The Polar Express

Friday, December 20, 2013

We went to the North Pole Sunday night. Yes, that's right, the North Pole.  I've never seen a little girl so excited. It was a night that I'll never really be able to describe well enough or show enough pictures to capture all that it was.  It was one of those memories that I hope will always be as vivid where you remember the scene, the smells, the sounds just perfectly so that any time anything like it comes around, it rushes you back to that very moment…it was a special one!

Let me set the scene…we drove "far, far away over the mountains into the night" (2.5 hours to Bryson City, NC for a 6:30PM departure) to be able to catch The Polar Express (The Great Smoky Mountain Train). We watched The Polar Express movie for days on end leading up to that night and even in the car on our way.  We read the book every night before bed the entire week before.  And I hate to admit, but I had never read the book or seen the movie up until this week either so it was quite exciting for us both. After this week, she had every detail memorized.

We made it to the little town of Bryson City and checked in at the train depot…this little smirk was priceless.  She tried so hard to keep her cool while we waited an hour until our departure time but the excitement was just not containable.

We visited with Santa (take note of her little fists of excitement!)…

and explored the Smoky Mountains Train Museum while waiting.  Admission to the train museum is included with your Polar Express ticket.  The details were incredible!

The Polar Express!

Loved the little schoolyard and all the little details!

And then it was time…the train slowly rolled in, the windows foggy and the shadows of people bustling around on the inside.  Car attendants could be seen through the window icing cookies for the next bunch…this is a true story.  It literally felt like a dream.  Just like the movie.  Seriously indescribable.

All aboard...

Children were everywhere, all dressed in their PJs. People traveled from all over to come! We sat 4 to a table and couldn't have been partnered with a better couple, a set of grandparents there to watch their own grandchildren across the way. They had driven 7.5 hours from Virginia just for this ride!  We truly enjoyed their company! They were amazed with Reese's excitement and knowledge of the story.

The attendants served the hot cocoa and cookies and the conductor punched our golden ticket.

The hobo even made an appearance.

We chugged by Frosty's house, the house of Jack Frost all in blue, the teeny house (decorated shed) of the smallest elf Tiny, and the unlit house of the Grinch.

And then we arrived. We made it to the North Pole! She was speechless. An unforgettable moment for sure.

 And there he was. Waving from his sleigh with his Elf as the train slowed to a halt.

 Her excitement was beyond words.

The moment she was most excited for…he gave her a jingle bell from the sleigh.

And signed her book…and then he was on his way.

 We rode back in awe. All of us.
We sang Christmas carols and told Christmas jokes the whole way back. 
Her little mind trying to comprehend a trip to the North Pole was almost overwhelming. I really can't use enough words or show enough pictures to describe the atmosphere and the emotions of the trip.  It is certainly something we will be doing every year for as long as she believes.

Here is the link for The Polar Express and more information for those who are interested.  Near or far, it's definitely worth the trip!

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One Response to “The Polar Express”

Anonymous said...

Kara I am so happy for you. It sounds so magical.
What a great Mom you are. Love Auntie Paul.