Amtrak Autotrain 101

Welcome to this month’s Blogorail Blue Loop. Today we are sharing some tips to help you plan your Disney vacation.
Auto Train #6

Where does the train pick up passengers?

Amtrak Autotrain which runs from Lorton, VA to Sanford, FL.  The Autotrain is an excellent alternative for those people who are afraid to fly but don’t want to drive the entire distance either.

Auto Train #1

Lorton, VA is the northern loading point for the Autotrain.  Lorton is a 30 minute drive south on I-95 from Washington, DC.  So, people coming from the north still have to deal with traffic of the New York/Philadelphia/Baltimore/Washington DC megalopolis which from my perspective is the worst part of the drive, in terms of traffic.

Where does the train drop off passengers?

The train drops off passengers in Sanford, FL.  This leaves travelers a short drive from the train station to Walt Disney World.  Disney does not provide Disney’s Magical Express service from the train station to Walt Disney World or Orlando International Airport.  Guests, who do not have their car on board, will have to arrange their own transportation to/from Walt Disney World.  Guest, who do have their car, will just unload their car from the train and head to Walt Disney World.

What is the major advantage of taking the train?

The Autotrain can save 1800 miles of wear and tear on your car if you take the Autotrain round trip.  1800 miles puts most cars almost halfway to needing another oil change.  As a result, you may need to get your car serviced both before and after your trip to Walt Disney World if you drive the entire distance and not take the train.

Ok, this sounds interesting.  What is the train schedule?

The train’s schedule is easy to remember.  It leaves Lorton at 4 pm and it leaves Sanford also at 4 pm.  It takes just over 17 hours to make the trip on the train with a 9:29 AM arrival at each location.  Once your car is loaded onto the train, you don’t have to worry about another thing except relaxing and enjoying the ride while scenery going by your window.

Even though, the train leaves at 4 pm.  Amtrak starts loading cars as early as 11:30 am and recommends that you arrive by 2 pm.  NO VEHICLES WILL BE LOADED AFTER 2:30 pm.  If you are hauling a trailer, to ensure space for both the vehicle and the trailer, it must be loaded no later than 2 pm.  Two carry-on bags, per passenger, are permitted on the train.

How much does all this cost?

Riding the train can be as expensive, if not, more expensive than flying.  There are four different fare classes for the AutoTrain:

  1. Saver – least expensive fare
  2. Value – a more expensive fare – usually costs around $300, each way, for a family of four (two adults, two children ages 2-12)
  3. Flexible – even more expensive – can cost anywhere from $500 to $700, each way, for a family of four
  4. Premium – most expensive – the fare class allows guests to have their own personal room which converts into a sleeper car – can cost $700-900, each way, for a family of four
  5. Car fare – $436 round trip ($218 each way)

Auto Train #5Auto Train #8

Please tell me that I get fed?

Yes, the Autotrain does have dining cars which serves dinner.  The menu changes monthly.


What are the pros and cons of the Autotrain (according to friends of mine who have used the Autotrain)?


  • Only 8 hours of driving versus 24 hours (they, like Dad, live in upstate NY – your mileage may vary)
  • Pack as much as your car can fit
  • No need for a rental car
  • Arrive at your destination (Sanford or Lorton) rested at 10 am
  • Dinner and breakfast are included in the fare
  • Top notch service
  • The ability to get up and walk around without having to stop


  • Sleeping accommodations are expensive
  • Still a day of driving to and from Lorton (again your mileage may vary)
  • 18 hour train ride in tight quarters
For more information about the Autotrain, visit Amtrak’s Autotrain information page.

For more Disney trip planning tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

For more Disney trip planning tips,
check out the other great posts from the Blogorail!

Here is the map of our Magical Blogorail Blue | Disney 101 Loop:

Where To Move the Osborne Lights

As most of you know Disney has decided that this will be the last year for the Osborne Lights in their current location on The Streets of American at Hollywood Studios.  Both parties are saying that it will be last year for the lights at Walt Disney World which has disappointed many guests and has led them to question the decision to get rid of the lights?  My question is where could Disney move the lights?  I’ve come up with a few locations where they could move to.

Continue reading Where To Move the Osborne Lights

Top 5 Shows at Walt Disney World

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World just a couple of weeks ago, my family took in a lot of shows.  A lot more than we usually take in.  Usually, we go to one maybe two shows.  But this trip, we went to a lot more for some reason.  It wasn’t because the weather was bad (it was great!).  It wasn’t because the parks were crowded (they weren’t outside of Monday at Magic Kingdom and Saturday at EPCOT).  We just did a lot of shows.  Here’s my top 5 shows at Walt Disney World after going on my most recent trip:

Continue reading Top 5 Shows at Walt Disney World

Has the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival Grown Too Big?

This year is the 20th anniversary of the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival.  It is one of the most popular events on the Disney calendar as guests are able to sample food and beverage from around the world as well as close to home.   My family and I had the pleasure (or displeasure) of attending the festival this year after missing out on last year’s festival.

EPCOT’s World Showcase is the perfect venue for this event since each pavilion brings out the best its country has to offer and some additional countries join in the festival as well.  It is the one chance where the South Hemisphere has the opportunity to shine the World Showcase as Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, and Patagonia have booths.

Continue reading Has the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival Grown Too Big?

Adventures in Disneyland: Day 4 Part 1

After an evening with friends, we were up and ready to go right at park open.  The only parts of the park that we had attacked were Fantasyland, Toon Town, and parts of Tomorrowland.  We headed straight to Fantasyland and, most importantly, we went straight to Peter Pan’s Flight.  Even at park open, we had to wait about 30-40 minutes for the attraction, however, most of that time was spent dealing with a mechanical issue with the ride.  The good news was even with this wait, there were not enough people in the park to create extended wait times on other attractions.

Continue reading Adventures in Disneyland: Day 4 Part 1

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