A Modern Day Fairy Tale

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The Best Day Ever {A Day Out With Thomas}

**A HUGE thank you to US Family Guide for providing tickets for this event for our family!!

If you've been following my blog long, you know that my little man is a HUGE Thomas the Tank Engine fan. Truly, a train fan in general, but Thomas is certainly his number one. His bedroom is all about Thomas, he has tubs and tubs full of tracks of all kinds, he knows all about each of the engines and everything on the Island of Sodor. It was Thomas that helped him learn his colors and numbers, and aided in his communication skills. For the longest time, it was the absolute only thing he would play with! For 4 years this obsession has continued, and this weekend for the very first time, his dream finally came true and he was able to see Thomas in real life at Day Out With Thomas!!

For those unfamilar with the event, Day Out With Thomas is a nationwide event where Thomas visits various railroads across the US! Though we'd heard of the event in previous years, it either never worked out with our scheduling or there were no events near us. So when I received an e-mail from US Family Guide offering us free passes for our family for sharing the event, needless to say we jumped at the chance, and my little man had been impatiently waiting ever since! We attended the event in Connorsville, IN at the Whitewater Valley Railway, just a little over an hour away from our house. It was well worth the drive...and the wait!

When we arrived, Shaun was given a wristband which would get him into all the little stations and our tickets for the train ride. We were also given an activity sheet to get stamps at each station. After receiving all four stamps, you could turn this in for a special treat. (Not to kill the surprise, but it was a little sticker activity set...nothing fancy, but Thomas fans will love it!) The four stations we needed to visit were the Imagination Station, Gift Shop, Story-Telling and Pictures with Sir Topham Hatt.

First on Shaun's must do list was the Imagination Station! This was a fun area where they had train tables set up- both wooden and Trackmaster, as well as Thomas themed Mega Blocks stations and tattoos! There was also a table set up with rubber Thomas stamps and paper, as well as a few non Thomas related activities like a little fishing game. Shaun went straight to the train tables! Throughout the day, as we waited for the other events at their scheduled times, this was his go to place. He loved getting a Diesel 10 tattoo, his favorite diesel engine!! When we asked him at the end of the day what his favorite part of the day was, he said it was playing the Trackmaster trains! (Funny, since there was only one, maybe two sets he didn't have himself at home!!) He's easy to please!

Next up on our agenda, the big event for the day- riding on Thomas the Tank Engine...or rather in his coaches!! For a Thomas fan like my little man, this is a dream come true. Though he has been on several train rides before- even traveling from LA to Chicago- nothing beats the experience of riding Thomas!

Watching Thomas pull into the station! He was in awe.
We got to the boarding area a bit early to make sure we were among the first on the train. We were lucky enough to be seated on the first coach, right behind Thomas!! The train ride was about 25 minutes or so- first going backwards (technically forward, since Thomas was really at the end of the train and not actually pulling it), and then going reverse on the same track...still none of the kids seemed to mind, Shaun included! There was actually a soap box derby going on the same day that we passed on the train, which was pretty neat to see too...and Shaun personally enjoyed seeing all the old trains outside the windows and waving to cars announcing he was riding Thomas as we passed. He was also given a certificate declaring him a Jr Engineer, which we will proudly hang in his bedroom!! Despite the summer heat, it was a great ride!

Waiting to board. The conductors asked if he'd like to drive the train, since he was dressed the part! (An outfit he chose himself. Unfortunately, he'd outgrown most of his Thomas clothing!)

Mommy and Shaun enjoying the train ride!

After the ride was over, we went to have his picture taken with Thomas. He was thrilled! They have photographers there taking pictures that you can order through them, but they also allow you to take your own, which is wonderful if you're on a budget! I didn't think to check the prices on their options, but again there is no obligation to buy any regardless.

Next up, we checked out the gift shop...again, it was Shaun heaven! Everything Thomas...with a few other general train goodies packed in. Some of the prices were a bit high, but there were still certainly souvenirs available for all price ranges...picture frames, t-shirts, toys, books...a little bit of everything. I will say if you plan to buy your little one something specific to Day Out With Thomas, you may want to get there early. We actually made a few trips there-this first time to check it out, and then went back before we left to actually choose something. I'd originally planned to get him the Day Out With Thomas 2013 wooden train, but by the time we returned the once full rack had been cleared! Still, he walked away at the end of the day with a few small souvenirs- a new t-shirt, watch and flag to hang on his bedroom wall. He wanted as toy as well, of course, but since he had most of the Trackmaster already and they were a bit pricier (though truly not much), we opted to take him to Toys R Us where he'd have more options he didn't already own!!

After the gift shop, we headed to meet Sir Topham Hatt...this was the other highlight of Shaun's day! I truly think he was more excited about meeting him than seeing Thomas! He greeted him with a huge smile and a hug...so sweet!! Again, pictures were taken here by their photographers as well, with the option to buy or take your own.

We stopped by the Story-Telling area long enough to get our stamp, but despite his love of Thomas, he doesn't have the patience to sit calmly that long...nor did he like the crowd in that smaller space. Still, most of the other kids seemed to enjoy this as well. Likewise, there was a magic show going on that seemed to be a hit for most, but Shaun couldn't handle personally. There were also other small activities set up throughout the event. I'm sure these may vary by area, but at our local event that included riding a hand cart, a small golf area, a little mini train ride, and of course there were food trucks set up in case you got hungry!!

Overall, it was an amazing experience for my little man! He said it was the BEST DAY EVER! Better than birthdays or Christmas...even better than our Amtrak cross country ride! If you have a little one who loves Thomas, this event is a MUST! Shaun is already looking forward to going back next year with baby sister!

To find a Day Out With Thomas event in your area, click the image below!!

Disclosure: We received free passes to this event from US Family Guide in exchange for spreading the word about this event. However, all opinions expressed are 100% my own (and Shaun's too)! Your experiences may vary.


  1. Your son is an adorable boy...my nephew loves Thomas and last xmas that's all I bought him

    sibabe64 at ptd dot net


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