My thoughts on the Brightline after a cruise out of PC

Memorymakerfor4

DIS Veteran
Joined
Sep 15, 2018
1. The train ride itself was wonderful and relaxing. Everything is nice and new. Took about 3 hours from MCO to Fort Lauderdale.

2. They're still working out the kinks on the DCL side. When we boarded the bus to MCO the woman taking our info stated we were the first group she'd had who was taking the train and had to check with someone to confirm it was terminal C. We were told we'd be a separate drop-off but the bus driver unloaded our bags with everyone else and said this was where we needed to be, which I now think was incorrect.

3. There's very little signage at the airport, at least that we saw. Brightline's instructions online said to ride the elevator from terminal C to level 5 but... there was no level 5 where we were dropped off. A helpful security guard finally told us we had to ride to level 4, cross the walkway, take another elevator to level 5, go across the bridge, through the parking garage, turn right, up the escalator, through the ticket terminal, to grandmother's house we go. It was a stupid long walk with suitcases. I understand we were probably dropped off at the wrong location, but it would be nice to see something pointing you in the right direction from other airport locations.

4. Bags are $25/ea to check. I guess I missed this when I booked our tickets, so $75 out the window there, but that's on me.

5. Food. This was our biggest beef with them. Food is scarce and that's a problem when you've taken Disney transport after going through customs, have had nothing to eat since 7, and your train doesn't arrive at it's destination until almost 4. The only food between the ship and the train was a bar and a convenience type store right at the train. Both were very poorly stocked, the bar only had cold sandwiches for sale that day and they were truly terrible, we are not super picky and just nibbled. The Caesar salad wrap was particularly bad. There is food service on the train but it was equally bad and they were out of most food by the time they got to our car, except for gummy worms, Cliff bars, and chips. If you have kids, there was also no milk or juice anywhere either, just booze, soda, and bottled water.

The last bit I'll add here is when I asked for a bag to go with the 3 sandwiches I bought so I could carry them on the train, the bar was out and I was sent to the other shop to ask for one (I think they're operated by the same people). I picked up a snack for my son here, then asked for the bag while paying. The woman at the convenience counter tapped the screen where I'm prompted to tip, then smiled at me. No tip, no bag, I guess.

6. We thought car 2 (1 is premium class) would be next best, we were wrong. They started food service from the back of the very last car and worked their way up. Food service didn't arrive at our car until about 2 1/2 hours into the trip.

My takeaway here is I would be willing to ride the train again, maybe, but only if I'm able to secure something for my family to eat elsewhere. With kids it was a huge issue but I'm also pretty sure we're not their target audience. We may look at renting a car next time.
 
Honestly, Brightline's prices are absurd. They charge $75 for a 3-hour ride (which isn't remotely high-speed, despite their claims) and then they have the nerve to charge another $25 to check a bag?

I can take Amtrak from here to NYC for $25 and I can check two bags for free. And it's faster, too.

Brightline is going to ruin high-speed rail in the US. It already costs more than just renting a car and it doesn't really save much time.
 
OP, thanks for your report! I think the train will be of more interested for those who want to combine a cruise out of Port Everglades with a visit to WDW. But for them the issue with the food availability might be very well something to think about as well!

I don't get the "checking your bag" for a train ride? Here in Europe you just take your bags into the train with you and either put them on the overhead shelf or in the storage areas provided. You also never pay for luggage (bicycles are different, but they have separate areas where you can store them and on long distance trains you need a reservation for them).

I am not sure what I think about the price. Here in Germany longer train rides (3 hours) usually would be priced similarly. But then those would be on real high speed where you do have a big advantage over going by car. (i.e. Munich to Berlin by train can be under 4 hours, by car you need to be lucky to make it there in under 6 hours) If it is a route that is not yet high speed (and takes the same time as going by car) the prices are usually lower. And then children under 14 travel for free with parents.

But I think the takeaway is that renting a car still makes more sense, especially for a family. All in all, you paid 75$ for the ticket, 25$ for the luggage and then 35$ for the Disney transfer. That's 135$ per person. So already for two people renting a car at the port and driving to South Florida makes more sense...
 
OP, thanks for your report! I think the train will be of more interested for those who want to combine a cruise out of Port Everglades with a visit to WDW. But for them the issue with the food availability might be very well something to think about as well!

I don't get the "checking your bag" for a train ride? Here in Europe you just take your bags into the train with you and either put them on the overhead shelf or in the storage areas provided. You also never pay for luggage (bicycles are different, but they have separate areas where you can store them and on long distance trains you need a reservation for them).

