The Polar Express Train Ride in Palestine, Texas
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
The Texas State Railroad in Palestine presents The Polar Express. All aboard to the North Pole! Are you coming? All you need is your imagination and your magical golden ticket. "Sometimes... the most Real things in this world are the things we Can't See.", Santa.
Disclosure: I have partnered with the Texas State Railroad for this post. The best part for me, is they had zero restrictions when it came to my blog post. This is my honest opinion, with no constraints. For the record, I pick locations that I want to personally go too.
COVID-19: All guest are required to wear a mask on property and while boarding the train per local guidelines. Your temperature will be checked before you receive your tickets. Also, only one person in your group is allowed at the ticket desk.
The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg
This award winning book is about the magic of Christmas. A young child boards a train on Christmas Eve where he joins several other children on an adventure to the North Pole. The boy enters the train as a non-believer and leaves the North Pole as a true believer in Santa Clause.
In Chris Van Allsburg's own words:
"The Polar Express is about faith, and the power of imagination to sustain faith. It's also about the desire to reside in a world where magic can happen, the kind of world we all believed in as children, but one that disappears as we grow older."
Insider Tip: I suggest you watch the film before your adventure to the North Pole.
Texas State Railroad
This round trip train departs from Palestine, Texas and takes you on a magical journey to the North Pole to meet Santa. It's an extortionary recreation of this classic holiday story, The Polar Express. It's a 60 minute long ride.
Tickets are on Sale right now!
Nov 13, 2020 - Dec 27, 2020
789 Park Road 70, Palestine, TX 75801
Click here for website.
What to Wear
In the book, it's the night before Christmas. Therefore, wearing pajamas is an imagination MUST, but not required.
We boarded the Polar Express in our adorable mix and match green pajamas. The best part is, we can reuse these pajamas for Christmas Day. Win win!
My best friend used this as an excuse to buy the cutest most festive pajamas she could find.
Oh no! I wonder if Santa knows they escaped from the North Pole. Hehe!
Insider tip: A majority of the kids are wearing pajamas while only 50% of the adults are.
Please book in advance, because seats are limited. Usually in the past they are booked months in advance, but this year due to COVID they have extra spots available. Go ahead and book now to take advantage of this.
There are five classes of tickets:
Presidential, Upper Dome, First Class, Coach, and Open Air Coach. Every ticket comes with a cookie, hot chocolate, and a visit from Santa. The more expensive tickets (Presidential, Upper Dome, and Frist Class) come with Polar Express themed mugs. You can buy in advance a gift-wrapped THE POLAR EXPRESS book with your tickets for $22.00. Your child can read along during the train ride and then take it home to relive this fantastic journey, time and again! Also, if you bring a pen you can ask Santa to sign your book.
Tickets are sold in quantities of 2. Prices vary based on time and day. Tickets are picked up at the ticket window on the day of departure. They do not mail tickets. You will receive a confirmation email from Texas State Railroad [firstname.lastname@example.org] after your purchase.
Insider Tip: I suggest you research each class before ordering your tickets. You need to find the best fit for your family. Each class is unique in it's own way.
This was our first train ride in the Upper Dome, which gives you a birds-eye view of the North Pole. This exclusive glass top dome is located on the second level. Everyone on this level receives their own table with soft leather seats. For the record, we have tried both the First Class and the Upper Dome. We loved them both! However, the Upper Dome is extremely fancy.
Insider Tip: Keep in mind, if you are prone to motion sickness then the Upper Dome may not be for you. The second floor is more susceptible to swaying back and forth during your journey.
What time to arrive?
The time on your ticket is the time the train departs from the station. You should arrive 30 minutes to 1 hour in advance. You must be in your seat 5 minutes before departure time.
Once the train takes off, the fun begins. Tickets, please! The conductor walks around punching holes in the golden tickets, which are required for the children to travel on the Polar Express. (It says so in The Polar Express film.)
The chiefs serves cookies and hot chocolate as they recite the classical book. The chiefs will dance to several Polar Express songs during the ride. My kids favorite song is "Hot Chocolate".
Insider Tip: Bring tip money for the host.
You will arrive at the North Pole, which requires a little imagination considering we are in Texas and there is no snow. You will remain on board during this time. While at the North Pole, you will watch as the elves celebrate your arrival by dancing around a large Christmas tree. Santa and his elves then board the train.
Insider Tip: I suggest viewing the North Pole at night so Christmas lights are visible.
Once aboard the train, Santa will give everyone the First Gift of Christmas; a silver sleigh bell. "The bell rings for all who truly believe."
On the ride home, you will enjoy all your favorite Christmas carols. Do you hear the bell? Do you believe?
Side Note: You probably noticed my husband hitting my son with the bell in the video above. He can be my oldest child at times. Eyeroll!
The Polar Express train ride is the railroads most popular event of the year, and it's a holiday tradition for many families. However, we are not a family who sticks to traditions, but I can say we had an amazing experience. This event put my kids in the holiday spirit . We were so excited for Christmas after the train ride that we put up lights up the next day at our house. I honestly think a Polar Express train ride should be on every families bucket-list.
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