Spring is the time many families begin planning trips to the Orlando area to visit the many theme parks, and other entertainment and shopping complexes. However, with the price of air travel going up and the potential airport security hassle, many families are looking at alternative ways to visit Florida.
Gaining in popularity is Amtrak's nonstop Auto Train service between Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida (about 40 miles from Walt Disney World). This is ideal for families who want to take their vehicle with them but avoid hours of stressful driving, traffic, plus meals and an overnight motel stay on the way. In addition to the convenience, the Auto Train may often be a better deal than combination airfare and rental car.
There are several levels of fares offered on the Auto Train, including coach, roomier super liner lower level coach seats, roomette, one bedroom, family bedroom and suites.
According the Amtrak’s web site all meals are included in the price of all Auto Train tickets, no matter which class you travel in.
Leave your luggage in your car except for what you need overnight because once you leave your car you won't see it again until Florida. When the "All Aboard" is sounded your conductor will show you to your accommodations. As you settle back in your wide comfortable seat you'll enjoy the passing scenery.
Traveling through big towns like Richmond, small quaint communities, farmlands and woodlands, you'll witness an unfolding panorama. As evening arrives, enjoy dinner in the Dining Car. The chef will serve up a delicious dinner including regional wines, vegetarian dishes, and special meals for the kids. Afterward, there's time for a movie or mingling with fellow passengers in the Lounge Car. In the morning, you'll awaken to a tasty continental breakfast.
“Coach class on Amtrak is an upgrade from regular airplane seating. You will be seated in a wide, comfortable, reclining seat with fold-down trays and individual reading lights. There will be an electrical outlet at your seat. If you choose sleeping accommodations, your seat at the beginning of the trip becomes your bed at night,” said Charles Self, author of The Auto Train: Planning Tips to Transport Your Car, Your Things and You By Amtrak to Florida.
Passporter.com says the deluxe rooms are on the upper level and are accessible only by narrow stairs. They sleep up to three adults with a single upper bunk and a larger lower bed.
These rooms also have a private restroom/shower and sink. A deluxe suite is two deluxe rooms connected by a door, which is opened for an even larger area. Standard bedrooms are for two adults and there is a family room, which can accommodate two adults and two children. It is noted that the lower level has accessible bedrooms for passengers with mobility impairments. This room sleeps two and has a sink, a vanity and a toilet within the room.
“An agent will be able to help you not only with how to get there, where to stay, and what to do but also what to pack and when is the best time of year to go,” said Stephanie Petros with Inglewood Travel located in Crofton.
“We can make help make for stress-free travel experience from start to finish,” Petros added.