I want to ride the cotton ball--A 4th of July family celebration! NEW PTR 8/31!!!

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by Happydog, Jul 7, 2009.

  1. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    Okay, so I think I have finally caught up in my reading of other TRs and PTRs sufficiently enough to start my own ...

    We just returned from our latest family vacation to WDW. We were in Disney from June 28 - July 5th.

    NOW. Be aware that this is the FIRST time I have ever done this, and my PTR was the first ever as well, and while I do take photos, I had a hard time taking pictures of everything because I would be caught up in the moment… I also was not able to take photos of food… exactly. Meaning, my DH would never have stood for me taking pictures of food at the table with him sitting there. To the point he would have been concerned for my health, and concerned for his safety. :laughing: SO while I did get photos at some restaurants, I am afraid I didn’t get them all. BUT I can tell you what we had and what was good, etc… I know we ate at some new places for some of you (and US!) and I know inquiring minds wanted to know! SO I can report.

    Alright, with that rather dull preamble, lets set the clocks back to June 27th!!!

    Who are we?

    A couple in the Education profession and two little boys ages 4 and 7 – just turned in June. I gave all the sordid details in my PTR, so you can go back and read more about how this trip came to be, but this much anticipated vacation really did fulfill my desire to have a fun filled yet relaxing trip to Disney World. :lovestruc Now, there were a few changes along the way, the greatest change being my DH up and switched our week’s stay on me less than 2 mos from the time we were originally scheduled :scared1: , but that aside, I still managed to get a great trip together, and I must say, the change was probably for the better in many ways, so secretly, I am glad we did it. BUT more on that later. ;)

    GOALS for this TR include:

    Really itemizing our dining expenses – I say this because I didn’t keep the receipts last time. We were on the Basic DDP again, but this time I kept everything so I can see the true value of the plan (in dollars and cents). I hope these calculations along the way will help me to determine if the Basic is the best way for us.

    Identifying what we didn’t do in each park that I still want to do and make a priority for our December trip.

    Remembering how much fun we had!!!

    OKAY, so thanks for joining me!!!
    :hyper2:
     
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  3. IluvXU

    IluvXU DIS Veteran

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    I am in...
     
  4. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    So I have not been on an Amtrak train since a random training I attended in Philly a few years ago, and prior to that I took the overnight train from Portland, OR to San Francisco, CA when I was 20 yrs old. When my DH introduced the idea to me, I was, at first, a little hesitant. We had been on trains before, in Europe, and I liked them enough, but I was EXCITED to get to WDW, and the train wasn’t necessarily going to get me there quickly. But, I found that getting what I want (more Disney :laughing:) means giving my DH an inch or two here or there, and thus his enthusiasm and curiosity for this travel mode won out. I was, I must admit, a little curious myself. NOT to be in the coach section (which is like an airplane, all seats) But that he had booked out sleeping compartment seats, which had the promise for a good nights rest (relatively speaking). So I said "okay, lets take the train to learn what it is all about."

    This “please the man with the pocketbook” mentality does help me out from time to time, and this trip was no exception. By moving out trip a week later, we were able to get a really good deal on a two bedroom villa at OKW. AND DH also committed to APs and a THIRD trip next summer. Knowing we were headed back in December and again next summer also was a huge bonus in my mind, and so I took the last minute scramble for ADRs in stride. You will see that flexibility came into play during our vacation. BUT for now, on June 27th, we had our final packing, I made a last emergency trip to Target and the grocery store, and then away we went, down to Lorton VA, to catch the Auto Train!!!

    We left our house at 12:30, the drive to Lorton was estimated about an hour. Not a bad drive at all down 95. We got to the station, got some lunch at a pizzeria, and went to the station to load our car… Here are the boys eating and waiting.

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    AND eating and waiting....

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    I didn’t get photos of the car load, but if you are curious you can check out the Amtrak site. It is very helpful and informative if you have an interest. They require you to be at the station two hours before you depart, but they let you on the train one hour beforehand. And they feed you.

    When they allowed us to board, we checked into our sleeping compartments, and the attendant invited us to the dining car for the sleeper cars, where they had complimentary snacks and wine… This is DH after three little glasses of wine …

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    Here he gets a little silly...

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    And here are the boys blissfully playing in THEIR compartment. It was like zoo animals or an aquarium at times… just CLOSE the slider door and the relative soundproof door made it a serene start to the trip!!! :rotfl: We watched the landscape drift by and a few hours later we were sent to the dining car for a sit down dinner (all included in the fare).

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    They busied themselves on the train with all the goodies in the WallE stuff sacks, which they had opened earlier.

    Off to the dining car...

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    Here we are trying to keep everything on the table! The menu was a nice baked potato and steak combo or fish with a crab sauce…. We got one of each for our own version of “surf and turf”! Kids could order a couple different items, and of course more wine and dessert.

