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Old 09-13-2010, 01:06 PM   #766
Marshay
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Originally Posted by Sadie22 View Post
Probably the 7:00 seating was filled by the time the family checked in, I believe it was said, at 1:45. People can check in for the AT starting at 11:30 am and it is first come, first reserve for dinner seatings. Or, since it was stated that only 5 and 9 were available for coach, maybe more spots are held for those who pay for bedrooms.

When we went by AT we had a roomette both ways and there were free snacks around 3:30 to 4 so we would not have wanted dinner at 5. We were able to get the 7:00 seating both times. On the way north there was no 9:00 seating that trip.
I agree about the snacks and not doing the 5pm dining service.

However, on our July trip, they only showed the movie once at 7pm, so we missed the movie since our dinner was at 7pm.

It wasn't that big a deal to me, but my 5yo daughter really wanted to see the movie in the lounge car (even though we brought a portable DVD player!)
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Old 09-21-2010, 09:56 AM   #767
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So you were not bohered by any noise or other people not turning off their headlight?
Back this past Sunday, so just checking in today. The lights were low, so it really wasn't a problem. Like another poster stated, the train is not a quiet place. There is noise, but after riding a few hours before sleeping, you get use to it and it does become part of the background.

We did have tow toddlers in our train and they were a little whiney. ONe was directly behind us. I was a little concerned, because the last time we had taken the autotrain, one child cried the entire trip. I don't know how he didn't pass out from sheer exhaustion, but it was hours of crying, whining, etc. We were near the stairs and there was a distinctive odor that was sickening, so we were moved to another car right before 9 pm and it was so much better.

Anyway, the two kids settled down and we didn't hear a peep out of them the entire night. My kids are long past that stage, so I'm finding it annoys me more than it use to.

I don't know why we only had two choices for dinner. I didn't ask because we always take the first one. We usually just have breakfast the day we travel, with a light snack, so we are more than ready for dinner at 5pm; that is our usual dinner time at home anyway. Also, the portions are quite generous, and I don't like having a heavy meal only an hour or so before sleeping, so even the 7 pm is too late for me. Once the lights were dimmed, we were all ready to settle down and shortly try to get some sleep. They do start breakfast around 6 am, and once everyone starts getting up and moving around, sleeping any longer is usually out, so we are generally on our way around 6:30.

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Old 09-21-2010, 10:28 AM   #768
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If there are only two dining times that might mean that it is not a sold out trainand they do not have enough people for three seatings.
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Old 09-21-2010, 10:47 AM   #769
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If there are only two dining times that might mean that it is not a sold out trainand they do not have enough people for three seatings.
When we travelled to FL, there were 3 dining times, but we could only chose from 5pm or 9pm. I do not know for sure why 7 pm wasn't available, maybe full?

On our return, there were ONLY two available, 5:30pm and & 7:30pm. There were a lot less people on the return train.
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Old 10-13-2010, 07:35 PM   #770
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We just road the auto train from Lorton to Sanford.

We arrived in Lorton the day before and stayed at the Comfort Inn Gunston Corner. The hotel was very clean and the staff very friendly. It was 90 degrees out and the pool shut for the winter My son was very upset. He had spent the previous 8 hours asking me "are we at the pool yet" every 5 minutes. We had pizza across the street because it was close and it was just edible. Breakfast was included at the hotel and was the basic cereal, bagels, waffles and fake scrambled egg rounds. It was OK.

We went to the auto train at 11:30 for lack of anything else to do. We were around the 15th in line. The sign said they start taking cars at 11:30 but the arrival train had yet to be cleared and we were finally allowed in around 11:45ish. We checked in and sat out by the playground eating lunch we picked up at the grocery store and just waiting. I think I saw a total of 5 kids total on the train between the waiting area and on board.

Boarding was at 2:30. Cars stopped being accepted at 3. Train left at 3:30. We were given a choice of 5, 7 & 9 for dinner. I choose the 5 because I had my 5 yr old with me. My plan was normal dinner time followed by a movie and then bedtime at a somewhat normal time. We had been on the road for 2 days prior and I was counting on his being tired. We had lower level seats. Other then my son talking, the only sounds all night were pretty much 10 snoring retirees who were bi-yearly auto train riders. I have been across country on a train and I knew the lower level was quieter. At 5pm we went for dinner. I had the chicken and fake mashed potatoes & veggies, my son had the kids meal which was chicken tenders and mac & cheese and veggies. The couple sitting with us had the beef. There was also a fish and a vegetarian lasagna selection. Dinner was not too bad. The couple said the beef was tough and had been better last year but breakfast was better this year. There was also wine, juice, unsweetened ice tea & coffee.

