I first heard about the Day Out with Thomas on a Postcard from the Mothership. I can’t remember if Dani said that her last experience was “magical” but it was something like that. Add in my wooden train obsession – remember Christmas? – and it seemed destined to happen. I was such a good salesperson that Melissa and Peter and their kids decided to join us.
Niece Melissa told that her family had had a wonderful day at the event in St Thomas – from 9:00 til 1:00 or so, leaving because of naptime. I was pretty optimistic about the day. Then, I saw the post Dani wrote about the experience that her family had in Ottawa this year. She said it didn’t compare to how great the first time had been in – you guessed it – St Thomas.
Well, Ken and I took Reid to the second weekend of the Day Out With Thomas in Ottawa and I have to report that I was disappointed.
It was an incredibly muggy, grey morning to start with and the sky tried its utmost to rain on us. The sponsoring organization had put plywood down to protect Sir Topham Hat from the mud and so Reid didn’t end up a mess after her picture with him. We didn’t stand in line to get a picture with Thomas himself, though. Well, I would have but Ken told me that we didn’t have time before our departure time – and he was right, of course, since he is much better at keeping track of time than I am. After our trip, the line was too long and we were disillusioned.
The actual train trip involved a ride in an out of service train car that would have benefited from liberal spraying of Febreze or airing out or a vacuuming or something so that the words that most accurately described it weren’t “musty” and “dusty”. The event was held at a freight depot and so the rail tracks in this part of Ottawa run through industrial land. The scenery didn’t have much to recommend it on the 25 minute ride. Reid didn’t comment that we went backwards on the way out and forward on the way back. When our trip was over, Ken asked Reid if she’d enjoyed the ride and she offered an emphatic, “yes” as though any other answer was foolish to consider. Maybe I wasn’t entirely accurate when I said “we were disillusioned”. I should have been more specific and limited the disillusionment to Ken and myself.
Reid and Stephen, Sarah and Ben went in a mini-bouncy castle that had a limit of 6 kids. It was a good size for a first-time bouncy castle girl and her prone-to-worry mama. It’s kind of surprising how high Reid could jump (oh, I know that it was a *bouncy* castle!) The kids all kept a safe distance from one another although after a while Reid declared it “too bouncy” and moved toward the exit. By the time she got there, the attendants were calling the kids to leave. I lost no mama-pride because my kid wussed out ;+)
I think I need to give credit the scores of people who seemed to be working hard/volunteering to put on a good party. For kids who are Thomas fanatics, the experience was probably fabulous. For people who went on a beautiful, blue sky sort of day, they may have more stories about Sir Topham Hat, the bouncy castle, slide, straw maze, balloon animals and activities inside so that the train carriage didn’t figure large in their calculations.
I *did* get cotton candy, too, I have to add that to my calculations. We’ll not be going again but I would try to give a balanced review if anyone asked me.