The Amtrak Autotrain is a unique experience. The line runs from Lorton, Virginia to Sanford, Florida. It is often full of families heading down to Walt Disney World
as well as being popular with snowbirds that travel between the southern and northern region.
The concept is simple, load passengers and their cars onto the train and make the commute while letting its customer’s relax during the trip. Watching this occur can be a lot of fun!
This is such a popular train it runs everyday of the year making the trek overnight in one direction, and then back the next. You need to arrive at the station at a certain fixed time based on the vehicle you are driving. Larger vehicles such as vans are allowed, but space is limited so make reservations early if you are bringing a large vehicle. Specs are listed on Amtrak’s website, so you can see if which status your vehicle fits into. Prepare to arrive early so that you can be sure to get there before the cut off time for arrival. They do not except cars after a certain hour and there are no exceptions.
Customers choose between regular coach train seats or from a selection of small rooms which can host a family of two or a family room which can hold a family of four. Prices for each accommodation are listed on their website. The Amtrak Autotrain is an overnight trip so you may choose to get a room for sleeping, or if you are looking to save a few dollars, you can sleep in the coach seats. The seats are roomy and recline to allow sleeping.
Meals are served in a dining car and a snack car is available for finger food snacks. Meal time selection is made upon checking in. Breakfast foods are available in the morning. The train tries to maintain a schedule of leaving the station by 4pm and arriving at the next station by around 8am. Allow time for them to unload the vehicles upon arrival.
Sit back and enjoy the scenery or just relax because you don’t need to drive. Taking the Amtrak Autotrain can start your vacation on the right note. You won’t be worn out from driving on the busy highways with other cars. Kids are able to get up and move around, and being able to stretch helps keep all the passengers relaxed. Restrooms are available on the train which is always a bonus when you have kids, as are special arrangements for clients with handicapped needs.
A movie is usually shown once or twice a night that is rated family-friendly. A lot of times the attendants are known for putting similar families together, families with small children with other families with small children.