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Old 04-23-2012, 03:44 PM   #1396
loveysbydesign
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jacthree View Post
I could have been clearer.
You can walk from car to car through doors, but only on the upper level.
That's how you get to the dining car and the lounge.
Oh ok...thank you!
Not sure where would be best for us to sit...wherever is quieter I guess so we'll at least get some sleep My kids will be 13,9 and 5 when we go for the 1st time.

I was wondering if there is like a numbered list of tips/facts for going on the AT?
Like what time to arrive, what time to eat, must haves to pack etc?
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:50 PM   #1397
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Originally Posted by loveysbydesign View Post
Oh ok...thank you!
Not sure where would be best for us to sit...wherever is quieter I guess so we'll at least get some sleep My kids will be 13,9 and 5 when we go for the 1st time.

I was wondering if there is like a numbered list of tips/facts for going on the AT?
Like what time to arrive, what time to eat, must haves to pack etc?
This is a great resource

http://www.on-track-on-line.com/autotrain-tips.shtml
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Old 04-23-2012, 08:15 PM   #1398
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Originally Posted by loveysbydesign View Post
We are planning to drive down from PA to FL and just take the AT home as the drive home last time was so torturous

I hear ya, we did this same route last Oct. I am not sure about the Oct rate for this special, but when I checked June going south (reverse of snow birds) there is a tab that says "specials" and the kids ride $25 in couch. The loss of the rate if you have a room. But with out AAA discount the kids were still $44.

We had 5 of us, two full rooms, an oversize veh AAA rate was $1050 coming south. I am really leary to drive both ways, but I could get airfare for that rate round trip.

Loved the romance of the train, the wine and cheese when we boarded, watch the world go by. At one point they let you know that if you look out on the corner that is traveled each part of the train can see the other.

The dinner was nice, another glass of wine, I think to help sleep; for which I did none of. The thinness of the bedding when the room was converted was not good on my dear ol back, hips and shoulders. BUT my husband and I both fit in the bottom berth as dd claimed the top.

The train hall is narrow to walk through, one person at a time, pretty cool to go between the cars. I used the shower downstairs instead of our room as it is the bathroom too and I did not want to get it soaked, and needed the room with the shuttle back and forth.

Overall it was a very nice experiance, I would take a foam egg crate. OR I might sleep in coach better because I sleep in a recliner at home.
THe breakfast is bagels, toast, cereal, fruit, juices, muffins, use to be real eggs and bacon affair...
Best part was the ride though, cut out so much of the trip.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:32 AM   #1399
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Originally Posted by loveysbydesign View Post
We are planning to drive down from PA in October and then take the AT back...I was just wondering if I book now and they offer the kids for $25 again for those dates will I get a refund?? I have 3 kids so it could some us some $$$, but I hate to wait to book to see if it is offered for Oct. and then have the train be full.
Historically the $25 kids rate is only for a select few months in the Summer. Kids are already 50% off adult fares all other times.
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Old 04-24-2012, 10:27 AM   #1400
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Originally Posted by jacthree View Post
I booked in Feb, and called last week to change my kids to the low fare. It only works if you're traveling in coach, so they couldn't change it for me.
I know! I was so excited when they finally announced their summer kid deal ... but then read the fine print "coach only" and said it's not worth it for me. We are spoiled by the rooms and less people!

We'll be trying out the roomette for our first time in July since it's just the 2 of us this time. Very excited to see how that works out.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:23 PM   #1401
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First time ever on the Autotrain. Date is August 6th just myself and DD 20 and Neice 21. Is all the luggage save in the car. I am taking the girls down as they are both starting the Disney College Program on August 15th. (vacation first) They will have all the stuff for there apartment in the car. Just worried as usually when we drive my husband is with us but he can't come and they are keeping the car in florida.
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Old 05-01-2012, 07:31 PM   #1402
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Originally Posted by jking6 View Post
First time ever on the Autotrain. Date is August 6th just myself and DD 20 and Neice 21. Is all the luggage save in the car. I am taking the girls down as they are both starting the Disney College Program on August 15th. (vacation first) They will have all the stuff for there apartment in the car. Just worried as usually when we drive my husband is with us but he can't come and they are keeping the car in florida.
Once on the train no one can get to your car so yes its safe and your car is in plan site while its being loaded and unloaded.

Just do the normal no GPS's, laptops, cameras, etc left out in the car.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:48 AM   #1403
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We decided to take advantage of that summer kids for $25 program and booked our next Autotrain trip for June! Right now we are booked in coach, but my DH is already having reservations about sleeping there. He sleeps with a machine to assist his breathing and feels he may be more comfortable in a room now. The only reason I agreed to the AT this time was because the cost was pretty low to go coach since we are also splitting the cost of the vehicle with our in-laws. This will be their first AT experience!

