Thursday, August 11, 2016

Thomas Land - A Family Review

Messy Messy Fail - I met a friend and her two sons for a swim date at one of our local pools. I slathered both of my boys in sun block, and I thought I had covered myself pretty well.  One day and a nasty back sunburn later, I realized what I had missed.  Ouch.

Tidy Victory - I was in Cleveland, OH over the weekend enjoying some much overdue college friend reunion time when I remembered that the Olympic opening ceremonies were on! I had only missed the first 45 minutes so I quickly texted my husband to record them.  Do you think I've watched them yet?  Nope :)  Going to save the recording for Saturday night!

Hey Thomas the Train fans out there - have you heard about Thomas Land yet?  If you have, read on, but if you have not, you MUST read on!

My husband first heard about the opening of Thomas Land in Carver, Massachusetts last summer.  This type of place was something that IMMEDIATELY sent flags up on our radar - both of our sons watch an episode of Thomas the Train every night before bed, they spend about 3 hours a day playing with their wooden tracks in the finished basement, etc.  Basically, Thomas the Train is in our life AT LEAST 50% of our day.

So you can imagine how excited we were when on our family vacation in Cape Cod, I contacted the marketing team at the new Thomas Land to see if they would like for us to visit in exchange for a review of the new park and they said YES!


Before I start telling you about the fabulous time we had there, here's some background on the new Thomas Land:

  • Thomas Land is actually just one of the three adventures within the park of Edaville USA - the others include Edaville Proper, Dino Land (seasonal) and Christmas Festival of Lights (seasonal).
  • The new Thomas Land sits on 11.5 acres in Edaville USA and includes 11 Thomas themed rides for kids of all ages.  
  • The amusement park was first owned and named by Ellis D. Atwood (get it, EDAville?!?!?!) in 1946 when he purchased some 2-foot gauge rails from the state of Maine that were no longer needed.  He had the track installed around his 1,800 acres of cranberry bogs in Carver.  He allowed locals to take sight-seeing rides on the train around his plantation, and soon he brought in Christmas decorations and rides to offer entertainment. 
  • In 2002, a man by the name of Joe Delli Priscoli purchased 250 of Edaville's acres and continued the tradition of the Christmas Festival of Lights and vintage style amusement rides.  Finally in 2015, Thomas Land was added.  To date there are 90 rides and attractions in the entire park.

Click here to Tweet this review on Thomas Land for other Thomas the Train fans to learn about!

Upon walking into the park, we were immediately greeted by a friendly staffer welcoming us while 50's & 60's era music was playing cheerily over a speaker.  You have to cross a train track to go through the gate, so the boys were immediately looking around for Thomas!

The entry way to Edaville USA is modeled with an old town look - building facades with windows are decorated with old fashioned wooden statues, fashion from the era and model trains.

We followed a winding road around a calm pond past what looks like new facades being put up - a sign in the window kindly asks us to "Pardon our dust we are updating the park for your further enjoyment".  I'm excited to see the updates online next year!

As we walked into the main section of Edaville USA, we immediately saw a train station with, you guessed it, Thomas the Train himself parked and smiling!  Here you can board Thomas every hour for a 20-minute leisurely ride around the property or take a family picture with him while he's waiting for his next group of passengers.  

We spent the next hour walking around the park and getting acquainted with the layout.  The old-fashioned rides as you walk through Edaville Proper are nicely spaced out so there is plenty of walking room for larger groups, strollers, etc.  

There are signs clearly posted throughout the park directing you to the different adventures, attractions and food so it was easy to find our reason for coming - Thomas Land!

We walked under a large welcoming sign and entered the world of Thomas the Train!  We immediately felt as through we were on the the Island of Sodor (Thomas' island to be exact) - little statues were stationed about and looked just as they did on the the show, not to mention many of the important buildings that are featured on the program as well

Ready to board at Knapford Station!

Almost all of the Thomas the Train main characters are featured somewhere in Thomas Land.  Here are some pictures I grabbed of them:

Here is Gordon, James, Emily and Percy resting at Tidmouth Sheds.

