We had breakfast at our hotel in the morning, and headed to the Train Depot to catch the train to the Grand Canyon. We were all very excited about riding the train. Devlin has only been on the train at Disneyland, and he has been begging to go on a train trip for as long as he could talk. The train departed Williams at 9:30 am. We sat in first class, and honestly, it was well worth the money. It was so nice to lay our seats back, with lots of leg room and enjoy the scenery. Drinks and snacks were included in the fare, and we got 50% off, because we had also booked the Polar Express.
The train ride was 2 hours each way. The scenery along the way was beautiful, lots of trees, and mountain views. The service was really good, and they had a musician playing which was nice. McKinley slept a good portion of the ride on the way up, which was awesome for me to just relax. (Not something I get to do often)
Once we arrived at the Grand Canyon, we got off the train and headed to the first viewing point. It literally takes your breath away. It is known as one of the 7 wonders of the world for good reason. I was actually really disappointed I didn't spend more time planning this trip. Looking back now, I would have booked a night at the El Tovar hotel, so we could catch the sunrise and sunset. I would have loved to have been able to hike one of the trails. We all really want to come back. We will likely book the same weekend next year, and invite some family and friends to join us.
We spent an hour walking along the rim, and taking pictures. Then we headed to the El Tovar for lunch. The service here was awful. The waiter was clueless, and we waited forever for our food. The food was seriously over rated, but the view and the ambiance is what we paid for. The hotel has a very cozy feel, and I plan to book a night here next year. It's pricier than the other hotels in the area, but I loved the warmth and feel of the hotel. There are some nice places to gather with family and friends to enjoy the view, play a game, and just spend time together.
After lunch, we spent more time admiring the view, and watching the colors change inside the canyon as the sun moved. It was truly remarkable. We bought the kids a few souvenirs and then headed back to the train. The day trip allows for 3 1/2 at the Grand Canyon, and with two young kids, it was enough. Marty and I could have spent hours walking and taking pictures. Definitely something I plan to work in our schedule next year.
The train ride back was great. There were less people in our car, and Devlin made a friend. Derek got a row to himself to relax, Marty and I were able to put our feet up and McKinley was passed back and forth. Another musician came in to play a few songs, and this one was better than the last. McKinley smiled and watched him the entire time he played. We also had train robbers on the way back which was really fun for the kids.
Once we arrived back to the Train Depot in Williams, we had a short amount of time to change into our pi's and head back for the Polar Express. Our train ride was at 7:30. Williams at night is truly magical this time of year. There are thousands of Christmas lights in the trees and windows. The hotel was decorated so cute. The kids all really liked it.
We grabbed some hot chocolate on the way to the train, and waited to board. It was 25 degrees outside, and we were all freezing. It was awesome to be surrounded by so many families with smiling faces and Christmas music. This was a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
We boarded the Train, the Conductor read the book, while the chefs walked up and down the aisles singing and sharing the pictures from the book. It was pretty cool. Santa's village at the "North Pole" was decorated cute, and then Santa boarded the train and passed out a special bell to each kid. It was really cute. Devlin enjoyed every minute of it.
We got off the train and headed to the buffet to eat dinner before going to bed. Devlin's eyes were glazed and he made no sense as he rambled about the day. The rest of us talked about how we want to do this again next year with our family and friends…long day = long post and lot's of rambling!