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.