All about the Autotrain

Discussion in 'Transportation' started by cherylp3, Jul 10, 2003.

  1. Jennifer S

    Jennifer S DIS Cast Member<br><font color="orange">Has the be

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    Since we have a car we are staying off site this time - The Royal Caribe. I liked their pool and they have 2 room suites. Got an awesome deal at lastminute travel.com

    These boards are so great for info when planning a trip. The Star wars celebration is the 23- 26. So you will just miss it.

    We are also celebrating my DS bday while we are there - it's a jam packed trip and I cant wait!

    How old are your boys?

    Have a great time!
     
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  3. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    ok....getting scared here. :worried:

    I was planning on working for a 1/2 day and then driving down to Lorton around 10:30 next year when we take the AT. When I spoke to the customer service rep, she said as long as I was there by 3pm, there would be no problems and we would be able to board and such. She didn't mention anything about dinner possibly being delayed because I check in so late.

    Will our dinner get pushed to the 9pm slot? If that's the case, I may just stop at Wawa and grab subs for dinner. No big deal for us; we can eat at our seats.

    Also, what about traffic on 95 down to Lorton? I thought being that it was the middle of the day, it wouldn't be backed up.

    What do you experienced AT travelers think? Should I just bite the bullet and take the whole day off work? My family is not so good at the "sit around and wait to board" game. Plus, I was trying to save as many days as I possibly could.

    Thanks for your help! :wave2:
     
  4. chartle

    chartle DIS Veteran

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    It depends, the later you get there the more likely you will get 9:00 PM it all depends on how many people check in before you and how full the train is. Some have posted there were only two seatings for dinner.
     
  5. ClearScreen

    ClearScreen An E-Ticket attraction in my own mind.

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    The traffic on I-95 around D.C. can be a real nightmare any time of the day if they have construction going on - weekdays or weekends. You could easily add an hour+ to your trip if you hit it. I'm coming from about 2-2 1/2 hours north of you and we are going to leave around 7:00am. I would definitely try to leave an hour earlier than you have planned. Just my two cents.
     
  6. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    Thank you very much for your response. I'm not overly worried if we get a late seating. We are already planning on having our soft-sided cooler with us filled with juice and snacks for the train ride; those can, at the very least, tide the kiddies over.

    Now, has anyone checked in between 2:30 and 3pm? Or do you all get there early? I have OCD and plan, plan, plan to a fault. lol So, any information I can gather about checking in and what to expect that late in the afternoon is much appreciated. I'm driving from South Jersey and expecting to be there around 1:30, but, in case of traffic, saying 2:30 (plus, I'll probably get there just a *tad* early.....I have a lead foot).
     
  7. busymama04

    busymama04 Mouseketeer

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    My family will be on the autotrain on Sunday!! Does anyone know how much tolls will be from NJ to Lorton. I can't seem to find this info anywhere. I trying to be prepared and have exact change. Also we are a family of 6 so does that mean that 2 of us will be seated with 2 other riders at dinner?
     
  8. chartle

    chartle DIS Veteran

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    Probably yes. Each table seats four and they fill every available seat.
     
  9. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    This is very much appreciated! Thank you!

    I've driven to DC before and I think it was on a Friday morning, but it was two years ago and I know how often traffic patterns change due to contruction, etc. And I know all the 95s around Baltimore are all torn up.....and don't plan to be fixed anytime soon. UGH

    I will actually only be on a major Interstate once I get below Washington, DC. I come in different than most people. Outside of Baltimore, we turn on to 295 and I will take that all the way down to 495. From the look of things, I'll only be on 495 for 20 miles and, for the most part, I avoid all the Interstates that seem to cause the traffic headaches.

    Hopefully, this holds out for next year. :)
     
  10. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    A lot will depend if you are going to take the NJTP south or 295. The toll for the Delaware Memorial Bridge is $4. Then there is the DE-MD state line toll of $4. There is a toll for the Susquehanna Bridge, but I think that's only going Northbound; it is a $5 toll. Next depends on how you are getting around Baltimore. I take the tunnel and that is $3.

    I believe that is all the tolls for the trip. BTW - these are all regular rates, if you have an EZPass it's a little less.

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. busymama04

    busymama04 Mouseketeer

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    Thanks for the super quick responses. I love the disboards everyone is so helpful.
     
  12. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    I agree, I have met some really great people on the DIS!

    From the look of thinks, you are waaaay up nearer to the Garden State Parkway and the NJTP. I think the NJTP is probably your best bet, but I'm not sure exacly how much it will cost you. From tip to tip, it is $13.85.
     
  13. Marshay

    Marshay I'm Goofy for Mickey. Don't worry if you get a bi

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    yeah, I know...;) but I was still surprised that people didn't come in the Lounge car just for different scenery ...and to munch on store-bought cookies!:lmao:;)

    As for arrival time, we generally arrive at 1pm - 1:30pm and have always gotten the 5pm dinner service. If you have small kids, I would definitely plan on checking in at this time (or earlier). Even with a 5pm dinner service, they are already getting tired just from the excitement of the train, etc.

    I much prefer the 7pm dinner service (esp if you eat the snacks from 3-4pm) but when we tried that twice, my girls just fell asleep in the middle of it -- even though at WDW they are still awake for 9pm and 10pm fireworks!!. It's something about the rocking motion of the train that puts them to sleep earlier.
     
