Friday, May 22, 2009
All aboard the Christmas train
It was choo-choo time once again for CC and me, as we arrived at Union Station's Track No. 13 for opening day of Disney's "A Christmas Carol" Train Tour.
Chugging through the station's entrance, past the lovely waiting room, through a long tunnel and up a lengthy ramp, we finally found the Grand Central of train madness. We arrived early, but there was still a healthy line -- hello hourlong wait! Hello blazing sun! Goodbye sanity!
Actually here's where I have to give props to my little half-pint, who was the most patient I've ever seen her. She sat in the stroller like a trooper, drinking juice and taking in the 10-foot-tall juggler, carolers and the (Lindsay Lohan lookalike) Disney staffer who applied temporary tattoos for the kiddies in line. (Never thought my daughter would get all tatted up at a Disney event. But, hey, it's definitely better than prison.)
Once we got inside the train cars, it was truly magical. They housed costumes from the upcoming movie, artifacts such as notes and books from the Charles Dickens Museum in London, as well models of such landmarks as Big Ben.
Not only that, but wall space was mostly filled by HD screens that showed interviews with actors from the movie, including Jim Carrey, Colin Firth, Gary Oldman and director Robert Zemeckis; art from the upcoming film; games for the little ones; and a peek into how they created all those the performance-capture scenes.
The piece de resistance was the final car, which was home to about 20 HP Touchsmart PC's that allowed you to take your picture and then morph your face into one of the "Christmas Carol" characters.
CC was a little small to be right in the camera's eye, so I had to do a fancy contortionist routine to hold her up while trying to stay out of the frame. Touching the "click" button on the screen while doing all of this really should have qualified me for a role in Cirque du Soleil.
Once we nailed the shot, I morphed my little darling into the character of Tiny Tim. I was a little wary of turning her into Marley's Ghost -- didn't know quite how she'd take that later in life.
It was combo lunch/nap time when we disembarked, so we missed out on the 3-D clips from the movie. We did pass the large adjacent theater, the exterior a kind of bouncy house brick mansion, where kids and adults anxiously waited their turns to catch about 10 minutes of the film.
Besides the Christmas theme, the smell of cinnamon baking in the last car and the carolers bundled up in their winter finery, there was one more thing that made me wish for hot cocoa on this warm L.A. day. Strolling toward the exit, my child pointed toward the sky, to machines pumping out bubbiliciously white goodness, and said, "Snow!"