Just Me & the Kids - WDW -1, The AutoTrain

I’m going to try and keep up with this as we go, but forgive me if it stops and starts. Ds and I start the trip by ourselves, dd flies down to join us late tomorrow night, and dh stayed home this time.

My 12yo ds and I left PA this morning and hit the road at 9am after stopping at Wawa (the most wonderful stop and grab a sandwich/drink/snack store on the planet). We hit some occasional congestion, but made it to Lorton, VA in almost exactly 3 hours.

We’ve ridden the AutoTrain twice before, so we knew to head straight across the street to the strip mall. We like the pizza place. After some pasta and a calzone, we walked a few stores down and had our first ice cream for the trip!

We checked in at 1:30pm. It opens at 11:30am and last check in is at 2:30pm.

You park your car, leave the keys, and take your carry ons to the waiting room. Once there, you check in at the desk, receive your car and seat assignments, and choose which dinner
seating you prefer. The scheduled departure is at 4pm but they started boarding at 2:45pm, we were all on the train by 3:10pm, and after coupling with the last of the train cars, we were on our way by 3:25pm.

Some of the stats (I tried to type them as they were announced, but I could have messed them up…but they are close):
35 train cars
165 vehicles
450+ passengers
16 hours
855 miles

Dinner is at 5pm in the Dining Car (there is a 7pm and 9pm seating as well). The Lounge Car is directly in front of us, with the Dining Car directly in front of that. Since ds has a limited palate, we’ll be grabbing a personal pizza in the Lounge Car on the way to dinner for him.

The train is expecting to pull into Sanford at 9am tomorrow morning, as long as there are no delays.

New photo by Christine DeLaurentis

Not sure if the photo will work.


Oh! Thank you for the report! Do you have a sleeper car?

Nope, coach seats. They are quite roomy and very comfortable.

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Do they recline so you can sleep?

They recline about 45° or so and the footrest pops up. I’ll try and take a picture after dinner.

This is the legroom. We have two large backpacks and my purse on the floor with tons of space to spare.

New photo by Christine DeLaurentis


Cant wait to hear how it went? hopefully you got some sleep!


Nice choice with the Wawa half and half! Wawa for the win. Always wanted to take the auto train (taken amtrak across the country and back), but I travel with smokers and there is no way they could make 4pm to 9am without a smoke break. Excited to hear about the rest of the journey/trip.


Dinner was, edible…but nothing to write home about. There was a choice of beef, breaded fish, or chicken. I got the beef. It was more well done than I would like, but not awful.

Kids meals were either chicken nuggets or Mac & cheese (premade). Ds will eat neither so I bought him a microwaved personal pizza. He ate the whole thing so it couldn’t have been that bad.

Sides we’re mashed potatoes and green beans. Dessert was a choice between sugar free Jello, cheesecake, or vanilla ice cream. You could have whipped cream, chocolate sauce, and/or strawberries on top. The cheesecake was decent…not dry (which I expected) at all.

Sorry, no pictures.

I’m making the 12yo read the first book in the Kingdom Keepers series. You would have thought the world was ending because I made him put down his iPod. He’s about 100 pages in. I’m going to try to get him to read more before we arrive tomorrow.


I love half & half and drink it all the time. If I get it from the 'Wa (as one of my friends calls it) I automatically grab two since they are 2/$2.00. :slight_smile:

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Oh and data reception and wifi are crap. Okay for 5-10 min and then waiting for that long for a webpage to load. There is no rhyme or reason as to which will work beat, when.


I am 43 years old and just recently read the Kingdom Keepers series. I greatly enjoyed it and hopefully he will too! Enjoy your trip!


You don’t look a day over 12 amiga!


PSA, if your watch or phone has a beepy alarm, please turn it off before going to sleep w/ 50+ people around you.


LOL! Thank you! :kissing_heart:

We arrived just after 7am, which is about 2 hours early. They don’t have the ability to unload until 8am so we are still on the train.

Better to be early than late!

They served a continental breakfast. Cereal, OJ, mini bagels, coffee cake, and fruit cups.

Hoping to start our day soon!


Did you get any sleep last night?

My son slept like the dead…but more like the walking dead because he kept flailing in his sleep. My dd will be with us on the way home and I’m going to make them sit together and give me a pair of seats to stretch out on!

It was warm for me, but I am a warm person anyway so I’m not sure if I’m a good indicator. Ds used his blanket. When he asked for it I may have looked at him like he was crazy because I was already sweating.

It wasn’t great sleep, but it was sleep. More comfortable than sleeping in the passenger seat of our car when dh is driving. (Although I don’t have ds’ elbows, head, and legs banging into me all night in the car!)

I did wake up halfway through because ds snagged the charging cable of his Nintendo DS and knocked everything off his tray table… including both pairs of our glasses. Fun times groping on the floor in the dark while I can’t see anything.

Currently waiting for them to call our car. I can’t wait to take a shower at Pop. We are stopping at Trader Joe’s on the way, I hope they don’t mind that we haven’t showered yet!


Must have been when you were going through GA.


I doubt they care. They are used to hot, sweaty people coming in from the parks…


Yay for arrival! This is so cool, I wonder if there’s something like this that goes from Ca to Fl!

I love the train, all the swaying, I’m out so quick.

Have a great first day!!

Oh and we always fly in from LAX on the red eye and go straight to wherever we are going unshowered…no one cares! It’s florida, you take a shower and need another one 5 minutes later!