by Erwin Mascardo
In January 2010, with our first child due to arrive in June, my wife Julia and I were planning our first family vacation to Walt Disney World for that December. While thinking about the logistics of how we would fly down with a baby and all the supplies required to care for a six-month-old, we started thinking hard about alternatives. We had thought about the Auto Train already, but hearing a glowing review on a travel podcast sealed our decision.
When all of the direct and indirect costs got added up, the train did cost more, but not by much. With all of the uncertainties of not knowing how our child would handle travel, we figured that the extra few dollars would buy us a lot of peace of mind.
We were proven right. We had room to spread out and relax, we could feed little Lily comfortably (not to mention eat well ourselves), and we all were well rested when we arrived in Sanford the next morning. At the end, we had our own car and our own car seat, and we were able to bring all of our baby supplies handily instead of having them shipped or buying them on site.
More to the point, we didn’t have to deal with any of the hassles of air travel. We were able to feed Lily easily because we could carry her formula and bottles on board easily. When she got fussy or needed a diaper change, we were able to take care of her without disturbing anyone else, and we had plenty of room to do those things. And because Mommy and Daddy were relaxed, Lily picked up on that and was in a better mood than she might have been if we were more stressed.
We followed up that December trip with a second trip to Disney in January to run some races. Being able to return home on time despite the ice storms while many of our friends had their flights canceled made us rail fans for life. From here on out, we don’t see ourselves flying anywhere the train goes, unless time is critical. Even when our daughter gets older, we see no reason to put ourselves through the headaches of air travel.
Thank you Amtrak.