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Old 09-09-2012, 09:21 PM   #1741
Marshay
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Just FYI:

1. We leave a Disney park around 12 noon and get there by 1 or 1:30pm at the latest (stop for gas and McD's to eat at station). We have always gotten the 5pm dinner service.

2. If you have the Sleeping cars, you also get veggies, dip, fruit, wine, bottled water, crackers plus the snack mix from 3-4pm. It has always been really great for us!

3. We always get the steak meal and have found it to be delicious. The fish meal was dry the one time I got it and based on other's comments, it still is. I get the steak Medium Rare.

Not sure about the "warm" drink comments. Our wine has always been cool/cold and our glasses have ice (or maybe we just asked for ice).

4. Yes, we tip for both breakfast and dinner. They are still waiters and have always appreciated it. We also tip our steward in the sleeping car.
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Old 09-11-2012, 02:16 PM   #1742
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Quick question. 3 adults, 2 kids (4 & 2), leaving early March. Do we want reserved coach seats or lower level coach seats?
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:20 PM   #1743
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marshay View Post
Just FYI:

1. We leave a Disney park around 12 noon and get there by 1 or 1:30pm at the latest (stop for gas and McD's to eat at station). We have always gotten the 5pm dinner service.
i was wondering if its "worth it" to do this. i was seriously contemplating doing this but i'm not sold on it yet.... wanna sway me
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Old 09-11-2012, 05:53 PM   #1744
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Originally Posted by Mrs.viv07 View Post
i was wondering if its "worth it" to do this. i was seriously contemplating doing this but i'm not sold on it yet.... wanna sway me
We may do this if we end up with an unused park day due to bad weather or something. Otherwise we are hoping to go to DTD to pick up last minute goodies for the train ride and eat an early lunch at Earl of Sandwich
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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
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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 09-12-2012, 09:01 AM   #1745
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Just booked AT - yay!

Hi everyone!

A week or so ago I was up waaaaay too late reading most of this thread. Great info here! We took the Autotrain last February in coach and really enjoyed it. However, we didn't sleep very well and decided to upgrade to a family bedroom this year. Just called this morning (since we have 3 kids & can't book it for 5 online) and are all set. YAY! I had to wait until I knew we'd get our DVC & did that yesterday exactly at 11 mos. (BWV, here we come!).

I booked today (9/12) for travel on 8/10/2013 and I think they only opened that date two days ago (they're on an 11-month booking schedule too, right?). Would you believe the price of a Family Bedroom had already gone up $110 from the lowest I'd seen when looking at mock travel fares last week (priced it out for exactly 1 week before we are going). Must be some other uber-planners out there who booked a couple of FBs on that date in the 2 days it's been available for booking. Definitely pays to do it as early as possible! The lowest fare is still showing for the two days before we go (on a Saturday, another possible reason for the extra $).

But I still think it's still a steal to get the 5 of us down there, plus our van (and all our STUFF - I have 3 girls - you can imagine!), plus meals, plus the uncalculatable (is that a word?) value of not doing all that driving! AND we really enjoy the train. Win-win-win-win-win! I am excited to have space to ourselves on this trip. I know we will be a very small space, but my girls are pretty small themselves (my oldest is 12 and only 53", 66 lbs.). After this trip we'll probably have to do a different configuration, but we're planning on doing it this way at least for this trip.

One other thing I wanted to note: either Amtrak is trying to curb putting the 5th person into these Family Bedrooms, or I got an agent who hadn't had her first cup of coffee yet this morning. She did NOT want to book it for me. She read the disclaimer about how it is "...recommended for a maximim of 2 adults and 2 small children..." three times all the way through. I know it's her job to make sure the customer understands that it isn't designed for 5, but THREE times? At one point I tried to explain how physically small my girls are despite their ages, but she wasn't having any of it. I finally asked her, "I understand Amtrak advises against putting 5 persons in these Family Bedrooms. But will you still be able to book it for me that way?" She grudgingly said yes, and then we moved forward with the reservation. YAY!

