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Thomas rolls into Magic Mountain

• Children ride the train, play in the fountain at park's newest attraction

Posted: June 6, 2008 1:45 a.m.
Updated: August 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Thomas the Tank Engine pulls in the station in Thomas Town, the newest attraction at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

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Since 1946, children around the world have fantasized about embarking on a journey through the Island of Sodor with Thomas the Tank Engine and his many friends.

On Thursday, some of those fantasies were realized in Valencia when Six Flags Magic Mountain opened Thomas Town, a new train ride and play area based upon Thomas the Tank Engine children's books and TV program.

Complete with puffy cheeks, small wheels, a short stumpy funnel, boiler and dome, Thomas was on hand Thursday as young children and their parents enjoyed a day in the sun and re-enacted their favorite memories of the Thomas & Friends stories.

"We are very excited to welcome Thomas Town to Six Flags Magic Mountain," said Jay Thomas, president of Magic Mountain. "This beloved character has engaged and inspired preschoolers' imaginations for more than six decades and will certainly offer a rich, exciting world for children and their parents to enjoy."

For nearly two hours Thursday, invited guests and their children were given the opportunity to break in the train and coaster ride before it opened to the public at 1 p.m.

The first group of riders on the Thomas the Tank Engine replica - a two-minute train ride that reached speeds of eight miles per hour and is the main attraction of Thomas Town - cheerfully waved to onlookers as they departed the train station to embark on a journey through Thomas' mythical home on the Island of Sodor.

"He was all excited," said David Harris, 40, whose 4-year-old son, Zackary, was among the first to ride Thomas the Tank Engine.

"He's really making an attempt to experience everything about Thomas. I think Magic Mountain did a really good job."

As one of the first children on the ride, Zackary was given a baby-blue T-shirt that said "I rode it first - June 5, 2008" on the back.

After he finished the ride, he joined the other kids in getting wet at the interactive water-play area named after one of Thomas' friends, Cranky the Crane. For those kids who tried to stay dry, a miniature roller coaster named after Percy, another Thomas friend, provided thrills for the young guests.

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