December 5, 2018

A Day of Holiday Trains

We began our day of railroad adventure with a scenic train ride aboard the Amtrak from Oceanside to Fullerton.  We enjoyed comfortable seating with coffee and pastries. As we traveled north, hugging the coast, the ocean views were breathtaking! I used this opportunity to get better acquainted with my travel companions.  I learned that we had a group of 4 gentlemen who belong to a model train club! It made me so happy to see how excited these fellas were for a day of “all things trains!” I loved observing the different charms of each of the individual beach town stops.  My favorite was San Juan Capistrano!

When we arrived at Fullerton Station we were eagerly greeted by Harold, a docent from the Fullerton Train Museum.  Harold escorted us on a nice three-minute walk over to the museum. We were warmly received by the Fullerton Train Museum Staff. I think we all appreciated that this staff consisted entirely of volunteers dedicated to the preservation of vintage rail cars. After a brief explanation of the museum’s origin, our large group was separated into three small groups each with their own private docent.

Climbing aboard and walking through the different rail cars was like being transported into another era, into a simpler more romantic time. The amazing attention to detail in decor and function was really something to marvel at. This trip through the past took us from the late 1920s all the way through to the 1960s. Seeing the charm and character of these rail cars really made the decor and style of current trains seem sterile and generic.  I especially loved all the glassware and silver cutlery in the dining car. What a trip to see the prices at the snack bar, 15 cents for a cup of coffee!

A museum volunteer working to restore a rail car kitchen.

As we toured through the different cabooses, lounge cars, and crew dormitories, we encountered several different volunteers working on restoration projects.  It was inspiring to see people giving their time to preserve a piece of history for others to enjoy and learn. At the end of our tour the staff thanked us for visiting and welcomed us back anytime.  I also want to say that the Fullerton museum is always looking for volunteers and donations to continue the preservation of these historical gems.

Next up was lunch time and an opportunity to explore downtown Fullerton.  There were several dining options that kept with the railroad theme. The former Union Pacific Railroad depot has been renovated into an Old Spaghetti Factory.  Two of our daytrippers enjoyed some spaghetti inside of an old fashioned trolley car! Another group raved about their meals at Kentro Greek Kitchen. I enjoyed a delicious tofu bowl at Poke Co.  I also treated myself to some espresso ice cream at Choux Creme! Yum!!!

All aboard the big black comfy motor coach and we were on our way to Muzeo Museum in Anaheim to see the holiday model train exhibit.  Upon my research I learned that Muzeo is another word for Museum. It comes from the language of Esperanto. This language was developed in the late 19th century by L.L. Zamenhof, a Polish ophthalmologist.  The intent was to create an international language so people from all around the world could communicate and share information. What a great idea! Clearly, this language did not catch on.

Entering the Muzeo exhibit was like walking into a winter wonderland.  Each exhibit was a tiny little world…there was so much to see! Intricate cityscapes of houses, cars, trees, and of course TRAINS!  I especially loved the trains that ran right through snow covered mountains and pristine forests! Upon closer inspection I saw tiny little people enjoying meals inside the dining cars as the trains whizzed by.  I felt like a kid again, and I imagined myself inside one of those trains. My personal favorite was the model train exhibit of the Polar Express train from the Warner Brothers movie starring Tom Hanks. One of my favorite modern day Christmas movies!

A few of our guests were super stoked when they saw the special mini-exhibit, Treasures from Carolwood, highlighting Walt Disney’s lifelong love of trains. This exhibit had artifacts on lend from Disney’s old fashioned model train museum in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park.  We all left the museum smiling and a little more in the Holiday Spirit!  I took home a new appreciation of trains, from life size to miniature! Choo Choo!

~ Johnnu DeVenio
DayTripper Tour Manager

Tour: Muzeo & Fullerton Holiday Train Adventure
Date: December 1, 2018


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