Now we just have to decide whether to make the trip down to Lorton all in one go, or travel most of the way the night before. In Feb. we stayed at an awful, horrible place overnight and couldn't get out of there fast enough in the morning & ended up that we were the second car in line to check in! That's what I get for booking a budget hotel (I figured it was just to crash, how bad could it be? BAD! Lesson learned). Anyway, what do you all think: We live near Saratoga Springs, NY (just north of Albany). Should we try leaving super-early in the morning and going all the way down that day? Or leave the night before and find a (better!) place to sleep overnight? I'd rather save the $$ and drive all the way in the morning, but don't feel so strongly about it that I'd risk ever missing the train! Those of you who drive from NY/NE, what do you do? Maybe I'll create a poll about this when the trip gets closer (still nearly a year away, but never too early to plan for WDW!!). Thanks for any input!!
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Old 09-12-2012, 09:07 AM   #1746
loveysbydesign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSL View Post
Hi everyone!

A week or so ago I was up waaaaay too late reading most of this thread. Great info here! We took the Autotrain last February in coach and really enjoyed it. However, we didn't sleep very well and decided to upgrade to a family bedroom this year. Just called this morning (since we have 3 kids & can't book it for 5 online) and are all set. YAY! I had to wait until I knew we'd get our DVC & did that yesterday exactly at 11 mos. (BWV, here we come!).

I booked today (9/12) for travel on 8/10/2013 and I think they only opened that date two days ago (they're on an 11-month booking schedule too, right?). Would you believe the price of a Family Bedroom had already gone up $110 from the lowest I'd seen when looking at mock travel fares last week (priced it out for exactly 1 week before we are going). Must be some other uber-planners out there who booked a couple of FBs on that date in the 2 days it's been available for booking. Definitely pays to do it as early as possible! The lowest fare is still showing for the two days before we go (on a Saturday, another possible reason for the extra $).

But I still think it's still a steal to get the 5 of us down there, plus our van (and all our STUFF - I have 3 girls - you can imagine!), plus meals, plus the uncalculatable (is that a word?) value of not doing all that driving! AND we really enjoy the train. Win-win-win-win-win! I am excited to have space to ourselves on this trip. I know we will be a very small space, but my girls are pretty small themselves (my oldest is 12 and only 53", 66 lbs.). After this trip we'll probably have to do a different configuration, but we're planning on doing it this way at least for this trip.

One other thing I wanted to note: either Amtrak is trying to curb putting the 5th person into these Family Bedrooms, or I got an agent who hadn't had her first cup of coffee yet this morning. She did NOT want to book it for me. She read the disclaimer about how it is "...recommended for a maximim of 2 adults and 2 small children..." three times all the way through. I know it's her job to make sure the customer understands that it isn't designed for 5, but THREE times? At one point I tried to explain how physically small my girls are despite their ages, but she wasn't having any of it. I finally asked her, "I understand Amtrak advises against putting 5 persons in these Family Bedrooms. But will you still be able to book it for me that way?" She grudgingly said yes, and then we moved forward with the reservation. YAY!

Now we just have to decide whether to make the trip down to Lorton all in one go, or travel most of the way the night before. In Feb. we stayed at an awful, horrible place overnight and couldn't get out of there fast enough in the morning & ended up that we were the second car in line to check in! That's what I get for booking a budget hotel (I figured it was just to crash, how bad could it be? BAD! Lesson learned). Anyway, what do you all think: We live near Saratoga Springs, NY (just north of Albany). Should we try leaving super-early in the morning and going all the way down that day? Or leave the night before and find a (better!) place to sleep overnight? I'd rather save the $$ and drive all the way in the morning, but don't feel so strongly about it that I'd risk ever missing the train! Those of you who drive from NY/NE, what do you do? Maybe I'll create a poll about this when the trip gets closer (still nearly a year away, but never too early to plan for WDW!!). Thanks for any input!!
Thanks for the info! I didn't know they allowed 5 in a bedroom! Wonder if ti depends on the kids ages??
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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
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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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Old 09-12-2012, 09:35 AM   #1747
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Hi loveysbydesign,

