Do your children love Thomas the tank engine? Do they enjoy children's rides? Do you live anywhere near New England? If so, then I highly recommend checking out Edaville USA!
Initially we had some ambitious plans to go to Canada for Labor Day weekend, but considering we are traveling to Philadelphia for the upcoming World Meeting of Families, we regained our sanity long enough to realize we had no desire to do more than one lengthy road trip with a 2-year-old and an infant within the same month.
Instead, we chose to spend some time on Labor Day weekend exploring Edaville and the brand-new Thomas Land portion of their amusement park! It had been on my radar since back in July or so when I saw that Thomas Land (which was opening in mid-August) had been named one of the Best New Amusement Park Attractions in the United States.
I must say, Edaville (and especially Thomas Land) really exceeded our expectations. We thought it would be good and a lot of fun for Gabriel (it was his first time experiencing an amusement park and/or rides!), but we had no idea just how good it would be.
We purchased our tickets online the night before and printed them off at home which I definitely recommend doing, because we happily (and a bit smugly) bypassed a line of about 50 families as we cruised right inside. After a pit stop for diaper changes/bathroom breaks we made our way towards the back of the park (a pro tip my parents taught me as a child in order to minimize line waits). However, as soon as we saw THE Thomas train that takes you all around the park we went and "said hi" and took photos.
I rode a little caterpillar coaster with Gabriel since there was zero line whatsoever, which was his very first ride. It was a bit fast and bumpy and he told me he was "all done" a few times, but it was good preparation for him because it allowed me to calmly explain that they have to stop the ride first and then we can get off. He seemed fine with it - and then we were off to the Island of Sodor!
|Thomas fans will surely recognize this iconic landmark behind us|
All of Thomas Land was quite adorable and the rides were all characters from the Thomas and Friends show. We saw Bertie the Bus, Harold the Helicopter, Fire Engine Flynn, Cranky the Crane, and countless trains.
Gabriel (who is less than 36 inches tall) was able to ride all but a few rides in the entire park (accompanied by an adult) and there was even one (Fire Engine Flynn) that he could ride all by himself. There was also a large Tidmouth Shed with a few trains (Gordon, James, and...Emily?) that is used for a couple of shows (with Sir Topham Hatt, I believe) during the day which we did not manage to see - but Gabriel had plenty of fun just taking pictures, climbing inside the one kids can explore, and had no idea he was missing out on any sort of show.
|Riding all by himself!|
|Getting ready to pilot Harold the Helicopter|
Because we arrived when the park opened at 10am we barely had to wait in any lines (the park got noticeably busier around lunch time) and Gabriel even got to ride some things more than once. We made our way through all of Thomas Land by lunch which was the perfect time for a break.
After we ate we did some more diaper changes and I nursed the baby (who made our morning incredibly easy by taking a nap until lunch) we were off for more fun.
It's worth mentioning that the main building that contains the restrooms has a lovely room for nursing mothers (complete with changing tables and toys for babies and toddlers to play with) and upstairs is an area completely geared towards little ones that has more rides AND...a ball pit. Gabriel raved and raved and raved about that ball pit the rest of the day (and the next) because Michel took him there to play while I nursed Peter.
Then, we hopped aboard the Thomas train for a 20-minute ride around the park!
|Riding the Thomas train!|
By that time of day it was getting hot so we ventured into Dinoland, which is a shaded area containing more than 20 life-size animatronic dinosaurs. We weren't sure how Gabriel would react, but he LOVED the dinosaurs so we took our time strolling through the woods to see them all.
After Dinoland we headed back into Thomas Land to let Gabriel choose one more ride to go on again before we prepared to head home. Then, once the kids had been properly fed and changed we made our way to the parking lot...but not before stopping for one final ride - the carousel.
|It was a good thing I snapped this before it began because that carousel was fast!|
All in all it was a fun, memorable day for everyone. Michael and I enjoyed taking turns going on rides with Gabriel (who had a blast) and we thought Thomas Land was very well done. Edaville is actually constructing new areas with pirate and water-themed rides AND there will be even more rides in Thomas Land opening soon; we felt the trip was money very well-spent and would happily revisit the park and explore their new attractions in the future.
"They're two, they're four, they're six, they're eight,
shunting trucks and hauling freight.
Red and green and brown and blue,
they're the Really Useful Crew.
All with different roles to play,
round Tidmoth Sheds or far away.
Down the hills and round the bends,
Thomas and his friends."
-Thomas and Friends Theme Song