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Review from Thomas & Friends LIVE! in Portland

February 28, 2009

We had the pleasure of attending Thomas & Friends LIVE! at the Memorial Colosseum in Portland OR recently.
After having just moved almost a month ago into a house we have been remodeling since September, and a lack of FUN time, this was a perfect break for our family.

Knowing traffic in the afternoons, we left over an hour before the show was set to start so we’d have time to find parking, get inside, get the kids settled and enjoy the show.

Parking: I don’t believe there is such a thing as affordable parking. That only exists in our imagination. Just kidding! We were unable to find street/metered parking, so we settled for a lot nearby, dropping down $15. It was an open lot outside; not too far away from our destination so we took one of the few spots left.

Tickets: Since we got our tickets ahead of time, we had no use for the many ticket scalpers parading the sidewalks near the venue. Not that we’d use them anyway; I am always amused by them though. I got our tickets about 2 weeks prior to the show, collecting decent seats in the second tier just a few rows up form the front and slightly to the side of the stage. The price however is a little uncomfortable for my taste. We’re a middle class family, and understand the importance of treating the children with wholesome, fun and lively entertainment, but $31-45 per ticket is a bit steep! Our family of 4 would cost between $124 to $180 depending on seat choices. Luckily, our seats were in the $31 section. If you do this once a year, that’s not too terrible, but my dear husband made it clear we wouldn’t be doing it again for quite a while at a cost like that.

Food: Just like when you go to the movies, the smells from the concession stand draw you to their counters! Thankfully, we were sure to eat dinner before heading to the show. Otherwise we’d expect to be paying $5 for a hot dog (each), plus more for drinks or other typically unhealthy selections that you’d find at this type of venue. We skipped this part!

Candy and Favors: Again, we passed on these being on a budget, but there was no shortage of light up spinning Thomas wands, tee shirts and fun favors, nor did we have to search for the Cotton Candy man. Every 5 minutes or so before the show you’d hear “Cotton Candy, Licorice Rope” coming from the sides, front and behind. Those people have a hay day, and make decent coin as well!

THE SHOW!: The best part! My girls (“E” who is 3.5 and “G” who is 1.5) as well as my husband and myself were surely entertained. As with the Thomas television show, there is a solid story line and plot that can be followed by all ages. With the familiarity of the characters and songs, but also the near life size trains (and characters) my girls lit up like the Fourth of July! We were surrounded with “oooh’s” and “ahh’s” when the lights went down and the trains came up! I didn’t expect them to be as real looking as they were. The sets were amazing, the movement and choreography were seamless, and the live friends (The circus folks, Sir Topham Hatt, Thomas, Conductors, etc.) were true to character. One of the only disappointments was after intermission (which came about 30 minutes after the start, lasting 15 minutes), the audio on two of the people went down. You could catch about every other word said until they brought up a microphone for them to use. The girls were confused, but forgot shortly after and it would be fair to assume that normally wouldn’t happen. Not too long after intermission ended, “G” fell asleep on my lap. Her bed time is 7:30 pm, so it was just about right on time; the noise and stimulation didn’t get in her way. I was able to lay her on my coat in the seat next to me. She stayed asleep until the end when I picked her up to leave. “E” started getting tired but made it through and of course perked up with the closing theme music that is so familiar. Overall, a very good show!

The announcer mentioned “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY” many times before the show, so we thought it would be okay to take a few NON FLASH pictures, but the ushers would come up if they saw a camera of any kind and ask you to put it away. Lucky for me, my phone camera didn’t flash, and nobody would guess I was snapping pictures instead of text messaging. I was able to get a few pictures, but was a little annoyed with the NO PHOTOGRAPHY policy. There is a difference between “no flash photography” and “no photography”. They seemed unsure which policy to follow. And for the price per ticket, you’d think they would be a little less strict on this…

Anyway, all in all we had a great time. Being a numbers gal, I broke down the cost for an average night out at Thomas & Friends for a family of 4:

Parking – $15
Tickets – $124
Food – $20
Favors/treats – $20

Grand Total: $179 (using the lower cost tickets and value choices) YIKES!

Entertainment value, seeing your children’s faces light up and the excitement in their eyes: PRICELESS!

I would recommend Thomas & Friends LIVE! to anyone with children ages 2-7. But really, at any age who doesn’t love to see dancing trains?

Enjoy a few photos from the show!

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