I don't know at what point they would refuse to make a reservation for 5 in the family bedroom. Last Feb. when we took the AT I asked the agent when we were checking in about how they recommend we would travel in a sleeper with an odd number of family members. She peered over the counter at my girls and immediately said we'd fit easily in a family bedroom, but cautioned that the website won't let you book it that way - you have to call. So I called a few weeks ago to ask again about it and the agent at that time said it was perfectly fine as long as I understood that the beds for the children are short and that the smallest child would need to share the bottom adult bunk with the adult. Yep, got it - no problem. But the rep. today was giving me the official line right up until I forced her to agree that she could book all five of us. She did ask the children's ages (which will be 13, 10 and just-turned-9-a-week-prior - I need to update my sig!). But IMO, the better question would be to ask the heights and/or weights of the children.
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:32 AM   #1748
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Not sure if I should ask here or on the cruise board, but can I take the AT to Florida and drive myself to the port for the Disney Cruise? We will probably do the parks either before or after the cruise, so the car would still be useful (plus we love the train!). I'm wondering if A) would I be to the port on time if I took the AT, and B) is there parking for my car at the port? Anyone know? Or should I try the cruise board instead? Thanks!
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Old 09-12-2012, 10:50 AM   #1749
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Originally Posted by labdogs42 View Post
Not sure if I should ask here or on the cruise board, but can I take the AT to Florida and drive myself to the port for the Disney Cruise? We will probably do the parks either before or after the cruise, so the car would still be useful (plus we love the train!). I'm wondering if A) would I be to the port on time if I took the AT, and B) is there parking for my car at the port? Anyone know? Or should I try the cruise board instead? Thanks!
You can drive anywhere you want but (and this is a very big but) you should get into Sanford at around 8:30-9:00 AM but it can take an hour or so to get your car. Also there can and have been delays. The Autotrain has to yield to other freight traffic.

You have to factor that into whether you have enough time. When I was looking into doing a cruise, some would say you should get into the area the day before so you don't miss the boat.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:07 PM   #1750
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Originally Posted by labdogs42 View Post
Not sure if I should ask here or on the cruise board, but can I take the AT to Florida and drive myself to the port for the Disney Cruise? We will probably do the parks either before or after the cruise, so the car would still be useful (plus we love the train!). I'm wondering if A) would I be to the port on time if I took the AT, and B) is there parking for my car at the port? Anyone know? Or should I try the cruise board instead? Thanks!
We leave on the AT this upcoming Saturday with both a resort stay and a cruise. We're staying at the resort first for a few days and then driving to PC for the cruise. When we return from the cruise I'm sure we'll be off the ship in plenty of time to catch the AT home that same day.

I don't know if I would risk leaving on a cruise the same day we arrive on the train. So many things could slow down the AT on the way down and it would be just our luck that something would go wrong. Last year everything was ok until we got to Sanford a few minutes before 9:00. At that point, another passenger had a medical emergency and the train crew responded first and then paramedics were called. During all this, the train was held just outside the station and all passengers had to stay on board until an ambulance could arrive to treat/transport the person with the emergency. That held us up for maybe 30-40 minutes, but we figured we were just delayed and someone else was having a much worse day. Once in the station we had to wait for all other passengers needing extra assistance to get off before we were released to get off. Lastly, our car was one of the last ones off the train. We didn't get to our resort until later than we had hoped, but the day wasn't ruined; the resort wasn't going anywhere. If stuff like this, or worse, happens with your train, the ship won't wait.

