What to expect from Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour

June 16, 2009 at 2:41 am 1 comment

Disney’s A Christmas Carol promotional Train Tour May Be Coming To Your Town

Disney’s doing something new and different to promote their upcoming 3-D holiday movie: A Christmas Carol. This film is a 3-D adaptation of the classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and it stars Jim Carey. Disney teamed up with Amtrak to take a special train filled with special exhibits related to the movie in four vintage looking cars to 36 states and 40 cities all around the United States. The best thing is that seeing this neat Disney attraction is completely free.

Our experience at Disney’s – A Christmas Carol – Train Tour

Build A Better Mouse Trip visited the Disney’s “A Christmas Carol” Train Tour recently. We’d received an email from Disney telling us about this event but the details were sketchy, at best. We hope our experience helps you know what to expect.

We arrived at the train station at about 5:30PM on a recent Saturday. The train hours were 9:00AM – 7:00 PM that day. When we arrived, a sign indicated that the wait / line was about 1 1/2 hours long. We’ve heard of lines of 3 to 5 hours in other towns. We lined up and a person in a staff t-shirt gave the kids a worksheet with “A Christmas Carol” themed crosswords, hidden words, and scrambled letter puzzles. They also provided a small, sharpened pencil. We saw kids all up and down the line working on their worksheets. Our kids used our backs as a surface for working on theirs. These would only be enjoyable for children who can read, the probably need to be about 8 or 9 years old to do successfully do these word puzzles.

The line was slow moving. It was raining in our area so they were trying to keep everyone under cover. You wouldn’t move at all for awhile but then they’d let a group of about 20 people through at once. The line might move at a more consistant pace when rain is not a factor. At one point, a group of four carolers walked by in costumes appropriate for the time of “A Christmas Carol”. We actually only waited one hour.

Once it was our turn, a staff member issued our family a ticket and we approached the train. At the entry, another staff member punched our ticket four times – one time for each member of our party. The back of the ticket had a bar code that we used later when we morph photos of ourselves. We’re supposed to receive an email letting us know when we can retrieve these free morphed photo images online.

The first car was filled with digital screens playing comments from cast members talking about the production. The car also contained costumes and props from the film production. In addition to items from the film, there were also glass cases displaying items from the Charles Dickens Museum in London, England. I especially enjoy seeing some of the very early published copies of “A Christmas Carol” in book form.

The second car contained models and sketches of concept art from film. There was a model of Big Ben, sketches of various scenes of London used in the movie, clay masks and sculptures of the characters. This room also had screens digital with commentary about the film development and production details as well as touch screens you used to look at different locations like Scrooge’s house, the rag & bottle shop, etc. Each location also had a trivia question about the character that would be found in that particular location.

The third car was devoted to the process of filming the action shots for the computer animation. There was a mannequin with one of the suits that has the sensors that the computer uses to track the actors movements. The digital screens showed scenes from filming the action shots. There was also commentary from the actors about that aspect of the film production.

The fourth car is the area where the guest (you) get to go to touch screens to morph a photo of your face into the face of one of the characters from the movie. This is where you scan the bar code from the ticket you received at the entrance. An adult (over age 18) has to log in and provide an email address. You then line your eyes up to a mark on the screen and have your photo taken. The photo appears on the screen and you can select Tiny Tim, Scrooge, or the ghost of Marley. The computer then morphs your picture into the face of that character. You can try all three but you only select one to retrieve online later. You can re-do your photo, if it doesn’t turn out right. My face, morphed into the character of Tiny Tim, looked a bit like a deranged alien but other family member photos were less bizarre. Try not to smile if you think you’ll want to morph into Scrooge or Marley…it just fits better.

At this point, you exit the train and are handed a cardstock sheet that has commemorative ornaments that you can punch out and display with pride on your family Christmas tree….or they can just float around in your car, getting bent and stepped on until you finally throw them away; which is what we’ll do. You also receive a coupon for a “Buy one Amtrak ticket, get a companion ticket for half price”. Being at the train station and walking through the train got us all inspired and we’re actually considering an adventure by train – something we’ve never done before.

From here, we entered a small queue line to go into an inflatable 3-D theatre. The theatre runs a short (10 or 15 minute) film showing two scenes from the upcoming movie. While in line we talked to the attendant who said that the majority of attendants were temporary, local hires. She told us that there were about 13 permanent employees who travel with the train. The neat thing about the line is that they had the type of artificial snow bubbles floating around that Disney uses along Main Street USA during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas parties at Walt Disney World. The inflatable theatre looked like a “Ye Olde English Brick Inflatable theatre”. We were issued some very cool 3D glasses and were allowed to enter the small theatre. Once seated inside, the inflatable doors were closed and we watched a 10 or 15 minute clip talking a bit about the upcoming “A Christmas Carol” movie set for release on November 6th, 2009. TWe also saw two scenes from the actual film.

After seeing the film, you’re basically done. There were some tables where we could sign up to win an HP color printer and where the kids received Christmas type (snowflake, candy cane heart, etc.) temporary tattoos.

