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Old 03-24-2013, 07:36 AM   #616
FigmentChick
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Gloucester county
Too cool!!! I'm in Pennsville.
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:52 AM   #617
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Thanks Figment!

Welcome Minnie! NNJ here! Are you guys driving or flying?
We are actually taking the AutoTrain. So....only two hours of driving.

We're very excited and I think our five-year-old will just love it!! We normally fly (out of Philly), but flights alone would have costs us about $1300. Add to that $300 (approximately) for a rental car and that was waaay out of budget compared to the $1,050 I spent for the AutoTrain. Plus, I had a $200 credit with Amtrak because Kyle & I were stuck on a DC-bound train for 4.5 hours last June.
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Old 03-24-2013, 01:15 PM   #618
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Originally Posted by FigmentChick View Post

We are actually taking the AutoTrain. So....only two hours of driving.

We're very excited and I think our five-year-old will just love it!! We normally fly (out of Philly), but flights alone would have costs us about $1300. Add to that $300 (approximately) for a rental car and that was waaay out of budget compared to the $1,050 I spent for the AutoTrain. Plus, I had a $200 credit with Amtrak because Kyle & I were stuck on a DC-bound train for 4.5 hours last June.
We love the AutoTrain!! That's the only way we want to go now. So much fun! We never said that about driving or flying.

Is this your first AT to FL?
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Old 03-24-2013, 03:24 PM   #619
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Ok, so this may be off topic but how does auto train work? Do you purchase the bedroom? Is it really better than flying? I'm curious.
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Old 03-24-2013, 05:34 PM   #620
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We love the AutoTrain!! That's the only way we want to go now. So much fun! We never said that about driving or flying.

Is this your first AT to FL?
Yes; it is our first AT to FL.

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Ok, so this may be off topic but how does auto train work? Do you purchase the bedroom? Is it really better than flying? I'm curious.
We did not purchase the bedroom. My hubby is six and a half feet tall and could not possibly fit comfortably. We decided coach seats would be perfectly fine. We do not go to the parks on our travel day anyway (always DTD and relax at the resort for our first day of vacation) and we can all sleep through everything. lol

As for is it better than flying? Hmmm...probably not so much as we are leaving a day before we normally would. It's just $1,000 less expensive than flying this trip and a new adventure!!!
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Old 03-25-2013, 12:41 AM   #621
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Ok, so this may be off topic but how does auto train work? Do you purchase the bedroom? Is it really better than flying? I'm curious.
You have two options: purchase coach seats or a bedroom and bring your vehicle. Both ways include snacks and meals and movie. Bedrooms allow for more privacy, more of your own space, upgraded meals, free wine, some have private bathroom, all have beds and rooms can sleep anywhere from 2-4 people. You can pack as much as your car or SUV can hold.

We found cost of a bedroom, if purchased at 11 months, to be very similar to flying and renting a larger vehicle or driving and stopping for meals and a decent hotel, plus wear and tear, gas, etc.

You have to be the type of person who enjoys the journey to prefer AT. If you rather just drive straight through to get there as soon as possible, you may not like the train. We were fine with flying until we had our second kid...then the cost for flying and just the amount of stuff we needed to have with two kids or if we traveled in winter months with unpredictable weather from taking swim suits to winter coats, made the AT more desirable.

We started with coach and then quickly realized that a bedroom was much better for us.

Now our vacations are actually extended a day in each direction and those travel days are just fun: sipping wine, having a bathroom close by, walking around, playing games with our kids, watching movies, eating a real meal with silverware and tablecloth, sleeping, arriving well rested, no TSA, etc. instead of being stuck in traffic, with kids fighting or asking if we are there yet or having to stop every hour to use the roadside restrooms...or being cramped on a flight with not enough luggage bc we didn't want to pay the extra fees!

As you can tell, we really love it.

Downside is that it can be expensive if you don't catch a sale or book right at exactly 11 months. Also, AT doesn't work for a quick weekend trip bc you leave around 4pm on day 1 and arrive around 9:30am on day 2.

Hope that helps!

Last edited by Marshay; 03-25-2013 at 01:03 AM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:02 AM   #622
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Originally Posted by FigmentChick View Post
Yes; it is our first AT to FL.

We did not purchase the bedroom. My hubby is six and a half feet tall and could not possibly fit comfortably. We decided coach seats would be perfectly fine. We do not go to the parks on our travel day anyway (always DTD and relax at the resort for our first day of vacation) and we can all sleep through everything. lol

As for is it better than flying? Hmmm...probably not so much as we are leaving a day before we normally would. It's just $1,000 less expensive than flying this trip and a new adventure!!!
I hate to disappoint you but don't expect much from coach.

