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Old 06-30-2010, 10:25 PM   #16
belle8306
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I made it! I am looking forward to hearing about your trip!
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:44 AM   #17
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You might have to wait awhile for the Harry Potter stuff. That is at the end of the trip. So you're going to have to slog through a whole week at Disney first.
That's OK because we were at Disney the same time you were. I like to read TRs that take place the same time that we were there. It's going to be fun.
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Old 07-01-2010, 06:51 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by cdotla View Post
Yay! Bring it on!!!

Can't wait to hear all about the trip!
First installment coming up!

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I made it! I am looking forward to hearing about your trip!
Glad that you're here!

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That's OK because we were at Disney the same time you were. I like to read TRs that take place the same time that we were there. It's going to be fun.
How was your trip? I hope it was as great as ours!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:11 AM   #19
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Day 1: The Auto Train

I woke up this morning and jumped out of bed. I was going to Disney World Everything was pretty much ready. All we had to do was wait until it was time to go. The Auto Train leaves Lorton Virginia at 4:00 pm, but we needed to be there by around 1:00 because we had an oversized car. (It’s a mini-van which is oversize for the Auto Train.) It would be about an hour drive and I wanted to stop for lunch so the plan was to leave around 11:00. DH wasn't joining us in Florida for another week because he had to work. (Someone has to pay for these trips, right?) He wanted to see us off though so he was coming home for lunch to say goodbye. I think the real reason was he wanted to watch some of a soccer game. The kids and I puttered away the morning and DH arrived promptly at 11:00 to say goodbye. We all gave him hugs and I felt a pang of guilt as we headed off on our adventure without him. We all really did miss him. After all we were leaving him alone on Father’s Day. Obviously we didn’t miss him enough to stay behind though! So we hopped in the car, made a Chick Fil A stop (I have a bit of a Chick Fil A problem.) Then we filled up the tank and were off to Lorton. We made good time and pulled into the station around 12:30. They took our keys and directed us into the station to wait until it was loading time. We found a seat in the waiting room and pulled out some of the activities we’d brought for the train.

Here is Michael with his DS



Wendy talked the boys into playing Uno. Notice they didn’t put their DS’s down though.



They had coloring stuff, books, etc and kept busy until we were called to board. This was around 2:30 I think.

We’d reserved lower level coach seats because I’d read there were a small number of seats in each compartment and there was no walk through access. So nobody would be walking through the car in the middle of the night when we were trying to sleep. This was definitely a great call. We found our assigned seats and there was one other family of a mom and 3 kids in our car. There were only 12 seats and a large open area for wheelchairs. The seats were very spacious. Similar space wise to first class airline ticket seats. Here are some pictures of the kids in their seats.



Notice the boys are still playing DS.



The train started moving a bit before 4:00 and we were on our way!

Everybody was quite entertained for the hour we traveled until they called us to dinner. We had the 5:00 seating so we made our way upstairs and through a few cars until we came to the dining cars. Once there we were seated at a table with rolls and a couple pitchers awaiting us.



Now the next part of the story makes me sound incredibly naīve, but it’s funny so I’m telling it. See the liquid in the picture. Now I’m sure most of you know what it is. I, however, was a bit unsure. The boys assumed it was apple juice and I was a bit suspicious that it wasn’t. I’ve never been a drinker of any kind, but it did look a bit like wine. It just seemed strange to me that wine would be sitting there in a pitcher like that. So the boys clamored for apple juice, but I told them I wanted to taste it first. Well as I’m sure most of you know it wasn’t apple juice. After taking a sip I informed the kids it wasn’t apple juice. They immediately assumed that one sip was going to get me totally drunk (remember neither DH or I ever drink so the kids aren’t around it much). I assured them I would be just fine and completely functional, but they were all still a bit skeptical. Wendy especially kept a close eye on me for the remainder of the meal.

Speaking of the meal, it was quite tasty. No pictures, but I had a yummy chicken dish and the kids enjoyed their meals too. They even brought us dessert. As we ate we watched the countryside whiz by. Definitely the way to travel. After dinner we headed back to our car. The Princess and the Frog was showing in the lounge, but my kids didn’t have any interest in watching it. The boys made friends with the other little boy in our car. They bonded over their DS’s. Wendy colored, drew and read her book. I relaxed and finished up New Moon (perfect vacation reading). Soon it was 9:00 and they turned the overhead lights out. We all changed into our PJ’s and settled in for the night. The sleeping arrangements turned out better than I’d hoped. We didn’t get a sleeper car because it was $300 more. We were just planning to get as much sleep as we could in our seats. We basically had 6 seats to split between the 4 of us. Michael, however, loves to sleep on the floor. So he laid down in the open handicap area. That left the rest of us with two seats each to spread out on. Not as comfy as a bed, but we could actually lay down. Michael and John both slept great the whole night. Wendy had a bit of trouble falling asleep, but still had a fairly restful night. I even managed to get a few hours in. Though it was cramped, the train rocked which was quite soothing. Was it the best night’s sleep I’ve ever had? Of course not, but I’ve had much worse nights. I’d definitely do it again. So we all settled in knowing that when the sun came up we’d be in Florida!

