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Opening Magic Kingdom

Opening Magic Kingdom

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tickets To Ride. . .To The North Pole!

On Saturday, we headed to Mount Pleasant and the ground of the Old Thresher's Reunion for our annual trip to the North Pole via the North Pole Express!  Our tickets were purchased mid-October via mail in registration for the first train of the day.

When I picked up the tickets at the ticket booth, the outside of the envelop said "Poinsettia" and I figured we were again riding on one of the coaches.  It wasn't until I looked inside the envelope and saw that our tickets were for the Poinsettia Caboose!  We were excited!

A list of offerings at the North Pole along with a map were provided in our envelop as well.

The husband asked if all the trains were sold out and was told "yes."  The trains were running the Saturday we were there and for the next two week-ends. . . the first two week-ends in December. 

We had a few minutes before the the train pulled into the station.  Guests were either too excited or too cold to sit and wait for the train.

You can see the train coming round the path behind the boy.  It was the number 6 Shay!  Nothing can stop the Shay!
Here is a video of the train coming:

Soon we were climbing into the Poinsettia Caboose.  Here is the video:

The husband and the boy decided to sit in the top of the caboose for the trip to the North Pole.

Here is video inside the caboose:

During the ride to the North Pole, a portion of the audio of book The Polar Express, is played throughout the train.  The story ends and the music swells as the train pulls into the North Pole and guests are greeted by a winter wonderland!

Our first stop is Santa's Caboose at the North Pole!

We saw the Snow Princess while waiting in a short line to see Santa.

Santa has a pocket watch with a train!  The boy told Santa what was on his wish list. . . video games for his Nintendo 3DS XL.  Santa took note!

Here is video inside Santa's Caboose:

The husband and the boy were thrilled after seeing Santa and stopped for this photo on the way out of the caboose.  Can you see the bell in the boy's hand?  Each guest seeing Santa receives a bell.  The bell rings for all who truly believe!
Hot chocolate and cookies were next on the list and are included as a part of the ticket.  I believe this photo was taken during seconds!
We visited the Red Caboose Gift Shop next, but not before I snapped a photo of the sign on the door.

Oh, so many things to look at and all train themed.  We can home with an ornament for the Christmas tree to commemorate the event and a small battery operated train set.

One of our traditions at the North Pole is take a photo of the boy with the conductors.  Here are as many conductors as we could gather at the North Pole for this photo.  Each coach or caboose has a conductor for the trip to and from the North Pole.  We appreciate these folks volunteering!

Electric trains were set up for children to take turns running and the boy spent quite a bit of time in this spot while we were at the North Pole.  He got a certificate to bring home, too.

A commemorative photo is taken of every group while at the North Pole and is included as a part of your ticket.  Just remember to pick-up the photo before loading the train back to Mount Pleasant.
Soon it was time to board the train.  In total, we spent about an hour and a half at the North Pole.  Just enough time.  The boy grabbed more cookies and another cup of hot chocolate to take with him on the train for the return ride.
Here we are back at Mount Pleasant after deboarding the train.
We went to get a closer look at the engine. . . the number 6 Shay.
I couldn't resist taking a photo of the manufacturer's stamp on the train.  It was made by Burnham and WILLIAMS Company!

A lovely family from Muscatine, that was with us in the Poinsettia Caboose, offered to take the picture above for us.  How kind!  It was their first time at the North Pole Express.

The boy made it inside the the engine thanks to a familiar face.  The gentlemen in the picture below has been a conductor for a number of years we have been going to the North Pole Express and is now a "fireman" on the train.  It was great to see him!

We have bells from Santa at the North Pole Express dating back to 2006. . . that hang on our Christmas tree.  Each year, the bell is a bit different in size or color, or colored ribbon attached to the bell.

Riding the North Pole Express to the North Pole has become a family holiday tradition.  This year, the boy pointed out that the North Pole was a shed decorated to look like the North Pole, but he had no hesitation visiting with Santa.  The lure of trains may be part of what keeps him coming back and he enjoyed interacting with the other children.  I'm wondering how long this family tradition can continue but am hopeful for at least one more year.

If you would like to a ticket to ride to the North Pole via the North Pole Express, click here for more details.    Mail-in registrations typically begin mid-October and phone sales begin Nov. 1.  Tickets are usually sold out with a day or two of phone sales opening, so plan accordingly.  This is not an event that you can stop by and get a ticket so planning ahead is a must.

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