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16 December 2013

All Aboard the Polar Express

Last year, my mom brought me a newspaper clipping about the Polar Express train in Williams and she stressed that if it was something we wanted to do, we would have to book it at least a year in advance.  Well, I packed that clipping up with our Christmas boxes and if you've been reading along here, you'll remember that we just pulled those boxes down a couple of weeks ago.  As soon as I saw the clipping, I jumped on to the computer and started searching for available tickets.  I had hoped that Mom and Dad would be able to join us, but it just didn't work out this year.   We wanted to book tickets where we would be able to spend a weekend up in Flagstaff so the girls could hopefully experience snow!

Well, this past weekend was our trip and it was AMAZING!  We had such a great time up there as a family and I think the girls spent just enough time in the snow where it was still a novelty and not yet a pain. ;)

Over the course of the weekend, we really had no agenda aside from the train ride on Thursday night.  It was so nice to not be rushing around trying to squeeze as much as possible into the weekend.  We were still able to do quite a few things and we were actually able to enjoy them without worrying about what came next.

I took a ton of pictures over the weekend, but to break it up a bit, I'll just post about the Polar Express train ride here.

The train left from Williams around 7:30, so we left around 3 for the 3+ hour drive up north.  We made it up there in time to check into our hotel, throw on a couple extra layers, and romp in the snow before we headed over to the train depot.  The only thing the girls knew about the whole trip was that we were going to go someplace cold with snow.  So, when we got to the train station, they were totally surprised.  We had watched the movie a couple of nights before, so Olivia was starting to get really excited when she realized we were going to ride the Polar Express!

Before we boarded the train, we spent a few minutes in the Polar Room where Mrs. Claus and some elves were hanging out.  They had markers and coloring pages, but we were only in there long enough to snap a picture with Santa's leading lady.  Olivia, of course, snuggled right up to her, but Sydney was not impressed!

We had assigned seats on the train and one of the assistants in our car flipped the seats so we were facing each other.  They had napkins and song books waiting on our seats for us and the train was all decorated with lights and presents.  I loved that the train was just made the whole experience feel more authentic.

While Christmas music played overhead, our little helpers came around with {not so} hot chocolate and sugar cookies.  There were lots of lights to look at outside, but we were pretty busy keeping Sydney still.  After about 30 minutes, we arrived at the North Pole!  {Who knew it was in Arizona!?!}  We stayed in the train car, but opened the windows to see a little town all lit up.  Santa and his helper elf were on his sleigh attached to reindeer.  We pulled a little past the town and then went back by and were told to wave to Santa one more time.  This time, Santa was gone!  Lucky for us, it was because he was on our train!

While we waited for Santa to come in to our car, we sang Christmas carols.  

➹ I mean, seriously!?!? ➹

Santa finally made it into our train car and stopped briefly to tell the girls how good they have been and to hand them out a bell.  Olivia was SO excited!

➹ And Sydney...well, you know.  She's not easily impressed! ➹

We made it back to the train station and hurried off the train to go get our pictures taken with Santa.  Clearly that Santa is a quick mover as he was already in position by the time we got in line.  Again, Olivia snuggled up to him, but Sydney was not going to have anything to do with him.  Only another week of him being around, Little Sister.

We spent another 20 minutes looking through the gift shop to get the girls their ornaments for the year.  We finally settled on two and then Olivia changed her mind at the last minute and picked up one for her and one for Sydney that I thought was even cuter.  And then at 4 in the morning while Sydney was awake and keeping me up too, I realized that the "ornament" she picked out was a keychain!  ha.  I'll have to do another post with the picture of those.  

➹ This train apparently scared Sydney too because all weekend she kept saying, "Happy train scare me!"

We really had a blast doing the Polar Express train.  I hope it is something we can make a family tradition!  

Stay tuned for more about the rest of our weekend!


Poppy said...

WoW! What a great experience for the kids and you all as well. Awesome pictures too. I think that would be a great tradition.

Love you girls,

Mom Cooper said...

I am so glad you all were able to have this family experience, however next year Poppy and Nana want to experience it too. HA! I love the Polar Express story and as you know read it to my kindergarten class for years. Guess what, I still hear the silver bell on Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I know the true meaning of Christmas but I can still hear that bell.

I loved all the pictures. I especially thought the last one with Santa and Olivia was so very good. I'm pretty sure he is the real Santa!

It sounds like you all had a wonderful time in the snow. Looking forward to more pictures.