Sunday, November 18, 2018

The Santa Express

I had an opportunity to buy tickets for the Royal Gorge Santa Express train route for 50% off explanation point! This is something I've wanted to do for several years now but the tickets are so pricey I could use the same amount of money to buy a small island in the Galapagos. Yeah, I've looked into it.
We waited to tell the boys until the very moment we pulled into the parking lot. This took a lot of effort, because both Evan and Dawson badgered us with questions from the second we picked them up from school all the way until we arrived in Canon City. A grand total of 50 minutes. (100 years in prison sentence terms).
 This train route goes all the way to the North Pole by way of the Royal Gorge. Of course it was pitch black outside by the time the train departed and this was something I hadn't accounted for in all of my excitement for this trip. Both Jason and Dawson have been on the Royal Gorge train route before during the day with no Santa, and I've seen pictures. It's beautiful. I guess I was paying for the exclusive appointment with Santa. Whatevs. I got over it.
The station was decorated and I'm a sucker for Christmas decor. Jason manages to allow me the honor of 2 tiny wreaths with no lights and a gaudy weathered red bow hung disparagingly on the night lights located on either side of the garage door. 
 Even the front of a people carrying train gets a better wreath than I do.
 This is the train car we got to ride in. We were on an upper level with dome windows that I discovered let in the same amount of no light as those losers who got lower level window seats.
 The kids were encouraged to wear their pajamas on this trip, similar to The Polar Express movie (a movie I have never seen all the way through because it creeped me out) but we picked the boys up directly from school and in my haste to pack clothes for them to change into, I overlooked this minor detail. I didn't overlook my need to wear the OMG SANTA Elf shirt that Jason got me last year for Christmas though. I saved the day.
 Gate 2 was our train access.
A nice lady was the gatekeeper and she kept the boys entertained while we stood and waited to get on board. 
Eventually the "conductor" came around and yelled ALL ABOARD! He checked our tickets and told us we could board.
I took the boarding process very seriously and got an action shot.
The inside was decorated and cute. 
When we found our table, an elf came by and I talked her into taking our picture. Elfs will do that if they aren't the scout kind. That comment will only be understood by those brave enough to have an Elf on the Shelf in your tattered, battle worn history.
 The entire trip is dedicated to kids. The kids are given coloring pages and a wish list for Santa. During the ride, an elf or two lead the kids in a game and they also sang Christmas tunes like Jingle Bells. 
Jason and I were given a menu and we could have ordered dinner, but we didn't realize that (we stopped and ate at a burger joint before getting to the train station.) We ordered dessert and later the elf creatures brought us free lukewarm hot chocolate and a cookie.
Most of the elf characters were high schoolers who were probably never involved in any sort of play acting at any point in their lives. Jason and I agreed that the company could take this fun event up one more notch by hiring small time actors. That being said, this elf was charming. She came around several times asking Evan if his wish list was ready for Santa.
After Evan completed his list, he wouldn't show it to us. But he did ask me to guess what was on it. I never guessed correctly, which helped encourage him to just break down and tell me what was on it due to his exasperation. I've tucked that tidbit way down deep in my cerebral cortex for a later date should I need to use it again. He told me his list was:
1. trampoline
2. love
3. a  new friend
Later, when Jason took the boys to the outside train car, I snuck a picture of his list.
The train slowed down. It was announced that we had finally arrived at the North Pole.
I took a picture of the official sign so that it could be proven in a court of law, should the need arise.
Evan stared intently out the window.
I present to you: The North Pole
We stopped in the North Pole and picked up Santa. The whole train car erupted in glee at this news, including me. I didn't wear my OMG Santa shirt for nothing.
He greeted each person individually. He checked each list and then gave the children a bell. (We won't discuss the slight agitation at the minor headache this caused for the return trip. After all, it's Santa.) 
 Jason got a handshake.
 I was a bit overcome by the celebrity and I think I missed my chance.
 I asked Dawson to let me get a picture of him with his bell. 
On the trip back to civilization, we played Santa Bingo.
Somewhere along the way, Dawson thought he got a Bingo and yelled it out. An elf came along with a small bag of prizes, looked at his bingo page and gave him a strange look but gave him a prize anyway. Jason looked at his page and said "Dawson, in order to have a bingo, you have to have five in a row". He said "No! It's 4 in a row!" Then he asked me. (It should come as no surprise that I'm the lead referee in our household, especially in matters pertaining to life and bingo). I told him that yes, you have to have 5 in a row and he felt bad, then immediately they called a square that gave him 5 in a row and he called it good.
 This concludes the Santa Express trip and my post about it, but I did ask Jason to get me tickets for a day that I could go in the summer during daylight hours when the train stops in Bermuda.

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