I am not sure what I think about the price. Here in Germany longer train rides (3 hours) usually would be priced similarly. But then those would be on real high speed where you do have a big advantage over going by car. (i.e. Munich to Berlin by train can be under 4 hours, by car you need to be lucky to make it there in under 6 hours) If it is a route that is not yet high speed (and takes the same time as going by car) the prices are usually lower. And then children under 14 travel for free with parents.

But I think the takeaway is that renting a car still makes more sense, especially for a family. All in all, you paid 75$ for the ticket, 25$ for the luggage and then 35$ for the Disney transfer. That's 135$ per person. So already for two people renting a car at the port and driving to South Florida makes more sense...
I wanted so badly for this to work well. To be fair, we were able to book our travel for $50/ea during a promotion, so for all four of us it was $275 and at the time I looked at car rentals, it was just about a wash. Also, terminal C is so new, perhaps more options to eat are coming. I’m waiting and watching to see what they do.
 


We took the Brightline train between Orlando & Miami last week for a cruise out of Miami. We paid to check our larger suitcases ahead of time and carried on our smaller suitcases.

We left & arrived on time both ways and the ride was smooth & comfortable.

I have to agree with OP about the food options. They are very limited in the station (even in Miami) and the food onboard is expensive (sandwiches start at $14). We were also in coach 2 and had the same experience with the food cart not coming until about half way through the journey.

DH & I are planning to take the train between Orlando & Miami for another cruise in May, though we may just spend the extra for premium since checked luggage & food is included.
 


Thanks. We are planning on taking the train for our cruise in January and I'd prefer to not check our luggage.
 
How strange. It seems that my first post in this thread is invisible, even though it's still linked from the "Your content" area. It's like a shadow removal or something.

EDIT: And now it's back! Weird.
 
Last edited:
How strange. It seems that my first post in this thread is invisible, even though it's still linked from the "Your content" area. It's like a shadow removal or something.
It's something that's been going on all day. Post #s 2, 3 & 4 (and any subsequent 2, 3 & 4 posts that have an even number in the tens column (22, 23, 24, 42, 43, 44, etc, but NOT 32,33, 34, 52, 53, 54, etc) are not appearing.

https://www.disboards.com/threads/wheres-my-reply.3933648/#post-65139177


And now it's fixed.
 
I wanted so badly for this to work well. To be fair, we were able to book our travel for $50/ea during a promotion, so for all four of us it was $275 and at the time I looked at car rentals, it was just about a wash. Also, terminal C is so new, perhaps more options to eat are coming. I’m waiting and watching to see what they do.

I do too! I'm already nervous about cruising out of PE. Wish that we were staying in FL the night before, but my husband wants another day at GF. He also packs about 15 minutes before we leave, so we have extremely different traveling styles. 🤣

I still have a rental car reservation, so I'm anxiously waiting to hear more feedback about the train. I already have tickets to FL so I can always change to the return trip to WDW. It's not as time sensitive to get back to Orlando.
 
I do too! I'm already nervous about cruising out of PE. Wish that we were staying in FL the night before, but my husband wants another day at GF. He also packs about 15 minutes before we leave, so we have extremely different traveling styles. 🤣

I still have a rental car reservation, so I'm anxiously waiting to hear more feedback about the train. I already have tickets to FL so I can always change to the return trip to WDW. It's not as time sensitive to get back to Orlando.
As someone who regularly travels by train here in Europe (we don’t even own a car), I would choose the rental car for the drive down there. You can leave early and if you make good time, stop somewhere close to the port for a coffee or so. If a train is delayed you are at the mercy of the train, no way to get out and call an Uber or so. Yes, driving things can delay you as well, but you have more control over how to mitigate it.

I also read that one issue with the Brightline is that it is prone to accidents as it has so many street crossings and people are too stupid and think they can make it and then end up with the train crashing into them. Something like this is bound to cause a very long delay. Chances of it happening are slim, but not that slim that I wouldn’t want to take it into account.
 
I used to ride Amtrak quite regularly. I never checked a bag; brought it onboard with me and either stowed it under my feet or might be lucky to grab an empty corner to stow it. I did this solo and also with a 3-yr-old + stroller + laptop case + diaper bag in tow.

Food on a relatively short train ride (or even my 12-hour trips) is also usually fairly non-existent or primarily pre-packaged stuff. It's never been anything worthwhile unless truly hungry. I usually brought food with us or bought fast food from the train station terminal.

