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The Polar Express Train Ride is a Thing! Make Reservations Now – Departs From 50 Locations

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Train conductor singing on The Polar Express Train

Looking for a fun & unique experience to give your family this Christmas?

Inspired by The Polar Express, a children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg (and also a hit movie featuring the voice of Tom Hanks), this holiday favorite will be coming to life for families wishing to take a magical train ride to the North Pole this holiday season!


The Polar Express book

The Polar Express tells the tale of a young boy who doubts the existence of Santa Claus and finds himself boarding a train to the North Pole. When he arrives, he meets Santa, who gives him a very special silver bell for Christmas.

Train conductor clipping ticket on The Polar Express Train

Set to the sounds of the movie soundtrack, the train ride will include hot chocolate, cookies, caroling, and a reading of The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the “North Pole,” Santa will be there to greet passengers and give each child their own sleigh bell – just like in the movie! Families are even encouraged to wear their pajamas just as the characters in the story did.


Santa on the Polar Express

If you’d like to experience The Polar Express for yourself, this magical train will be making stops at more than 50 locations across North America and the U.K. this holiday season.

Tickets for each location are sold by the individual host venues, so click on the location where you want to book your ride to see if tickets can be purchased yet. Last year, tickets ranged in price from $35-$120 and varied by venue and package.


Christmas is just a few months away! Stock up on great holiday deals now!

Join The Discussion

Comments 68

  1. Jessica

    This is one of our favorite things to do during Christmas time!!! We’ve done the First class package and the regular one. We actually liked the regular one better because you have A LOT more room. Yes, you have a table and get a “free mug” with First class but it’s sooooo cramped!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      How neat! Glad to hear how much fun it has been! Thanks a ton for sharing your experience with us!

    • M

      What state are you in?

  2. Leane

    We have something similar in our small town of bloomsburg, pa. It’s a fund raising opportunity for the town. Christmas carols, grinch, Santa, elves including buddy and Mrs. Claus too!The kids love it and so do the big kids!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Aww, Love that! Thanks for taking a moment to comment!

    • Emily

      The one in Bloomsburg is great! We lived up there for a few years. 😊

  3. kim

    Boo Michigan! Birthplace of Chris Van Allsburg. No locations 🙁

    • Sara

      Do some googling to see if you have something similar close to you. I know we have several within reasonable driving distance for us that didn’t show up on the search. It may not be an “official” one but close enough and your kids won’t know the difference.

    • Melissa

      Michigan does have a polar express! It’s in owosso. Google it 🙂 it’s expensive though!

    • Shelley

      Yes! It is actually the steam engine that was used for the engine sounds on the real movie! It is only 15 minutes from me, but we have never gone because it sells out so quickly and it is so expensive.

  4. Melissa

    Dang the tickets for our closest location aren’t on sale yet!

  5. Amber

    We go to The polar express in French lick Indiana every year and our kids love it and they are big LOL

    • Katie

      We did the Easter Bunny ride in French Lick a few years ago! It was fun!

      • Luna

        Will it be fun for 2 year olds?

        • Amber

          Yes any 2 year old would love it!!! If they like dancing and singing

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Glad to hear it has been a hit! Thanks so much for the feedback, Amber!

  6. Colleen D.

    I live in the small village of Medina, NY. About 40 min from Buffalo , Rochester and Niagara Falls. Our local train depot does this , and I was glad to see we are on the list. We are also one of the only places that has Thomas the Train come and visit for two weekends in May. Love our small village.My grandparents raised their families here as did my parents, and my siblings and I. There is A LOT to see and do here. The best time to come and do the Polar Express and take in the small town atmosphere is the Sat after Thanksgiving, we have an Old Tyme Christmas Day. Spectacular Evening lighted Parade, fireworks, events all day.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Oh wow! How fun! 🙌💕

  7. Lyndee

    Tickets for my hubby, myself and two kids are $220!!! Does it vary per location? I would love to do this but this seems very high.

    • Z

      I got 4 tickets for $178 including taxes and fees. My location offered $10 off each ticket for early purchase (FL).

      • Kendra Gremaux

        Do you have a code?

        • Z

          No code was needed, it was listed in the site…early bird for my area

    • dblD amber

      In Chicago they are $70 a person. We are a family of 5, yikes.

