I'd been hearing about the Polar Express train ride for a few years and we decided that 2017 was the year for us to try it! We didn't tell the boys ahead of time, but tried to grease the skids, so to speak, by watching the movie a lot leading up to the event! Pretty much any long-ish car ride warranted a Polar Express moving viewing. Stokes, especially, took to the movie!
So this train ride is in Bryson City, NC and it books up really early. I got our tickets back in October, which I felt pretty good about, until I realized that all the weekends were already booked and most of the first class trains were sold out and even still, the more desirable timeframes were sold out, even on week days. So, I found our best scenario and went for it.
We thought that Bryson City was near Asheville, about an hour and a half away, but it is a good bit further than that! This wouldn't be a huge issue if you got tickets for a Saturday or an afternoon or early evening departure, but our tickets were for 8:45 on a Sunday night. EEK. More on that later.
|The real Polar Express tickets for the boys. They even|
got hole punched!
|The boys had their Christmas pajamas on and were ready to go!|
I made them take a picture before we could leave :)
After consulting with a friend that had been there before, we decided to go up early and check out the town! It was really cute! We walked around and window shopped. It's really small though, and since it was a Sunday, several of the stores and restaurants were closed.
|This train provided a lot of entertainment!|
It's not the Polar Express, but was a big amusement for the boys,
After we'd pretty much walked through the main area a few times, and we ran out of things to do, we went ahead and ate dinner (early bird special). It was probably like 5:30 when we sat down. The pizza place, Nate and Nick's Pizza, is apparently a popular dinner spot with the Polar Express visitors, and was really pretty good! We had lots of time to kill, so we took our sweet time to extend the dinner a bit. When we were full and the boys were tired of sitting still (they were SO good at dinner, by the way!), we closed our bill and left again. Unsure of what to do next....it was getting dark outside and getting colder...we got creative. And by creative, I mean that we bundled up a little, walked around some more and ended up back at the van to watch the Polar Express movie on the DVD. We just chilled until it was time to catch our train. We did seem to lose track of time just a little because, although we had plenty of time, we were scrambling toward the end to get jackets back on and get to the train station in time! As our luck would have it, Ryan ended up throwing up on his pj's (and Thomas's jacket) so we changed his pj's (thankfully we brought another pair, but then he didn't match his brothers anymore, which just about broke my heart) and Thomas had to go without a jacket on. And I'm not kidding that it was really cold outside in this little town in the mountains!
|Nativity scene with Christmas lights|
|Bryson City museum and statue|
Polar Express time! ALL ABOARD!
|Trying to warm up from the walk!|
|Showing me their tickets|
|Cheers with their hot cocoa|
|He came around to punch the tickets|
|Listening to the book, The Polar Express|
|Love the book :)|
|Looking outside at the North Pole|
|Dancing in the aisle!|
|William and Dada|
|Stokes, Mama and Ryan|
|Look who came!!!!!|
The train ride ended around 9:30 and we had some sleepy fellas on our hands. The problem was that Mama and Dada were sleepy, too! By the time we walked back to the car, it was probably close to 10:00 and poor Thomas had to drive us all home about 2.5 hours. We didn't get home until close to 12:30 and it was a work/school night. It was a brutal drive home (for him, because I could NOT stay awake, despite my lame attempts).
Overall, it was a fun day and the highlight was definitely the train ride, getting to see the North Pole and some of the buildings they have there (Santa & Mrs. Clause's house, the reindeer barn, the toy workshop, etc.) When Santa came and gave the boys a bell, it was such a sweet moment! The Polar Express was a big hit and a fun time for all of us!