Toby the steam tram

Over the course of our 6-hour stay we rode many of the rides, walked through Dino Land for some shade, grabbed some food and had a WONDERFUL time.  

However the purpose of this post is to give you the goods on Thomas Land!  Here are some specific points:

  • PERFECT theme park for younger kids - perfect size, perfect range of attractions - the word is perfect!
  • friendly staff - EVERYONE smiles and waves when you pass while riding on the life-size Thomas the Train, even some of the construction workers working on new attractions!
  • clean facilities - there are several bathrooms located within the park not too far, low sinks for little ones to wash their hands independently
  • you can bring food/coolers into the park and there are several shaded and indoor areas where you can stop to eat
  • there are also several restaurants to purchase food/beverages
  • there is a GENIUS Cool Zone - two bubble machines and a mist line hanging from the trees - to take your family for a quick cool down

  • there are enough rides/attractions for you and your young family to enjoy in one day without being overwhelmed - it gives you an opportunity to explore, go on a few rides, take a break, etc. and still see everything there is to see
  • not sure if it was because we went on a weekday but we never waited once for a ride
  • the park overall was clean and well taken care of
  • parking is free, ample and not too far from the entrance - easily walkable
  • air-conditioning was available in the bathrooms, restaurants, "post office" and store for a quick cool down if needed.  The "post office" and store also had legos and train tracks for kids to play with while you shopped, purchased pictures, etc.
  • maps and signs provided gave clear directions, we had no problem following them
  • all of the rides are safe and friendly for kids ranging in age from newborn through age 10 (some rides had height requirements and adults were able to accompany a child on many of them)
  • price point on tickets is good (see Edaville USA website for prices) - comparable to other theme parks of the same caliber
  • the design of Thomas Land was really exceptional - all of the characters, buildings and park details were quite accurate to the show

  • no drinking fountains or free tap water (that I could find) available for refilling water bottles - all water must be brought in prior or purchased in the park
  • the Cran-tastic Cranberry Jubilee Live Show was located right next to one of the biggest and noisiest rides in the park - the Troublesome Trucks Runaway Coaster - so it was sometimes difficult to hear what the characters were saying during the presentation

Overall, my family and I were THOROUGLY happy with our day at Thomas Land!

Some of our favorite rides included:

Winston's Skyline Express

Thomas the Tank Engine Train Ride

Sodor's Cranberry Carousel (the narrow gauge engines - we were so excited in fact that I forgot to take a picture!)

Firefighting Flynn - the boys loved squirting the water into the windows as we circled the "building"

Cranky's Crane Drop (we just watched but that's okay!)

On our way out of Edaville at the end of the day, the UPKer and my husband hit up Big Eli the Ferris Wheel (we were shocked he wanted to go on!) while the toddler and I had a lovely spin on the carousel while the real Wurlitzer band organ played - so nostalgic!

As we drove back to our vacation house, I asked both boys what their favorite part of Thomas Land was........

The UPKer, in a whispered voice - "My favorite part was Thomas!"

The toddler, in a screaming voice - "I liked Winston!!!!!!!"

If this review doesn't convince you to bring your Thomas the Train loving children for a visit, I don't know WHAT will!  

A visit to this park will be an unforgettable memory for your whole family.  I will NEVER forget the looks on their faces when they saw Creaky Cranky - one of their absolute favorite characters -  towering up above the trees.

With all of the beautiful and well-kept acreage, rides for the young and old featuring all of your favorite characters from the Island of Sodor, a day in Thomas Land will be cherished forever.

My family and I HIGHLY recommend that you must WITHOUT A DOUBT visit Thomas Land!

A special thank you to the marketing staff at Edaville USA, especially Samantha and Halie, for our complimentary tickets - my family had the time of their lives!

Click here to start planning your families' trip to Thomas Land

*Disclosure - Financial compensation was not received for this post.  Admission to Edaville USA was gifted.  Opinions expressed here are my own.