The AutoTrain, Disney World, and MORE report! Picture-heavy. **Final Update 1/5**

Discussion in 'Completed Trip Reports' started by ddstratton, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    I had started this May 2010 trip report once before, but didn't get the updates quickly enough. Let's try it again, huh?

    This was our second trip to Disney World. Our first was in October 2008. In case you hadn't read our Pre-Trip Report, here's a quick run-down of who's who.

    Me. Darla. 38 years old. I'm the planner. Or the over-planner, as the case may be.
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    DH. 40 years old. Doesn't ride much, but goes along with just about anything. It was actually his idea to go back to Disney World, which just about blew me away!
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    DD 11 years old. She loved Disney World, especially Splash Mountain. Is far too cool for her own good.
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    Last, but not least, Mom. She's 60 years old. Our 2008 trip was her (and our) first trip to Disney World. She loved everything about it, and it showed.
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    First actual trip installment coming up immediately.

    Installments (if you want to skip any chatter)
    Travel Day 1 - Monday, May 10th
    Travel Day 1 - Monday, May 10th continued
    Travel Day 1 - Monday, May 10th continued
    Travel Day 2 - Tuesday, May 11th
    Travel Day 2 - Tuesday, May 11th continued
    Travel Day 2 - Tuesday, May 11th continued
    Travel Day 3 - Wednesday, May 12th
    Travel Day 3 - Wednesday, May 12th continued
    Travel Day 3 - Wednesday, May 12th continued
    Travel Day 3 - Wednesday, May 12th continued
    Travel Day 3 - Wednesday, May 12th continued
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th continued
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th continued
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th continued
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th continued
    Travel Day 4 - Thursday, May 13th continued
    Travel Day 5 - Friday, May 14th
    Travel Day 5 - Friday, May 14th continued
    Travel Day 6 - Saturday, May 15th
    Travel Day 6 - Saturday, May 15th continued
    Travel Day 6 - Saturday, May 15th continued
    Travel Day 6 - Saturday, May 15th
    Travel Day 7 - Sunday, May 16th
    Travel Day 7 - Sunday, May 16th, continued
    Travel Day 7 - Sunday, May 16th, continued
    Travel Day 7 - Sunday, May 16th, continued
    Travel Day 8 - Monday, May 17th
    Travel Day 8 - Monday, May 17th, continued
    Travel Day 9 - Tuesday, May 18th
    Travel Day 9 - Tuesday, May 18th, continued
    Travel Day 9 - Tuesday, May 18th, continued
    Travel Day 9 - Tuesday, May 18th, continued
    Travel Day 9 - Tuesday, May 18th, continued
    Travel Day 10 - Wednesday, May 19th
    Travel Day 10 - Wednesday, May 19th, continued
    Travel Day 10 - Wednesday, May 19th, continued
    Travel Day 10 - Wednesday, May 19th, continued
    Travel Day 11 - Thursday, May 20th
    Travel Day 11 - Thursday, May 20th, continued
    Travel Day 12 - Friday, May 21st
    Travel Day 12 - Friday, May 21st, continued
    Travel Day 13 - Saturday, May 22nd
     
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  3. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    This little trip report actually starts the day before the trip. This is what we woke up to.
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    SNOW!!! Not a lot, but enough to show up on the cars! Boy, would we enjoy the Florida weather compared to this!!!


    Day 1 -- Monday, May 10, 2010

    I got up around 6:00 am. Way before the alarm went off. Apparently, I knew it was the first day of vacation, because I didn't get to bed until after midnight the night before. But since I woke up, I decided to just stay up and start getting ready. I got a shower and got dressed, then played around on the computer and puttered around a bit.

    I checked the outside temp -- 26!!! Yikes! No snow like the day before, but still VERY COLD.

    DH and DD finally got up and ready. It didn't take much to wake DD up. I just went in her room and whispered that it was finally VACATION and she jumped out of bed. She took care of waking DH up.

    DSIS brought Mom down right around 9:00am. We packed the truck and took some pictures. We were all pretty antsy, waiting for time to leave. We weren't supposed to leave until 11:00 am.

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    Well, we couldn't wait!!! We all loaded into the truck and left the driveway at 9:50 am. This was the temp as we were leaving...

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    Up next -- Pennsylvania!
     
  4. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I'd love to join in for the fun! Snow in May! Here in Louisiana, our May temps are already in the 80s and 90s.

    I look forward to reading all about your Disney adventures.



    Lisa
     
  5. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Snow in May was a bit of a surprise. It's happened before, but it's not the norm for us. We're usually comfortably in the mid-70's in May. I was not enjoying the below-freezing weather. At least we were heading someplace warmer!
     
