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Old 06-06-2012, 09:00 PM   #1501
bdcp
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We drive day of since we live 45 minutes from Lorton. We have had a bedroom, roomette and coach. We have slept in coach, not so much in the roomette and really well in the bedroom. We will book a bedroom whenever we get the chance. I actually felt like I'd slept a normal night in the bedroom. It's nice having our own bathroom also.
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Old 06-06-2012, 09:22 PM   #1502
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We are taking the Autotrain for the first time Aug. 6th My self, DD 20 and Neice 21 its a little over an hour drive. I am trying to decide myself if we drive that morning or the day before. We would have to leave 4 am or so. I know how traffic can be and the 6th is a Monday. Should we get a hotel? If so, does anyone know a nice one in the area.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:19 PM   #1503
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We live in Central CT and leave the day of. We leave at 2 am in the morning. We are able to bypass all the traffic in the major cities along the way. We stop in MD for Breakfast for an hour and usually arrive at the station by 1030-11am.

Our trip travel time is 8 hours but that includes an hr for breakfast and a ton of pit stops along the way.

We are returning for our 9th AT trip this August.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:14 PM   #1504
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Wanted to report here that I just verified with Amtrak that the Sanford shuttle (from the auto train station to the town of Sanford) is still operating. Word is it begins at 11:30 a.m. daily.

I was helping out a friend plan a trip up, and thought this might be of use to some folks.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:39 PM   #1505
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Has anyone here driven from Lorton,VA to PA? Just wondering what the best route will be to take. We live just west of Allentown, off Rte I-78.
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Old 06-11-2012, 04:45 PM   #1506
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After you check in. . .

Hi there Autotrain experts, I'm hoping you can help me with a question. We live in the DC area, so the Lorton station is local for us. In August I am taking the AT south with my two sons and my husband will join us later in the week. I'd like to be there right at 11:30 to make sure I get the early dinner seating, but since boarding doesn't start until 2:00-2:30, I thought I might go grab lunch in the area. Once we check in our vehicle , do we have to stay in the station?

TIA for your help!
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:06 PM   #1507
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikat View Post
Hi there Autotrain experts, I'm hoping you can help me with a question. We live in the DC area, so the Lorton station is local for us. In August I am taking the AT south with my two sons and my husband will join us later in the week. I'd like to be there right at 11:30 to make sure I get the early dinner seating, but since boarding doesn't start until 2:00-2:30, I thought I might go grab lunch in the area. Once we check in our vehicle , do we have to stay in the station?

TIA for your help!
No you don't have to stay in the station and there is a little mall nearby but I don't know if there are any sidewalks and you have to cross a multilane highway.

http://goo.gl/maps/R6ub

Maybe get lunch and bring it with you. Thats what we did.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:41 PM   #1508
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Actually you can leave once you check yourself in --not your car. We did it twice last year in June and August. We arrived to the station just before 11 am. We drove in and followed the road to the left of the check in booth for the car. There is a parking lot that you can park in and walk to the ticket counter. They will check you in - pick your meal time. They told us to be back by 1 or 2 pm. We then headed a little further south on I95 to the Potomac Mills Mall -- there is a disney outlet in the mall. It was nice to find something to do to kill time. For the 5 yrs bf that we use to take the car after checking in and hit the dollar store about a mile down the road.

We even did this for the Sanford station on the way home last August. We checked us in - they were not even ready to take cars -- too early. We then headed over to historic Sanford and found the waterfront and a playground. We grabbed lunch and ate by the water. Nice way for the kids to blow off energy bf the trip home.

Remember you can not check in your vehicle and then take it back out. You have to check in yourselves and then return to check in your vehicle. Just remember to allow time to travel. traffic on I95 can crawl.

