Monday, December 1, 2014

All Aboard The Santa Express!

Santa gave the minis their second Experience Sunday morning (read about our Year of Experiences here: He left a note explaining they would be going on the Santa Express! Mom and Dad slept in a bit later than they had planned and had only a short time to get ready before hitting the road for the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad ( The minis dressed in their new jammies (found at Children's Place), grabbed blankets, and off we went!

I'm so very thankful Hubs remembered from our ride on the Pumpkin Express that the train cars are not heated. We brought along winter coats, hats, gloves, and blankets. We failed to bring any scarves with us and by the end our noses were cold.

Our train left promptly at our scheduled 1:00 p.m. departure time. The first part of the train ride, there was an "elf" reading holiday books to the children (all wrote by local authors). Halfway through the ride, the train stopped at the North Pole. Santa boarded the train and gave each child a Christmas bell. Elves delivered hot chocolate and cookies.
My favorite part of the day: Harrison asked me what Santa liked to eat. I replied "the same food as you and me." Of course, twenty minutes later when Santa boarded the train, Harrison promptly asked him "do you like mac and cheese???!!?" Please note, Santa does in fact like mac and cheese and he may be getting that instead of milk and cookies on Christmas Eve.
On the other side of the train were Santa's reindeer (that I failed to get a picture of).
Awesome views from high up on the tracks!
The 40 minute car ride back home was silent. I'd say it was a very successful train ride!

Here are a few tips if you plan on taking your little ones on the Santa Express:
  • Wear warm clothes, coats, gloves, and scarves since the train cars are not heated.
  • Bring blankets to cover up with.
  • Have your kids wear their jammies.
  • Bring your own holiday books to read. It's an hour long train ride. While each train car has its own "elf" reading you a couple of holiday books by local authors, there is still some down time. I wish we would have brought a couple of our favorites and read them--I'm pretty certain the other kids around us would have enjoyed this also.
  • Choose one of the afternoon (or late afternoon) train ride times. Don't go at night when it's dark or you won't be able to see anything out the windows. The views kept our minis entertained most of the ride.
  • Bring extra crayons. At the start of the train ride, the kids receive a coloring book. They only had enough crayons for one per kid. Bring your own pack so the kids have some color choices.
  • The train begins loading a half hour before departure time. I recommend getting to the depot about 45 minutes before your departure time. This way there's plenty of time to pick up your tickets from the ticket window, head to the restrooms one last time, and board the train so you can pick out your seat.
  • Leave time for the gift shop--lots of cool stuff in there plus there's a Thomas train table set up for the kids to play at.