10 Tips For an Amazing Day Out With Thomas
OK so our kids are 3 and 5 and I thought that maybe my eldest would start growing out of his love of Thomas, but man we were wrong. He woke up probably even more excited than Christmas morning, and certainly more excited than his birthday, it was “Thomas Day” or better known as Day Out With Thomas. He was in a fantastic mood, and ran around signing “happy Thomas Day” all day long. They both have been asking if Thomas is coming back to our hometown since LAST Thomas Day. We had tickets on the first ride out and this is our tips to make your trip with Thomas and the YDHR amazing.
*Note – Stroller use. Although the entire venue is stroller friendly and much better layout than last year, you can not bring strollers onto the train, but they do have a “Stroller Parking” for you to use.
1. Book your tickets early
The events get sold out quickly. So when you see that they come on sale – Book them. You can even sign up to the Railway Station for presales. I had been signed up with York Durham Heritage Railway for a while because we live in the same town as the Railway Station. Plus you get other tickets and deals on upcoming events.
2. Schedule First Ride Out
Book your train ride for first thing in the morning. You will beat most of the heat, crowds, lines, rush, etc. In fact book your tickets for the 9:00 o’clock ride and then head STRAIGHT for the line to get pictures with Thomas. We waited for maybe 2 families in front of us. Instead of the 20-50 families we saw as we walked by later on in the day.
3. Book for Train Car With a Bench
The first two cars are table and chairs but the other cars have benches and tables, or just benches which I much prefer to keep my very energetic, can’t sit still 3 year old contained.
4. Bring water and snacks.
There were some food trucks there, and some really nice ones with your not-so-typical food truck food. A little of the fancy side. But also some great options for kids, hot-dogs, grilled cheese, wood fired pizza, etc. But there is some great shady spots for snacking and having lunch. We like to give snacks while waiting the lines. But bring snacks so you don’t have to use the “chip trucks” if you wanted to save a few bucks.
5. Check the weather
This one I know is obvious for most families but I often forget to check. If it looks like rain, be prepared. For hot sunny days lots of sun screen, hats, cool clothes, etc.
6. Collect the Stamps
I know it’s a pain in the butt, but your kid feels proud and you get a little surprise at the end.
7. Get out and enjoy the town
Thomas goes to a select few towns around the world. I am only familiar with Uxbridge’s event, but you need to get out and enjoy it. Try to walk the main street, see the local stores, eat local, stay at some B & Bs around, shop, grab a coffee, or a beer after you hot and tired at Second Wedge Brewing Co. (What parent wouldn’t want a cold one after a long hot day). We had lunch across the street at Mad Millies (amazing food, and even better fish and chips, friendly service, and the best fries) and the kids loved it. Need tips for eating out?…Check Here. And for lots of great Thomas books check out Blue Heron Books and wonderful Thomas Toys (at a cheaper rate than the gift shop at the event) check out local store Little Acorn.
8. Get out to see Thomas Driving on the Road
If you go out to the road when Thomas is leaving (you don’t even need to have a ticket for this) you can see Thomas actually pulling the Train (which you obviously can’t when you are IN the train car), his eyes move back and forth, his mouth moves and he talks to you!! For the second year in a row that is our kids favourite part. And of course I didn’t even need to pay for that.
9. Get Dressed
Get your kids geared out in whatever Thomas Gear you have. You can buy things at the gift shop but way more fun if the kid arrives in his little engineer outfit, or favourite Thomas shirt or hat.
10. Remember it’s not about you
There were lots of complaints last year for the first year that Uxbridge hosted the event. People would say “ya my kid loved it…but…”. To me there should be no “but”. But enough of that here… check out this post for more on how Thomas Day has improved, and how it isn’t about us, it’s about the kids. So let the kids be kids, enjoying seeing one of their favourite characters come to life.