We plan on doing the same in August too.
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2005, 2006, Old Key West, 2007 OKW as DVC mbrs
2008 -OKW- thanks TS faye for extending our stay!!
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2014 AKV-Kidani 7/28-8/8
My Disney loving kids- Matt-24, Jordan 15, Sam 13, Belle 11 & William 7

Belle said "Quick mom stop the car, Get on that bus!!"
Mom " Why do we need to get on that bus?"
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:43 PM   #1509
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Sorry I misread-- once you check in your car you can leave to walk to the plaza but you will need to take all your luggage with you. You can not leave it unattended in the station. If your early - check your self in and then come back closer to boarding.
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1987-Hilton Marketplace, 1989 CBR
1997-Holiday Inn Sun Spree
2000-CSR, 2002 All Star Sports
2005, 2006, Old Key West, 2007 OKW as DVC mbrs
2008 -OKW- thanks TS faye for extending our stay!!
2009- AKV 8/5-8/13, 2010- OKW 8/11-8/20
2011- AKV 8/2-8/12 2012-SSR 8/15-8/23
2013-POR-R 7/27-8/4 and AKV-Kidani 8/4-8/9
2014 AKV-Kidani 7/28-8/8
My Disney loving kids- Matt-24, Jordan 15, Sam 13, Belle 11 & William 7

Belle said "Quick mom stop the car, Get on that bus!!"
Mom " Why do we need to get on that bus?"
Belle "Because it is going to Disney World"
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Old 06-12-2012, 07:39 AM   #1510
loveysbydesign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mykidslovesdisney View Post
Actually you can leave once you check yourself in --not your car. We did it twice last year in June and August. We arrived to the station just before 11 am. We drove in and followed the road to the left of the check in booth for the car. There is a parking lot that you can park in and walk to the ticket counter. They will check you in - pick your meal time. They told us to be back by 1 or 2 pm. We then headed a little further south on I95 to the Potomac Mills Mall -- there is a disney outlet in the mall. It was nice to find something to do to kill time. For the 5 yrs bf that we use to take the car after checking in and hit the dollar store about a mile down the road.

We even did this for the Sanford station on the way home last August. We checked us in - they were not even ready to take cars -- too early. We then headed over to historic Sanford and found the waterfront and a playground. We grabbed lunch and ate by the water. Nice way for the kids to blow off energy bf the trip home.

Remember you can not check in your vehicle and then take it back out. You have to check in yourselves and then return to check in your vehicle. Just remember to allow time to travel. traffic on I95 can crawl.

We plan on doing the same in August too.
Thanks for the tips! We are taking the AT fir the 1st time, but only from FL to VA. Are there any good places to eat in Sanford for lunch and is it easy to get around the area?
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May 2006-1st family trip to WDW! Loved Windsor Hills! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$1800
Nov. 13-22 2007-2nd trip to WDW with Baby Hartley #3-it's a boy!!! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$2200
May 2009- 3 nights in a 2 bedroom at SSR and then our 1st Disney cruise on the Magic! Total cost for 2 Cat. 12's -upgraded to Cat. 10's=$2900

June 11-20 2010- Our super cheap, surprising the kids, 1st time driving, celebrating Ryan's 3rd birthday trip! Total cost=$950
Nov.12-22, 2010 Took our in-laws along for their 1st trip ever! Stayed at Indian Creek and had a blast!
Oct.10-15, 2011 Crazy Columbus Crowds(did YES program) & cruised on the Dream Oct. 16-20
Oct. 19-29, 2012 Our trip re-do w/the in-laws, swam w/ the manatees & drove home through Sandy!
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Old 06-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #1511
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Originally Posted by loveysbydesign View Post
Thanks for the tips! We are taking the AT fir the 1st time, but only from FL to VA. Are there any good places to eat in Sanford for lunch and is it easy to get around the area?
Once you check in there's a shuttle into Sanford proper. I just verified the other day that it's still running. There's a German place in town that a lot of folks seem to like. I haven't tried it yet. On one of the last turns towards the AT station, there's also a Joe's Crab Shack on the corner. There's probably other eateries in that shopping center too.
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Old 06-12-2012, 01:13 PM   #1512
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The main road that leads to the Autotrain station in Sanford from I4 is lined with lots of places to eat and shop. There is a big mall right off the exit for I-4. If you leave the AT statioin and turn right onto the main road and go up a way you will see a McDonalds on your right. There are more resturants on the road to your right. IF you follow straight thru the intersection you are in Historic Sanford- lots of quant shops and resturants. Plus there is the waterfront too. Sorry I am unfamiliar with road names. I can look them up if needed.

