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They're Two, They're Four, They're $64.50

We arrived at the Thomas & Friends Presents: Day Out With Thomas: Great Discovery Tour 2008, Brought to You By LEGO/DUPLO, the Choice for Exxxtreme Plastic Interlocking Block Building, just as the life-sized Thomas engine pulled into the station. Noah managed to catch about a half-second glimpse and promptly lost his mind.

"THOMAS!" he screamed. "THOMAS! THOMAS!"

I thought for a second he was about to plum pass out from the excitement. Even the will-call ticketing folk, whom I imagine are sick to death of Thomas and Percy and Sir Topham Fucking Hatt after the 17th consecutive weekend of dealing with this nonsense, smiled at Noah's Beatlemania-level enthusiasm. Jason and I smiled like big old dweebs, because WE RULE. MAXIMUM MAGICAL SPECIALNESS ACHIEVED! GREATEST. PARENTS. EVER.

By the time we got closer to Thomas, Noah was speaking in tongues.

Thomas! from amalah on Vimeo.

And. That's probably when we should have turned around and gone home.

Note to the Greatest. Parents. Ever: when your child says no, he does not want to ride on the train, don't fucking make him ride on the train. Oh my God.

Then again, I'd ordered the tickets weeks ago for $18 each. Plus $3.50 in processing fees! Each! You are riding that train, child, and it will be MAGIC and SPECIAL and we will talk about the memories of that MAGIC and SPECIAL time we paid $64.50 to ride on an old MARC train for 25 minutes through some fields in Baltimore while a tinny Thomas singalong CD was pumped through the loudspeakers and the brakes on our car made a non-stop disconcerting grindy sound, and we will talk about these memories for YEARS, dammit. YEARS.

Noah's been doing so well with his little sensitive sensory quirky issues lately -- he's actually about to get kicked out of Early Intervention, the little smartypants valedictorian -- but oh, the train drove him batshit. He screamed and panicked and kicked and wept and he did not CARE that we were riding a train that was tangentially connected to a big blue Thomas engine, although technically Thomas was up THAT way and the train was moving in the OTHER way so...hmm. I am beginning to suspect that the Day Out With Thomas Great Discovery Thrash Metal Rock n' Roll Tour 2008 is possibly kind of a racket.

REST OF THE WORLD: Welcome, Amy! So glad you could join us.

Since we were 1) surrounded by families with toddlers, so like, eff them, right? and 2) $64.50! Sixty-four-fifty!, we did not get off the train during Noah's freakout but gritted our teeth and kept muttering that he'd be fine once the train started moving, oh God, just MOVE ALREADY. It was at this point that a elderly woman walking by felt the need to inform us that our child was "not happy."

What?! Not happy?  For real? Why...that means we've been doing this entire parenting thing COMPLETELY BACKWARDS this whole time? Dude, we're such BONEHEADS. And here I thought this was just laughter through tears.

Noah did settle down once the train started moving (slowly, without any realistic chugga chugga woo woos, and yes, I WAS looking forward to some realistic chugga chugga woo woos), so much so that he laid down on our laps and tried to go to sleep.

Back at the station, the gift shop was sold out of the preshus little conductor caps that we'd had our hearts set on for our non-hat-abiding toddler, the concessions were closed so I couldn't spend $5 on bottled water and when Jason went to inspect the family photos we'd had taken in front of Thomas post-train-ride he happily told me that they were ABYSMAL and we all looked LIKE ASS, and therefore he DIDN'T BUY ONE. Then we high-fived because SUCK IT, Thomas & Friends. We done outsmarted you in the end, we did.

Of course, Noah did have fun. He climbed on a Thomas made out of LEGO/DUPLO BRAND INTERLOCKING BUILDING BLOCKS! and got walloped by a 12-year-old on the moonbounce got involved in a turf-war/choo-choo-hoarding incident at the train table -- you know, the same train table WE HAVE AT OUR HOUSE -- and did you know that antique trains come with built-in Naughty Steps for overstimulated toddlers?




Noah called this one "Mommy Thomas," and now all his trains at home are "Baby Thomas." That would be freaking adorable except for the fact that I just want to punch all the Thomases in the face right now.


