Oh my, it’s been so long since I’ve blogged, I’m not sure I remember how. I have such a long list of ‘to-do’s’ for my photography gig, but I couldn’t leave this experience captive in Lightroom any longer.
The flu sucks. Luckily we have been spared thus far, but it did put a slight dent in our pre-Christmas plans with out of town family. I’m still totally bummed that they didn’t get to join us on this adventure, but I’m so thrilled with the company we had in their place, his bff, Fuller.
He’s had a thing for trains as long as I can remember. I remember a specific Pre-K student of mine 4 years ago with the same undying love and excitement for the huge and heavy hunks of mobile steel I taught while I was expecting my own little train lover. I’m pretty sure he shared his train mojo with Bentley in-utero. So, when I heard about the Grapevine North Pole Express at the Grapevine Vintage Railroad, I immediately started researching. I’m so glad to have purchased tickets when I did, as the popularity of the event causes sell-outs a month in advance.
So, what’s the big deal? Considering we had watched the Polar Express no less than 19.5 times from Thanksgiving to our selected date and I even heard “I believe” from his sweet little mouth while imagining his very own Coral Ridge Polar Express from the comfort of his room, I knew he would be ecstatic for a real train ride. It was even more exciting to think that this train ride would in fact, get all the way to the North Pole, pick up Mrs. Clause, and arrive safely back at the depot in about 45 minutes.
We strolled down Main St. towards the depot with a consistent little boy questioning whether or not we’d be late. We arrived an hour early and met our PJ wearing buddies in the cold night and patiently waited for our adventure to begin. Upon boarding the train, the ticket taker punched our tickets and we found our way to our seats.
To say that even the oldest of the crowd was thrilled to be on board would have been an understatement.
And these two, couldn’t believe that they were on a real train, much less on a real train together! What I would have given to have experienced this through their eyes.
We sang Christmas carols, on the ride to pick up Mrs. Claus.
And there she was. I couldn’t stop staring at her. I may have been in more awe than the kids, but she was impressive. And I didn’t even know yet, just how lucky we were.
Assuming there had to have been multiple Mrs. Claus’ retrieved at our stop, I was more than impressed with the amount of time that she spent with our children. I’m fairly certain that at some point I thought to myself, “I’m not sure what else I can photograph.” Although I may not have had a new scene to photograph, I’m fairly certain our kiddos got an in-depth explanation of the meaning of the coveted bell they all received as gifts.
After he explanation of hearing the sweet sound of the bell. They all immediately began to see if they did, in fact, believe.
What started out in my head as an expensive ($25 per passenger) train ride through the industrial area of Grapevine and Irving, all I could hope for is that he would enjoy being on a real train. My advice, go a night and enjoy the dark ambiance out of the windows of the cars and you can really feed to their North Pole travel imagination. Our train ride ended at the North Pole and we arrived to sudsy snow and what seemed like hundreds of pines lining our walk to the main show. Two silly elves explained and sang about the importance of the Christmas Spirit and then the big guy appeared. He reminded us all that there was Christmas Spirit inside each person and treated us to Frosty Snow Milk upon our exit. Will we go again next year? Likely not, but if he requests, then I could always have my arm twisted but will choose a slightly earlier departure to better match our bedtimes.
There’s nothing quite like seeing the most magical time of the year through a child’s eyes. Add in great friends and a classic movie that will always spark our wonderful memories from the evening and it becomes priceless.