A couple weeks ago, we were able to do the Polar Express with our local scenic railroad service, the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. They also brought Thomas to us earlier this year, so we knew it would be a pleasant activity for us all to enjoy. We were even able to go with our neighbors.
Jameson had never seen or read the Polar Express, so a couple hours prior to the trip, we watched the Polar Express movie to prepare him. He was excited to get in his pajamas and ride a train! Coraline meanwhile had to stay at home for this since it was so late in the evening. It was nice to be able to spend some time with just one bundle of energy!
When we first arrived, he had fallen asleep in the car on the way there, so he was a little grumpy but quickly warmed up after seeing Lily!
The kids got special golden tickets like in the book, and Lily even brought the book with her, so Jameson was able to look at the book before the train ride started. They advise to arrive early to all sit together, so we had about a half hour wait before the train got moving.
The helper elves came around while we were waiting and made name tags for the kids so that the elves could talk to them personally during our trip!
The men had to sit together in one seat so that we could make room for everyone (obviously no hardship, haha), but they were able to spread out after the train got moving and no one needed the extra seats across from them.
During our wait time, I took a lot of photos of the kiddos being silly. They both held on to their golden tickets tightly and no one lost them!
I loved Jameson in his monkey pajamas; for the past year or so, he has actually worn the looser two piece pajamas; these “footie” pajamas were a gift from last Christmas, and when I brought them out for this occasion, he was thrilled to put the “soft” pjs on. They’re now in regular rotation.
The men went to purchase popcorn for everyone, and the kids kept peering over and around their seats to look for them.
Finally the popcorn arrived! And the train started moving! Everyone stayed happy and occupied. Phew.
The next big event was the conductor coming around to punch their tickets. I love the look of shock and awe on their faces.
During our ride to the North Pole, they read the story with some interactive elements (like banners of scenes from the movie held and shown); Jameson didn’t really pay attention to that though. He was more interested in his ticket, the popcorn and cookie they brought out.
They also did hot chocolate, which wasn’t too hot for the kiddos. Jameson’s picky about chocolate though so he wasn’t too interested in the hot chocolate.
Another activity they did was have all the men do their best impression of Santa’s ho ho ho! Daddy wasn’t too great at it. We did have a slight delay from a tree branch (and some reindeer) on the rail but Jameson only got antsy toward the end.
And then we arrived! The North Pole was all lit up and elves were out to greet us. Santa and Mrs. Claus came out on the sleigh, and then Mrs. Claus left alone. We didn’t know it, but Santa had climbed aboard our train!
Surprise! Here comes Santa!
We had only talked to Jameson once prior to this about what he wanted Santa to bring but each time he is asked he says the same thing: a teddy bear. (Specifically, a teddy bear the size of Bobby bear so that Bobby bear has a friend). It is just so adorable that he wants a teddy bear for Christmas.
Jameson even told the big man himself on our train ride.
Santa Claus gave Jameson a bell, just like in the story and movie.
Our ride back was much faster, and my favorite part was singing Christmas carols from the signed book we got from the elves on our train car. Jameson knows Frosty the Snowman by heart; I loved watching him sing.
All in all, it was a wonderful event. We had so much fun, even with Jameson being under 3. He wasn’t old enough to appreciate all the activities on our trip, but just the other night he told us at the dinner table, from nowhere, that he had rode the Polar Express. He definitely remembered and had fun on our trip.