  6. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    When we left off in the last installment, we were just starting out journey. We entered Pennsylvania at about 10:20 am.

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    We stopped at the Pennsylvania Welcome Center for a quick potty break. This place is really pretty. It overlooks a dam.

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    After making use of the facilities, we looked around a bit and took some pictures. We also picked up some brochures. One of the tables had advertisements for a local mall, and they had free chocolate bars!! Full-size chocolate, too. DD and Mom each had one, and said the chocolate was really very tasty.

    We drove on through the beautiful state of Pennsylvania until we reached Lewisburg. It's a small town just south of Williamsport. We stopped here for lunch at KFC.

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    We don't have a KFC nearby. We used to have one in the city about 30 miles from us, but they tore that down to build a new Walgreens. I'm not even sure where the nearest one is now.

    It just just after noon when we pulled in. The place was busy, but not horribly so. Mom and DD already knew what they wanted. They had been drooling over those commercials for the Double-Down. Basically, a chicken sandwich without the bun -- using two pieces of chicken in place of the bun, with cheese and bacon in the middle. Mom got the crispy version and DD got the grilled version. Hmm.. I guess I only took a picture of the crispy one.

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    Mom got just the sandwich, and DD got the meal with fries and a drink.

    DH ordered the Grilled Sandwich with potato wedges and a drink. He was eating the sandwich before I could get a picture. The poor boy was hungry!! I do have a pic of the wedges, though.

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    I had the mashed potato bowl and a drink.

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    I love this thing. It's actually very good that there is not a KFC nearby. I would be tempted to eat this every day. Major comfort food here -- mashed potatoes, corn, crispy breaded chicken pieces, gravy, cheese all in one nice little bowl. (drooling here)

    One funny little thing to happen -- DD had finished her drink and wanted a refill. We were sitting near the soda dispensers and told her to get her own refill. She tried using the puppy-dog eyes on her dad.

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    He got up and she did the YES arm pump.

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    This next picture is blurry, but priceless. He went to fill his own drink and left her cup there! :D

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    Mom and I were dying! Her shock at the fact that her dad didn't do what she wanted was hilarious.

    All in all -- the food was tasty, service was pretty quick and the restaurant was not overly crowded. We had a good lunch and were ready to hit the road again! We left KFC at about 12:45 pm.

    Up next -- we arrive at our first night's hotel.
     
  7. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I know it's out of order but I have to comment on your daughter's expression when she realized her dad was filling up his own cup and left her's there on the table! Hillllllarrrious!:laughing:

    Now I'll go back to the first of the update. Pennsylvania looks to be a beautiful State. I've never been there. The rest stop reminds me of the one we stop at in Arkansas.

    That double down chicken "sandwich" looks amazingly good. Never tried one despite the fact that we have a KFC nearby.
     
  8. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    We were laughing about this moment for a very long time. DD is very much a Daddy's Girl, even though she isn't girly. She had DH wrapped around her little finger. Which is what made this little moment so very funny!

    Pennsylvania is a very beautiful state, especially the portions we were driving through.
     
  9. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    In our last installment, we had just left KFC at about 12:45. We drove down through Pennsylvania.

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    (Mom's view)

    We kept driving until we came to Chambersburg, PA. We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express at 2:55 pm.

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    We went in to get checked in. Total cost after tax for our "suite" was $152.59. I say "suite" in quotes, because it was still just one room plus bathroom. There was a tiny wall divider between the beds and the couch area. There was also a mini kitchen spot, with fridge, sink and microwave.

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    I had requested a room on the first floor, near the pool. First floor, because DD has a thing about not liking elevators. Near the pool -- well, the kid loves the pool and the less I have to walk hotel hallways in my swimsuit & towel, the better. We were given a room on the third floor – Room 319, but it was still very close to the pool! We were diagonally across from the elevator, which was just around the corner from the pool! The room was spacious, clean and comfy. We were happy with it and the location.

    We got settled in, then went for a swim.

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    Mom enjoyed the hot tub.
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    Around 5:00, we walked over to Red Lobster. It was fairly close to the hotel, only across two parking lots.

    The upper-left arrow is Red Lobster, and the right arrow is our Holiday Inn Express.
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    We started off with salads and the yummy cheddar biscuits.

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    I had the NY strip steak and rock lobster.
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    DH had the fresh rainbow trout.
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    Mom and DD had the Lobster, shrimp and scallops.
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    The food was REALLY good. My steak was absolutely TASTY!!! Total here was $111.98. We had a $4 coupon, and $75 in gift certificates, so our out-of-pocket cost was only $32.98 plus tip. Not bad at all.

