Sunday, December 2, 2012

An Awesome Time Riding the Polar Express

Today we went to the most awesome event ever: The Polar Express at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, BC.

Aias is 100% obsessed with trains as you probably all know, so when we heard about this a few months ago while visiting the Roundhouse in Yaletown, I knew I had to keep my eye out for when tickets became available.  When you buy the tickets you have a choice of:

  • First Class - $39.00 + HST (all ages)
  • Coach - $24.00 + HST (all ages)
  • Polar Express Caboose - $50.00 + HST (all ages)

We were a little unsure which to choose, but when Morgan saw that caboose was an option he said we had to take the plunge and sink the money into buying caboose tickets.  I figured for $50 it was probably going to be a heck of a lot fancier and more fun than coach, right?

Sort of...

Put it this way, Aias is train obsessed.  Up until the point where I bought the tickets, he hadn't even seen the Polar Express movie, partially because I had forgotten about it and partially because I actually think it's a pretty boring movie. Once we decided to attend this event for sure, I acquired the movie and of course Aias enjoyed it, but mostly because it was trains trains trains + Christmas (his favourite things!).

The general idea of this Polar Express event is that kids and their families wear their PJs, take a ride on a real steam engine, and get to hang out at "the North Pole" and meet Santa.  Evidently in coach and first class, the kids are served hot cocoa and cookies and everyone sings Christmas songs.  This doesn't happen on the caboose, but I'll get to that eventually.

When we went to book our tickets for the caboose, it said it wouldn't book tickets for more than 2 people. I assumed this meant the caboose was full. I called the box office and explained that we would pay for a ticket for Aias, but that he could sit on our laps and so she put the tickets through.

When we arrived at the event, we discovered that we were the ONLY family in the caboose at the time... a private ride for us all!  The "downside" was that while we would be having hot cocoa and cookies, we would not be listening to the music or singing the Christmas songs.  I think if we had brought older children, this would have been a problem... however, Aias was TICKLED to be in a caboose.  I don't think he would have really liked being around other children (loud, etc) and he didn't really care about the Christmas songs. I mean, he loves Christmas songs, but when on a train he's just so engrossed in the glorious train-ery that songs of any kind take the back burner.

If you have a kid (or adult!) that is really obsessed with the technical workings of a train, the caboose is 100% for you.  If you have a kid who just really likes the Polar Express movie, you'll probably be just fine with coach or first class.  Next year we will probably do first class just so we can have the experience of seeing what its like.

Our private caboose!
We each got a souvenir mug; these were included with our ticket
Checking out the sights
The entrance to the park; we will definitely be returning in the summer
In the parking lot, excited!
Sitting on daddy's lap in the caboose
Family picture with Santa and Mrs. Clause at "The North Pole"
Sitting in mommy's lap on the opposite side of the caboose
The outside of our caboose!
The special bell Aias received from Santa and Mrs. Clause

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