Where at Give Kids The World Village can you find an electronic thunderstorm with lightening in the sky, a traveling circus train filled with lions and elephants, a nautical shop owned by Donald Duck and the mysterious Yeti standing guard by his mountain lair? Not sure how you could have possibly missed such things? Well take a closer look at the Amberville model train set! This interactive train display allows kids to push buttons to make this miniature town come to life with trolleys, a rotating Ferris wheel and trains that circle around Amberville and venture into mountain tunnels. Don’t miss out on the white and green building with the little TV in the window—kids become a miniaturized town citizen as their reflection flashes upon the tiny screen.
Kids in Amberville are welcome to board a railroad voyage of their own as well. “All aboard!” these young conductors often exclaim as they step upon the platform at Give Kids The World’s JJ Express Train Station. But there is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to making these train adventures a reality. In order for families to journey the JJ express or immerse themselves in the charming trinkets of the model train set, Give Kids The World employees such as Jerry Valentine maintain the mechanical and electrical aspects of the attractions.
Jerry has a knack for anything mechanical and electrical, and says it all simply comes second nature to him. Working at Disney for 25 years and helping with mechanics on rides such as Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before retiring and coming to Give Kids The World in January, he certainly had a lot of experience in the field of train ride mechanics. Using his prior involvement with mechanics to improve Amberville attractions, Jerry explains, “Solving problems is my specialty. I’m always thinking of innovative ways to improve our train system.” One of his innovations includes giving the train wheel covers to make the ride considerably quieter and avoid the steel on steel contact they once encountered.
When not in direct maintenance of the trains, Jerry is there to give instruction on all of the games, train set buttons, and remote control boats in Amberville, keeping kids on track. As kids and their families circle around Amberville, or imagine themselves riding aboard the model trains, there’s a whole other world of mechanics geared up to make it happen.
Contributed by Amelia Klug