I've been watching the room prices online and they are pretty stable. With our trip only 5 weeks away, I really don't suspect they will increase. They are at their lowest rate right now.

I just wonder if anybody has been able to successfully upgrade at checkin to the lowest rates or will they increase that day? I think we're going to aim for roomettes as they will allow one adult and two small kids in one roomette, so for our family of five we could just get the two roomettes. I don't know what they consider "small" kids but my youngest two are about 48 pounds and 48 inches tall each.

I'm confused about the fact that the $25 rate is ONLY for coach travel though. When we used this rate last summer, we were able to get the $25 rate. After all, no matter WHAT you have to purchase rail fare. So you'd still pay the $25 for rail fare for the kids. If you add rooms, those are never discounted...you'd always pay the full price at the time for the rooms. They really are like two different fares. So even though we've already paid the $25 per kid for their seats, even if we decided to upgrade on our day of travel I don't think they would increase the fares for the kids AND add the cost of the rooms. We'd just pay the extra money for the rooms.

Again just from my experience last summer, that was how it worked but we added the rooms at the same time as we booked the rest of it. So we got the kids fares for $25 each AND added the rooms at full cost at the time (which was still the lowest rate).

UPDATE: Yep I just checked and sure enough you CAN'T upgrade to a sleeper and still get the $25 kids fare. That sucks because it was allowed last year. Now I'm really going to have to think long and hard about that upgrade since it will add another $75 or so to our total cost PLUS the cost of the rooms. I may just have to let DH travel in the roomettes and I'll travel with the kids in coach and we will just see each other after the train ride is over!

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Old 05-02-2012, 11:22 AM   #1404
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kittylady1972 View Post
We decided to take advantage of that summer kids for $25 program and booked our next Autotrain trip for June! Right now we are booked in coach, but my DH is already having reservations about sleeping there. He sleeps with a machine to assist his breathing and feels he may be more comfortable in a room now. The only reason I agreed to the AT this time was because the cost was pretty low to go coach since we are also splitting the cost of the vehicle with our in-laws. This will be their first AT experience!

I've been watching the room prices online and they are pretty stable. With our trip only 5 weeks away, I really don't suspect they will increase. They are at their lowest rate right now.

I just wonder if anybody has been able to successfully upgrade at checkin to the lowest rates or will they increase that day? I think we're going to aim for roomettes as they will allow one adult and two small kids in one roomette, so for our family of five we could just get the two roomettes. I don't know what they consider "small" kids but my youngest two are about 48 pounds and 48 inches tall each.

I'm confused about the fact that the $25 rate is ONLY for coach travel though. When we used this rate last summer, we were able to get the $25 rate. After all, no matter WHAT you have to purchase rail fare. So you'd still pay the $25 for rail fare for the kids. If you add rooms, those are never discounted...you'd always pay the full price at the time for the rooms. They really are like two different fares. So even though we've already paid the $25 per kid for their seats, even if we decided to upgrade on our day of travel I don't think they would increase the fares for the kids AND add the cost of the rooms. We'd just pay the extra money for the rooms.

Again just from my experience last summer, that was how it worked but we added the rooms at the same time as we booked the rest of it. So we got the kids fares for $25 each AND added the rooms at full cost at the time (which was still the lowest rate).

UPDATE: Yep I just checked and sure enough you CAN'T upgrade to a sleeper and still get the $25 kids fare. That sucks because it was allowed last year. Now I'm really going to have to think long and hard about that upgrade since it will add another $75 or so to our total cost PLUS the cost of the rooms. I may just have to let DH travel in the roomettes and I'll travel with the kids in coach and we will just see each other after the train ride is over!

I agree it stinks that they won't apply the summer kids rate to sleeper cars. We did in the past, too.

As for upgrading to a room, we did both coach (1st time) and sleeper cars (all the rest), so you can tell where I'm coming from. For comfort, enjoyment and a sense of privacy, we HIGHLY recommend the sleeper cars over coach.

Coach does seem to work with older kids -- ones who can play their DS and watch videos the whole time. But not really for smaller kids -- unless there are other smaller kids in your car and everyone gets along playing together.

I don't think they will let you put 2 kids + 1 adult in the roomette unless your kids are young (like baby to 2 yo) but certainly ask.

When we do the math, we calculate cost of meals, snacks, hotel, gas, wear & tear on vehicle/mileage then the intrinsic value of having a potty, being able to walk around, not yelling at the kids b/c they are bored and driving us crazy, not getting lost, accidents, etc, then compare to flying and renting a large vehicle or driving and we always come out ahead on the Autotrain, even in a room. If we would go to coach, we'd save even more but the value goes down for us in not having our own room/privacy.

