Thursday, August 06, 2009

Christmas Carol train tour

Next stop: Dickens' London.

To promote the new Christmas Carol movie, Disney has a train tour that is traveling throughout the US.

First, this was marketing genius. Seriously. It's just a movie. But the promotional tour that they are doing is great!

But before we get to the tour, let's talk about the line to get in.

OH YEAH. There was a two hour wait. There was a worker dude at the end of the line asking everyone, "You made sure to notice that there is a TWO HOUR wait from this point, right? TWO HOURS." It was as if he was even surprised that we were staying. I know I was.

But wait we did. For two hours. It was 92 degrees.

OH PEOPLE. The things that I do for my children. I should have taken a photo of the guy in front of us. He had this cool little camping belt with two canteens hooked to it. And a pocket for snacks. The woman two families behind us had a folding camp chair. I felt thoroughly unprepared.

But we stood in line like troopers, minus water and snacks and camp chairs. We did a lot of standing in line.

But, as usual, we made friends with the people near us. (Not with Mr. Prepared with Camping Gear though. He was a little snooty, as if we were beneath him because we didn't anticipate the two hour wait.) (I didn't. I was pretty shocked by the wait time.)

Ahem. Back to the friends. We actually found out that the family behind us was just starting homeschooling, and we had a mutual acquaintance. That was unexpected.

Anyway, the chatting made the wait much more bearable. And about an hour into our wait, Christmas carolers showed up! Sass sang Christmas carols all day after that.

But alas, even with the carolers, we had more waiting. A little closer to the train itself, there were three of these cooling fans set up. My children thoroughly enjoyed the mist generated by the fans. But it really looked more like a spray once they were finished.

Finally! The wait was over! And once we got inside ... WOW! The first car was set up with period costumes and portraits of characters from the film. Plus it had three cases full of books and letters on loan from the Dickens Museum. I could have stayed there longer reading the letters.

Aside: Did you know that Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins were friends? And even wrote a book together? I didn't until reading some of the information in the cases.

But alas, the two hour wait seriously cut into the "seeing" time because Spyder had to get to fencing class afterward. So we moved on to the models.

The movie uses computer generated animation, but they used models in some of the process. This model of Big Ben was amazing.

We weren't allowed to use flash photography, and so this photo was the best I could manage.

Next came the ... I'm not sure what it's called. The actors wore suits like in the photo and acted out the scenes, then they were animated in a later process. It was pretty interesting, and there were screens set up along the wall that gave the information about how it was filmed that way.

I loved the way they used the mirror to make the train car seem much bigger than it actually was.

On the way out we visited the interactive car, where the favorite activity was taking photos of ourselves and morphing them into the movie characters. That was really fun. But let me mention here -- that particular car was hotter than waiting in the sun outside. I felt like I was about to faint when we got out of there.

And finally, the end of the train cars. A happy ending, of course.

We also got to see a 10 minute preview of the movie in 3-D. My children were in awe. And YUP, 3-D still gives me a headache, even with all of the improvements since the 1970s.

The bottom line: If the tour is coming to your city, it's worth going. Just make sure to bring a camp chair and a cooler.



Susan said...

I want to do this!! I can hardly wait for the movie to come out, and have already decided that I will put up with the 3D to see it. Yes, I get the 3D headache too!

Susan said...

So I just checked the map and they came through my state clear back in July!!! Why didn't I know about this then!! I'm so annoyed.

Weird Unsocialized Mom said...

What a nifty homeschool field trip! I'll have to see if they're going to be in our area.

gloriana said...

I checked the schedule, and it's going to be near us in October (hallelujah, no 92 degree heat!).

Do you think it's worth a trip to Balto & back to see it? (That's 4 hours of driving round trip for me, not counting wait in line time.)