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Opening Magic Kingdom

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Ticket To Ride. . . On The Polar Express!

 Last Sunday, a train took us to the North Pole to see Santa.  Well, actually, we took a train from Mount Pleasant to the "North Pole" and Santa was there. . .

 Each year, the Midwest Central Railroad offers North Pole Express (copyright issues) train rides on the grounds of the Old Threshers Reunion during the first two week-ends in December.

 We mailed in our reservation for tickets in the middle of October.  Most folks begin to call the telephone number posted on the MCRR web-site on November 1--the day tickets go on sale.  The trains usually sell out in 10 days or less.

In the picture above, the boy is ready to board the Rudolph Coach--our coach for the trip to the "North Pole."

 Here's the husband along with Grandma Carol with our tickets.  The conductor will be coming soon to punch our tickets.

 It's exciting to ride!  As you can see in the photo above, the windows of the coaches are covered to obscure the vision.  It is magical how we are transported to the North Pole.  The narration of the Polar Express book is piped into the coaches via speakers and the ride to the North Pole takes about as long as it takes to tell the story.

 Each coach has its own conductor.  Here's our conductor ready to punch our tickets.

 Since the coaches unload from the back, we sat in the last row and were first off the train.  The photo above is the first peek at the North Pole.  The elves were there to welcome us.  And, since our coach stopped near Santa's red caboose, we were first inside to meet him!

 Here's Santa and the boy.  Santa is giving the first gift of Christmas. . . a bell.  We all got a bell, including Grandma Carol, as the bell rings for all who truly believe.  Of course, a train was on the boy's list as he was visiting with Santa.

 Something new at the North Pole this year was a huge train layout with various trains and controllers.  Imagined and built by Russell--the tall one in the photo above.  The boy, of course, talked his way under the ropes to get a better look and Russell let him have the controls to the Hogwarts Express train.  I would say that at least half of our time at the North Pole was spent at this table.  There were 4 different controls for the trains and the boy tried everyone multiple times.

 Here's the Snow Princess.  She has traded her traditional blue gown for a white one.  Jack Frost was listed as being present, but we didn't see him.  And, we looked!

 Ah, the conductors!  Always making sure the train runs on time and that everyone has a ticket.  There's something in the air at the North Pole that makes some of your photos look as if it was snowing.  Magic!

 All of the North Pole was decorated for the holiday season.  Hot chocolate and cookies were complimentary for every guest.  I think I had two cups of yummy hot chocolate!


 We stopped off at the Red Caboose Gift Shop located at the North Pole.  We did purchase an electric train set under the condition that it is a Christmas gift for the boy from us, his parents.  While that caused a bit of a dilemma, he did agree that he could wait until Christmas.  Now I have time to figure out where to put it!

 Alas, it was time for us to return to Mount Pleasant and at a breakneck pace, I might add.  Once we arrived, our conductor posed for one last photo and we said good-bye until next year.

 The number 9 Shay was our trusty steam engine.  The Shay is a narrow gauge engine, typically used for hauling lumber.  MCRR has the number 9 and number 6 Shay engines.

 The number 9 is taking on water for its next run to the North Pole.  Guests exiting the train are to the left, while guests on the next train, are on the right.

And, here we are at the North Pole.  One of Santa's elves takes pictures and has them ready for you before you board the train back to Mount Pleasant.

This is the 5th year for us riding the North Pole Express.  Each year, we have received a different bell. . . some big, some small, some gold, some silver, each with its own ribbon including the year.  And, each year, I take one of the bells and put an ornament hook through the top and add it to our Christmas tree.   It is fun to remember all of our rides on the Polar Express as we decorate the tree each year.  Riding the train to the North Pole is certainly an annual holiday tradition for our family.  What are yours?

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