Don't worry, she doesn't mean it. I still love you, Creepy Pixelated Uncle-Sized Thomas.







After the World's Longest Nap I tried to get Noah to tell us about everything he'd seen that day, like Mommy Thomas and all the Big Trains and the Bouncy Slide and That Train Ride That Wasn't Really Death on Grindy Wheels After All. He seemed to be drawing a blank on it all. Except, of course, for the windmills. The windmills were AWESOME.


This is a windmill. It's...probably best if you don't argue with him on this one.



that is an awesome windmill, noah. awesome.

and SIXTY-FOUR FIFTY? i am outraged for you.


Cutest. Video. Ever.

Ride on Thomas?



LOLOLOL. Thank you so much for this entry, it so made my day.

Best line ever:
"That would be freaking adorable except for the fact that I just want to punch all the Thomases in the face right now."


So glad im not alone on this one. We too were releived of a considerable amount of cash to visit the Thomas Day Out and they were out of the dang hats when we were there too! How do you run out of the conductor hats!!??


Oh yeah, we did the whole $75 for a day out with Thomas last year because of course the boys will LOVE it...guess what? Not so much, they were none too impressed and fell asleep while riding Thomas!


I can't stop laughing! He's too cute!


I have missed the train again???
I have been trying to catch that darn "Day Out With Thomas" for about 5 years now! We are only 40 or so miles south of DC so, what, about an hour and a half to get there?
We already have our Blue Ticking striped Engineer hat and bandana and wooden train whistle, so we are set. (The Engineer hat doubles as a "Wonder Pet" hat when we play "Wonder Pets" and save the day!)

I'd have dragged the screaming toddler on the train, too. They just don't know what they are missing if they miss it!
If they have the photos to show him later.

You are the Most Awesome Parents EVER!

Anglophile Football Fanatic

I'm so glad I was not the only one who had this happen. We went about a month ago and had similar results. You think you are doing so good...and the reward you get is just hell!


Oh, Amy. I so do wish we lived in the same town so we could go out for coffee and kvetch about the $98 dollars I laid out this weekend for Sesame Street Live! broughttoyoubybeachesresorts. The $98 did not include the postshow drama of watching our 3-year old roll around on the lobby floor because we refused to buy him a $18 Elmo whirlygigthingy. That, my friend, is priceless...


Oh. My. Gosh. My two year old son caught me looking at your post. He got so excited about the photos of Thomas and then when I finally decided it was time to move on, all hell broke loose. It's 30 minutes later and he's still on my lap sobbing because I took the Thomas photos away!


Toooo funny..

Love it!!! :)


I took my then-2-year-old to Day Out with Thomas at Tweetsie Railroad in NC last year, because it was rather conveniently located near my dad's place. Family visit and MAGICAL FUN for my son, all at once!! Right?

Eh, not so much. He thought Thomas LOOKED cool, but didn't really want to ride him, and he flatly refused to have his picture taken with anyone--Thomas, Sir Topham Hatt, Grandpa, you name it. After milling around aimlessly at a park filled to about 250% capacity with a child who was either too small or too cranky to do much of anything, we left, exhausted. Then, of course, my son napped in the car on the hour-long drive back to my dad's, where he refused to nap any longer. . . so no nap for Mama.

Yeah, Thomas can suck it.


For $64.50 I would have stayed on that train all day long. No getting off. Ever. That's about the same price as a train ticket from DC-NY.


The more money you spend on something, the less fun you have. Guess how much fun we're going to have on our $145 trip to Hershey Park next month? NONE. But we're going, anyway, because I got to meet the Hershey Bar when I was 6.

And those are TOTALLY windmills.


Your story and the comments all make me very happy that my kids never had one iota of interest in Thomas. It sounds like all I missed was a nightmare.

At least the video was good and the "tongues" was amazing.


ok, you win. I just blogged about the same event and really, your blog, so much better than mine. Going to go stand in a corner now and weep.

And yeah, such a racket.


This must be how my mom felt when she managed to get me a Cabbage Patch Doll for Christmas and I was only interested in the box...


