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Transportation Discuss An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011 in the Vacation Planning forums; Off we head to WDW from Ohio via Amtrak out of Alliance....leave 2 hours late from station (Alliance has redid the old pick up point and it's alot better than ...
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    grumpy of ohio's Avatar
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    An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Off we head to WDW from Ohio via Amtrak out of Alliance....leave 2 hours late from station (Alliance has redid the old pick up point and it's alot better than the old) modern lighting and small building but still the same distance from the parking lot...long walk....

    Trip to Washington DC a normal train ride....temps perfect and very considerate people aboard...we arrive in DC, alittle late but we have a big layover before heading out south bound....wish they would tighten up that layover....6-8 hours is a long layover and they won't let you book a round trip using the earlier train out of DC...have to book the later train....so we sit and parade around Union Station...huge bigger than a mall with shops and places to eat and grab food and what not....boarding time finally arrives and we get a Red Cap to take us to the train before all others board....we're settled in our seats and not going anywhere....okay, alittle delay but after 2 hours of not moving and just sitting on the train in station, they announce a problem has occurred south of DC....we wait again and they say to get off the train, it's not going anywhere....

    We go back to the terminal and inquire about the trip, along with everyone else headed south and they (one particular Amtrak employee) to go home...trains not running south so wherever you are from or cmae in on....leave and go home....WHAT?....are you kidding....there are people that came from California and Chicago and us from Ohio just can't turn around and go home.....after alot of irateness and confusion on Amtrak's part, someone in more charge than the original idiot begins to plan for the guests and traveling directions to help us in our hour of need.....they provided each of us a 30 dollar food voucher, hotel room for the night and transportation to the hotel and back to the station as needed....okay, we're not leaving DC this night so away we go, to call at 7 am the next morning to find out what's what....

    We're put up in a new Marriot, breakfast buffet in the am and we call Amtrak at 7 am and told we'll leave at normal time...fine we're on schedule and at least headed south one day late (we called Disney and explained the situation and they took off that first night of our vacation) but as we meet others in our hotel and listen to there phone conversations with Amtrak, we got alot of different stories....some say trains running...some say no trains running.....we decide to check out and head to Union Station and hear from Customer Service people first hand...beginning approach they say no trains running, tracks still washed out south of DC but later say motor coaches are ordered to take all passengers headed south to Richmond Virginia to board the train on the other side of the disruption to Florida.....so we board buses, schlep all our luggage again to the front of Union Station and board for the 4 hour bus trip to Richmond.....5 chartered buses made the journey and we finally board the train and make our way to Kissimmee...

    Rest of the trip is uneventful...we arrive in beautiful Kissimmee...sun is out and our daughter and son in law that drove to Florida beat us there and were at the depot to pick us up and head to Disney (we had Sunray booked as our car service and called them with our situation and they understood and would stand by if and when we needed them) but we cancelled them entirely (very nice of them) with no problems and arrive in WDW, WL one day late.....what an experience...

    We sort of formed alot of traveling friends from that first night in DC episode and even talked about renting a van and sharing costs to get to Florida (prices had doubled over the train disruption) (Greyhound prices had tripled) and airlines were thru the roof.....so we were stuck with Amtrak's answer the next day. Seemed strange to say good bye to people we didn't know but spent alot of time with during this situation....most hugged, shook hands and we like best friends....

    Just our story to be prepared for anything when traveling, especially with Amtrak...that your trip can go haywire and leave you stranded.....but the out come was okay and all were safe.....

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    HauntedGabe's Avatar
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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Amtrak experience doesn't surprise me. My DS rode Amtrak for the last 3 years from Central IL to Chicago Union Station very frequently. I believe a half a dozen times he actually made his connecting train and that maybe generous.

    This summer he was stuck in Union to head back to Central IL and for 2 hours nothing but being told delayed. I finally called the 1 800 number and they called Union and relayed real info to me, I phoned DS and he told passengers and Amtrak employees what was really going on. Geesh!


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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    We've used Amtrak for alot of trips....over 20 and some were great and some so-so but this last was the pits......

    As for the vacation..what can I say...perfect....ideally perfect. Wilderness Lodge has never let us down in over 10 stays....we had a courtyard view of the main pool, 6th floor with enclosed balcony which was perfect for our granddaughter (20 months). The Lodge seemed empty, hardly anyone in the pool most days and the weather was great, 90's and no rail all week.

    Parks were not crowded at all, most attractions were walk ons, got into alot of restaurants as walk ins also. We did everything we wanted to accomplish, got our granddaughter a pony ride at FW.....oh what memories we made.......can't wait for the next trip...already in the planning stages!

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Thanks for the info on Amtrak.

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Just to add a follow up on Amtrak......along with the 30 dollars food money for each of us, the hotel room for the night....they called and gave us a 155.00 voucher for the disruption.......though an act of mother nature and losing a night in WDW, which they took off our reservation....all in all not a bad deal......it's just aggravating to be stranded in another state/city and trying to get your bearings and how to proceed further......the chartered buses were not that bad, it was basically how they (Amtrak) handled the initial breakdown without consulting anyone in authority before making crude comments initially.....

