With so many train rides happening around the country, it’s not hard to find a location close to home.

By Emily VanSchmus
Updated December 12, 2019
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Watching The Polar Express has been one of our favorite Christmastime traditions since the movie premiered 15 years ago. It’s based on Chris Van Allsburg’s award-winning 1985 children’s picture book that tells the story of a small boy who is skeptical about Santa, but reluctantly boards a train headed for the North Pole. If you haven’t read the story before, it’s a must during the holidays: After an enchanting and suspenseful train ride, the boy finally meets Santa, who gives him the first gift of Christmas (a shiny silver bell) and his belief in Father Christmas is restored.

Given the success of the book and the movie, hundreds of The Polar Express-themed train rides have been popping up all over the United States for the last decade⁠—and they’ve gotten so popular that you might be surprised to find how close one is to you. But technically, there's only one railway with the rights to the book’s original characters and the songs from the film: The Polar Express Train Ride, operated by Rail Events Inc.

Courtesy of Rail Events Inc.

Passengers on this Christmas ride are encouraged to wear their pajamas, like the main character in the story, and are served hot chocolate and holiday treats by dancing chefs as they read along with the book. Of course, the movie’s iconic soundtrack is part of the experience too. The train makes a stop at “the North Pole,” where Santa himself boards the train and gives each child a shiny silver bell as their first gift of Christmas—just like in the movie.

These rides take place in more than 50 locations across North America and the U.K. this December, and depending on the date and location you choose, tickets cost between $60 and $120. With 42 locations in the U.S., and 5 each in Canada and the U.K., you’re likely to find one within driving distance. Visit The Polar Express Train Ride’s website and enter your zip code to find the one closest to you. 


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