force Sends Us
Posts: 4,302

Thanks Erinch. After reading several posts, many people have mentioned how uncomfortable the ride is, because of the tracks. Is it really that bad?
Olaf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 10:21 AM   #9
dandelion
DIS Veteran
 
dandelion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: the original saratoga springs
Posts: 635

My family of 4 (girl 6, boy 4) rode the autotrain down in late April. I am prone to motion sickness, but found with dramamine (and that carafe of wine ) I was fine. The ride is "rocky" at times, but my kids loved it. There were several empty seats in our coach, so room to spread out for those who wanted it.

We didn't want to pay for a sleeper either, and were glad we didn't when we saw how much better it was for the kids to have room to move around in coach. Met some nice people too.

We drove all the way home (2 days) the next weekend and we all agreed - the train is SO much better for us.

Watch ebay and amtrak's own site for deals. Last week on ebay, tix for 4 people and one car (NOT a van or SUV) round-trip went for about $650.
__________________
DxL: 11/93 - YC: 9/95 - CBR: 5/97 - POFQ: 3/98 -WL: 12/98 - ASMo: 12/99 -
CSR: 2/13 - -Dolphin: 11/00, 2/02 - Swan: 5/01,10/01,2/05 -
Offsite: 3/80,11/81,4/85,11/92,4/03,4/05,10/06

dandelion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 02:41 PM   #10
erinch
DIS Veteran
 
erinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 1,748

I sent a huge writeup of my train tips to one of the readers of this message thread via the disboard email link, then realized a copy didn't store in the pm sent box. I've emailed her and asked her to forward it back to me and will post here.

But--I find the rocking motion rhythmic and soothing. I like the upper floor--to me it is much more jolting (not to mention the "chemical" smell on the lower floor.
erinch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-19-2003, 06:20 PM   #11
mom2smjn
Disneynut who married Disneyfreak and had Disneykiddies
 
mom2smjn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: upstate/central NY
Posts: 200

I heard it was kids ride for half price, is this true?
If so is it 1 kid per adult or can you have more than 1?
This train thing is confusing to me....
__________________
Kelly & Fred
Mom and Dad to Sarah, Matthew, Jacob and Noah!
<br>
<Script language='Javascript'>var rndNum = Math.floor(Math.random() * 10000);eval("var CDTDate" + rndNum + " = 'December 06,2003 3:00:00 PM EST';");document.writeln("<form name='CDTform" + rndNum + "' action='Javascript:void(0);'>");document.writeln(' <font size=2 color=darkred> Disney here we come! Granny and Papa 1st visit! </font><br>');document.writeln("<input type=text value='' size=40 name='WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII'>");document.writ eln("</form>");if (theFunction) theFunction += "var d = new Date();";else var theFunction = "var d = new Date();";theFunction += "var c = new Date('" + eval("CDTDate" + rndNum) + "');";theFunction += "var diff = (c - d)/1000;";theFunction += "var days = Math.floor(diff / 86400);";theFunction += "var rem = diff - (days * 86400);";theFunction += "var hours = Math.floor(rem / 3600);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (hours * 3600);";theFunction += "var minutes = Math.floor(rem / 60);";theFunction += "rem = rem - (minutes * 60);";theFunction += "var seconds = Math.floor(rem);";theFunction += "if ((days < 0) | (hours < 0) | (minutes < 0) | (seconds < 0)) ";theFunction += "var out = 'We LOVE you Mickey!!!!';";theFunction += "else ";theFunction += "var out = ' ' + days + ' days ' + hours + ' hrs. ' + minutes + ' mins. ' + seconds + ' secs.';";theFunction += "document.forms.CDTform" + rndNum + ".elements.WrittenByJamesMVenglarikII.value = out;";setInterval(theFunction, 1000);</Script>
<br>


<br><br>
<a href="http://pages.ivillage.com/udderlyfantastic/Disneytrips_tips.html">Come see our 2001 trip report</a> including MVMCP!!
<br><br> GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!<br>
<a href="http://pages.ivillage.com/udderlyfantastic/mysites/">Lots of sites to visit</a><br><br>
<br><br><a href="http://quizilla.com/users/Royal-Highness/quizzes/What%20type%20of%20Disney%20Fan%20are%20you%3F/"> <font size="-1">What type of Disney Fan are you?</font></a><BR> <font size="-3">brought to you by <a href="http://quizilla.com">Quizilla</a></font>
mom2smjn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 10:44 PM   #12
erinch
DIS Veteran
 
erinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 1,748

Cool my train trips compiled

Usual disclaimer--only my experience, may not match yours....

1. If you're riding coach, the biggest suggestion is to bring a blanket and pillow. None available on the train (tiny pillows, hard to sleep on they provide one of)

2. Get there early enough to get the dinner seating you'd like. We always go for the earliest one, in order to be through in time for the movie.

3. They do a really good job assigning people according to their age levels. When we've gone, we always get assigned to the "families from Heck" car, which is actually pretty good since my kids could meet other kids and maybe my daughter could go join someone else's family for a few hours. The other cars, the times we’ve been, are for families with older teens/gen xers/boomers and then another car for Builders The folks in that car tend to try to land the early dinner slot. Many also get there early in the morning to check in, then wait for hours and hours and hours to get on.

4. You will be assigned seats in a car, which is great compared to the general free-for-all on other Amtrak routes. When you get on, you will probably discover, unless it's really full, that there are unassigned seats
across from the stairs down to the lower level and at the ends of the cars where the lights are brighter. Don’t hang back trying to snag a couple. We've successfully been able to do that everytime we've gone.

