All aboard the North Pole Express!
This weekend we took a long awaited trip to the North Pole to meet the real Santa.
The Heart of Dixie Railroad Museum in Calera, AL offers a truly unique experience for anyone who enjoys the magic of Christmas.
The Ride There
When we boarded the train, we were greeted by our conductor. He let us know that Santa and Mrs. Claus would be on the left side of the train (opposite of the side we entered) when the train arrived at the North Pole, so we were able to choose seats with a great view!
Our train car was elegantly decorated in classic Christmas decor. Once we were seated on the train, we could hear a Christmas Story being read in a different car, and the boys were given a magic glow stick to play with, which was a great idea! Then, off we went!
It was everyone’s first time on a real train, except for Dad, and this was a decked out train! Our seats faced each other, which was nice. We were able to spend time as a family rather than broken off in pairs.
As we grew closer to the North Pole, we all joined in to sing Jingle Bells, which helped us speed up and get to the North Pole faster! As we arrived, Santa and Mrs. Claus were standing among the Christmas lights waiving to greet the train. This was one of my favorite parts of the experience. Wesley was so insanely excited when he saw the lights and Santa and Mrs. Claus greeting everyone. I totally got it on camera!
The North Pole
At the North Pole we were able to relax and hang out as a family on the train while we talked to elves and waited for Santa and Mrs. Claus to visit with us!
Cookie the elf confirmed that Figgy (our elf on the shelf) is required to report back to them at the North Pole. Wesley was thrilled that the elf’s name was Cookie, and set out to ask the other elves their names. He also met JoJo!
Santa and Mrs. Claus radiated Christmas spirit and authenticity. They spent time with all of the children, took pictures, and asked them what they wanted for Christmas. Mrs. Claus was a bit caught off guard when Wheels said he wanted a throwing spear.
After our visit with Santa we had our choice of muffin with hot cocoa in souvenir mugs. I have no idea where they get their muffins from, but they were absolutely delicious. Wesley and I had double chocolate chunk. Wheels and Dad had apple cinnamon with pecans.
Of course the mugs were a hit with the boys. They felt growny and cool sipping hot chocolate out of their very own mugs.
Before leaving the North Pole, we were each given a keepsake ornament.
North Pole Express
When it was time to leave the North Pole, we were able to wave goodbye to Santa and Mrs. Claus through the window again. For some reason this sparked curiosity in Wheels and he asked if Santa and Mrs. Claus were married.
Christmas spirit had touched each and every person, as our train car sang Christmas songs together on the way back to the station.
The whole trip lasted an hour and fifteen minutes, with majority of the trip spent hanging at the North Pole.
When we asked the boys if they were glad they drove three hours to go to the North Pole and see Santa, they didn’t hesitate. Yes! It was a magical and memorable experience!
When I say our trip with the North Pole Express was long awaited, I mean we waited almost three years. Dad and I have tried to get tickets the past two Christmases. That went something like this: Sold out in December. Sold out in October. This year, I set a reminder to buy tickets on the day they went on sale in July. You should too! Here’s the site.
**Each car differs a bit. I bought tickets for the Santa Fe car.**
Of course, we didn’t tell the boys until a few weeks before the trip. We wanted them to be excited, but we didn’t want them to be miserable waiting for the big day!
Tell me about your unique Christmas experiences in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you!
If you enjoyed this post, you may enjoy others I have posted. You can find them here.