My parents tried it last year for the first time and to save money they went coach. My dad didn't sleep at all in coach and was miserable and said he'd never do it again. My mom enjoyed the experience, but agreed that she didn't sleep well either, but would have in a room. She likes to sleep laying down flat.

Good luck in your decision!!
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Old 05-02-2012, 11:39 AM   #1405
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Is there any type of formula that tells how much wear and tear you will get on your car? Just trying to help justify the cost to dh!
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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
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 05-02-2012, 11:58 AM   #1406
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Is there any type of formula that tells how much wear and tear you will get on your car? Just trying to help justify the cost to dh!
That's tough because you are doing highway miles not stop and go.

I wouldn't go with that argument because its tough to compare real money spent today vs possible future loss of value for your car. You can also think of it as half an oil change and a 60th of the life gone from your tires.

I would use the quicker (maybe?) time and the less wear and tear on the drivers.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:03 PM   #1407
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Is there any type of formula that tells how much wear and tear you will get on your car? Just trying to help justify the cost to dh!
The IRS rate is currently .555 cents per mile.
Also you get Dinner & Breakfast on the Auto train included in your fare.
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Old 05-02-2012, 12:26 PM   #1408
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The IRS rate is currently .555 cents per mile.
Just so you know that includes gas. So if you subtract the gas and other consumables (oil, etc.) from this 55 cents per mile. That would be how much value you took from your car.

I still wouldn't try to use this reasoning at all. Make it part of the trip.

When we did it, we left from Pittsburgh around 9 and go into Lorton around 1:30 ish. From there Amtrak takes over until we are in FL the next day in the morning. If we started to drive at 9 AM its 18 hours on the road. So if we really pushed it and stayed overnight we would be getting into WDW around early afternoon and be dead from 1 and a half days in a car.
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Old 05-02-2012, 08:28 PM   #1409
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I agree wih Chartle thats why we are doing the autotrain for the first time Aug 6 we decided we could sleep on the train and arrive some what rested instead of spending 2 days on the road. We still have to drive 8hrs to get to Lorton but we can do that. With that said we figured between gas, food and a hotel for the night it might cost about $100 more for the 3 adults to travel compared to driving. But we are still moving while sleeping!
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Old 05-03-2012, 07:13 AM   #1410
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Originally Posted by Marshay View Post
I agree it stinks that they won't apply the summer kids rate to sleeper cars. We did in the past, too.

As for upgrading to a room, we did both coach (1st time) and sleeper cars (all the rest), so you can tell where I'm coming from. For comfort, enjoyment and a sense of privacy, we HIGHLY recommend the sleeper cars over coach.

Coach does seem to work with older kids -- ones who can play their DS and watch videos the whole time. But not really for smaller kids -- unless there are other smaller kids in your car and everyone gets along playing together.

I don't think they will let you put 2 kids + 1 adult in the roomette unless your kids are young (like baby to 2 yo) but certainly ask.

When we do the math, we calculate cost of meals, snacks, hotel, gas, wear & tear on vehicle/mileage then the intrinsic value of having a potty, being able to walk around, not yelling at the kids b/c they are bored and driving us crazy, not getting lost, accidents, etc, then compare to flying and renting a large vehicle or driving and we always come out ahead on the Autotrain, even in a room. If we would go to coach, we'd save even more but the value goes down for us in not having our own room/privacy.

My parents tried it last year for the first time and to save money they went coach. My dad didn't sleep at all in coach and was miserable and said he'd never do it again. My mom enjoyed the experience, but agreed that she didn't sleep well either, but would have in a room. She likes to sleep laying down flat.

Good luck in your decision!!
Thanks for the information. I can tell you that when I called last year to book our June trip, I gave the ages of the kids and they would have let us put them in roomettes. Instead we went with a Superliner Bedroom for DH and two of the kids (who were 6 and 8) and then I took a roomette with our oldest, who was 11. So I guess we'll have to see what they say there.

I'm really getting a little bit frightened about the reports of coach travel! My DH still says he remembers when we got off the train last year and he said he looked at the people getting out of the coach cars and they looked ROUGH! I guess I am comparing it to flying the redeye on an airplane, which I've done plenty of times in those non-reclining seats. I've managed short bursts of sleep there somehow and been okay...not great but I survived!

So there's a part of me that just wants to TRY it and see how it compares. Plus when we make our trip to Disney in November, we are already booked in sleepers on the trip down and coach on the way back. So if we really HATE coach, we can just choose to drive home next November instead!
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