Allll Aboard!!! The Wests are heading South!
About This Page: This is a discussion on Allll Aboard!!! The Wests are heading South! within the Sharing the Adventure: Disney World Trip Reports, part of the PassPorter Community - Boards & Forums on Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise Line, and General Travel; !...
Welcome! We're happy you've found the PassPorter Community -- the friendliest place to plan your vacation to Walt Disney World, Disney Cruise Line, Disneyland, and the world in general! You are now viewing the PassPorter Message Board Community as a guest, which gives you limited access. As our guest, feel free to browse our messages by selecting the forum you want to visit from the list below.
To post messages and ask questions, join our FREE community today and you'll get access to tools and resources not available to guests, such as our vacation countown timers, "living" avatars, private messaging system, database searches, downloads, and a special PassPorter discount code. Registration is fast, simple, and completely free. Just click the Join Our Community link.
Hello! Let's get this train a rollin'! So, we headed down to DC so my DH could drop us off at Union Station for our first ever Amtrak experience. The traffic was bad, of course. Saturday in the spring thru DC?. Luckily, my hubby still loved me by the time he dropped us off. We hauled our bags (1 suitcase + 1 carry on bag each) through the terminal and got checked in. We found our gate with about an hour and a half to wait. This is where I discovered that train travel is not like air travel. You can just get there maybe a half hour early and be fine. I went to the food court and waited FOREVER in the line at Bojangles to get some dinner, then we ate at the gate. Boarding was a breeze, since we checked the suitcases and soon we were chugga chugging our way south. DD and I were sitting together on one side of the aisle, with DS across the way in the "stranger seat". He was not happy , but he lasted long enough for DD and I to watch "Romeo and Juliet", (the Leonardo DeCaprio version), on my Kindle Fire. It was getting late, so I traded seats with him and read for a while. DD and DS seemed to be having fun, so I tried to doze off. This is not as easy as it may sound. I am tall (5'9") and it was very difficult to get comfy with a (snoring) stranger next to me. I dozed off and on, and then my seatmate exited the train at 5 am in Savannah. After that, I was much more comfortable and was able to get some rest. After the kids woke up, DS and I headed to the dining car for some breakfast. We ended up in the sit down car because the cafe car was closed at that time. He had french toast and bacon, I had the continental (activia yogurt, special K, and a corn muffin). I got a kids french toast and bacon "to go" for my DD who had stayed behind to keep an eye on our stuff. The total for three breakfasts? About $30 with tip.. Getting used to those Disney prices early, I guess. Anyway, I napped a bit more while the kids watched movies, then we pulled into the Orlando station right on time at 1:55pm. Only complaint about train travel? The bathrooms (shudder) and not sleeping great.
When we got to the station, we headed off to pick up our bags. This was very unorganized, but I did have a "star" sighting. Standing in front of me was the red haired Dr. with the goatee from ER. I have since looked up his name (Matthew something, I think?)but it did not stay in my brain. He was totally recognizable to me since I used to love ER. He had decided to take his family on the train because he did that with his parents when he was a kid. Very cool .
After securing our bags, we headed inside where I got in line at the Hertz counter while the kids grabbed a seat with our bags. There were maybe 4 people in front of me, so of course it took 45 minutes for my turn. You read that correctly...45 minutes! I was so irritated with how slow they were (2 employees). I finally got my turn, and then had to wait ANOTHER 20 minutes for them to bring my car from the lot. Brother! Of course, it didn't have any gas in it, but they gave me the neverlost gps thing for free. Gee, thanks! Oh, and they talked me into prepaying for the gas. Doesn't that mean I get it full and return it empty? I think I need to call and complain about that...
Anyway, enough of my whining. We hit the road and fueled up the car and ourselves (Wendy's drive thru) and got to Jacksonville around 4:30. We had a nice evening visiting my BFF and her sweet little girls (and her hubby). She made me borrow her running shoes to go for a nice long walk, but they were a little snug, so I ended up with a nice fat blister on my heel. Luckily, my footwear for the rest of the week consisted of three different pairs of flip flops, so I wouldn't be bothered by that too much. Monday morning, we got up and got ready and went wig shopping while the kids stayed home to occupy her girls. I believe I mentioned that my bff just underwent a double mastectomy and started chemo last Friday. She was very happy that I got to go on such an important outing with her. After two hours at the wig shop, we hit Chipotle for lunch and then did some serious sundress shopping at TJ Maxx. If you are losing your hair, it is very important to feel pretty, so she is well stocked. I headed home to get the kids, who were anxiously waiting to go back to Orlando. As much as we love my friend's family, we were very anxious to head to our happy place.
Up next: We're finally here...what's first???
