The day after Thanksgiving was a BIG day for Princess! We took a ride on the Polar Express!
(If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, a brief synopsis so the details will make sense:
In the book, the little boy is kind of doubting the whole Santa thing. He is getting older. It is an if-y year for him and believing. He goes to bed, is awakened by a noise to find a train in his front yard. He goes to check it out and is whisked away (in his pajamas) on the Polar Express which is headed for the North Pole to see Santa leave on his trip. On the train the kids are served hot chocolate and sweets. Arrive in the North Pole. He learns only those who believe in Santa can hear the sleigh bells. One child is to be chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas to start Santa’s evening. Our boy is chosen. He asks for a sleigh bell. Puts it in his pocket. Gets back on the train and finds there is a hole in the pocket and the bell is gone. Wakes up Christmas morning and the bell is wrapped in a gift with a note from Santa to fix the hole in his pocket.
This is of course a GREATLY generalized description. It is a very sweet story…)
This is not the first ride on the Polar Express for Princess. As I have mentioned earlier, this is her third ride. This year she did have a riding companion for the first time though. My cousin’s daughter, with whom Princess shared her Disney experience, was along for her first trip this year. That added a bit of excitement and we definitely had fun!
Princess wore her polar bear jammies, polka dotted fuzzy robe and snuggly, pink, furry bedroom booties. She was decked out and ready!
A grand adventure was in the making and we were not to be disappointed!
The train is decorated with garland and lights. The table is set with goody bags of candies and treats.
The conductor comes by to punch the children’s golden tickets, just like in the movie.
The attendants dance up the isle with cookies on top of their heads tossing them onto the tables as they go (also like the movie). Then comes the hot chocolate with whipped cream three inches deep! Oh, the sugar! Oh, the excitement!
Suddenly the temperature in the train starts to drop… The train slows… It is announced we are stuck on the ice and reindeer are blocking the track! Just like the movie, we are to make the sound of the train whistle to scare them out of the way.
Then, we are approaching the North Pole. The train goes dark… All the attention is on the side of the train we are told will be coming by Santa’s Sleigh… And there he is! Surrounded by dancing elves and toys, waving to the children on the train as we pass!
We continue into the town and each completely light covered, decorated building is identified for the passengers…the church where the Clauses were married, the post office, the elves dorms, the reindeer’s stables, and on and on…until we stop. Slowly the train begins to go in the opposite direction. We are told the landmarks on the other side of the train and are told to watch for when we pass the sleigh. If it is empty, we have been good and Santa will have boarded the train and come to visit us! As we slowly approach all the children on board are straining to see the sleigh… It is empty! (Princess squealed)
Now we are told to sing Christmas Carols to lure Santa to our car. The singing is much more enthusiastic than on key, but it gets the job done. Santa is here!
He stops to speak to each child and to each, he gives a silver bell. They are all ecstatic!!!
The return trip seems much faster as we sing carols from a print out. The songs of course include Jingle Bells to offer an excuse to ring the bells as loudly as possible.
Finally we have returned to reality. The children disembark exhausted and elated!
On the way back to the hotel, we decided to find some food that was not solid sugar. Easier said than done in the small North Carolina mountain town we were visiting. Apparently everything except the train station closes up by 9:00…
We followed the GPS on a wild goose chase to find the one place we thought would be open, a Waffle House. After being sent to a creek, which was decidedly NOT a Waffle House, and then driving in ever enlarging circles to find something open… We stumbled upon an actual Waffle House.
And who do you think was departing as we entered? Santa Clause! Princess was still in her pajamas of course and being the only child out at that hour, garnered Santa’s undivided attention. He had changed into slacks and suspenders, but his boots, white beard, red suspenders and big smile gave him away. He gave Princess a special coin that said “I was caught being good” on the face of it. He talked to her about what she wanted for Christmas and then went on his way.
Princess thoroughly enjoyed her special treatment.
All in all it was a wonderful trip!
Merry Christmas Season!!!!