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Train ride to Walt Disney World: Getting there is half the fun.

25 August 2009 by Walt Disney World Recreation Examiner - Peggy Macdonald

Although the majority of travelers to Walt Disney World arrive by plane or automobile, many families have discovered that an old-fashioned train ride makes the journey to Disney almost as fun as arriving there. Amtrak's Silver Star and Silver Meteor trains provide service from destinations as far north as New York City and as far south as Miami. Grandparents, parents, and children can also board the train from myriad stops in between New York and Miami. Aside from the sheer pleasure of riding a train, one of the main advantages of train travel over airplane travel is space. Amtrak's coaches provide ample leg and elbow room for adults, and kids are free to walk up and down the aisles (under the watchful eyes of parents). Many families bring coolers with drinks, snacks, and bags of toys to occupy children. Each cluster of seats has an electrical outlet for riders to charge personal DVD players, MP3 players, cell phones, and laptops. Yet most kids will be too excited about riding the train to bother with electronic gadgets.

Just like the classic Disney cartoon where Mickey Mouse carries Pluto onto a train in a suitcase--only to be hounded by a villainous conductor attempting to enforce a no pets policy--a real conductor punches your ticket on the Amtrak train. If you're lucky, he or she might let you wear an official Amtrak conductor's hat. Another advantage over flying to Disney World is that passengers can visit the train's club car and dining car. This also beats driving, because riders do not need to stop to eat. The club car features casual dining: Snacks, meals, beverages, and domestic and imported beers are available for purchase. The dining car offers delicious hot meals served with an ever-changing view. Try the Railroad French Toast for breakfast, the Angus burger for lunch, and steak for dinner. Seafood, chicken, and vegetarian dishes are also available. The menu suggests fine wines that complement each dish. All meals are served at linen-covered tables with comfortable booth seating. First class tickets include meals in the dining car. Coach class passengers pay separately for meals.

As the train gets closer to the Orlando station, the conductor walks through the aisles announcing, "Next stop Disney World." For children, the excitement becomes unbearable. Although most Disney travelers get off at the Orlando station, the Kissimmee station (the next stop after Orlando) is actually closer to Walt Disney World. The small station is located in historic downtown Kissimmee. Taxi drivers greet riders at the station. The Osceola Parkway leads directly from downtown Kissimmee to Disney World. On the sad day that families' Disney vacations come to an end, travelers return to the train station for the journey home. There are no long security lines to grapple with and no worries about traffic on the Interstate. Other Amtrak passengers can spot families returning from Walt Disney World by their Mickey Mouse ears and large bags full of Disney souvenirs. Fortunately, Amtrak does not charge extra fees for most luggage, so Disney travelers can take plenty of loot on the train. The long train ride home provides families with a chance to regroup after their vacation and savor their new Disney memories.

For more information on taking a train to Walt Disney World, visit the official Amtrak Web site



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