  14. DCTooTall

    DCTooTall <MARQUEE BEHAVIOR=ALTERNATE><img src=http://www.em

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    What day of the week are you planning on hitting the train? Generally I've found in a lot of major cities i've driven in that traffic starts to build a lot earlier in the day on a Friday than during the rest of the week....largely due to people trying to get a jump on the weekend.



    Also, TBH, I've found 95 S. to be the better and more reliable route between Baltimore and DC the past couple times I drove it (Last time was last fall). 295 is only 2-3 lanes for most of the distance, so one little hickup can cause a major mess. It appeared that most of the major construction on 95 just north of DC was completed [still working on that major interchange, but 95 itself wasn't really impacted], so you get the full 4-5 lanes of traffic so an incident is less likely to cause as severe a backup.
     
  15. mikat

    mikat Mouseketeer

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    The Potomac Mills Disney Outlet (15 min south of the Lorton station) was great! They are one of a handful of Disney Outlets that are official DisneyLAND outlets, so you actually can get REAL outlet deals. I told myself that I couldn't buy DL stuff until I actually went to DL rather than WDW. Since I went to DL last month, I got to indulge :)
    [​IMG]

    Everything in this photo was $30! It was VA tax-free weekend, and they were having a 30% off sale over and above the clearance prices! So I bought 1 youth tshirt, 2 adult tshirts, a youth sweatshirt, three packs of nice glass magnets, two Tervis-type cups, and the reuseable bag for $30! One of the adult shirts would have cost that much at DL.

    For those of you thinking about heading down to Potomac Mills the day of your train, make sure you allow for PLENTY of time to return. The traffic today at 2:00 was ok heading north, but there was a huge delay southbound. I-95 around here is notorious for unexpected backups.
    Yep, DS6 and DS9. That is another thing that I noticed about my outlet trip - so many cute Disney clothes and costumes that I couldn't buy becuase they were all for girls!! :sad1:

    Could it be that we are planning (the first??) DISers Meet-up in the Lorton train station?? :wave2: :rotfl: Since we're split coach / sleepers (and if I recall, you really can't get from one area to another, right?) perhaps we should try to say hi in the station. Any ideas?
     
  16. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    We will be driving down on a Wednesday as we check in to POR on Thursday. I still have more than a year, though and there can be major changes between then and now.
     
  17. mykidslovesdisney

    mykidslovesdisney DIS Veteran

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    what an awesome load of goodies from the outlet. I did not know it was just DL merchandise. I saw some of the DL stuff last year but we were worried about being late (since we walked most of the mall bf finding the outlet). DD picked up a great pair of Minnie Mouse sparkly ballet shoes. SHe wore them out and got soo many compliments on them.

    I have only one princess in a family of princes. It is easier to find cute girly stuff for sure!.

    Yes a Dis'er meet would be great!! Are you heading to the outlet that day? I hope to be there by 11am. We might be sleepers but will not know till last call for boarding. Your not suppose to travel btwn the two. We do for dining if we are in sleepers.

    I could PM you my cell and we can text each other when we get to the station. that might be the easiest. We are a family of 6 traveling this time - myself, DH, DS 13,11 and 5 and DD9.

    I have been bugging DH to get a total count of passengers to see if the train is sold out. He's been quite busy at work lately to check
     
  18. mykidslovesdisney

    mykidslovesdisney DIS Veteran

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    I think the toll in NJ depends on when you enter the NJTP. We have an ezpass and we reload it once $25 during the trip if not twice. IF you research each highway the should have something on their website.


    For dining car-- we are also a family of 6. years ago we would squish all of us into one table. it was a tight squeeze but it worked. Now that DS are older they enjoy sitting with other people. They have had the gambit of no talkers to very interesting conversations. Somehow DH sits with ds13 at the other table and leave me with the younger ones! :rolleyes:

    From you siggy -- yours are still young. You can always try to fit in at one table.

    enjoy the AT!
     
  19. denise5374

    denise5374 <font color=CC0066>Dares to say CRUISE out loud<br

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    I just saved $132.00 on my trip home on the autotrain.....been checking amtrak website every day and this time it worked. So I called and the first time, I was told that it was the same price, so I called back and this time I was issued a refund of $132......apparently the roomette came in cheaper. Eric at Amtrak said that probably the person cancelled and the room was returned to inventory at the lower fare. He also told me to keep checking for the train down so they can do another refund :)


    So keep checking, ya never know!!!
     
  20. FigmentChick

    FigmentChick DIS Veteran

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    This is good to know, thank you!!! I'm planning on purchasing our tickets as soon as the 11 month mark hits. So, hopefully we will get the best rate (I heard it goes up the more people book). But, I will always keep checking.

    Thanks again!
     
  21. Marshay

    Marshay I'm Goofy for Mickey. Don't worry if you get a bi

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    Woo Hoo!! Yes, I had that happen on two of my trips, too. The first I didn't know about and only heard from another family on the train.

    The 2nd time I was wiser and smarter and saved over $200!!

    I now check every month ... you never know so just keep checking, esp at 9-10 months out (that one I saved $200+) and at less than one month to the trip (could have saved $300).
     

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