(Editor’s note: Michelle Mayans of Kid Scoop Media organized the following, by Olivia, age 15.)
All throughout the day, I was ecstatic and bounced with energy from the excitement that I was going to ride The Polar Express. The last time I rode the mystical train was when it had first arrived in Kingston about four years ago. I had gone with a friend. It was both absolutely magical and nostalgic. I still, with every fiber of my heart, adore the story. The book was written by Chris Van Allsburg and the hit film was produced by Warner Brothers.
On a Sunday night in December, I walked into the giant tent in the Kingston Plaza to catch the 6 p.m. train. I strolled through a small tunnel of lights, and arrived at a table where I received my round-trip “Golden Ticket” to the North Pole. There were many passengers of all ages, mostly wearing pajamas and holding teddy bears and toys as they waited in line. Once my train car had been called out by the conductor, I boarded and took my assigned seat. I sat, relaxed and listened to the fun soundtrack from the animated movie. Christmas decorations were bountiful in my train car, everything from wreaths to holiday lights were all around. Moments before the steam engine roared to life, chefs came out and danced to the song “Hot Chocolate.” They enthusiastically handed out small cups of delicious hot chocolate along with little bags of mouth-watering chocolate chip cookies from our local Deising’s Bakery in Uptown Kingston. As I watched and listened to the families around me, I noticed how excited everyone in my train was by this experience. So many kids of all ages and their parents laughed, danced and smiled practically the whole 90-minute ride.
I was very impressed by the staff who worked as characters on the Polar Express. They greeted everyone and took lots of photographs with all the families. They were incredible with the younger kids, well-trained and experienced on how to keep them entertained. At one point a group of “three chefs” came up to a group of shy siblings in front of me and played with them. They made up a game called “Chef Says.” I was very happy they managed to engage the kids. After we had reached the North Pole, the sight of many gorgeous lights outside of the window made me smile. Soon after our arrival, Santa Claus jumped on board and walked through the train, bellowing many Ho-Ho-Ho’s to all in attendance. As Santa smiled at families with that twinkle in his eyes, he handed out the “first gift of Christmas” to everyone, which were little silver sleigh bells. Four years after my first ride on the train, it was still a magical experience.
Overall, I would highly recommend taking a ride to the North Pole with your family on The Polar Express. It is sure to be a fun and memorable experience for all ages.
The Catskill Mountain Railroad runs The Polar Express through Dec. 28th. Visit www.catskillmountainrailroad.com/excursions/polar-express/ for more information.