Annie loves to play with her cousin Michaela’s My Little Pony dolls, so for Annie’s birthday my sister got her the “My Little Pony Magical Pony Express Train Set.” Annie was ecstatic, but I was pretty sure it was because it came with three little ponies, and not because of the train set. In fact, I was convinced Annie would ignore the train all together and just love on the ponies. As it turned out, though, the kid not only loves her little train set, but now is crazy about trains!

Check out these photos – they were taken more than a week after the train came out of the box:



Annie will sit quietly for long stretches of time watching her train go ’round, and it blows my mind. Now that she’s loco for locomotives, she notices them everywhere. There’s a video on Disney Junior, for example,  where a women in a conductor’s uniform stands on a train and sings, “All aboard the choo-choo train… all aboard, all aboard… CHOO-CHOO!” Annie used to ignore it, but now she sings along while shaking her groove thang.

On Saturday we were at this mall that happened to have a train, and Annie noticed it straight-a-way. It’s actually a bit of a stretch to call it a “train” (especially since it didn’t run on any tracks). In truth it was just a motorized car that pulled eight or nine boxcars past the Foot Locker and Forever 21 while narrowly avoiding running over shoppers. Basically, this “train” was one giant lawsuit waiting to happen, but super-cute.

all aboard the choo choo train
No one told me there were going to be photos.

As we climbed into our boxcar I leaned over to Annie and said, “You know that train on Disney Junior where the girl sings the choo-choo song? Well, this is that train!” Heather rolled her eyes at me (rightfully), but Annie’s mouth opened in awe. Fortuitously, once the ride started the sound system played “All Aboard The Choo-Choo Train.” That’s right… the song from Disney Junior!

“Mama!” Annie shouted. “This is the train! This is THE train!”

Annie’s most awesome train experience came the next day, though, at the first birthday party for Lucy, the daughter of our friends, Jason and Kelly. The party was held at Travel Town, which bills itself as “preserving and celebrating the rich railroad history of Los Angeles.”

storm rolling in
Travel Town at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA

So, yeah. You could say Annie liked the place. It got better, though. Not only was the party itself in an antique boxcar, but at one point we all piled into a miniature train that ran on actual tracks.

on the train at travel town
“I’m on a train!”

As we waited for the train to leave the station I didn’t think Annie could get any more excited, but then the conductor jokingly announced, “Today our train will be traveling to visit Mickey, Minnie, and President Obama. Here we go!”

Annie peered at me, wide-eyed. “We gonna see Mickey and Minnie, Dada?! And Obama?!”

“Uh, yeah,” I replied. “I’ll point them out to you.”

Later, as we went around a corner, I pointed behind us and said, “There! There’s Mickey and Minnie! And the President! See?”

Annie looked over her shoulder and smiled. “I saw them!”

(Something tells me she would have pressed me a lot harder on this if she wasn’t so happy to be on a train.)

The train took two loops around Travel Town and Annie was in heaven, waving at people and shouting, “Choo-choo!!!”

I’ve got to say, I never saw this train thing coming, but it’s pretty darn cute. I’m going to have to show her Thomas the Tank, aren’t I?