We rode the Polar Express run by the West Coast Railway for our third time. This was, by far, our most enjoyable year, though that had as much to do with planning as with the age of our children. This year, we rode the train at 2pm, which allowed us to fully enjoy the activities in the Roundhouse after the train ride, while still preserving the illusion of “arriving” at the North Pole.
Though Aiden is not as obsessed with The Polar Express as he was in the two previous years, he did still enjoy the entire trip. His face lit up when the conductor came by and when the child actors came in pretending to be the children from the movie. Very nice addition to the experience and one we did not expect at all. Aiden literally glowed! He was also beside himself with excitement to tour the interior of the engine that mimics the real Polar Express:
The next bonus was the child-led controls in the mini train area, which was a highlight for Aiden. He was mad we had to move on when Damien lost interest, but that was our only low point in the night.
Each year the experience gets better and I am so happy it’s a part of our holiday traditions! Damien also loved riding a moving train, even though he’s not as immersed in the Polar Express culture.
This year, I managed to get both kids into their PJs (I wavered and gave them their Christmas Eve PJs early, since SO CUTE!) and planned it all better, to have two layers of PJs to avoid the cold. This year Aiden was interested in wearing his PJs, so that was a bonus. He didn’t want them last year and the previous year he only consented to wear the top. Finally, after years of struggling to find them matching PJs (who knew it was so hard), I purchased a matching set (2 months in advance, let me tell you). Huzzah!
One of our most special activities around the holidays is a visit to the Polar Express run by the West Coast Railway in Squamish. Each year we trek up to be a part of the experience that goes along with Aiden’s all-time favourite movie.
Earlier this year, I held a Polar Express party to “break out” the movie, which I’d reserved just for this time of year, seeing as he wasn’t willingly going to stop watching it otherwise! We had cookies and hot chocolate and popcorn and crafts and a lovely movie experience. We have since watched the movie many many times more.
I felt like West Coast Rail really put a lot more thought into the whole Polar Express experience this year. There were far more places for family photos – the caboose, with Santa, professional photos in an interior caboose (for a fee), the pop-out people – just so much more went into the year. The train ride was also longer than normal, but I don’t know if that was on purpose. I was happy that our coach had a better sound system to hear the story and that the carolling was also more organized – such a fun time.
Once we were back inside, we had a quick visit with Santa (though I do wish they had a Santa with a real beard!) and a trip on the mini train. This year, Santa came out on the mini train with Mrs. Claus and there was a tunnel on the mini train, so that was very nice.
In addition to the gingerbread cookie station, this year they set up the second floor of the roundhouse with a Christmas Village train set and a whole row of crafts and activities. Unfortunately, due to Damien’s nap, we had to book a late train ride and we were cutting it close to their dinner time by the time we’d finished with Santa. We skipped the craft sections, viewing only the lovely little village set up.
I was hoping to wait for the nice photos from our SLR before publishing this, but who knows when Ianiv will be done with those! Still, some nice shots here anyway!