Ugh, we too have experienced the insanity that is taking children to Day Out With Thomas only to discover it's really just an expensive slow train ride to hell. Our particular event took place 4 years ago, the last week of JULY when it shoud have been 95 degrees, and it turned out to be 55 degrees and pouring down rain and you couldn't actually get to the steps of the train without slugging through standing water. Hell indeed.


This must be how my mom felt when she managed to get me a Cabbage Patch Doll for Christmas and I was only interested in the box...

andrea soos

Oh my god, we did this last year. What a strange experience. Needless to say we are skipping it this year and instead paying $90.64 on Thomas Live on Stage. Whooohooo. There better be real choo choo and woo wooing.


I love how he was all in Thomas Freak Out Mode and telling Thomas what was up. That was preshus.

What was even cuter was the drastic change in demeanor and facial expression when you mentioned the riding of the Greatest Train Ever.

Noah, even with the train issues, remains the Cutest Thing.


My son, now 12, would have died at the chance to see Thomas live and in person-OMG I don't think we could have handled it. He was so totally obsessed with Thomas and any trains for that matter from the age of 1. I have crates full of little wooden trains that I am not getting rid of because god dammit that was alot of freakin money and somebody else will play with them by god, chinese paint or not! I swear THOUSANDS of dollars. At least a year of college in those boxes.


Awww... cute video and cut overstimulated kid. And speaking of overstimulated... um overstock just showed me a big purple dildo on your website.

That reminds me of another good way to spend $64.50.

Mommy Cracked

Oh dear Gussy! We took our three year old to Thomas last year, but your post describes it so much more eloquently than I ever could! It was Hell. On wheels. We also have a sensory issues little guy, so THAT'S always fun to deal with everywhere we go. *sigh*


Oh my freaking god, SOOO preshus, but lord above am I scared of doing something similar when mine arrives at "that age". I have maybe a year to go.

And I love how someone needs to tell you pointless shit that you already know.

"Not happy". Um, no shit, Sherlock.

Your blog is truly priceless.


OMG. Totally went to Thomas with my 2yr old (and my cousin and her 3 boys <>) He shreeked and jumped on me elbowing my boobs constantly b/c am preggers also and they are gigantic and very sensitive. Also, got to watch out for the play tables, had wild hormone frenzy when a "very mean dad" stole the spencer that my son was pushing from him so his nasty boy (in a fing pirate hat?) could play wtih it. Needless to say, it got ugly.


Carly - you're the second person to comment about a suspiciously phallic-type thing on the Overstock ad (I get earrings! Shaped like bears!), so...uh...I'm gonna email some people and see if we can't do something about that. This site gets blocked as porn enough as it is.


OMG we did this last year. Our son was calm the whole time for the most part but it was freakin' just as expensive as your tickets which had to be pre ordered. AND our son would not talk about it either afterwards but he still loves trains so no harm, no foul?! We are also choosing NOT to do this again this year. BUT we plan to pay top dollar for front row center seats at the Bob the Builder show coming next year to the Indiana University Auditorium. Oh and we went to Disney World this year. Do you think I should book the therapy sessions NOW?!??!


Oh my heck, I am laughing so hard right now.

What is it with those train tables anyway? We have the *official* Thomas one, but somehow the exact same one at Barnes and Noble is superior.

Miss W

Oh my...kind of makes me worry about the tickets I bought for the lowercase to ride Thomas this weekend!


We are also going to a Thomaspalooza being held here in June. Sadly, it sounds like the same racket as in your area.

Thanks to your preview, I am now totally fired up about getting financially screwed by a creepy anthropomorphic train.


Dude, despite your (likely correct) suspicion about it all being a racket, I am still a bit pissed because **I was supposed to be at that thing and f-ing missed it.**

At least Thomas might have taken my kid's mind off of our current food war. I will win. Oh yes, I will. (Won't I?)


Same thing here, except we paid for two adults and THREE kids so it was like, I dont know...800 gazillion dollars for our Thomas-obsessed three year old (and the whole entire reason for this quest, including a two hour car ride EACH WAY HOLY MOTHER OF GOD) to scream himself batshit insane while on the Thomas Train. And then get off the train, glare at us and fall asleep in his stroller. Awesome.

By the way, it sounds like maybe he was talking about Mavis in that video? Or have I been CLEARLY watching too much Thomas for the last flipping five years or so?


