Entertaining four teenage young ladies requires planning and a bit of craftiness, so rather than trying to cram everyone into the car and taking the long hall from Fort Lauderdale up to West Palm Beach to enjoy City Place; we decided to make it a family day venturing through the newly constructed Brightline Train Station. Brightline is conveniently located in the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale on Broward Blvd and NW 2nd Ave. We choose Brightline for the following reasons, most of us have never ridden on a train, Brightline has an amazing promotion (BOGO) on the SMART Service $10.00 ticket so we only paid for three tickets and last but certainly not least, I wouldn’t have to worry about burning my gas, adding mileage to my car, breaking up fights, jumping out of a moving vehicle while attempting to escape the madness (ok, that last one was a bit much, but you get my drift; no pressure on daddy).
Our plan was to get up early, catch the train to the West Palm and take an adventure within the city, but plans have a way of changing with a family of six. No fault of the girls however, it was the sluggish movement of the irresponsible parents. We failed miserably in catching the 1:50pm train, but Brightline had several other options. We purchased ticket for the 3:45pm train, which allowed us the opportunity to tour the Fort Lauderdale Station. The station is a techy’ s dream! As you enter the lobby, you are greeted by a host of smiles by the employees and a floor to ceiling glass wall allowing beautiful natural light into the building. On the opposite side of the glass wall is a series of large touch screen monitors which allows you to purchase tickets onsite. You then pass Customer Service and is greeted by stairway/escalator to heaven which leads you up to the second level. We had to use our tickets to pass through the security gates, but Brightline made this process extremely efficient by allowing us to use one ticket to grant access for our entire party. As long as all tickets are purchased together, once scanned you will be prompted to ‘select all’ and the gate will allow you access into the lounge area. The lounge featured a fully stocked snack station which surprising had a few VEGAN options and adult beverages (wine & spirits). In the event you did not want to wait in line, there was also a self service area. As for the lounge area, there were enough outlets and USB plugs to appease a mall filled with teenagers (there were literally outlets to charge your devices everywhere; on the tables, under the tables, on the seats, under the seats; everywhere) and did I mention free Wi-Fi. There was even a lounge for the little ones, equipped with Disney channel and a place to build whatever their hearts desired. The lounge ignited conversations and laughter because of the high tech washrooms. The debate was that half of our group confused the hand dryer for the water faucet and ended up blowing soap all over the mirror rather then running the water. I didn’t include the photo, but will add that the visual folks will be just fine and those in need to written instructions; good luck.
When it was time to board the train, we headed downstairs using another set of stairs/escalators leading to the tracks. The tickets informed us of our cabin number and seat numbers; of course the Wi-Fi continued along with the amenities to charge your devices. The seats had to option to recline and we received complimentary waters, but the $15.00 SELECT Service tickets do offer complimentary drinks and snacks. We had such a great time conversing amongst ourselves that the trip ended before we know it. We arrived at City Place, walked, talked, laughed, enjoyed Hibachi, had Ice Cream and created amazing memories. The rest was a dream, literally, because on the ride from West Palm Beach back to Fort Lauderdale included nap time. We were so disoriented after arriving back to Fort Lauderdale that we sat on the train for about three minutes before we realized that we arrived. In short, we had an amazing time experiencing the Brightline.