4.26.2009

THERE'S A SUCKER BORN EVERY MINUTE

This Saturday we spent the Day Out with Thomas! Now that it is over and I am almost $100 less rich, I have decided that I do not want to be the kind of parent who spends hundreds of dollars on an outing for her 2 year old son.

The whole concept is that you get to ride the real life Thomas the Train. You can only begin to imagine how many fanatical train obsessed preschoolers this event attracted. (THOUSANDS.)

Here is Thomas pulling into the station. [Cue the Beatles Mania -esque screaming! ] Erik pointed out to me that it was just a dummy engine.The Island of Sodor is so magical that they don't even need real engines to pull a train.

The tickets to ride the train were $18 a piece. Then, it was $20 if you wanted an official picture with Thomas. The real suckers were the people who paid $20 to get their photo signed by Sir Topham Hatt. Seriously? He's not even a real person.

I was really disappointed that you had to pay to get a picture closer to Thomas. Here was our free "unofficial" picture behind the white picket fence. This reminded me of the time I travelled all the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon to visit Shakespeare's birthplace only to discover that it was too much money to enter his house, so I didn't go in. True story.

The gift shop put me over the edge. Hundreds of parents spending hundreds of dollars on overpriced train stuff. I wanted to scream, "You can buy it cheaper online!! They sell these shirts at Wal-mart!" I doubt anyone would have heard me over all the kids screaming though.

One of the "free" activities were numerous train tables set up around the train station. The best part was that they made the obnoxious parents stand behind a fence while the children played. It was genius, really. All the parents could do was point and scream, "Johnny, grab that piece. Don't hit him. Stick up for yourself! Put the track back on!" One woman actually said to Erik, "Is your son the blond boy? He's kind of a bully."

The train ride was about what I expected. 30 minutes long going 5 mph. We passed a hobo sleeping in an abandoned train car, illegal aliens picking vegetables and a tunnel marked up with graffiti, all set to the Thomas and Friends Soundtrack blaring over the train's speakers.

Luke's cousin, Wyatt, came along for the fun. They held hands everywhere. I loved it. This really was like a rock concert for them.

Enough with being cynical. It was actually a very good family outing, I just do not want to turn into one of those crazy parents who spend big money on their oblivious 2 year old. (Good thing we don't have big money.) Erik, if you ever catch me acting like that, the code word is Thomas and I will stop, take back the excessive gifts, and regroup.

18 comments:

  1. OH those are such adorable rail road overalls... ha ha

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  2. I need a picture of both Charlie and Luke in their matching big overalls! Thanks for coming over to Camarillo after your Thomas visit!
    The kids are SOOOOo cute. Thanks for sharing!
    love, gramma and gramps

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  3. It kind of reminds me of our family trip on the Polar Express (aka. the Heber Creeper). WAY overrated!! The generator in our car wasn't working so we had to endure the entire ride in the dark, in the freezing cold with our windows iced over so we couldn't even see the "North Pole" when we got there. The hot chocolate was cold, and the cookie hard as a rock. They didn't even let us keep the cool bell they let us hold while an "elf" read the book to us at the top of her lungs because her microphone wouldn't work because the generator wasn't working. Haha. Good times, and soo not worth the money! (Good thing my in-laws paid for it or I would have been furious at the waste of money WE had spent!) But the grandkids were happy and liked it, so it was worth it right? ;)

    If it gives you any more hope, Cristin, I didn't start training for my 5K until 2 weeks before (because that's when we decided to sign up for it), and I didn't run AT ALL last week. You can totally do it! Good luck!

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  4. Great post. We all have those days when we say to ourselves, "Am I really doing this right now?".

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  5. Was this in Tehachapi? I wish Provo had fun stuff like that! Thats really funny that they made all the parents stand behind a fence. I bet Luke was in Heaven!

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  6. They advertised something like this for Toys R Us last week here, but I avoid those things at all costs. I do have to say that the picture of the parents behind the fence was HILARIOUS! I think they do that just so they can film how parents handle their kids with other kids. I won't go now, ever, just for that reason. I would never want my parenting skills on display like that!

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  7. Look at you. You are a full blown mommy blogger now. I just saw a billboard for this, and Lliam would go to heaven if we did it. Your boys are very cute. I love Charlie's cake face.

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  8. Yes, we got sucked into the same Thomas the Train money vortex last year. A big fat waste of money! What really burned me was how pathetically short the ride was, and then that it was followed by a sort of advertising booth maze in an attempt to drain our wallets even more. I think we ended up spending close to the same amount of money as you did on a day filled with sugar high irritation and toy train whistles.

    I love your posts, btw.

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  9. I just don't get the Thomas obsession. Have you ever actually watched one of those episodes? They are so boring. Too bad my kid is already getting sucked in.

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  10. Wow - sounds like an interesting trip! Wonder what Dave Ramsey would think - lol!

    What a jerk of a lady to say that about Luke! Some people are just so rude. P.S. I would be thinking the same thing about the prices of things - lol!

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  11. I completely agree with you on this. My kids are always giving us grief that we lived within 2 hrs. of Disneyland and only went once when they know kids here in Utah go all the time. I tell them that one trip through those golden gates puts us back an entire week of camping and they seem satisfied with that.
    I think it is criminal to charge people an arm and a leg for admission to something only to charge outrageously inflated prices for food, pictures and little worthless trinkets.
    I was kind of hoping our current economy would wake some of these people up, but I guess as long as there are those out there stupid enough to cough up the cash things won't be changing! My kids will remain forever deprived.

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  12. Trains are fun for little kids, but highly overrated and way too expensive, unless your Julia Roberts or something.

    We went on the Heber Creeper "Santa Train" in December, and while it was fun, the kids mostly got bored and fell asleep. The cookies weren't even that good. In the end, we were glad that gram & gramps were forking out the $$ for the tix & not us.

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  13. I am totally the sucker mom that pays for the "experience". I think it's worth it. I won't fork over the $$ for the extras like the shirts, etc., but I get suckered into going and I actually love it.

    We took Hayden to a Wiggles concert when he was two. I don't regret it for a second. We even got a picture with a sweaty/annoyed Murray - priceless!

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  14. I love Luke and Wyatt! They are my favorite Duo!

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  15. You are a smart, smart lady. Good thing all moms are not like you, or the poor Thomas Train franchise would go belly-up! (What a tragedy. Really. My little guy loves him, too. But we buy the Wal-mart stuff. Ha)
    :~D

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  16. Hey, we used to live down the street from there. I also got sucked into the Thomas money pit. I took Brooke when she was little, but Dodd didn't ride with us because it was too much money. He is so cheep!

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  17. How funny is that. We were at this Thomas train on Saturday too! We came at about 2:30ish to ride the train. My mom and dad met us there. I still have to blog about it. Maybe I'll just steal your pics. I'm right there with you on the train ride. If Aidan wasn't obsessed with Thomas before...he is now!

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