So we left my friend's house around 6 and had to promptly turn around and go back to get the laundry we had left in the dryer. Side bar: why is it that I can never seem to leave without having to go back and get something I forgot? It is a real problem! Anyway, back on the road with a quick stop at MickeyD's for food for the kids and a drink for me. We got to the Sanford area and decided to hit a Piggly Wiggly for some supplies for the room. We got the basics, muffins, milk, donuts, yogurt, string cheese, fruit, and bottled water. Back on the road and pulling in to POFQ at about 8:30pm. Went straight up to the counter and got my room packet. I let them know that we were travelling with another party who would be arriving on Wednesday and it took Matt a few minutes to hook it up so we would have our rooms close to each other. Went back out to get the kids, parked in front of building 3 and unloaded the car. We were on the second floor, in the back of the building. It was a great location, a minute away from the main building, pool, and laundry room. We unpacked and organized a bit and then we headed out! First stop? MK to activate our APs and get a few rides in before the park closed at 1am. By the way, seems like I had checked all the park hours recently, but they added an hour to closing at MK for the whole week. No complaints here! Just more time to play! We walked to the bus stop (took maybe 2 minutes) and voila! Here is a bus going our way. We got on and were across from a super cute family of mom, dad, grandpa, and 2 adorable little ones. They had been at MK earlier and were heading back after a 5 hour nap! The little girl was just talking away from across the aisle to my DD. She loves little ones and the feeling is mutual. She invited little Hayden Grace to come over and sit by her as it was hard to hear her sweet little voice over the roar of that big old bus. You would think she was having a personal meeting with a real Disney Princess! She was so cute and just chatted away to Peyton the whole ride. I think she would have been thrilled if we could have stayed together all night, but alas, we parted ways at the bus depot. Her dad told me that she is 4 and is just fascinated by "big girls". So stinkin' cute!
Anyway, we waved good bye and hightailed it to guest services to get our passes. I ended up with Mickey, DD got Pluto, and DS got Donald. Right, let's gooo!!!! Through the turnstiles and straight thru the "secret" path to avoid the crush of humanity on Main Street. It was about 10:45 by now and they were deep into Wishes. We headed to check out the wait time on SP...60 minutes and no FP left...maybe later! On to Fantasyland. We love Barnstormer and there was no line! We hopped right on, the kids in the front car, me right behind them. In all our excitement to be on our first ride, Cannon totally forgot he was wearing a hat...not just any hat, his Ravenclaw hat, direct from Harry Potter World. Of course, I was firsthand to witness it flying off his head and see his distraught look as he realized what had happened. We finished the ride and went straight to the young CM and told him what happened. He said they wouldn't be able to get it until the park closed, but that we could collect it from City Hall the following day. Fine. As we were walking out, we saw his hat, sitting all alone in the middle of the pathway, behind a locked gate. I could almost have reached it, if I was Mr. Fantastic. I walked back up and let the lady CM running the ride know that we had spied the hat and where it was. She repeated the spiel the first CM had given, so off we went, planning to come back the following night to retrieve his hat.
We decided to head over and check out the wait for Peter Pan...also a no go. Headed aroung the corner to Frontier Land, where I decide I was STARVING! I hadn't eaten since Chipotle at 2 and it was now after 11. I decided a corn dog sounded good, so hit the stand and got one for DS (12 and always hungry...lol) and one for myself. DD got a frozen lemonade and we got a bottle of water, total cost $15.57. I don't know what kind of magic they used, but that was the most delicious corndog I have EVER had. Mmmm, I thought about it all week and became a bit obsessed, I'm slightly embarassed to admit! LOL! My hunger sated, we headed back and rode HM. DD has decided she likes to ride this one alone, so I worked at scaring the britches off DS. I would like to think I succeeded. Sometimes it's just too easy. After HM, we wandered through the short cut to see if the Jungle Cruise was up and running. We were surprised to se that YES it was! I can't remember riding this one at night, but as there was a 0 minute wait, we set sail. Let me just say this: Evan is the craziest river boat captain ever. I don't know if it was because it was late and dark or what, but we sat right up in front and he had us in pain from laughing so hard. I know the jokes are bad, that's part of the charm. This guy was just a little (ok aLOT) ummm...nutso! Wow. My kids have a new appreciation for this ride after that journey. We had a great time. After we disembarked, we finished off the night with a trip through PotC. Perfect! Back up Main Street, we hit the shops for our essentials: new lanyards all around, a 2012 lanyard pouch for me, and 2012 pins for the kids (they each have a different style they get annually). Cost with AP discount- $56.22. Yes! I have succesfully rode rides, had yummy treats and bought souvenirs. Time for bed, where we hit heads to pillows by 1 am, with an alarm set (we thought...uh oh!) for 6:45 in order to be at AK by 8am for opening.
So how did that alarm work out? Stay tuned to find out!
Oh I was so happy to see the title to your trip report. Thank you for sharing about your experience on the train. We have been tossing around that idea. I know your bff was glad to have you all come visit and be with her. That is what good friends are for. I look forward to reading more about your trip.