    After supper, we walked across the parking lot to a Dollar Tree. DD bought a swim ring and a stuffed lizard. We stopped into Giant and bought 2 yogurts, a gallon of milk (which we mostly finished off by the next morning - we drink a lot of milk...), a jar of apple butter, and a Country Magazine for DH's mom (I buy these for her every week). Total was $10.08.

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    We went back to the pool for a bit.

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    After swimming, we decided that we were a little hungry again. Not sure how, after that feast at Red Lobster, but swimming will do that to ya. DH, DD and I walked next door to Arby’s. DH got a beef ‘n cheddar, DD got a regular roast beef, and I got a French dip meal. DD and Mom also got chocolate milk shakes (we brought Mom's back to her, as she had stayed at the hotel). Total here was $17.56.

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    After vegging in the room for a while, we all went to bed. We were excited for the morning to come. We knew that with morning came our AutoTrain ride!

    I have had several questions on why we stopped so early in the trip -- we'd only traveled a few hours today. To get our vehicle loaded on the AutoTrain, we needed to be there no later than 2:00 pm. We could have made the drive from home to the Lorton station if we had left fairly early in the morning. However, the thought of getting caught in traffic or something - then missing our train - just scared the daylights out of me. By stopping at this hotel, we lose that stress. We're only two hours from the train station. Plus -- we get to officially start our vacation a day earlier!!
     
  10. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Who sleeps in on vacation?? Not us, apparently! We all woke up pretty early – about 5:30 am. We got around and dressed and we went down for breakfast around 6:30 am. We had a nice breakfast. There was a decent spread for breakfast.

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    DD was wishing I would hurry up and take the picture already. She wanted to EAT!!!!

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    I got my first taste of biscuits and gravy for the trip!! It was actually pretty good, too.

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    Mom and DD were relaxing with some fruit after breakfast.

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    This was a common sight throughout the trip. DD was texting a lot. Not too worried though -- she was just texting her aunt!

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    After breakfast, we went back up to the room and just vegged out for a while. We knew we didn't need to leave the hotel too early, as our destination -- the Lorton AutoTrain station -- was only about two hours away.

    Hmm... we made a bit of a mess of that room in only one night, didn't we?

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    One of DD's pictures of the hotel room.

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    DD and I went to the vending machine and each got a soda. I got a Pepsi and DD got a root beer. They were $1.50 each.

    We left the hotel at 9:58am.

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    Up next -- we're almost to the AutoTrain!!!
     
  11. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    Ummm your meals at Red Lobster looked really really good. We have never eaten there even though there's one just a few miles away.

    The Holiday Inn Express looked nice. I did wonder why you stopped so early but totally understood once you explained it to me. I would have done the same thing.
     
  12. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thanks. The food there was really very good. None of us had even one bad comment about the food. It was actually the first time any of us had been to a Red Lobster, even though we have one next to our local mall (about 45 minutes away).

    My stomach was just in knots, worrying about missing the AutoTrain. Who knows what we could run into on the 6-ish hour drive from our home to the Lorton station? Then a light-bulb went off. Get a hotel somewhere nearby and leave a day earlier! This hotel was still about 2 hours away, but left us plenty of leeway with traffic and such. It was a nice hotel, clean and comfy. It was VERY easy to find. Get off the exit, turn right, turn right again. There you are.

    AutoTrain update coming next!
     
  13. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    When we last left off, we had just left the Holiday Inn Express in Chambersburg, PA.

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    We drove down through a little bit of Pennsylvania, and crossed into Maryland at about 10:15 am.

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    Just after 11:00 am, we stopped at a 7-11 to top off the gas tank.

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    We spent $40 for gas, and $2.53 for two Slurpees. DD had a Pina Colada flavored one and I had a Blue Raspberry. Yummy!

    We entered VA sometime around 11:30, but I'm not sure of the exact time. We didn't see a Welcome to Virginia sign... Probably because we were traveling around the Washington DC area.

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    Traffic really wasn't too bad, but Mom didn't like it!

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    This is how she handled traffic. She simply refused to look at it!

    Just before our exit, we did hit a bit of a traffic jam. I think it took us a half-hour to go two miles. There had been an accident on a ramp just after our exit. We did arrive at our exit at about 12:10, and at the local McDonald's by 12:15.

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    We got a cheeseburger happy meal, a 20 piece nuggets, a big mac meal, 4 McDoubles and 2 drinks. Total here was $21.12. We got the food to-go, as we were going to check in at the train station! We would eat our greasy fast food in the lobby.

    Breaking here because of too many pictures. To be continued immediately in the next post.
     
