I utilized their 800# to make reservations April 1st for a mid-May trip. Their website would not accommodate reservations for both the train and the South Rim Motorcoach Tour and apply our AAA discount. Total for two adults $425. Northbound train was in the luxury dome and the southbound train was in first class. Tickets identify the train car by name (i.e. FRED HARVEY) and your seat number.
The station has a large souvenir shop, restrooms and a restaurant. Prior to boarding the train, everyone is herded to bleachers in front of an old western town background where a half dozen "cowboys", a "sheriff" and of course, a "volunteer" from the audience perform a very corny skit which includes a gunfight. This is merely to distract everyone while the train pulls into the station.
The luxury dome car had a partial glass dome-type window, but nothing like the Alaskan railroad glass domed cars, so if you have experienced those, this will disappoint. There was a mini-buffet continental breakfast (complimentary) and a cash-bar. Our car attendant was very knowledgeable and helpful with suggestions on what to see at the Grand Canyon (for those who didn't plan ahead) and the afternoon re-boarding procedures.
The first class car had spacious seating. There were complimentary trays of veggies, cheese, crackers and dip along with lemonade, along with a cash bar. Just about an hour outside of Williams, the same "cowboys" and "sheriff" "robbed" the train. We arrived back into the Williams station around 530pm.
Upon disembarking the train, we walked a short distance next to the track where we boarded our motorcoach. We opted for the no-buffet-lunch motorcoach tour so we had time to explore El Tovar Hotel and the Verkamp's Visitor Center after the tour. The motorcoach tour was approximately 1.5 hours with two stops with 15-20 minutes at each stop.
Due to the high cost, I would recommend this to only die-hard train buffs, like my hubby!
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