    We'll still use Amtrak but brush up on our own contingency plans for the future...

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    I have been lucky with my trips from Connecticut to WDW. The latest I have been getting to Orlando was about 45 Minutes. I wish Amtrak had controll of the rails south of DC. I think the service would be better. The owmer of the rails does a good job moving freight,but Amtrak is not a high priority. I am looking forward to my next train trip to WDW. I recently took Amtrak from Orlando to Ft Lauderdale and our train was two hours late, because of a mechanical problem with another train.

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Headed south from DC to anywhere in Florida is a **** shoot.....can be on time or late...you just never know...but we're alright with that...no hurry on our part but the wife does get antsy when we're running late and wants all her time in WDW...

    She and her sister (sister first train trip) took the train to Chicago for a weekend shopping trip, stayed over night and returned home....sister loved it....so much space, great dining...I think she's become a convert..

    We're booked for January to WDW with the voucher from Amtrak....even sitting at home, I can hear the freight whistles and it brings back the relaxing feeling of riding Amtrak to Florida....so many trips we've taken via Amtrak....especially in the cold winter months, snow blowing outside, we're all bundled up in our seats, blankets pulled up, drink in hand watching the country roll by, snow covered without a care in the world....others ought to give it a try instead of blowing across this great country at 35,000 feet seeing nothing....

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    I have never done a winter trip yet. I love being in my cozy little roomette watching the countryside roll by. The scenery is so diverse. Urban and industrial from NY to DC . Rural, natural and some industry to Florida. I hope all goes well on my upcoming trip. And Yours as well.

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Being from Ohio, we like to see the different shades of dirt heading south and know we're close when the brown turns to red, then palm trees and sand.....stupid but it's what we like.....as for traveling in winter...try it....when you look out, it's like traveling in hyperspace at night.....snow filling the air and blowing by.....

    Occasionally we do a roomette from DC to Kissimmee....not too bad a deal, we never reserve but ask on board, get some great deals but that little roomette is getting alittle claustrophobic for me any more but it is a nice change from coach...meals are fantastic included in the sleeper....

    Somethimg about traveling south in the winter, leaving in the snow and arriving in Florida dressed for the north....worst part is heading home, dressed for Florida and arriving home, to snow and ice, scraping the ice of the car and driving home......it's why we tend to do Florida in the fall months instead of the winter...but we're scheduled for January and we'll see....

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Well, we're 20 days out from our 46 trip to WDW, via Amtrak....though just there, we want to use up the voucher from Amtrak and get a couple of trips out of our AP's.......

    We're also planning to return to WDW in July for our son in laws conference and stay a week in WDW with them...but we're driving down this time.....so we'll get 3 trips on our AP for the year.....nothing better than hitting Disney and not having to buy tickets....24 park days on a AP.....love it and naturally we'll be staying at the WL....

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    I think that this may need to be on my bucket list. I think it would be interesting to travel like that at least once in my life time.


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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    I must admit...it's not for a fidgetity person....we love boarding at 3am and getting to our seats as the train begins rolling on.....it's a unique experience....we settle in, cover up with our blankets (we travel mostly coach) recline our seats, pop in the earphones and drift off to sleep....

    First leg of trip is Alliance Ohio to DC.....we got a big layover in DC but the station is huge...alot of shopping and eateries.....then we board around 6:30 pm and head south....again, we nestle into our seats real high backed reclining seats, foot and leg rests, and watch Washington slip by......now we're on our way to WDW......

    We get into Kissimmee at 1pm the next day (really not that bad of a trip, alot of time but it's relaxing time) and the car service picks us up, off to the grocery store for food and beverages and we're finally home (WL over 10 stays there).....no greater feeling then getting of in Florida and feeling the hot sun.and know we've arrived......I don't fly, so it's the train or stay home...driving days are over too...too hectic and stressful and on the train we can walk about, use the restrooms, or just daydream while the train makes miles to Florida....when we're sleeping, train still moves...not like a car....you should try it some trip.....really sensibility priced too..round trip for the 2 of us...450.00..

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Kinda of takes the romance and adventure out of riding the train.

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Quote Originally Posted by prickle View Post
    Kinda of takes the romance and adventure out of riding the train.
    Not really, even after our many train trips, this was something novel.....we got to spend one night, have dinner and breakfast all on Amtrak.....if it didn't cut out Disney stay by 1 night.....whether traveling by plane or car or train, alot of unforseen problems can arise and it's all in how they are handled.....rather be on the ground for problems and not really in our car out somewhere on a freeway......though it was an inconvenience, handled poorly at the onset, corrected mid stream with a gteat outcome.....plus, relaxing in a comfy seat on the train with the convenience of getting up, walking around, enjoying a drink, taking a nap and using a restroom....all has advantages....there's still romance and adventure in riding the rails, better not to dwell on the negative,.....but be positive on what can be corrected.....I still recommend the train over driving.....since I don't fly....over flying too....great way to see America....

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    Re: An Amtrak experience from last week 9-8-2011

    Great attitude, grumpy of ohio, it always comes down to the way a person handles the situation. I too am over flying! As a kid I always rode the Eastern seaboard train from Avon Park Florida to Stamford Conn. great ride.

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