For the last few months, we’ve stared out of The Real Estate Shoppe window at Progresso Plaza and watched the construction of the Brightline High-Speed Railway at our doorstep, excited for the day it would open.
“Brightline is the new benchmark for travel by train in America with express inter-city passenger rail service connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, with future service to Orlando. Providing a travel option that lives at the intersection of transportation and hospitality, the service will ease the stress of traffic, provide a simple and intuitive experience from door to destination, and foster new opportunities to explore more of Southeast Florida.”
Well, that day finally came last week and we JUMPED at the opportunity to try it out. For now, parking is Free at the Fort Lauderdale station and the garage is actually REALLY cool looking.
We walked into the lobby and were greeted by a handful of smiling faces, eager to help us navigate the booking process. We encountered a few glitches with the ‘self-checkout’ booking station but were quickly redirected to the counter where the attendant helped us get our tickets straightened out.
They even gave the girls the CUTEST Brightline pins – which they excitedly wore all day!
We also gifted Alex a classic, simple, easy to use Compass this week to use for Nature Walks… so, of course, we brought it on our very first train ride adventure.
Now, these trains are definitely not your classic chugga-chugga-choo-choo trains. “Each Brightline train is built as an integrated trainset, comprised of two diesel-electric locomotives and four high-quality stainless-steel coaches. These clean diesel-electric locomotives will meet the highest emissions standards set by the federal government. The integration improves ride quality and makes for a quiet experience, while the bright yellow locomotive on each end offers high reliability and redundancy.”
You could feel the glitz and glamour of the shiny new system from the second you made it into the building. With clean lines and a sleek feel, the entire experience felt futuristic – as if you were participating in something cutting edge. My girls loved the bright yellow escalators, most.
They even had a kids lounge where these goofs got to play while we waited for our boarding call.
Boarding begins 15 minutes before the train departs, which is actually less chaotic than I would expect it to be. Everyone kind of gathered their belongings and made their way to their seats with very little issues. Train cars are clearly labeled, and seats numbered, so there was plenty of time to get comfy before “take off”.
And off we went! The insides of the trains felt pretty fancy. The seats were comfy, spacious and I loved that our four seats faced eachother with a table. Click here for the full tour and more info about their fleet.
Papi got to work during our ride because, Free Wifi!
During the ride, an attendant passed out complimentary water and offered us snacks for purchase. We opted for the “Smart” ride ticket, which was a few dollars less than the upgraded ticket, but the ride from Fort Lauderdale was so short it didn’t really matter to us.
Once we arrived at the West Palm Beach Station, which is conveniently located RIGHT off Clematis Street, we ventured off to explore!
Photography by Chech! lol
We grabbed some Pizza and marched down Clematis and SURPRISE – we stumbled upon a Super Car Show! Papi was so excited to show Alex all the different supercars and the girls even got to sit in a BMW i8! They felt like “superheroes”!
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the train station for our trip home!
The girls recorded their first train ride in their Journals and Alex guided us in the right direction with her compass! We were all pretty tired from all the walking and ready to get home to relax.
Now, at $10 an adult, $5 per kid, per ride, our whole trip cost us $60. While it saved us time and hassle of driving and paying for parking, it was truly more of a convenience than a bargain. I’m excited to see what their Monthly Pass pricing structure looks like because that may be an option for us – especially once the Miami Station opens! We’re looking forward to Miami because this Miami Heat needs a quick, easy way to get in and out of downtown Miami on gameday. We were really excited to find out that Brightline is also the official transportation partner of the Miami Heat and will offer special deals for season ticket holders, YAY! We also hold Frost Museum Annual Passes and it would be a DREAM to get in and out of there by public transit with the kids!
Overall we had a marvelous time on Brightline and would positively do it again. It was delightful to not have to worry about parking, and car seats, and having to go to the bathroom and just relaxing while we traveled to our destination.