Need tips on train travel -- Amtrak discounts?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Cherry, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. Cherry

    Cherry <a href="

    Sep 9, 1999
    We normally drive to Disney from our home in Chesapeake, VA -- but this year my husband is fighting cancer, and we are looking for an easier way. He has a hard time getting in and out of the car.

    Our family is also going (4 grown children, 4 grandchildren) and we were thinking about going by train. We've never traveled by train before and would appreciate any tips. Would the coach seats be comfortable enough for a trip that long? (16 hours from where we live). We would be traveling overnight. I know it would make more sense to fly, but we thought the train might be fun for the kids, and something different -- and my husband doesn't really want to fly this time.

    Does anyone have any tips on how to get a good fare?
  2. Dizma

    Dizma Mouseketeer

    Aug 23, 2002
    If you would like to get a discounted rate on the train for sleepers, wait till you check in to inquire about upgrading. They offer them discounted at the last minute. Good Luck!!
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  4. MrsNick

    MrsNick <font color=darkorchid>sometimes out of desperatio

    Aug 4, 2005
    I know you said you wanted to try train travel, but flying will probably cost less.
  5. Straitlover

    Straitlover DIS Veteran

    May 9, 2003
  6. bobcat

    bobcat <font color=magenta>I had a horrible case two year

    Aug 19, 1999
    Amtrak is running a special on the autotrain where kids ride free. I'm not sure how long it lasts. Amtrak also gives a AAA discount.
  7. gillenkl

    gillenkl DIS Veteran

    Feb 22, 2006
    Flying might be a better option for you and your husband - less time involved for your husband sitting. Could the rest of your family go by train and meet you there?
  8. cuterlt

    cuterlt <font color=green>DH will do the laundry...when no

    Aug 20, 2000
    DH and I took the train last December from our home in New Mexico to Anaheim to go to Disneyland. The trip was about 14 hours or so, so a little shorter than your trip. We really enjoyed it. My DH loves trains, so this was a hoot for him. I enjoyed and felt pretty good, and was able to sleep ok on the train. We did see lots of families on the train, and lots of kids asleep. Our train was supposed to leave at 4pm, but ended up leaving around 8pm or so, so for most of the trip, the kids were asleep.
    We did coach on the way there.
    We made the HUGE, costly mistake of renting a sleeper car on the way back, thinking we would be more comfortable, and have more privacy. Well, we were NOT more comfortable, but the opposite. We did have the privacy, but it just was not worth it to us. You do get free meals with the sleeper car though, so in the end, we made it worth the price.
    Amtrak always has special deals, so if you can't use the one in the post above, another one will come along.
  9. stingray65

    stingray65 Mouseketeer

    Mar 5, 2006
    We have went on the auto train a few times and love it! We always get a roomette. it is nice as long as 1 person can get in the top bunk. You have 2 seats that face each other and the porter makes them into the bed whenever you want him to, he asks what time you would like him to do it. You also get a great dinner included in the price.u also get breakfast included. The last time we went they also had a free wine and cheese tasting. The nice thing is you can get up and walk around anytime you like you are not stuck in your seat like a plane you can go to the lounge car play cards watch a movie or just sit and relax It is cheaper if you take a car instead of a suv or van the website explains everything. Hope this helps.
  10. Cherry

    Cherry <a href="

    Sep 9, 1999
    Thanks for the great advice and suggestions. I'm going to give it all some serious thought tonight and try to figure out the best way to go with this.
  11. Cheshire Figment

    Cheshire Figment <font color=red><marquee behavior=alternate>Friend

    Jan 12, 2001
    I would also recommend the auto train. You would take I-64 to the Richmond bypass to I-95. The Lorton exit is two exits prior to the Capital Beltway, and the AutoTrain station is immediately off the exit. You are probably talking no more than three hours driving time each way.

    Here is a link to Amtrak's information about the AutoTrain. I had taken it several times when I lived in Virginia.

    That way you would have about a three hour drive and after you get up the next morning and get off in Sanford you will be about an hour from WDW and have your own car with you.
  12. torinsmom

    torinsmom <font color=red>I have someone coming to scoop<br>

    Apr 7, 2004
    The coach seats are not too bad for sitting, but it is not easy to sleep in them(at least for adults). Your experience will vary greatly depending on the people around you. Getting around the train while it is moving may be hard for your husband, as it can be very bumpy and jerky. Getting in and out of the bathrooms will probably be the hardest. Also, expect delays on departure as well as en route. Our 13 hour Amtrak ride translated into 15-17 hours each way(running 2-3 hours late is not uncommon). Bring your own blankets and pillows, as well as snacks.

    There are several discussions on riding Amtrak on the Transportation board. I have said on there that I will never take Amtrak again, but others love it and won't travel any other way. Maybe you should read through those threads to help you decide.

    You can get a discount on tickets with AAA, I think 15%.

  13. nbodyhome

    nbodyhome DIS Veteran

    Nov 15, 2005
    The coach seats are fine, but honestly, especially with his having cancer (I am very sorry about that), he may not find the sleeping very comfortably. Plus, the last few times I took the train (over the past year), the train was several hours late - I don't love flying, but I could have been home in the time I've waited to get a late train. One train was like 4 or 5 hours late - that wasn't mine, but one that I was supposed to take (mine came first).

    I really wouldn't recommend travelling by regular train - and the sleeping cars may still be as cramped as they used to be, which would be fine for me but maybe not for him (and they are much, much pricier than they once were).

    Flying would take you a couple of hours, very fast. You'd not have to worry about people snoring, or smelly bathrooms, which position to sleep in the seat, etc.

    I used to love travelling by train - I wish that we had Europes rail system here!

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