Up next: We arrive at Disney World!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:36 AM   #20
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We have always toyed with the idea of the auto train. I'm glad you had a great experience. Were there changing rooms to change in?? What about the bathrooms? Are they like airplanes?? Just curious??
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:40 AM   #21
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This is the first review I've read of the auto train, and I'm so glad you posted it. I've always wondered what it was like, since we've considered it in the past. It sounds like doing without the sleeper car would be very do-able!
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Old 07-01-2010, 08:32 AM   #22
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That is the first account I have read of the auto train. Interested to hear about the rest of your journey.

Kinda neat to fall asleep and wake up in Florida!
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:12 AM   #23
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Your auto train experience sounds great! We've looked into it a few times... (trying to save money instead of flying but also not wanting to make the long drive to Florida ourselves) Hmm...it sounds like it may be a great alternative! It would be so wonderful knowing that when you woke up, you would already be in Florida!!

That's how my boys are with their DS's! They never want to put them down...especially when we travel!

Can't wait for more!!
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:48 AM   #24
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What a fun start to your adventure! Had to LOL about the "apple juice" that wasn't!
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:50 AM   #25
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I, just like the others, am glad that you posted about the auto train. I've never been on one but have considered it. It sounds like a neat way to travel.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:06 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Planning fanatic mom View Post
We have always toyed with the idea of the auto train. I'm glad you had a great experience. Were there changing rooms to change in?? What about the bathrooms? Are they like airplanes?? Just curious??
There are changing rooms that are relatively spacious. The bathrooms are similar to airplane bathrooms, except for the handicapped bathroom which was huge. We never had a wait to use the restrooms either. Plus the changing rooms and restroom were right outside our compartment doors which was nice. Those on the upper level had to walk downstairs to the restrooms.

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This is the first review I've read of the auto train, and I'm so glad you posted it. I've always wondered what it was like, since we've considered it in the past. It sounds like doing without the sleeper car would be very do-able!
I would definitely reserve a lower level coach seat (they are the same price.) I don't know if sleeping would have been as easy if people were walking through the cars during the night like they do on the upper level.

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That is the first account I have read of the auto train. Interested to hear about the rest of your journey.

Kinda neat to fall asleep and wake up in Florida!
It was fun to wake up and be there. Not as quick as a plane, but definitely beats driving down!

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Originally Posted by Angies1274 View Post
Your auto train experience sounds great! We've looked into it a few times... (trying to save money instead of flying but also not wanting to make the long drive to Florida ourselves) Hmm...it sounds like it may be a great alternative! It would be so wonderful knowing that when you woke up, you would already be in Florida!!

That's how my boys are with their DS's! They never want to put them down...especially when we travel!

Can't wait for more!!
The train is a great alternative, but I'm not sure it's much cheaper than flying. At least not from Baltimore. Of course the big advantage is that you have your own car when you get there. I think the DS thing with boys is pretty universal. My boys make friends everywhere they go if they have their DS's

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What a fun start to your adventure! Had to LOL about the "apple juice" that wasn't!
The "apple juice" incident was pretty funny!

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I, just like the others, am glad that you posted about the auto train. I've never been on one but have considered it. It sounds like a neat way to travel.
I think the auto train from VA to FL is the only one in the country. All of the other Amtraks don't let you take your car with you. Which is too bad because that is a great convenience.
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #27
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What a fun way to travel! I would like to try that someday! I also really like Chick Fil A., the only problem is the closest one to us is an hour away!
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Old 07-01-2010, 11:24 AM   #28
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I'm here! So happy you started!

I am glad the auto train was a great way to travel. I would definitely be willing to try it if we lived closer to it.
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:26 PM   #29
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Oh, the auto train! Never been, but always wondered about this!

Looking forward to reading about your adventures!
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Old 07-01-2010, 12:31 PM   #30
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What a cool way to ride! I know it's not much cheaper, but you have room to move around. It was probably even better since it wasn't crowded! Can you take drinks and things with you in a cooler? (I don't think it comes anywhere near us so that we could take it, but it sounds interesting!).

Can't wait to hear about when you woke up the next morning!
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