View Full Version : Our 2013 combined birthday trip to WDW Part I

02-03-2013, 01:53 PM
Donna and I are both celebrating major milestone birthdays this year. Back in September, shortly before our October trip for the Food & Wine Festival, we decided that with her birthday in January and mine in March, we should make a February trip to WDW. When we looked at our work schedule we noticed that Friday February 15 was one of our regular day off and 18 February is Presidentís Day, a federal holiday. We thought this would be an opportune time to go as we could be gone for a whole week and only have to take 4 days of vacation time. We didnít even think about the fact that Valentineís Day was also that week. So we called our TA and asked her about room rates. However, because of the timing of our trip, discounts were not available for that time period. I called the Shades of Green resort and we were able to get in there for a good price, without having to pay taxes on the room. Next was a call to Amtrak to book the Auto Train, a train that runs from Lorton, Virginia, a few miles from our house to Sanford, Florida. You take your car on the train with you. The trip is long (17.5 hours per schedule) but it beats driving and the cost is about equal or less than it would cost to fly and rent a car. Plus, because we have our own vehicle we can fit more in it and not have to pay for extra luggage.

The trip begins on Wednesday 13 February. Our original plans were that we would leave our cat Cookie in the good care of our son and daughter in law. They would come over to the house every other day to look in on her. However, a couple of days before we left I had to take Cookie to the vet, afraid that she had another kidney infection. It turned out that it was a tooth infection instead, so she ended up on medication that she had to receive twice a day. So we decided we would board her. I took her in on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning Donna and I finished our packing and loading of the car and she fixed us a breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast. There would be no meat in our diet today as it was Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. After getting packed and the car loaded it was time for lunch. We headed out for the train station with a detour via the Long John Silverís Seafood Restaurant. This is a fast food chain that serves some pretty decent fast food fish. Donna ordered her regular Fish & More, fried fish with hush puppies, coleslaw and French fries. This is one of the few times she will actually eat any kind of fish or seafood. I had a combined fried Cod and Shrimp platter, also with coleslaw and fries. We then headed over to the train station. There were only a couple of cars in front of us as we checked in so we hoped for a light load but it wasnít to be. The train was almost full. The train boarded, as is customary at 2:30PM and departed the station shortly before its normal 4:00PM departure time. The train is run by Amtrak but CSX, the freight company owns the tracks. Therefore we have to yield to freight trains. Normally this isnít a major problem but for some reason, perhaps the major snowstorm that struck the East Coast north of us, the freight traffic was exceedingly heavy tonight. That and a malfunctioning signal, somewhere in South Carolina I think, made us 1 Ĺ hours late arriving in Sanford. So instead of getting in at 9:30AM we got in at 11:00. By the time our car finally rolled off of the train it was after noon. We headed down Florida 417 to Disney and a check in at our resort

Next Shades of Green and JIKO.

Saw this as we were about to enter WDW

Almost Home

Almost Home 2

SOG Entrance

Valentine's Gift

02-03-2013, 02:01 PM
YAYA this is one I was waiting for :) Good Start John! :yes:

02-03-2013, 02:15 PM
great start!! we saw that lobster beetle too...insane!

02-03-2013, 02:18 PM
I'm really looking forward to this report John :D

Love the Valentine gift in your room and the lobster beetle is really good :lol:

02-03-2013, 03:52 PM
Great start to your trip report John. Love the Valentine's gift.


02-03-2013, 07:27 PM
Ooooh I want to see the lobster car!:lol:

03-03-2013, 02:10 PM
Truly Nolan has yellow beetles done up to look like mice. The ears lay flat when the car stops and wind velocity pick them up with motion. Too funny! :lol:

04-03-2013, 01:19 PM
Great start!!!

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16-03-2013, 09:08 PM
Lovely way to spend a snowy Saturday afternoon, SD, thanks for posting...can't wait to read the others.

Love the valentine gift!

16-03-2013, 11:02 PM
I've always been interested in the auto train. How long does it take to get your vehicle when you finally get to Sanford?

And I love Long John Silver :lol: Strangely enough I like their chicken planks more than the fish :unsure:

10-04-2013, 04:29 PM
sounds like you guys got off to a great start....