Remember a few months ago when we all went to Disney? No? Well we did.... Now I'm not one for flying. The luggage restrictions, the thought of checking a stroller or containing a child in a tube in the air for a few hours, all these things worry me. Not to mention I just am afraid of it. So we always drive down to Disney. We have done it several ways; we've driven straight through during the night, straight through during the day, we've broken it up into one longer leg and then a slightly shorter one...etc. And this last time we decided we would try the Auto Train for the return trip. The departing station is about 45 minutes away from WDW, and the arrival station is in Lorton, VA, which is about a two and a half hour drive from our home. Still some driving, but basically a drop in the bucket in comparison to the other option. And we were all excited. My dad got us two adjoining sleeper cars and we were quoting White Christmas all the way.
We arrived early enough to check in, just like if we were flying. All be told the kids waited in the terminal for close to two hours. There was no security like when flying either, anyone could bring anything on board. After boarding it was another hour and a half until the train finally departed Sanford. At that time the rest of our group (that all flew) was literally pulling into their driveways back home. Just to put things into perspective.
And just a short 16 hours later we got off the train into another terminal and awaited the arrival of our vehicles, which took about another hour. Now I know that math isn't my forte but that's a really long time. It's a really long time for an adult, not to mention three little ones coming off of a Disney vacation high...
We joke that the room we stayed in, the two rooms technically, were smaller than our king sized mattress at home. The sleeping arrangements were tight, with Matt and David on what was less than a single size bunk. My parents shared a bed I would say was less than a double and Dom and I wrestled over the mirror image of that bed. Letty had the best situation being all by herself. Lucky thing. There was no room for a pack and play and no room for a baby who no longer likes to co-sleep. He spent the majority of the night using me as a pacifier so that he wouldn't wake up the other room mates. I cried trying to get him down. Nonna had to come to the rescue as mothers are so very good at doing.
Other than sleeping arrangements I would say the food was better than an airplane's, and we were able to walk to the dining car to get it. I tried to enjoy my dinner while holding Dom as high chairs were non-existent but that just wasn't working. So we rather quickly decided to take turns with dining. There was a bar car which was really the cat's pajamas. Wine can cover all manner of sins.
The bathroom was one of those shower over the toilet deals. Like wet floor around toilet from prior occupants deal. But it was ohhhh so nice to have it be our own shower over toilet deal.
I think my least favorite thing other than getting Dom to sleep would be the rocking. The train was a double decker and I felt that it rocked more because of that? But what do I know, I'm no train expert. I kept jolting awake and was up googling Amtrak derailments a great deal that night. It was bad. I was nervous. I just kept praying the conductor would slow down and that we would get home safely. Ridiculous really. And then I felt like I was still on the train hours and hours later. It was an odd feeling.
It was definitely something different to do, and we really appreciate my parents hooking us up so we could experience the Auto Train. It was an awfully big adventure! Yet thinking about my concerns regarding flying I believe that we could handle the flight... Fear of death. Check. Waiting in terminal. Check. Small confined spaces for hours. Check.
So next time? I will drive once more. Most definitely probably drive...