      • naless

        I did a family of five last year kids were 21 18 11 and 10. Best afternoon. Every we did New year’s day so it was a budget ticket but still had a great time. I am happy with the money I spent about $250 but the experience was great and the pics we took look awesome

  8. Z

    Thank you! I got 4 coach tickets. The kids will have a blast.

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Yay! You’re SO very welcome, Z! I bet they love it!

  9. NV2007

    We did this years ago with my nephew and it was great (out of RI). I find it to be a bit ridiculous price-wise, though. I know it’s not a cheap thing to run and you get some goodies, but for 2 adults & 2 children in the cheapest seats, it’s $244. It’s kind of crazy, IMO, for a 3 hour event. But it is really great.

  10. Mary

    We do this every year 🙂 First we go and take old western photos, grab dinner and then go on the Polar Express train ride. It’s so much fun! We go to the one in Jamestown, CA. They have an old steam engine you can walk around in. So cool!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Thanks so much for sharing your tradition with us, Mary! Sounds like a ton of fun!

  11. Brianne

    Wow, I would love to do this with the kids, but 2 adults, 3 kids, parking, gas to get there, & at least 1 meal out (because it’s quite a drive to get there), it would be $400 plus for us 🙁

  12. Sarah

    We’ve done this for the past 4 years with our kids. They are 4 and 7. Its our tradition where every year we go out to a dinner of their choice and then take them all the way to the North Pole at nighttime to see Santa. That is when they get to ask Santa in person for one gift that they realllly want that year. My son puts a lot of thought into it but my daughter asked for a pickle last year lol. Its more expensive then it probably should be but the kids have such a great time snacking on cookies and hot cocoa while singing songs on the train.

    • Kathy

      A pickle! That’s precious!!!!!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      LOL! What a wonderful memory. 💕 Thanks so much for letting us know how much your family has enjoyed it!

    • Rama

      Wow! I’m so impressed with your kids! You have definitely done a great job teaching them to think about what’s important and to pick just one gift!
      It’s a difficult task; knowing how to set priorities; knowing what to splurge on and how to be content with little. I like your method of splurging on this experience but limiting to one gift.
      Thanks for sharing!

  13. sara

    We did the ride in Williams, AZ last year. With ticket prices and travel I’m not sure it was worth it for the cost but the kids did love it. I wish there was more to see outside the train and it was a longer ride for the price.

    • joycekitchen

      Our closest is Williams, too. I’ve looked into it multiple times but it’s so crazy expensive with five kids and meals out and possible hotel. I feel like it’s something the kids have missed out on…. I wish they offered more discounts but with the way the trains fill up I can see why they wouldn’t!

  14. Kay

    Thank u so much for this post. We live in NC. I thought the only place in NC was Bryson City, which is 4 hours away. Thanks to the website on ur post, I found another location that’s only 1 hour away. On our Christmas bucket list now. Thanks H2S n all the useful comments!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      You’re very welcome, Kay! Hope you love it!

    • Mom of 3

      Kay, me too! We live in Mooresville. Super excited to go this year!

  15. riss

    Woild it be weird if we do this without small kids? Our boys are 21 and 23 🤪, and we did the Thomas the Tank ride when they were young. But I’m sure they’d love to go.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Not at all! I would take my adult kids, riss!

  16. Mel

    We did this for about 5 years. Matching pajamas and all (even my husband)! It is expensive, but in my opinion, the memories are worth it. My kids would still go today even after years of not believing in santa. One of the reasons it is so costly is because they have to pay for the rights to bill themselves as “The Polar Express”. Many great pictures too!!

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Sounds like some great memories, Mel! Thanks for sharing!

  17. Momof5

    Thanks for posting! Taking a family of 10, haven’t heard of this before. Hoping to make it a new tradition!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      Hope everyone loves it! You’re so welcome!

  18. Tiffany_3d

    Yes price may seem high. It memories are priceless. It’s month away. Buy them now cause they will sell out and the just make a budget envelope to pay yourself back. Or open an Acorn account to automatically add money to every payday. Or round up the change when you buy stuff. I plan to give the kids a golden ticket as a Xmas gift and then go to this a few days after Xmas. They will love it.