We're hoping for better luck this weekend, but not wanting to take any chances, we're staying at the resort first.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:47 PM   #1751
loveysbydesign
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Originally Posted by KSL View Post
Hi loveysbydesign,

I don't know at what point they would refuse to make a reservation for 5 in the family bedroom. Last Feb. when we took the AT I asked the agent when we were checking in about how they recommend we would travel in a sleeper with an odd number of family members. She peered over the counter at my girls and immediately said we'd fit easily in a family bedroom, but cautioned that the website won't let you book it that way - you have to call. So I called a few weeks ago to ask again about it and the agent at that time said it was perfectly fine as long as I understood that the beds for the children are short and that the smallest child would need to share the bottom adult bunk with the adult. Yep, got it - no problem. But the rep. today was giving me the official line right up until I forced her to agree that she could book all five of us. She did ask the children's ages (which will be 13, 10 and just-turned-9-a-week-prior - I need to update my sig!). But IMO, the better question would be to ask the heights and/or weights of the children.
Thanks for the info!
My kids will be 13, 10 and 5 when we go in october, and my 5 y.o. sleeps most nights with us anyway-lol, although at this point it may not matter as it is way too expensive for us, just checked prices today--- $569 for 1 family bedroom !!!!!!!! (and only $264 for 2 Superliner roomettes) Perhaps if I checked prices for one back when I booked it may have been alot cheaper BUT it's good to know that bit of info!
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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!

Last edited by loveysbydesign; 09-12-2012 at 01:02 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 12:53 PM   #1752
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Originally Posted by Tink's Pixieduster View Post
We leave on the AT this upcoming Saturday with both a resort stay and a cruise. We're staying at the resort first for a few days and then driving to PC for the cruise. When we return from the cruise I'm sure we'll be off the ship in plenty of time to catch the AT home that same day.

I don't know if I would risk leaving on a cruise the same day we arrive on the train. So many things could slow down the AT on the way down and it would be just our luck that something would go wrong. Last year everything was ok until we got to Sanford a few minutes before 9:00. At that point, another passenger had a medical emergency and the train crew responded first and then paramedics were called. During all this, the train was held just outside the station and all passengers had to stay on board until an ambulance could arrive to treat/transport the person with the emergency. That held us up for maybe 30-40 minutes, but we figured we were just delayed and someone else was having a much worse day. Once in the station we had to wait for all other passengers needing extra assistance to get off before we were released to get off. Lastly, our car was one of the last ones off the train. We didn't get to our resort until later than we had hoped, but the day wasn't ruined; the resort wasn't going anywhere. If stuff like this, or worse, happens with your train, the ship won't wait.

We're hoping for better luck this weekend, but not wanting to take any chances, we're staying at the resort first.
I would say if the PP did want to take the AT down before the cruise to just plan to arrive the day before the cruise and drive to PC and stay in one of the many hotels there overnight before the cruise.
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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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Old 09-12-2012, 01:15 PM   #1753
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I would say if the PP did want to take the AT down before the cruise to just plan to arrive the day before the cruise and drive to PC and stay in one of the many hotels there overnight before the cruise.
Sounds like a good plan! I would probably be a wreck on the train if I was trying to arrive on the train the same day as the cruise departed. Even though I'd most likely be OK, it probably isn't worth the risk. Good thoughts!
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:54 PM   #1754
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Originally Posted by labdogs42 View Post
Not sure if I should ask here or on the cruise board, but can I take the AT to Florida and drive myself to the port for the Disney Cruise? We will probably do the parks either before or after the cruise, so the car would still be useful (plus we love the train!). I'm wondering if A) would I be to the port on time if I took the AT, and B) is there parking for my car at the port? Anyone know? Or should I try the cruise board instead? Thanks!
There is a parking garage at the port. Something arounf $15 or so a day to park. We have taken the AT twice and have arrived 15-30 minutes ahead of schedule both time. Our car was off in the middle of the pack... no later than 10am or so. The drive to the port is about an hour so you should be able to arrive the same day. That being said... I would not chance it. The train can be delayed. We arrived a day early for our cruise and stayed at a hotel in Cocoa Beach.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KSL View Post
Hi everyone!

