Taking the train to WDW

January 10, 2018, 9:18 AM

OK...I need expert advice from the people who know.

We decided for a switch, this fall we would take Amtrak to WDW. The thing is, no one in my party has ever traveled by train so it's a new experience for all of us. We are boarding in Baltimore Md but I do not know which station in Florida is best to disembark. It appears all train stations are not created equally and we will have luggage.

Then what transportation service is best to get us to WDW? We aren't renting a car and I am not a fan of Uber. ANY advice on making these plans would be greatly appreciated! ^_^

Replies (10)

Edited: January 10, 2018, 9:54 AM

Unless something has changed recently, the Magical Express does not pick up from either the Orlando or Kissimmee Amtrak stations. Kissimmee is slightly closer, so the taxi fare should be a little less. All taxi's in and around Orlando are expensive though, so be warned. Mears transportation is the main one in the area. It's almost a coin toss to decide which is the best station, but I know some people stop at Orlando, catch the Lynx public transport to OIA and then get the DME from there to the resort. Hope this helps.

Edited: January 10, 2018, 10:37 AM

If you're considering boarding in Baltimore, why not drive the extra 90 minutes and put your car on the Auto Train in Lorton, VA? Prices for the Auto Train can be a bit higher, but if you want to avoid having to pay for ground transportation over a week-long trip (or longer), the extra cost may be worth it.

The Orlando Amtrak station is in Downtown Orlando (right off I-4), but the only way to transfer from there to the parks would be by taxi/uber or a circuitous bus route that could take upwards of 2 hours.

January 10, 2018, 4:38 PM

That's great advice from Russell. Unless you want to be held captive at WDW, having a car is a huge advantage in spread out central Florida. If you are dead set against taking your car along for the fun, I still will recommend Uber. I've used it in lots of major cities in several countries and always found it to be easy, affordable and fast.

Edited: January 10, 2018, 6:29 PM

So, you are train riding instead of a plane? I wish I could ride a train that far (Only local thing is Sun Rail). Now what options you can take if you go the train route, includes...

The closest one to Disney World would be the Kissimmee Amtrak Station. At the train station, there's a few Lynx Bus routes going to Disney. That would be route 56. The bus will drop off at the Transportation and Ticket Center which of course is the monorail to both Magic Kingdom and Epcot. But of course, once you exit the Lynx Bus, you can transfer to a Disney Bus going to any of the resorts on property.

Obviously if bus is not an option, then Uber or Lyft but stay away from Yellow Cab... I know you hate Uber, but Taxi's are way too much! The Disney Magic Bus runs from Orlando International Airport, so if you take the Amtrak, you can transfer to Sun Rail to the Sand Lake Road station, then take a bus or Uber/lyft to the airport and then use the Magic Express bus.

As for the Auto Train service, you take the car from Baltimore to Lorton and then, from Sanford to WDW.

January 11, 2018, 12:28 AM

I take the train four times a year from New Jersey. Been doing it since 2001. It's a long ride but to enjoy it there are a couple of steps:

1) You must get a roomette or a bedroom. Coach is too noisy and uncomfortable and you have no privacy.

2) Bring computers, ipads, books, music, movies, etc. to keep you busy.

3) Headphones so you can sleep well.

4) Arrive at the Orlando station. It's old but it has a retro Florida style that I love.

5) Uber is by far your best bet. A cab ride to Disney will cost you at least $75.

6) We've taken the Autotrain many times. There is only one stop (as opposed to the over 20 from NJ on the regular route) so it's a much smoother ride (but it isn't cheap).

I don't fly so I love Amtrak. It's pricey but it's worth it for me (and my family when they were young). Good luck!

January 11, 2018, 4:33 AM

Thank you everyone for the thoughts and ideas. I know Magic Express doesn't make drop offs at the train station which is fine. We are staying on property for the entirety so still the use of a vehicle isn't needed. I considered the autotrain but it's a much further drive than Baltimore.

Can luggage be removed from the train at any stop or only designated ones? I know you can only check luggage at certain stops so I didn't quite understand how it works when you get off.

We'll have a party of 4 with luggage so I couldn't imagine using Uber because of our needs. We might just order a van from Mears and be done with it. It's pricey, I'm sure. So that is why, distance wise, I thought the best bet was to choose whatever station is mileage wise, closer to WDW.

From just looking, we certainly will book roomettes. The whole reason for this is one of our party is against flying and I myself can't stand the 19 hour drive so the train sounded like a fun new alternative. But knowing nothing at all about it, it's adding a layer of stress.

January 11, 2018, 8:20 AM

Just because you're staying on-site at WDW doesn't mean a car is not needed. Relying solely on Disney Transportation can result in frustration and hours of delays. If you do have a car, and are staying on-site, you receive a pass from your resort that allows for free parking at all four theme parks, which can eliminate tons of hassle and delays getting to and from the parks (it also makes getting to Disney Springs much easier). It gives you the luxury to go off-site if you just need to get away to save a few bucks on a meal or need to grab something at Wal Mart. Remember, Disney WANTS you to be a captive audience on-site, and deliberately mark up necessities at their c-stores. They have very little motivation to get you where you want to go in a timely manner, and the performance of Disney Transportation shows it. If you're not staying at a monorail resort, the only reason to take Disney Transport would be to get a bus directly to the front of the Magic Kingdom so you can avoid the TTC. Any other bus transport at WDW should be avoided.

Disney makes it seem simple to visit WDW without a car, and while it can be done, I think it's far better and more convenient to have one, especially if you're planning on park hopping. Depending upon when you're traveling, the drive from Baltimore to Lorton, VA can be done in less than 90 minutes (certain rush hours could take upwards of 3-4 hours), and when you weigh the costs of loading your car on the Autotrain versus arranging ground transportation in Orlando and all of the annoyances of being "stuck" on WDW property without a car, it can be worth the extra expense and slightly longer drive to depart from Lorton.

"much further drive than Baltimore" - Does this mean you're already driving pretty far just to get to Baltimore? Have you investigated picking up the train in a closer city (Philly, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Newark)? You realize it's not cheap to park your car in Baltimore, right? If you're parking at the airport, even the economy lots are up to $9/day, and if you're parking at Penn Station, you have to shop around to reserve a space with highly variable prices.

January 11, 2018, 10:09 AM

Thanks Russell! And trust me, I understand completely the point you're making. But we are one of those odd families that LOVE being captive to Disney. For us, the magic is just sitting back and letting disney take care of everything. It does make it tricky to get in and out in this instance but we love not driving at all the entire week. And yes, the buses suck...and as far as that goes, so does the monorail these days! And I am going to be completely honest in saying, we always stay at the Poly but because I am so leery of the monorail in its current state, we are switching to a moderate resort.

We live closer to Baltimore than Virginia and we have friends dropping us off at Baltimore and picking us up so there's no parking concerns. I can honestly say, if the car was there, we would spend more time that week fighting over who had to drive!! :D

January 12, 2018, 9:40 PM

I'm pretty sure that when you check your luggage it can only go to one destination (unless you bring it into the room with you). Nothing stressful about the train so don't worry.

January 16, 2018, 6:21 AM

Thank you all for your input. We booked Amtrak yesterday from Baltimore to Orlando station. Orlando and Kissimee were equal distance (exactly 30 min) to Coronado Springs. Orlando was the bigger station. Mears is providing round trip service for $74. Pricey but tolerable all things considered. :)

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