  14. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    We arrived at the train station at 12:32 pm. We unloaded what we needed for the train and went into the station. Check-in was pretty quick and easy. We now had about two hours to wait until we could board the train. I went to the gift shop and bought 2 magazines for $7.83. We just ate our lunch and did some people-watching until time to board. At this point, I was very happy that we had started our trip a day early. It made the trip much less stressful than it would have been otherwise.

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    We boarded the train at 2:30.

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    We had roomettes on the lower level, just like last time. Each sleeper car has four roomettes, one family bedroom and one handicap accessible bedroom, plus three toilets and one shower/changing room on the lower level. The upper level has the bedrooms, which each have their own private toilet/shower area. We had two of the roomettes and the attendant had another. The third roomette, the family bedroom and the handicap accessible bedroom were all empty on our trip. So we basically had the entire lower level to ourselves! It did make for a quiet, relaxing trip.

    This shot is looking down the hall-way of the lower level, standing next to our roomette door. The door to the family bedroom is behind me. The door at the very end of the hallway is the handicap accessible room.

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    We got settled into our roomettes and went to check out the snacks provided. They had some crunchy snacks (Doritos, etc), some fresh fruit & veggies and some cheese and crackers. I bought a Pepsi and a Sierra Mist – total $3.50.

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    We just vegged in our roomettes and watched the workers finish loading the vehicles onto the train cars.

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    We left the station at 3:38 -- about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We just enjoyed the train ride until our dinner time of 7:00pm.

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    Mom was playing peek-a-boo through the roomette windows!

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    We went up to dinner when they called for the 7:00 pm seating.

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    The menu was not quite right. Instead of Filet Mignon, they had NY Strip Steak.

    We all started off with a nice salad and rolls.
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    Drinks were included with the meal -- coffee, tea, iced tea, soft drinks, milk or wine. Mom had a glass of red wine, DH and I both had Pepsi's and DD had some milk, if I remember correctly.

    DH had the salmon.
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    Mom and I had the NY strip.
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    DD had the chicken tenders with mac & cheese.

    Which apparently I never got a picture of. Imagine good-looking chicken tenders and real mac & cheese (not the boxed stuff).

    All of us really enjoyed our dinner.
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    Mom and DH had cheesecake for dessert.
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    Sorry this shot is so washed out. Stupid flash.

    DD had ice cream with chocolate sauce.
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    I had the tiramisu.
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    Desserts must have been just as good as the dinners, as there were no left-overs from dinner or dessert!

    After dinner, we went back to our roomettes and just watched the scenery go by until our beds were put down, right around 9:00 pm.

    DD was ready for bed by then!
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    This is one the the three tiny little toilet areas on the lower level.
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    And the shower/changing room.
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    Tiny little stairs going down from the upper level (where the dining is) to the lower level.
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    That's it for today! Next up -- we arrive in Florida!
     
  15. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    I would never expect such a nice meal on a train!!

    Where in Upstate are you from neighbor?
     
  16. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Hi there, neighbor! We're in Bath. About an hour and a half south of Rochester, and a half hour west of Corning.

    The meal was absolutely wonderful. From what I understand, if you just ride coach (rather than the roomettes or bedrooms), the meal is good, but not quite as nice.
     
  17. Maria Rose

    Maria Rose Earning My Ears

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    Hi! just wanted to say I'm really enjoying your trip report- this is my first post, I'm new to the Disboards. Looking forward to your updates! I've always wondered what the autotrain was like- thanks for sharing all the great pic's.

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    Maria Rose
     
  18. ddstratton

    ddstratton DIS Veteran

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    Thank you very much! We really enjoyed the AutoTrain. We had taken it on the return trip for our October 2008 vacation.

    And Welcome to the DIS!
     
  19. mickeystoontown

    mickeystoontown DIS Veteran

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    I had to laugh at the picture of your mother not watching the traffic. We travel through Atlanta to see our daughter and there are six lanes of heavy traffic every time we go through there. I wish I could put my head in a pillow but I am the one doing the driving.:laughing:

    Yay for arriving early. I know you were worried about getting there and making sure you didn't miss your train. Speaking of the train, I enjoyed looking at the pictures. I have never traveled by train but it seems like fun.
     
  20. michellejed

    michellejed DIS Veteran

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    Great report so far!

    The train sounds like fun but any time I have priced it out I find I can fly cheaper. Some day I will not think of cost and just take the train, lol

    Waiting to hear more:thumbsup2
     
  21. onelilspark

    onelilspark DIS Veteran

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    You're right near Bully Hill Winery! I <3 their wines :lovestruc
     

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