This was such a fun adventure! We had a few friends that make a trip up to Durango every year before Christmas and they come back telling us nothing but wonderful things. They would tell us how priceless their children's faces were when they saw that train billowing forward. So, of course we have been so excited about taking Makena when she was old enough.
I was excited to visit and stay with my cousins out there. They were such great hosts. Thank you guys!
We prepared Makena for this trip ahead of time. We played the movie and read her the book a million times before we went. We talked about the significance of the bell and told her that she was going to be given the best hot cocoa and chocolate chip cookie ever! She was soooo excited!
Here we are at Ken and Sue's restaurant. We loved it there! The staff was so friendly and even though it wasn't really a "child friendly" restaurant.
We saw so many wild deer just wondering free in everyone's yards. Here is a a whole herd. Can you imagine waking up every morning and looking out your window and seeing a deer on your front lawn.
Makena posing by a "choo choo train"
Her hair was so wild and crazy after she pulled out her hair ties. She was such a hot mess!
Do you see the REAL reindeer behind us. It was a mommy and and her baby... and here I am, a mommy, with my baby.
We wanted to get a closer look at them... apparently she did too!
We went back to get our jammies on so that we can board the train just like they did in the movie. Makena wore her new jammies that she had picked out from the store and she was way to excited about that.
Here is andrew in his jammies, however, I accidentally left his christmas jammies back home. he was wrapped up most of the time so it was fine.
On the way to the Polar Express, we spotted this doe and HUGE buck roaming someone's front yard.
He got is rack caught in some grass.
Here comes the train!!!!....
I wish I would have been able to capture Makena's surprised face, but I couldn't stop myself from tearing up and while I was wiping my eyes I missed her cute face she was making. You can still see her cute face here covering her ears because the horn from the train was pretty loud.
The staff even wore their jammies!
Makena held on to her ticket really tight so that she wouldn't loose it like the girl in the movie. They even had the conductor come by and punch the tickets just like they do in the movie.
My little guy stayed awake the whole time. He didn't even wink. I guess he didn't want to miss a thing.
Here she is with her yummy cocoa that she didn't even drink. She took one lick of the whipped cream and said she didn't want any more.
And here she is with that yummy chocolate chip cookie that she was so excited to try, she took one bight of and held that little piece FOREVER!!! How is she my child??? I ate mine and hers in a heartbeat. EEEK!
The higlight of our ride was when Makena met Santa Clause. She jumped off her chair and stood their talking his ear off. I have never heard her talk so much (and my girl is a talker). She said something like... "...I want a turtle and a frog and a crocodile... I want a microphone, and a ducky.... Thank you Santa, I love you..... bye!!!!" It was adorable!
Santa even stopped and talked to Andrew and gave him a bell.
Makena kissed her bell and would not let go of it. She even slept with it that night.
Here she is ringing it by her ear to make sure she can hear it.
We had sooooo much fun and plan on making this an anual christmas trip and making it a tradition. We loved it!
Here are some tips for those of you that are wanting to go next year.
1. If you are taking a baby, don't bring a stroller or carseat carrier. There is no room. You may leave the stroller at the gate but I would hate for it to get lost or stolen.
2. Dress warm because Durango gets soooo cold at night.
3. Bring your camera or better yet, a camcorder. There were so many great moments to capture, but the best were the sounds of the train pulling up, squeals of excitement, and beautiful music playing in the background.
4. Make sure to eat a substantial meal before you go. They serve you nothing but sugar and you will need the energy to keep up with those
5. Bring water. You are going to want to join in singing the christmas carols, plus it might dilute some of that sugar.
6. Make sure you all have a "potty break" before you board. There are no bathrooms on the train. However there is one at the train station.
7. **** Get there early! This is by far this is one of the most important ones. They prepare a whole skit that parallels the movie, you don't want to miss the look on your kids faces as the train comes billowing fourth.
8. There is a really nice hotel right across the street from the train station for convenience. It is called General Palmer Address: 567 Main Ave, Durango, CO 81301
Phone:(800) 523-33589. Visit the recreation center in Durango. If you need to keep up with your exercise and work out regimen... have no fear, there is a nice one here. There is sooo much do to here. There is a very nice gym, a rock climbing wall, a swimming pool/ aquatic center (indoor), a very cool park (Makena approved), walking trails, basketball courts, racquetball courts, etc...
10. Best time to schedule your Polar Express Train ride... NOEL NIGHT! It is where the whole town celebrates and gathers in the downtown area. Shops are open later and they looooove kids! As if your children need more sugar... lots of the shops will hand out candy and treats to the kids.
Well there you have it! I hope you have fun visiting the Polar Express.
Do you have any other tips to add???
See you tomorrow for our adventure to visit Elmo!