But I haven't paid attention to the Brightline information so I don't know if they are promoting it as something with baggage check and food onboard, or if that was expectation from someone who isn't familiar with rail travel.
 
I also read that one issue with the Brightline is that it is prone to accidents as it has so many street crossings and people are too stupid and think they can make it and then end up with the train crashing into them. Something like this is bound to cause a very long delay. Chances of it happening are slim, but not that slim that I wouldn’t want to take it into account.
This happened to me once on Amtrak when we were passing through Rhode Island. A man jumped in front of the train, so we stopped and waited for the local police and the Amtrak police to investigate, then for a new crew to come onboard to finish the journey. We were delayed by about four hours. Amtrak provided us with free water and snacks.

Actually, that was the day before our cruise out of NYC last year! Thankfully, we hadn't made any real plans and so we just missed some walking around the city time. If it had been the day of the cruise, then we might not have made it at all. I wouldn't want to take that risk with Brightline. Better to go the day before.
 
This happened to me once on Amtrak when we were passing through Rhode Island. A man jumped in front of the train, so we stopped and waited for the local police and the Amtrak police to investigate, then for a new crew to come onboard to finish the journey. We were delayed by about four hours. Amtrak provided us with free water and snacks.

Actually, that was the day before our cruise out of NYC last year! Thankfully, we hadn't made any real plans and so we just missed some walking around the city time. If it had been the day of the cruise, then we might not have made it at all. I wouldn't want to take that risk with Brightline. Better to go the day before.
Unfortunately these things happen and they close down the line for hours. It’s like flying in the day of the cruise and weather closing down the airport.

Yes, a car can break dow, you can be involved in an accident etc. But I feel that those events are (luckily) less frequent.

I love taking trains, but taking Brightline to the port the morning of the cruise, I would want to be on the 6 am train to have enough buffer. And there all the convenience of the train goes out the window.
 
Unfortunately these things happen and they close down the line for hours. It’s like flying in the day of the cruise and weather closing down the airport.

Yes, a car can break dow, you can be involved in an accident etc. But I feel that those events are (luckily) less frequent.

I love taking trains, but taking Brightline to the port the morning of the cruise, I would want to be on the 6 am train to have enough buffer. And there all the convenience of the train goes out the window.
Brightline doesn't seem very convenient anyway. Their station in Fort Lauderdale isn't near the cruise terminal, so you still have to find some way to get to the ship. They offer shuttle services back to FLL airport and I guess you can pick up a DCL transport there, but neither of those is free. Or, you can hire a car, but that's also not free.

I guess I just don't see the appeal. It's too bad. I always take the train when I can.
 
I used to ride Amtrak quite regularly. I never checked a bag; brought it onboard with me and either stowed it under my feet or might be lucky to grab an empty corner to stow it. I did this solo and also with a 3-yr-old + stroller + laptop case + diaper bag in tow.

Food on a relatively short train ride (or even my 12-hour trips) is also usually fairly non-existent or primarily pre-packaged stuff. It's never been anything worthwhile unless truly hungry. I usually brought food with us or bought fast food from the train station terminal.

But I haven't paid attention to the Brightline information so I don't know if they are promoting it as something with baggage check and food onboard, or if that was expectation from someone who isn't familiar with rail travel.

Our suitcases were too big to bring on board. A carry on sized bag would've easily fit in their provided space and had I realized this, we may have brought 4 smaller bags as opposed to 3 larger ones.

It's a shame about the food. I do think they're trying hard to sway people into buying premium class tickets, but that still wouldn't have helped us much. They get the same selection as coach, they just don't have to pay for it. I hope by making this known, people who are wanting to use it in conjunction with a cruise will realize that because of customs rules you're looking at 5-6 hours without any real food options right now. Hopefully they add some places to eat closer to the terminal.
 
Brightline doesn't seem very convenient anyway. Their station in Fort Lauderdale isn't near the cruise terminal, so you still have to find some way to get to the ship. They offer shuttle services back to FLL airport and I guess you can pick up a DCL transport there, but neither of those is free. Or, you can hire a car, but that's also not free.

I guess I just don't see the appeal. It's too bad. I always take the train when I can.
My sister lives close to the train station. We took an Uber from the beach (not far from the cruise ships to her house) and it was in the $20ish range, so yes, something to consider.
 
Our suitcases were too big to bring on board.
I don't think I even own a suitcase larger than 28". To me that's a full-sized bag and the train allows it as carry-on. I almost always kept it with me on Amtrak -- in fact my usual route didn't even accept checked bags to my destination. But I don't know what the seating or storage is like on Brightline.
 

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