As Cuyahoga Valley National Forest members, we have the first shot at Polar Express train tickets. So I've had these tickets for the four of us since September. I was not a fan of the movie (sorry, Tom Hanks), but I figured we would make it magical anyway.
The train left the tracks for it's 2-hour ride to the North Pole. The elves entertained us by playing games with each child, singing Christmas Carols, filling our tummies with hot chocolate and fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.
After an hour ride, we arrived at our designation - the North Pole. We were greeted by dancing elves outsid the train, the Grinch (hello, scare the small kids), gingerbread men, geese in a small red wagon, dancing Christmas trees, and other assorted characters. I was disappointed that we didn't get to deboard. But it was cold and snowy, and I had lost my head and wore ballet flats sans socks, so I guess it was ok to stay in our seats.
In the end, the train ride last almost 2.5 hours, which is tough for a 3-year-old, and even tougher for her 17-year-old sister, and downright punitive for the dad (no beer or wine to be found!). It's kind of like a 3-hour movie, where you walk out saying "that would have been better if they cut an hour from it!"