My DH is 6'6" too and I am 6' and we have done both coach and bedroom. My DH didn't like coach at all. Everything from the seat to the seat back to the leg rest to the foot rest was not in the right place for DH (and neither for me). It made the coach seats very uncomfortable. The good thing is that there is leg room in coach. But the seats are not at all for tall people. They do recline pretty far though, but it just hits you wrong.. We had your same thoughts the first time we went -- thinking coach would be better than a small bed (we have king bed at home) but after trying it, we found out otherwise and won't do coach. The seats are fine for sitting in them a few hours ... But not the whole trip nor for sleeping.

We did first trip on coach but by second trip went to bedroom, and do that every trip now! DH does fit on both the 1-2 person bed on the bottom and the bunk bed on top since the beds are perpendicular to the kids bunk beds. When the room is made up for sitting, the long sofa and chair work well.

I will also add that we just like our privacy so having a door to keep open or close as we wish, plus not having other people walking and talking by us all day and night is important to us. I didn't really know this until we did coach. With small kids, I always felt on egg shells trying not to disturb others and trying not to let the parents who don't watch their kids at all (!!) bother me.

I think if our kids were older and could entertain themselves better, that it would be a lot easier to do coach. But at 4 and 7 (and we have been going for nearly four years now) the games and coloring books only last so long and eventually they will act up and that's when I prefer to deal with crying or temper tantrums in private, not in a room with 20-40 other people. Also the snoring from other people just grosses me out!

Anyway, this is what works for our family .... We tried both to see for ourselves. Best of luck!

Last edited by Marshay; 03-25-2013 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 03-25-2013, 01:14 AM   #623
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Also, there is a thread on the transportation forum dedicated to the AT, if you want more info or to ask questions.

I have pics and stories from our experiences in my TR in my siggie, too. Check the ToC to go directly to the first and last days.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:14 AM   #624
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We LOVED the AT when we went in 2011 So relaxing to sit back and watch the country side go by knowing that you AND your vehicle will be in Florida when you wake up the next morning
We did a deluxe bedroom (we upgraded at the station) $$$$. This year were doing a family bedroom..they are the width of one of the cars and more spacious than the deluxe. We've never done coach and now that we've done the bedroom... coach is OUT The drive into Lorton can be a little tense (ESPECIALLY rush hour) There was one section that we drove to that took us 2 hours to get through...stop and go We also had driven down the night before and stayed at a hotel right down the street from the station. Enjoy!
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:07 PM   #625
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First post here...we're going with a party of 6: my husband, two kids (8 and 5), my mother and stepfather, and me from 11/7-11/11, staying at POFQ. We're pretty excited! I haven't been to WDW since my senior trip in 1994, so it's been a while. More NJ people invading the boards.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:09 PM   #626
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Change of plans sorta. Now arriving on nov 22nd at okw then on Disney dream on the 24th returning on the 27th going back to okw until the 30th.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:29 PM   #627
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You can add us too! We're booked at CSR from 11/29/13 - 12/8/13. Can't wait to try the new business class club rooms!!!
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:23 PM   #628
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Alright now that we are back in the November club, I want to surprise DD some how, she really wants to stay at AOA..... We have told her we are staying off site to save money, but really we going to book AOA LM room. This way we are all happy and if food concerns me, I can walk over to POP to get food, but I don't think I will have to.


So SHhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! Don't say anything on FB I will be saying we are off site all along but really we won't be.

We can't surprise her with a trip, so this is the next beat thing.

We plan to tell her when we drive in that it is too early to check into our hotel so we want to check out AOA, then I am going to say I have to go make a phone call and DH is going to go walk around with DD. I will really be checking us in, then when I meet back up with them I will say, let's go check out a room!!!!!! Then surprise!!!!
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Old 03-26-2013, 05:13 PM   #629
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Cool. Surprise.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:40 PM   #630
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Hello All,

I have just spent the last three days reading this increasingly lengthy thread(not all in the same siting of course) I can't add to the Jersey number--sorry guys. Anyway, my wife, my five kids(16,14, 11, 7, and 2 at time of travel) and I will be going to WDW from November 21-December 1. We have adjoining rooms at POP, even though we really wanted AoA LM. The reason we went with POP is because we really want some free dining, and it hasn't been offered much at LM. This is our 5th trip to WDW. We have gone three times at Thanksgiving and once in April. Thanksgiving is so crowded, but we love the temperatures. We usually go to EPCOT on Thanksgiving day since it is so spread out and we don't feel the crowds as much. This year will be the first time our youngest(only boy) will really know what is going on. When he went in 2011, he was only six months old. We had to skip 2012 because our central heat/air had to be replaced in our home. We are having some major withdrawals! Sorry for the long post.
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