Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The North Pole Express by Heber Valley Railroad

Tonight my family had the opportunity to ride The North Pole Express by the Heber Valley Railroad. We arrived a bit early so we all sat in our car and read The Polar Express to get into the spirit of the night ahead.

My kids were so thrilled to hear we were going on a real honest to goodness train! We were the second group on the train so we picked a good spot so we could be sure to see Santa and the North Pole later on in the trip.

We got to talk to the conductor and my 7 y/o was thrilled to get to hold a sign for the song The 12 Days of Christmas. (She also got to talk in the microphone a few times, she thought she was awesomesauce!

A shot of the helpers signing, my kids talking to Santa Clause and an appearance by Mrs. Clause. (She gave us a recipe to make Santa's favorite cookies. The kids and I are going to try it out this weekend.)

I also got to meet Jordan (@Mamablogga). How fun is it to run into people in real life after you've been chatting with them online. So great! Thanks Jordan for letting me borrow the picture you took of us! (Also @makeitworkmom, @emihill, @livingthescream @jillakaufusi @jenndola @sahans were there too!)

My kids LOVED the train ride. Afterwards my 4 y/o was so excitable she was talking crazy loud about how she got to talk to Santa and see the North Pole. I think my 3 y/o favorite part was the chocolate cookie. We sang Christmas carols as we rode the train through town, watching the evening lights fade.

Overall it was a fun night. I'm grateful to Heber Valley Railroad for letting my family experience this fun event and for helping us to make some fun memories.

Some fun perks:
+Staff was super friendly and nice. (Nice lady at the gift shop told us what side to sit on so we could see Santa.)
+We all got a cookie and hot chocolate.
+We got to see Santa & Mrs. Clause (and even get a toy from santa!)
+A real train ride!
+Fun atmosphere
+They passed out songbooks and jingle bells for us to sing along.
+It was fun to sing songs with a train full of people and feel the Christmas spirit.
+The Conductor came out to say hi.
+The kids got name tags so Santa could address them personally.

A few things I would have preferred:
-It was a bit long. I think overall it was about 1.5 hrs.
-The hot chocolate was super hot and all of us got large cups of it. Had I known before I was handed one I would have gotten 2 cups for my family of 5 to share. (Since it was too hot to drink my kids didn't want to hold theirs so we were stuck trying to juggle a lot of cups and kids.)
-The MC to be a little more lively and entertaining.
-We had to give back the jingle bells and songbooks (dig in my purse as we were exiting).

If you're interested in a fun night out here are some details:

Families Experience a Magical Holiday Journey Aboard The North Pole Express

Heber Valley Railroad’s “North Pole Express” Gives a New Twist to a Family Tradition
HEBER CITY, Utah — Heber Valley Railroad’s “North Pole Express” is a magical journey Utah families will treasure this holiday season. As a new twist on an old tradition, the North Pole Express will feature a live reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” a classic holiday favorite that will come to life as families enjoy a festive ride to the North Pole.
Guests aboard the North Pole Express will enjoy singing carols, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies while reading along or listening to the “The Night Before Christmas.” Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa and his sleigh will greet the children and give each child a special Christmas gift.
Tickets are now on sale for this popular holiday train, which is a long-standing tradition for thousands of Utah families. First class service is available most weekends during the North Pole Express schedule. Due to the high demand for tickets, the Heber Valley Railroad is offering two matinee excursions on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 23-24, 2010.
The North Pole Express will depart every Monday through Saturday through December 24, 2010.
Nightly Excursions
  • Depart 5 p.m.; return 6:30 p.m.
  • Depart 7:30 p.m.; return 9 p.m.
Matinee Excursions (December 23-24 only)
  • Depart 2 p.m.; return 3:30 p.m.
Schedule and Fares
Family Night: December 1, 2, 6, 13
  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)
Coach: December 3, 4, 7-11, 14-18, 20-23
  • $32 adult, $29 senior (ages 60 and above), $21 child (ages 3-12)
First Class: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20-23
  • $47 adult, $44 senior (ages 60 and above), $36 child (ages 3-12)
Matinee: December 23, 24
  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)
General Tickets can be purchased by calling SmithsTix at 800-888-TIXX, by calling the railroad at 435-654-5601, online at www.HeberValleyRailroad.org, or at the Heber Valley Depot, 450 South 600 West, Heber City. For more information and directions, contact the Heber Valley Railroad at 435-654-5601 or visit www.HeberValleyRailroad.org.

About the Heber Valley Railroad
The Heber Valley Historic Railroad dates back to 1899, when trains served the pioneers who first settled the valley, and now operates as a nonprofit organization. Depending upon availability, vintage coaches are pulled over this beautiful vista either by one of two 1907 Baldwin steam locomotives or by one of three vintage diesel electric locomotives. Over 95,000 passengers ride the train each year, and that number is steadily growing. For more information on the Heber Valley Railroad and its 2010 schedule, visit www.HeberValleyRailroad.org.

Special Discount for YOU!
They've graciously offered to give my readers $5 off coach tickets on December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16. You'll need to call the train directly at 435-654-5601 and ask for the “Utah Blogger” discount and be prepared to tell the train the name of my blog: Cranberryfries.


Enna Isilee said...

Ah, yes. The Heber Valley Train. I've been on the haunted one AND the polar express. Except I went on it many years ago and remember the benches being made of very uncomfortable wood. They look nicer in your pictures. But I do remember it feeling VERY long.

Olivia Carter said...

WOW! That looks like SO MUCH FUN!

Tess said...

I always wanted to do this when my kiddos were little but never did and now I'm afraid they might be too old to enjoy it. Fun, fun pictures.

and, thanks for the kind words on my book. I really can't believe it's almost 2011 (though a Sept. release still seems eons away!)

Unknown said...

That looks really fun. I've wanted to take my kids on that but I worry, with school nights, being out too late. Plus our weekends are totally booked.

Barbaloot said...

I didn't know the Heber Creeper did that! My family went on that over the summer and the kids loved when bandits came on to steal money:)

Kristie said...

We did it last year, when it was the Polar Express. It was fun, the movement of the train was a lot to take in. (If you get carsick, take something.) We were able to go for really cheap, my kids were under 3, so they were free. Which was nice. Unfortunatley they had to ride on my lap, not so fun. Other than that, it was great. They shared a lot of the same things that you experienced, the songs, cookies and hot chocolate, and Santa and Mrs. Claus. I would have to agree that being 1.5 hours long was a bit long. I could have done with about a shorter ride with my younger children.
Thanks for sharing your pictures. It was fun!

Becca said...

Up until this year, my kids and I have been volunteers on the Polar Express train. (This year they had to give up using the Polar Express because the publisher wanted loads more $$ for rights, and the train couldn't afford it.) It has always been so much fun for us to do, and I was sad that this year, they decided that all the "elves" had to be 16+ (and my kids are not).

The best part was doing the show with my kids, so I decided to take a break this year.

But I know it's hit-and-miss with the MC - some nights are just better than others. I'm sure the RR would like to know your + and your - views

Jenni Elyse said...

How fun! That would be so much fun to do, especially for the kids. I love all the fun pictures.

I think I'll tell my friends about it so they can go if they want to.

Steph said...

I am still kicking myself over the fact we didn't meet that night.

Unknown said...

I wish that things would have worked out so that we could have gone. Looks like fun.