Back at our seat my son spent the next two hours very wired and having a hard time just watching a movie. At 9:15 the lights went out and by 9:30 he finally slept. He actually slept all night. The first half of the night I was on the aisle seat and had a hard time getting comfortable. I did notice just about every couple swapped seats half way through the night so each person had a chance to sleep against the window. About midnight I moved my son around with his head against the window wall and his feet on my lap. Then I tucked a pillow in between him and and seat and just lay face down on it with my arm around him. It worked and I managed to sleep 3 hours straight at one point. We did bring our own pillows and blankets. Amtrak does change the pillow cases on their teeny tiny pillows but I watched their blankets get re folded and put back out.

The bathrooms stayed pretty clean considering. I think if I did it again I would bring some clorox wipes with me as a precaution. Probably some back up toilet paper too.

6am my son woke up at his normal time. Breakfast started at 6 so we just went up there to keep him occupied while the couples in our car were still asleep. We had corn flakes, frosted flakes, bagels, coffee, orange juice, & corn muffins. The couple sitting with us said they would NEVER take the train again. The husband was so not impressed. They too were coach.

The rest of the morning dragged on. My son had had it at that point and was tired and very winey. Like I said we had been traveling for 2 days prior and he was actually doing quite well considering. We arrived in Sanford right on time at 9:30 but spent a half hour with the train being separated. Finally we were out. They said there were 261 cars and we were around number 50 to be unloaded. My son passed out in the car within minutes of getting in it. 45 minutes later we were at WDW.

I think that covers it all. Would I take the auto train again - yes. Would I stay coach - probably not. It is certainly doable and without a small child I would have had an easier time.
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Old 10-13-2010, 09:04 PM   #771
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Thanks for the update lucyem!

I took the train via Coach in July and we're upgrading to a Family Room next month. I'm anxious to see if it's worth it. I have a 5 year old and a 19 month old.

Our current mode of travel is to drive down on Friday night to FL, arrive Saturday night and then just take the Autotrain back to VA at the end of our vacation.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:22 AM   #772
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We first travelled coach when we tok the autotrain, then one time "splurge" and got a family cabin, it does make a big difference, as it is a lot quieter, and you can really sleep.
My kids are now too old for the family cabin, so we just get 2 roomettes.
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:32 AM   #773
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For those of you who have used the Family Bedroom, how comfortable roomy is it?
I'm very claustrophobic and was worried it might feel much more closed in that being out in coach.
How comfy was the bed set up for two adults?
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Old 10-14-2010, 07:54 AM   #774
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We enjoyed it, it certainly is closed in, but you have enough space to walk around in it, I slept fairly well and thought that the bed was fine, certainly a lot better than being in coach, you can lay down and stretch out.
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Old 10-14-2010, 08:18 AM   #775
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Thanks! I think I'd like to try the bedroom on our next trip. We've only done coach. Are there full windows at each end of the bedroom? It goes the complete width of the train?
I think the windows might help a bit with the closed in feeling?
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Old 10-14-2010, 09:48 AM   #776
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yes it goes the full lenght of the train and there are windows on each end, it is fairly spacious, there is also a very small closet. If you leave the door open it does not feel claustropphobic
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:00 AM   #777
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ok guys - not autotrain. This time I am taking the regular train from Winter Park to NY for the d23 event and flying back!
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Old 10-15-2010, 09:06 AM   #778
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ok guys - not autotrain. This time I am taking the regular train from Winter Park to NY for the d23 event and flying back!
Oh - when is the D23 event in NY. I am up here and would love to get some info on it.

BTW - we are taking the autotrain tomorrow down to Disney. Can't wait. We hope to do MNSSHP on Friday.

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Old 10-15-2010, 12:35 PM   #779
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Keep the good autotrain info coming! We leave for our trip in 42 days!
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Old 10-15-2010, 08:23 PM   #780
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Originally Posted by Poohbear5 View Post
For those of you who have used the Family Bedroom, how comfortable roomy is it?
I'm very claustrophobic and was worried it might feel much more closed in that being out in coach.
How comfy was the bed set up for two adults?
This is actually my concern as well. I am NOT claustrophobic but when I saw the room at a special Train Day event in Washington, DC, I did not like it at all. It looked very dark and small and closed in.

So my plan is to camp out most of the time in the Lounge, go to dinner and then just use the room for sleeping (if I feel too cramped in it).

I'll definitely report back on which we liked better, for the money!
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