Posts Tagged ‘north pole express’

Essex Steam Train North Pole Express 2017

Friday, December 15th, 2017

Previously: 2013, 2015

Taking an Essex Steam Train ride to the North Pole is one of our favorite Christmas traditions. Last year was sort of awful¬†because Finnegan was only 4 months old, it was the 7 pm train, and it was VERY loud. He cried almost the entire time. I don’t think I even took pictures with my real camera – I definitely never blogged it. This year I might have skipped it because E is gone and wrangling four kids on my own at public events is hard, but our boat FRG* decided that to celebrate Kids Halfway Night we would get tickets to the Essex Steam Train North Pole Express. Since it was a group activity (and the FRG subsidized the tickets) it seemed like fate that we should go.

The kids all did GREAT. No crying, no meltdowns, no spilled hot cocoa, (mostly) no torturing each other. There wasn’t even any fighting about who got to sit by the window. We got there right on time and didn’t have to wait long to board. Basically, everything was magical.

Our train car this year was significantly darker than in previous years so my photos are blurry and noisy. I think next year I might – MIGHT – splurge on first class tickets. The fanciest elves host the first class cars, there’s so much more room for dancing, and they have more twinkle lights which would mean better pictures. I’ll also make sure the baby doesn’t rub his grubby fingers all over my lens, leaving some sort of sticky stuff that made all my pictures fuzzy and out of focus.

The gnome jammies and hats are cute enough to make up for a slight lack in technical quality though.

*Quick Navy life lesson: submarines are called boats. What you think of as boats are called ships. An FRG is the family readiness group, which is like a club for all the spouses/families of people on that submarine. They do fundraisers and bake sales and have meetings and they keep us updated on what’s happening with the boat while they’re gone. Halfway Night marks (approximately) the halfway done with deployment date.

 

Essex Steam Train North Pole Express 2015

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2015

We did the Essex Steam Train North Pole Express (it’s basically the Polar Express without the trademark) two years ago and it was great. I skipped it last year because we have to buy tickets in August and last August I had a 1 month old and couldn’t get my act together. Plus E was gone that whole summer/fall and I was VERY sure I couldn’t take 3 kids on a magical nighttime train ride alone. But this year I planned to stay home on ticket day and got my fastest fingers ready and bought tickets for the last train on Caroline’s actual birthday day so we could all go. I think next year I’m going to spring for the first-class tickets. They’re a ridiculous amount of money, but I’m not throwing Caroline a big party next year so I feel like we can swing it. Plus I saw one of the elves who host the first class cars and she looked like a legit magical snow queen. Caroline would lose her actual mind.

It is a wonderfully done event full of good cheer – it’s well organized and everyone goes out of their way to make the kids feel special and really believe in Santa magic. The cars are decorated, there are special songs, they give you cookies and hot cocoa, and the whole last 20 minutes is a big dance party where the kids just go crazy in the aisles. All three kids had a blast.

p.s. In case you were wondering, the pajamas are from Hanna Andersson.

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This girl worked at the station and I am not sure if she was an extra elf or a fairy or a snowflake or what, but she chatted with Caroline and it was SO adorable. She told her she peeked at Santa’s list and Caroline was definitely on the nice side. Caroline squealed she was so excited.

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North Pole Express 2013

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Back in August I saw a post go up on Facebook for the Essex Steam Train North Pole Express tickets. They’d only been on sale for like 20 minutes and the page was blowing up with people who couldn’t get on the specific train they wanted because they were already sold out. So I made a snap judgement, crossed my fingers that my husband would get first-half leave, and threw down a bunch of dollars for four tickets.

I would recommend it. Maybe not for a 3 year old, although Caroline loved it, but definitely for kids a little older who still believe in Santa. It was pretty magical, especially when our elf (every train car gets their own elf) found out it was Caroline’s birthday and had everyone sing Happy Birthday to her. I only managed to choke back about 85% of my tears, because magic.

And now here are a bazillion pictures:

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Matching pajamas because I win at parenting

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Snack before we board

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THESE FACES.

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TOTALLY WORTH THE TICKET PRICE

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Looking at the North Pole

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Dancing in the aisles

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I wasn’t sure we were ever going to get Caroline off the train – she LOVED her elf

Merry, merry Christmas to my Christmas-celebrating friends! I hope you all have a lovely holiday full of magic and family and memories and cookies.

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