PS TO EVERYBODY: So...uh...if you happen to spot an ad from Overstock that appears to be hawking sex toys of any kind, could you do me a huge favor and get a screenshot of it and send to me at amy at amalah dot com? We're trying to turn it off but need a little more info to track it down.

Thanks. You guys are Really Useful Readers! Ha ha! DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE?


we went to thomas's GRAND FUCKING DAY OUT when girl was 4 because some train-crazy boy friends were going.
stooopid. stooopid us.
our friends almost had their camera taken away from them for having the AUDACITY to TAKE A PICTURE of their kid with thomas. because, you know - you are supposed to BUY those things not TAKE THEM yourself.
Thomas's GRAND DAY OUT to the GULAG! hahaha


OMG! I can't believe you were there yesterday. That would have been so awesome to see you there. My husband was the dork with the full sized video camera and the tiny thomas backback.

That was worse than a trip to a theme park in terms of money spent and my exhaustion at the end of the day. I don't think I'll ever get "The fat controller's railway" out of my head.


Yep, sounds about right. We paid for the Thomas tickets not once, but TWICE, because I am a giant sucker. I don't know why I thought he would enjoy it more the second time. I think it goes without saying that he didn't, and neither did we.


You have just described EVER SINGLE expedition we try to take our autistic son on. We go someplace awesome. We spend a bunch of money. Monkey throws a tremendous fucking fit. We stay because Monkey needs to do things and we spent all this money, damn it. Then we all go home pissed.
Thanks for the heads up about Thomas.


Sounds just like the Santa Train experience we had last year.


Yes, Thomas, I hate that train. I hate the Day Out With Thomas. You can read about our trip last year, and why we decided not to go this year, if you want to, here!CB53E8DCEBAFE3DD!330 We are just going to stay home and poke our eyes out with the shrimp forks.

Lisa M

I'm so glad my kids are too old for this we're on to rock concerts that I will only pay for if I will enjoy it too...At least I won't have to push them around in a stroller! But still, he looked like he had some fun!


Sorry, I just don't get outlaying that much cash for a 2 year old to see a train. Just like I don't get paying tons of cash to get tix to a Hanna Montana concert for your 8 year old. Does any kid or parent actually enjoy this stuff?

Noah would have had the same enjoyment in the Thomas section of Toys R Us and you could have saved $$

Does make a good blog post, though


DS, who is 15 now, LOVED Sesame St. Those muppets were like our 2nd family. This was before he LOVED Thomas. We took him to Sesame Place in Philly. a good 5 hours, hotel overnights, the works. And we got there, SOOOOO excited!!! And the first thing we head to is the giant climb-slide-ropes-tubes-balls contraption. And he's all "nnooooo. Noooo! NOOOOOO!!" And my husband dragged his butt up that jumbo slide and we have preshus video of him screaming his lungs out the entire way down the slide. yup. But then, as soon as he got on solid ground?? "Again? Again!!" of course. But pregnant me had to drag him into wading pools of cavorting little kids and every other fun thing, convincing him of their funness.


DS, who is 15 now, LOVED Sesame St. Those muppets were like our 2nd family. This was before he LOVED Thomas. We took him to Sesame Place in Philly. a good 5 hours, hotel overnights, the works. And we got there, SOOOOO excited!!! And the first thing we head to is the giant climb-slide-ropes-tubes-balls contraption. And he's all "nnooooo. Noooo! NOOOOOO!!" And my husband dragged his butt up that jumbo slide and we have preshus video of him screaming his lungs out the entire way down the slide. yup. But then, as soon as he got on solid ground?? "Again? Again!!" of course. But pregnant me had to drag him into wading pools of cavorting little kids and every other fun thing, convincing him of their funness.


I am so excited we are going on the 18th. It is my 5 year olds second trip but the first for my 2 year old and he is going to explode. EEEEP. Seeing Noah made me more excited


ikate - Read the first couple paragraphs of this entry again. That moment right there is why we do it, and that's why we'll do it again and again, for whatever dumb thing will make our kids scream and squeal with total kid joy.


My kid loved Day out with Thomas last summer. Blech. When he got the chance to hug Sir Topham - he would. not. let. go. I had to pull him off.