We found it fairly easy to travel and everything seemed fairly close to the station.

We have never taken the shuttle but have seen it at the station. Just remember with the shuttle you have to take your luggage with you bc it can not be left unattended at the station. IF you are really early I recommend checking yourself in and then coming back with the car to check the car in.
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1987-Hilton Marketplace, 1989 CBR
1997-Holiday Inn Sun Spree
2000-CSR, 2002 All Star Sports
2005, 2006, Old Key West, 2007 OKW as DVC mbrs
2008 -OKW- thanks TS faye for extending our stay!!
2009- AKV 8/5-8/13, 2010- OKW 8/11-8/20
2011- AKV 8/2-8/12 2012-SSR 8/15-8/23
2013-POR-R 7/27-8/4 and AKV-Kidani 8/4-8/9
2014 AKV-Kidani 7/28-8/8
My Disney loving kids- Matt-24, Jordan 15, Sam 13, Belle 11 & William 7

Belle said "Quick mom stop the car, Get on that bus!!"
Mom " Why do we need to get on that bus?"
Belle "Because it is going to Disney World"
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:50 PM   #1513
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We have never taken the shuttle but have seen it at the station. Just remember with the shuttle you have to take your luggage with you bc it can not be left unattended at the station.
True, and we've never found that to be a problem. Each of us has a small overnight bag that we can handle. My littler one was wheeling his own at 2 1/2. Guess you'd be able to pick us out at the station -- the family without a lot of carry-on luggage.

(We're also the ones who walk from the Lorton station --yes there are sidewalks and crosswalks*-- to the Glory Days or sushi place with our luggage. Again, we must be unusual, because a 1/2 mi. walk carrying/pulling a bag apiece doesn't qualify as a big deal to us).

*Except right there on the Amtrak property at Lorton.
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Old 06-14-2012, 10:42 AM   #1514
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Has anyone here driven from Lorton,VA to PA? Just wondering what the best route will be to take. We live just west of Allentown, off Rte I-78.
We live in that area, too. We followed Google map's directions and did 78-81 to Harrisburg, then 15 s to 495 S etc. Worked well for us. ook right around 4 hours.
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Old 06-14-2012, 12:30 PM   #1515
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We live in that area, too. We followed Google map's directions and did 78-81 to Harrisburg, then 15 s to 495 S etc. Worked well for us. ook right around 4 hours.
Thanks! I was thinking it would only be 3 hours or so, off to check googlemaps and check out that route
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May 2006-1st family trip to WDW! Loved Windsor Hills! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$1800
Nov. 13-22 2007-2nd trip to WDW with Baby Hartley #3-it's a boy!!! Total cost including airfare, condo. rental at WH, park tix and rental car =$2200
May 2009- 3 nights in a 2 bedroom at SSR and then our 1st Disney cruise on the Magic! Total cost for 2 Cat. 12's -upgraded to Cat. 10's=$2900

June 11-20 2010- Our super cheap, surprising the kids, 1st time driving, celebrating Ryan's 3rd birthday trip! Total cost=$950
Nov.12-22, 2010 Took our in-laws along for their 1st trip ever! Stayed at Indian Creek and had a blast!
Oct.10-15, 2011 Crazy Columbus Crowds(did YES program) & cruised on the Dream Oct. 16-20
Oct. 19-29, 2012 Our trip re-do w/the in-laws, swam w/ the manatees & drove home through Sandy!
June 21-30, 2013 Celebrating our 17th anniversary!
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