If you are headed to Florida this year, and your route takes you through Northern Virginia, consider letting Amtrak drive you and your car. Conveniently located right off Interstate 95 and Route 1 in Fairfax County, Amtrak's Lorton Auto Train Station could mean a relaxing trip for your family.
We've taken Auto Train many times, and always have fun. The train leaves Lorton, Virginia in the afternoon and arrives in Sanford, Florida the next morning. Sanford is approximately half an hour north of Orlando.
Aboard the train, there is a wine tasting before dinner and a movie in the lounge every night. The food is top quality, and even the kids' mac 'n cheese is a favorite with the crew. You can ride in coach or upgrade to a roomette or deluxe bedroom with a private bathroom. We usually splurge on a private room with crisp linens, comfy pillows and warm blankets. The car attendants spoil us. During the day, the beds convert into sofas. For couples, there is nothing like the forward propulsion of the train to add a little something new to your relationship.
Due to time and space limitations, parties of one to three will be seated with other travels in the dining car. Don't balk, we've met lovely (or memorable) people on every trip.
We usually tip $1 per person at the continental breakfast, $5 per person for dinner and $10 per person to the room attendant.
It takes about an hour for them to unload all of the cars. Make sure to apply sunscreen, we got sunburned one year. We have never had a problem with damage to our vehicles.
I booked our summer vacation today. We're taking the Auto Train south and heading to Walt Disney World. The Caribbean Beach Resort, one of their moderately priced hotels, has new pirate themed rooms and my daughter is over the moon we have one reserved. We have stayed in the Animal Kingdom Lodge the past few trips, but since we are at the parks from opening until closing, it was kind of silly to pay for a Savannah view room when we couldn't see the animals in the dark anyhow. We won't be staying at the budget friendly Disney All Star resorts anymore, because the campuses are too spread out and we got "granny hips". It was bad enough our feet hurt from walking the amusement parks, but to have to walk a few more miles twice a day just to get to and from our room, the cafeteria, pool and parking lot, wasn't worth the money savings.