Sunday, December 16, 2012

All Aboard the North Pole Express

On Friday we journeyed to the North Pole!

We rode the North Pole Express operated by the Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, AL.

The night before we were set to ride the NPE, The Polar Express aired on ABC Family. The littles were completely enthralled in the movie, and were so excited when we explained that we would be riding a "magical" train that would take us to the NP the following night.

Since we knew that there would be a crowd, we arrived at the train station about an hour early. (The NPE usually sells out in July because of its popularity.) Not only did this give us plenty of time to get our tickets, but it also left time for picture taking:)

Here we are in the restored train station that still maintains a lot of its original charm.

Here are a few shots of the littles before boarding the train!

We rode the Chicago and North Western Train Car.

While boarding the train, I overheard the man behind us tell his wife, " Those kids really like to take pictures." He wasn't rude, just making an observation. He obviously wasn't a southerner, and had no idea what was in store for him when he boarded the train. The southern mommas brought our their cameras and went to snapping! Chris made the comment, " A bunch of facebooking, blogging women, just like Momma!" Ha!

A few of our snaps:)

We listened to a story, read by Mr. Jim, on our way to the NP. As we neared the NP, we sang Christmas songs. I wasn't able to get a good shot as we arrived at the NP, but it was so cute. The "North Pole" was a piece property with adorable Christmas decorations, and a building on the property had a brightly lit sign that read "Santa's Workshop." Santa and Mrs. Claus must have been expecting us because they waited outside with a few of the elves and greeted us. 

We didn't get off train, but Santa and his posse boarded the train to meet us. I guess Santa didn't want any little eyes peeking into his workshop;)

We met Santa's elf first. She introduced herself, but I can't remember her name. She was so sweet and she and Chloe traded fashion advice on shoes.

She also gave us a little gift, a key, that was mentioned in the story that we heard on our ride to the NP. This was the absolute perfect gift for Evan. If you know my son, then you know about his weird "obsession" with keys and phones. He put his new key in his front pocket for safe-keeping.

Shortly afterwards, the big man himself made his appearance. The littles anxiously waited for their turn to meet him. 

Evan's anxiousness was a little different from Chloe's. He's still not sure if he likes Santa or just the idea of Santa.

We met a few more of Santa's elves, one brought us a souvenir ornament to remember our journey, and the chef elves brought us milk and cookies. I think that the chef elves were Chloe's favorites.

It was truly a magical experience and lived up to our expectations! We've already hung our mementos on our tree, so we will always remember this special occasion!

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