We live near Saratoga Springs, NY (just north of Albany). Should we try leaving super-early in the morning and going all the way down that day? Or leave the night before and find a (better!) place to sleep overnight? I'd rather save the $$ and drive all the way in the morning, but don't feel so strongly about it that I'd risk ever missing the train! Those of you who drive from NY/NE, what do you do?
We drove frmy LI on Aug... about 5 1/2 hour drive. We left around 6am and got in to Lorton around 12:30pm (big accident on I95 caused huge delays)

If you decide to drive down the day of the train you should try to arrive in the NYC area between 6am-7am. Plan a breakfast stop sometime after NYC and before Baltimore and you should not have any problems with traffic (that is if you are travelling on a weekday).
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Old 09-13-2012, 05:15 PM   #1755
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Hi everyone!

A week or so ago I was up waaaaay too late reading most of this thread. Great info here! We took the Autotrain last February in coach and really enjoyed it. However, we didn't sleep very well and decided to upgrade to a family bedroom this year. Just called this morning (since we have 3 kids & can't book it for 5 online) and are all set. YAY! I had to wait until I knew we'd get our DVC & did that yesterday exactly at 11 mos. (BWV, here we come!).

I booked today (9/12) for travel on 8/10/2013 and I think they only opened that date two days ago (they're on an 11-month booking schedule too, right?). Would you believe the price of a Family Bedroom had already gone up $110 from the lowest I'd seen when looking at mock travel fares last week (priced it out for exactly 1 week before we are going). Must be some other uber-planners out there who booked a couple of FBs on that date in the 2 days it's been available for booking. Definitely pays to do it as early as possible! The lowest fare is still showing for the two days before we go (on a Saturday, another possible reason for the extra $).

But I still think it's still a steal to get the 5 of us down there, plus our van (and all our STUFF - I have 3 girls - you can imagine!), plus meals, plus the uncalculatable (is that a word?) value of not doing all that driving! AND we really enjoy the train. Win-win-win-win-win! I am excited to have space to ourselves on this trip. I know we will be a very small space, but my girls are pretty small themselves (my oldest is 12 and only 53", 66 lbs.). After this trip we'll probably have to do a different configuration, but we're planning on doing it this way at least for this trip.

One other thing I wanted to note: either Amtrak is trying to curb putting the 5th person into these Family Bedrooms, or I got an agent who hadn't had her first cup of coffee yet this morning. She did NOT want to book it for me. She read the disclaimer about how it is "...recommended for a maximim of 2 adults and 2 small children..." three times all the way through. I know it's her job to make sure the customer understands that it isn't designed for 5, but THREE times? At one point I tried to explain how physically small my girls are despite their ages, but she wasn't having any of it. I finally asked her, "I understand Amtrak advises against putting 5 persons in these Family Bedrooms. But will you still be able to book it for me that way?" She grudgingly said yes, and then we moved forward with the reservation. YAY!

Now we just have to decide whether to make the trip down to Lorton all in one go, or travel most of the way the night before. In Feb. we stayed at an awful, horrible place overnight and couldn't get out of there fast enough in the morning & ended up that we were the second car in line to check in! That's what I get for booking a budget hotel (I figured it was just to crash, how bad could it be? BAD! Lesson learned). Anyway, what do you all think: We live near Saratoga Springs, NY (just north of Albany). Should we try leaving super-early in the morning and going all the way down that day? Or leave the night before and find a (better!) place to sleep overnight? I'd rather save the $$ and drive all the way in the morning, but don't feel so strongly about it that I'd risk ever missing the train! Those of you who drive from NY/NE, what do you do? Maybe I'll create a poll about this when the trip gets closer (still nearly a year away, but never too early to plan for WDW!!). Thanks for any input!!
I'm the kind that would rather not risk an unexpected delay getting to the train. I would opt for traveling down the day before and staying overnight somewhere. I live near I-81 and there was a very bad accident today that had traffic backed up for four hours or more. You would not want to run into that kind of situation on the way to the train.
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