    We then staggered back to out compartments, and this had more to do with the sway of the train than the wine!!! :laughing: The boys watched the Lion Witch and Wardrobe movie (DS7 had just finished reading it) and then the bed was made up for them by the attendant and to bed they went. We had our compartment still to read and chat, but had it turned down for sleep at 10pm and both of us were out shortly after. Unfortunately I didn't get that photo. I think I was just so tired at that point I wasn't thinking of my TR!! :rotfl:

    In my PTR I had planned for the worst case scenario for our arrival in the Sanford train station in FL (outside Orlando – about 40 minutes from WDW). This would put us leaving the train station at about 10:30, arriving at OKW about 11:30. Well, we arrived an hour early (also the case on the way back home) and our car was the 7th car off the auto train – very cool! :thumbsup2So we were already on the road to WDW by 9:00 am!! :yay::yay: We made a couple quick stops, Target and Babies R Us…. Betcha can’t guess WHY… :rolleyes1

    That comes in the next installment. Let me give you a hint. It had three handles…
     
  5. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    OH I am so glad you found me! I have not put my link in my signature yet!!! Thanks for coming over!! :hug:
     
  6. stace208

    stace208 DIS Veteran

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    I'm joining in too!:goodvibes
     
  7. Charleston Princess

    Charleston Princess DIS Veteran

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    Woo hoo! Your trip is off to a fantastic start!!! Your boys are too cute sitting on the bench and eating pizza, and I love the shots on the train! I didn't even realize trains did all of that nowadays (well, I knew they did in Europe, but not over here in the states). Too fun!
     
  8. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    Great!!! Glad to have a few readers!!! :goodvibes
     
  9. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    HI!!! You know, neither did I!!! And while the Orient Express it is NOT, it still was quite nice!! We are doing it again in December! :thumbsup2

    Thanks for coming over to see, I think so too..
     
  10. eandesmom

    eandesmom I'm with Beast

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    I'm in!

    I knew you were taking the train. Somehow I didn't grasp your car was going too! So odd, last night DH and I were watching a completely random show...Gear talk, gear heads...gear something.

    They were doing an eco race from switzerland (I think) to blackpool and we watched them load the cars onto the train and go through the tunnel under the channel. We were both like huh? They put the cars on the train? Who knew!

    And then...your TR!

    That looks like SO much fun!!!!!!!!!!!! And it was cheaper than flying? Amazing! I'd do it in a heartbeat.

    Great start to your trip!

    3 handles...hmmmmn.....
     
  11. 2xcited2sleep

    2xcited2sleep DIS Veteran

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    I'm here! :yay: Can't wait to hear more. The boys are adorable eating their pizza on the bench. The train sounds like a pretty fun way to travel! :thumbsup2 And woohoo for being on your way to WDW at 9am! :woohoo:

    3 handles.... NO idea. :confused3


    popcorn::popcorn::popcorn::
     
  12. TxRabbit

    TxRabbit DIS Veteran

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    The LONG anticipated trip! :cool1:

    That train looks like so much fun. I wish they would do something similar from Texas. I would just like to experience it! And now that I have had my car at WDW, not sure that I could go without on a future visit! I've never done a train. It looks like a relaxing way to travel. Especially in a sleeping compartment. Totally cool!
     
  13. Mickey_Mom

    Mickey_Mom DIS Veteran

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    I'm in! Now to go back and read........ ;)
     
  14. Lady Lallie

    Lady Lallie DIS Veteran

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    WOO HOO! The fun has begun! :banana:

    The train looks like fun! I want to do that someday. :thumbsup2
     
  15. MinnieNurse

    MinnieNurse DIS Veteran

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    popcorn::popcorn::

    Im here. I want to ride a train to Disney next time. I didnt realize either that you got to take your car. I am hopping over to the Amtrak site now. :banana:
     
  16. cjackearl

    cjackearl DIS Veteran

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    Hi.:wave2: I'm glad you started your TR! The train sounds like a great start to your vacation and then you had your car at the end.

    Did your Babies r Us purchase have wheels too?
     
  17. momtotanmanandraerae

    momtotanmanandraerae Mouseketeer

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    I am onboard! I am from Richmond, VA and didn't realize you could take an Auto Train to Disney with your car! We always drive because we love having our car onsight but I am intrigued by the train....does it make stops along the way...what time did you leave and what time did you arrive in Orlando? Thanks!
     
  18. tinkgurl

    tinkgurl DIS Veteran

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    Just had to say that we were there some of the same time! We also stayed at OKW and left July 1st.
     
  19. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    Hello! I will post about the train and the cost, etc. separately next, but regarding the fun, yes it was! Having our car was a huge plus. :thumbsup2

    They are characters those two!! IT was a fun way to travel, no question. And I was thrilled we got there so early! Well even with our detours, we got to OKW before 11!

    I know! Definitely a long time coming! And yes, having the car was a HUGE advantage. We liked the bus system, felt it really did a good job moving people, but my DH liked having the car for his own sake -- a little more control of time, etc.
     
  20. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    HI!!! WELCOME!!!! :flower3: Glad you are coming along for the fun!

    Thanks LL!!

    You SHOULD totally consider it! A lot of people seemed to drive from up north, NY, etc. judging by the licence plates...

    It really is nifty! I will post separately about the train -- details cost, time, etc.
     
  21. Happydog

    Happydog DIS Veteran

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    Hi! Welcome! I will put together a quick post with the details, dollars, cents, and SENSE... at least why it made sense for us...

    Hi there!! I was a lurker on your PTR! I see you started a TR, too.... Never stayed at OKW before, but we really liked it! :thumbsup2
     

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