Christina T.

I wasn't going to comment because no one wants to read a "we actually had fun at Thomas day" comment but I'd like Thomas to have at least one positive experience on the board for those keeping score. We took our 2-year-old and had a blast the whole time with the train tables, riding Thomas, etc. I can't tell you why our day was different and I'm sure not going next year because it would be the complete opposite. And in regards to "That moment right there is why we do it, and that's why we'll do it again and again, for whatever dumb thing will make our kids scream and squeal with total kid joy" ... you are so right! We didn't tell our son until we got there and I will treasure that moment forever. His eyes got so big and he got so excited to see Thomas. So worth it. Just want to end by saying to GOOD LUCK to future Thomas day-goers.


Yeah, so why would an elderly woman subject herself to such madness?

I hate it when people who get uppity around toddlers show up in places filled with the little people.


Hilarious as always!

imagine community

Similar story at the movies. Everyone said we should take our four-year-old to see Enchantment. Thirty-one dollars and fifty cents later, we had three tickets. He freaked out so badly in the first scene -- where the ogre chases the princess -- that we had to leave the theater. The only satisfaction: it was so early in the show they gave us our money back.


We did Thomaspolooza last September for my nephew's birthday. Ours was replete with a petting zoo and magic show as well. And it was hot as balls. BUT, my nephew had a great time--sitting down and getting excited about going to Sodour, spying Cranky and Bertie all along the way. His meltdown came later that day--when his new Thomas goggles were "TOO TIGHT."


That video just made me pee my pants a little..Noah is SO funny with the yelling.
You really should have known by the tone of his "no" that he really wasn't gonna fall for your reindeer games..but you tried and that's all that counts..isn't it?? Please god, say yes, I don't have kids yet and your answer could save their future lives..ha!


I love your line at the end, all "We'll talk about this later."

Noah speaking in tongues is the cutest thing ever. He's so emphatic!


You're story reminded me of the one time we took our son on a train ride that had a cowboys and Indians theme going on. Half way thru the train ride it was taken over by the bad cowboys and they robbed us of our fake money we had been given. Talk about freak out city. We tried to tell him it was a game but no luck. At least he laughs about it now. Bad, bad Mommy, I was crying watching him crying.


Ahhh...brings back memories of last year when we went. And said we'd NEVER GO AGAIN.

Dylan almost lost his shit when Thomas pulled up though. It was the cutest thing I've ever seen. Didn't get it on video, damnit.


Oh, man. I think it's a requirement of first time parents to do this to their kids at some point. We have a similar tale involving Storyland. Yes, little overstimulated child, you will go on spinning rides and a rollercoaster and have FUN DAMMMIT!

Good thing kids are so elastic, they bounce back :-)


Oh, man. I think it's a requirement of first time parents to do this to their kids at some point. We have a similar tale involving Storyland. Yes, little overstimulated child, you will go on spinning rides and a rollercoaster and have FUN DAMMMIT!

Good thing kids are so elastic, they bounce back :-)


what train? i can't get past those curls. so glad they're back.


I have spent far too much on so many things and what they remember is feeding stale bread to the ducks at the pond RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM MY HOUSE! Oh well, live and learn.


Regarding ikate's comment....

We have two major rail lines running through our town and we go to watch the trains running by about every other day. My kid still goes spastic every single time we see a train coming through - even if it is the 5th one he has seen that day. Roaming the aisles of Toys R Us absolutely does NOT garner the same reaction as actually seeing a REAL train.


OH! So this explains why my mom and dad didn't take me to stuff like this when I was little! I don't have kids of my own, so sometimes I have to be reminded. :)


Wow, ikate has forgotten how to play. why would you go to a concert or a play or any experience that isn't in front of a tv? b/c

When we took our (then) 3 year old son to see Thomas, he peed his pants....literally. He absolutely loved it. The riding the train part was boring but we only paid for one parent to go along - ha Ha - you'll figure out the money saving tricks, esp once #2 comes along.

Katie Kat

Amy - There is a great discussion concerning sensory integration and the problems kids have in this area at (Got her website from Dad Gone Mad and she's GREAT!).

