A lot of the reviews below are spot on. Here are my impressions:
We were the ONLY family at this gigantic property. There are two large buildings that look like they were built specifically for this hobby/business. The fact that they were open shocked me, especially just coming from a jam-packed Story Land.
The gentleman attending the layout museum was very nice and explained the museum prices, however we wanted to ride the train that was outside. This is when it got, well, weird. He directed us over to the shop, run by the lady (I think his wife).
The local town will not allow them to sell tickets to ride the cool looking train out front, some government politics or whatnot. OK. So to get around this rule, they want you to buy a souvenir at $8 (or higher) to ride the train. What? Huh? too weird, complicated. I was just about to say, "How about I just give you a $20 donation to let us ride?" (there were 4 of us, the ride is about a mile long...) But she said to me first, "If you don't see anything you like, you could also donate $8 per person to ride."
Whoa, $32 to ride ONE ride for my family? That's too much. The couple seemed nice enough, they are retired from Switzerland we found out, but there were NO OTHER GUESTS VISITING THE PLACE. I said to my wife... They must have retired rich. I can't imagine they even make $50 dollars in one day, it is worth it to turn the electricity on? It must be one big hobby to give them something to do.
OK, so the local town doesn't like them for whatever reason, and imposed a restrictive ordinance against them. Why not erect a GIANT sign out front: "FREE TRAIN RIDES!" and give each person a free ride when they pay admission to visit the layout museum? Why launch into a whole speech about the local government... It came across as bitter before we even got into the front door.
I just don't understand their business model or their marketing strategy... literally mind boggling. The actual shop is GIANT. A model railroader's dream, for sure. They must have inventory to last them for years- I couldn't believe the AMOUNT of product they had. But again, the prices are astronomical. I realize these are premium products, but anyone who is really into model railroading would know where to find these products cheaper online.
We left without riding or buying anything, and I am still trying to make sense of the whole thing.
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