  19. pokz

    Nj2019 Season Pricing

    Coach Class

    Value: $46 Adult, $41 Child (2-11) │ Standard: $56 Adult, $51 Child (2-11) │ Peak: $66 Adult, $61 Child (2-11)

    First Class

    Value: $70 Adult, $65 Child (2-11) │ Standard: $75 Adult, $70 Child (2-11) │ Peak: $80 Adult, $75 Child (2-11)
    Additional ticketing service fee and local tax will apply. Off-site parking and shuttles are being utilized and a $7 parking pass is required for each vehicle.

  20. Angela

    Portland, Maine. We’ve done it the last 6 years and just bought this year’s today. For a family of 4 it was $122. Not horrible.

    • Angela

      Oh and we always all wear Christmas pajamas and go to Friendly’s in our jammies after too. My kids love it.

    • Matalier

      👋🏻 We’re in Portland, too! We just got our tickets for this year. It’ll be our first time (our daughter is three)and I was wondering what everyone does for a meal since it’s in the Old Port!

      • Matalier

        Friendly’s is a great idea!

        • Angela

          We go over to Maine Mall Road for Friendly’s. My kids aren’t gourmet lol

  21. Valerie

    We are going to disney 12/6-12/10. Says orlando anyone ever do the one in FL?

    • Z

      It’s in Tavares, about 1 hour drive from the Orlando area.

    • R2

      We did it a few years ago. We had a great time, but it did feel a bit disorganized getting loaded up on the train; I didn’t think the “North Pole” was particularly well done; and it’s so costly for what amounts to about an hour’s worth of entertainment. The Santa was amazing, though, and his interactions with my kids made me teary-eyed. I tend to think it’s a one-and-done type thing. If I didn’t have time or money to burn on my Disney vacation, I wouldn’t make a special trip for it.

  22. Marlene

    None near SoCal 🙁

  23. Linda Davis

    I have been twice with the grandkids.
    our tickets go on sale in June and are sold out in 15 minutes.
    It’s a fun afternoon/evening. the staff are all volunteers.
    about a 3 mile ride out and back.
    Ticket prices are fairly expensive. $38.00-$50.00 per person for ages 2 and up.

  24. LS

    We’ve been to the Polar Express train in East Texas (Palestine/Rusk). Just once. Yes, it is expensive, but is definitely worth the price! You won’t be disappointed! One year we couldn’t afford it, but we still went to see the train off. You could wear your jammies to see the train off, and bring hit cocoa and a sleigh bell … and have a VERY affordable, VERY fun outing! Both depots (Palestine and Rusk) have picnic tables so you can sip your hot cocoa there.

    • Jennifer (Hip Sidekick)

      Awww, what a fun idea even if you don’t ride the train! Thanks for the suggestion, LS!

    • rama

      Thanks for the suggestion! I like how you made it a fun and memorable experience even without the train ride. Your kids will be better persons because of this; they’re learning from you what’s important and how you can be happy and enjoy things in all kinds of life situations.

  25. Nana

    Check local city websites that your willing to travel too. The nice neighborhoods like (Glendora and Glendale CA) have free meet Santa events and Glendora offers free professional photos with the Big Guy, music and horse carriage rides. They hold theses events to encourage business in the local stores that stay open during the events.

  26. Sarah

    So I live in Ohio and it’s so expensive..and it sells out so fast! So I actually have to pay 125.00 just to become a member of the railroad so that we can get presale tickets!

    • Aley0010

      I’m in Ohio too Sarah. Have u done the ride before?

  27. MelRox

    I tried to find coupon codes for the Salisbury North Carolina ride. Never found any codes but I put in a search for the welcome center for the town and found that many of the hotels and airbnb’s offer free tickets gor the Polar Express with stays. I’m hoping to find some deals on lodging and eating there as well. This may become a tradition for my bestie and our boys!

    • Amber (Hip Sidekick)

      What a great find! Thanks so much for the helpful comment!

  28. Jen

    We have Polar Express in Connersville, IN. My son is a train volunteer and Polar is his favorite. It’s worth the memories to go. The train actually goes to my family’s house AKA The North Pole! 🧡

  29. holls

    The one closest to me is sold out already!

  30. Reformed Yankee

    Maybe not the official Polar Express, but I could swear I’ve seen Groupon or Living Social deals for these types of things closer to the holidays.

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