Might have some new/interesting info for you! :)


I love that look on Jason's face after he asks Noah if he wants to go for a ride on Thomas and Noah says "no". Jason's all, the HELL?

Yay for video of Noah!


To all who have had this and similar experiences, I can relate in 2 ways. 1st, taking a toddler to a fireworks show can cause the same instant and long term issues, as I found out.
But second, after being involved with Thomas events for many years, let me say that 1 in 500 kids react this way with Thomas and the train (of course higher numbers in the activity/toys area). But the hosts have little control of pricing for toys or tickets. There are 2 agenda's at work, the promoter's and the host's. And while you spend 3 hours in "hell", the hosts workers spend 12+ hours a day in it, times the number of days. And they try hard to make it as enjoyable as possible, and would like a little for their time and efforts. And inventory is expensive, so you do the best guess estimates you can, so you are not carrying a lot over for the rest of the year.
So folks, try it again some time. Each venue will differ in their approach to things, and you may find one more suited to your tastes. And really, once you're there, you are in control , no matter what the marketing is trying to convince you of. But there is usually a museum trying to raise funds with an event like this, and they try to make it enjoyable and pleasant for everyone. Maybe come back at a quieter time for a hat or toy or a different ride experience, its all up to you.
Just the flip side... Thanks


this post is hilarious. we recently spent a small fortune to see Diego Live! totally not worth it but yet I would do it again in a heartbeat to see the excitement on my son's face.


now i have that damn "their two, their four, their six, their eight" song stuck in my head. we were lucky enough to get out of the thomas day out with the oldest and there is no way i'm paying that much for the triplets so ha! i win. btw- weirdest thomas thing? why are peter fonda and alec baldwin in the movie? seriously? did they need the money that bad?


i watched that video about six times because noah is so cute and because you and jason didn't sound at all like what i thought you guys would sound like. (that's not a bad thing, i'm just sayin'.)

i ride the MARC train to work every day, and it does woo-woo, but not so much with the chugging.


We took my first son to Day with Thomas in Illinois when he was 2 and I was pregnant. It WAS extremely crowded and a bit drizzly, and the lines were horrendous, but we did have a good time, and found out about the train museum in Union Illinois. We went there on a NON Thomas day and had a BLAST. Hundreds of full size trains to climb in and through, take pictures of and NO ONE to bump into!! I recommend taking him back to the train yard on a Non-Thomas day. He'll probably enjoy it a lot more, and you'll save a bundle, too!


Not only am I a member of the B&O Museum, I'm also a railroader and major steam fan. (However, I want to add that I only speak for myself and nobody else.) I can't believe that as close as the B&O Museum is to Strasburg, PA that they didn't get the REAL live steam "Thomas" down there for Thomas Days. That is what I expect from one of the premiere railroad museums in the country, not the cheesy fake. I think you were ripped off. What was at the museum was one of about a dozen, non-operational Thomas representations. The "real" U. S. Thomas - rebuilt under license from the British company that owns the rights - is a converted U. S. steam switcher that used to work the docks in Brooklyn, NY. It and the non-operational representations are owned by the Strasburg Railroad and trucked around to museums and tourist railroads to be used as fund-raisers for those museums and tourist railroads.

Thomas Days are the largest fundraiser for the B&O museum, and I'm sure they saved a lot of money using the fake stand-in, but there is such a thing as prestige, and not using the real steam version just offends me.

If your son likes trains other than Thomas, might I suggest that you consider taking him to Washington Union Station this Saturday morning (May 10) for Amtrak's "National Train Day". Static displays of new and old trains and coaches, but it sounds like Noah would handle that better anyway. And the best part is IT'S FREE. I believe Amtrak has details of the event on their website.

P. S. Enjoy the Thomas era with your son while it lasts. I thought my nephew was going to be a major train fan, but he discovered Game Boy, and that's pretty much all he wants to do anymore.


I wanted to laugh and cry reading that post thinking of all that we do for our kids.My oldest now 17 loved Barney as well as Thomas and when Barney was Live at Radio City and sold out I thought how special that I was bringing him. He hated it kicking and screaming as we even entered the building.I only hope that my 2yr old does not have a melt down when we have our Day OUt With Thomas

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