If you’ve ever been to Walt Disney World, this attraction may remind you of the “Journey into Narnia” movie exhibit or the old “Magic of Disney Animation” attraction that gave you a sneak peak at an upcoming Disney movie.

FAQ: More information to help you plan your visit to the Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour

Question: What does this attraction cost?
Answer: The attraction is free. You may incur a fee for parking, depending on the local area. We paid $10 to use the train station’s short-term parking lot.

Question: What hours is this exhibit open?
Answer: Hours vary by day and by location. See the “schedule” portion of the official website for exact times.

Question: Will my kids enjoy this?
Answer: I don’t think this would appeal to very small children but it should interest children over age 4 or 5. My own kids have been thoroughly indoctrinated in all things Disney so they had a good time. Elementary kids and pre-teens will likely enjoy this event. Your teen may or may not enjoy it – depending on their personality.

Question: How long will this take?
Answer: Including the 1 hour wait, we spent about 2 1/2 hours at this attaction.

Question: Are there restrooms available?
Answer: There were restrooms in the train station and a row of “Port-O-Johns” near the train itself.

Question: Can I take photographs?
Answer: Yes, you can take photographs on or near the train except in the first train car.

Question: Does the train go anywhere? Is this a ride?
Answer: No, this is a walk-through attraction that just happens to be housed in four very neat train cars.

Question: Can I buy souvenirs?
Answer: Shockingly enough – No, there are no souvenirs available for purchase.

Question: What should I do to avoid the long line?
Answer: If available, go on a weekday. Arriving before opening time is another good idea.

Where can you see the Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour?

Disney’s A Christmas Carol Train Tour dates, cities, and locations

  • Here’s the schedule for this promotional train tour:May 22 – 25, 2009 / Los Angeles Union Station (California)May 29- 31, 2009 / Grand Canyon (Arizona) – Williams DepotJune 2 / Santa Fe Depot (New Mexico)June 5 – 7 / AlbuquerqueAmtrak Station (New Mexico)June 12 – 15 / Denver Union Station (Colorado)June 16, 2009 / Ogden Union Station (Utah)June 19 – 21, 2009 / California State Rail Road Museum (Sacramento, California)June 26 – 28, 2009 / Port of Redwood City (San Francisco area / Redwood, CA)July 1, 2009 / Portland Union Station (Oregon)

    July 3 – 5 / King Street Station (Seattle, Washington)

    July 10 – 11, 2009 / Witefish Amtrak Station (Montana)

    July 15 – North Dakota State University (Fargo, North Dakota)

    July 17 -19, 2009 / Amtrak Midway Station (St. Paul, Minnesota)

    July 24 – 26, 2009 / Chicago Union Station (Illinois)

    July 31 – August 2, 2009 / St. Louis Union Station (Missouri)

    August 4, 2009 / Memphis Central Station (Tennessee)

    August 7-9, 2009 / Riverview in Audubon Park (New Orleans, Louisiana)

    August 14 – 16 / San Antonio Amtrak Station (Texas)

    August 18 – 19 / Dallas Union Station (Dallas, Texas)

    August 21 – 23, 2009 / Oklahoma City Santa Fe Depot (Oklahoma)

    Augus 25, 2009 / Kansas City Union Station (Missouri)

    August 28 – 30, 2009 / Durham Museum (Omaha, Nebraska)

    September 2- 6th / Henry Ford Museum Greenfield Village (Dearborn, Michigan)

    September 9, 2009 / Indianapolis area / Downtown Bargersville

    September 11 – 13, 2009 / Louisville Union Station (Kentucky)

    September 16 – 17 / Cleveland Brown’s Lot (Ohio)

    September 22, 2009 / Albany-Rensselaer Rail Station (New York)

    September 25 – 27 / Boston South Station (Massachusettes)

    September 30 / B & O Railroad Museum (Baltimore, Maryland)

    October 2 – 4, 2009 / Washington Union Station (Washington D.C.)

    October 6, 2009 / Southeastern Railway Museum (Atlanta, Georgia)

    October 9 – 11, 2009 / NC Transportation Museum (Spencer, North Carolina

    October 13, 2009 / Savannah Amtrak Station (Georgia)

    October 16 – 18, 2009 / Gold Coast Railroad Museum (Miami, Florida)

    October 20, 2009 / Jacksonville Amtrak Station (Florida)

    October 24 – 25, 2009 / Ansonborough Field (Charleston, South Carolina)

    October 27, 2009 / 34th Street Station (Philadelphia, PA)

    October 30 – November 1 / Grand Central Station (New York, New York)

Thank you,

Stephen

Build A Better Mouse Trip
www.buildabettermousetrip.com 
Toll Free Phone: 877-815-6515

Build A Better Mouse Trip is a full service travel agency specializing in Florida vacations & Cruises. Build A Better Mouse Trip is not affiliated with or in any way officially connected with, The Walt Disney Company, Disney Enterprises, Inc., or any of their affiliates.

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Entry filed under: Outside the theme parks, Special Events, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Walt Disney World Resort in August – Crowd warnings, special events, ride closure & refurbishments, etc. Walt Disney World Resort in June 2009 – Crowd warnings, ride closures, attraction refurbishments, and special events

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