5. Since those seats are much brighter, I bring an extra large beach towel or light blanket which I can hook over the luggage rail to hang down so the light isn't right in your eyes. I've been thinking that one
of the those lightshade masks to wear would be a good idea. If you get to stretch out on 2 seats, the seats are separated in the middle by a metal strip which is indented between the foam of the 2 seats and very uncomfortable. I bring a small baby blanket or hand towel to insert into the gap to make them level. Feels much better.

6. Once the train starts going there are free snacks in the lounge car--a yummy mix of pretzels, cheese doodles and cornchips. (My last time was just prior to 9-11 so am hoping they still do it.) You can bring bowls back to your seat. They don't announce they're putting them out. My son is allergic to cheese and nuts, so I bring different snacks for him.

7. Extra batteries for the walkmen, if the kids into that. There is one plugin for a laptop per car, located in one of the seats, but it may not be available. If important try to chisel this info out of amtrak before you get there.

8. On one trip only we were in a car in which the seats were very worn and smushed down. We happened to discover the car behind us was completely empty, much newer, and got permission to switch over. If your car's not in the best shape look around for beter options. All the other times the car was very nice.

9. I bring lysol wipes for the bathroom. There is a ladies' "lounge" in each car with a long counter with room for makeup bags, etc. I get up early on the train---like at 6:30 (they announce breakfast at 7) and freshen up, change my undies, and exit feeling perky and ready to go for the day. I bring a separate smaller case in my carryon with all the toiletries in it to carry downstairs. I happen to be allergic to the amtrak soap (which is liquid with an almond base and smells lovely) and bring my own face soap, along with a hand towel and wash cloth.

10. Some people really like to snag the downstairs compartment, but I think it smells like a chemical toilet downstairs (which would be what is downstairs. We like upstairs much better.)

11. The service in the dining car can be rushed to the point of being almost rude (they have to turn around 2 or 3 seatings depending on the passenger load.) Since my hubby doesn't drink coffee I have him get a cup too so I have 2 cups, as refills very hard to get. They put a nice carafe of white wine on your table.

12. We were delayed by an hour and a half once getting into the station, but haven't experienced any of the horrendous delays. Waiting can be quite crowded, with a lot of heat outside where most of the seats are, and lots of crowds inside where it’s air conditioned. This is a good time to haul out the game boy game they haven’t seen for awhile, or a new book or magazine if you’ve got kids to keep entertained. There’s a small playground at at least one of the stations, but it’s been too hot to use when we’ve been there.

13. Our kids are not early risers, so we let them sleep while we go have a nice breakfast (you share a table if you don't have 4); and bring them a “to go” tray back, which the staff is sometimes gracious about. I also bring breakfast snacky stuff in case I can't bring something back. Breakfast is cereal, bagels (not toasted but pretty good) bananas juice and coffee.

14. Traffic can be a nightmare getting into Lorton. There's an exchange (Springfield??) which has been under construction forever. We've twice waited to eat till we got that far, and got into a nightmare trying to get back on the freeway. If you're a AAA member find out what the status is this summer and find a better place for lunch. (There's no real food for meals at either station--some vending sandwiches, etc. Which makes no sense; why don't they do a cafe for people checking in and waiting for train? Captive audience?
Big money??? Food is a little better at Lorton than Sanford. Plan ahead for the traffic. They mean what they say about the check-in times.

15. The drinking water on the train tastes chemical; I bring bottled water.

Last edited by erinch; 05-22-2003 at 12:18 AM.
erinch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-21-2003, 10:46 PM   #13
erinch
DIS Veteran
 
erinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Lititz, PA
Posts: 1,748

children's fares

Amtrak's children's discount offers great savings for families. Kids, ages 2-15, ride half-price when accompanied by an adult, any day, everyday.

Children must be accompanied by an adult, and each adult may bring two children along with this half-price discount. One child under the age of two rides free with each adult ticket purchased.

Since the 25% off fares are nonrefundable, we try to stick with the AAA discount when it's comparable
erinch is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 07:54 AM   #14
dandelion
DIS Veteran
 
dandelion's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: the original saratoga springs
Posts: 635

Erinch - great tips!

I was just on the train on 4/25, and yes they do still have the little bowls of snacks in the lounge.

I guess we were on a particularly uncrowded train, as they had no seating in the lower (bathroom) area. Why would anyone prefer that?

Also we had at least 10 empty seats in our car (the Kids From Heck car ) so lots of room to spread out and extra pillows and blankets. Thanks for the tip should our next voyage be more crowded.

The Lorton station had a small but nice play area and some mediocre sandwiches and salads we bought to eat before boarding. We also experienced that traffic nightmare just before exiting. This was mid-day on a Friday. We blew right through the Sanford station. We were all following dh, who was just looking for a restroom but at least he got us all outside where we could watch them unload the autos. DS loved that.
__________________
DxL: 11/93 - YC: 9/95 - CBR: 5/97 - POFQ: 3/98 -WL: 12/98 - ASMo: 12/99 -
CSR: 2/13 - -Dolphin: 11/00, 2/02 - Swan: 5/01,10/01,2/05 -
Offsite: 3/80,11/81,4/85,11/92,4/03,4/05,10/06

dandelion is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-22-2003, 08:28 AM   #15
admiral nelson
Mission Space Wannabe
 
admiral nelson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2001
Posts: 81

A friend of mine didn't have ID, so he couldn't fly(NY to ORL). He meet us down, and said the train (amtrak) was ABSOLUTELY horrible. He was squished, the train got delayed 3 hours at one stop. Mind you, this is a guy who you hardly hear a complaint out of ever. So, that's good enough reason for me to never take the train.
admiral nelson is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply



Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

facebooktwitterpinterestgoogle plusyoutubeDIS Updates
GET OUR DIS UPDATES DELIVERED BY EMAIL



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 08:05 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 1997-2014, Werner Technologies, LLC. All Rights Reserved.