All Aboard The Polar Express! | MomsCharlotte.com

About

Sara Kendall has traveled halfway across the globe with her kids and lived to tell about it. Stay tuned to hear about family destinations around Charlotte and beyond.

Check out Sara's travel website at latitudecrossing.com or email her at kendallwritings@gmail.com

All Aboard The Polar Express!

11/07/13 09:11

For everyone wanting to experience the thrills and magic of The Polar Express book and hit movie, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad offers you a memorable train ride in the beautiful North Carolina Mountains. Departing from the Bryson City depot, you will be whisked through a forest while enjoying hot cocoa, a yummy treat, and an easy-going reading of The Polar Express book. Kids get their golden ticket punched by the Conductor and Santa awaits them at the North Pole. After boarding the train, he makes his way through every car greeting the children. One of Santa’s elves gives every child their very own silver sleigh bell. After Santa has made his rounds, Christmas Carols are sung until you return to Bryson City. This memorable Christmas experience will fill your children with wonderful memories for years to come.

Wear Your Pajamas

Kids are encouraged to wear their pajamas and a robe. It can get pretty cold in the North Carolina Mountains in November and December. Kids love feeling like they are experiencing the same thing the kids did in the movie. Parents have been known to wear pajamas as well. Why not join in the fun!

Coach, Crown or First Class Seating

You have 3 different seating options to choose from. Of the 3, you’re looking at a difference in seating and amenities, but you have the same experience and Santa visits no matter where you sit. First Class gives you a choice of sitting at a table for 2 or 4, receiving a pre-packaged treat bag with a variety of goodies, and a souvenir ceramic mug for your hot chocolate. It is the most popular seating choice and sells out quickly. Passengers in Crown Class have larger seating and more leg-room, a single wrapped treat, and a souvenir tumbler with a lid. Passengers in Coach Class have the smallest seats and least amount of leg-room, receive a single wrapped treat, and hot coca in a Styrofoam cup.

The Depot

At the train station, a classic photography opportunity with Santa awaits. He sits in a traditional setting and, for an additional cost, kids can sit on his lap and have their photograph taken with him. There is a large golden Polar Express Ticket on top of an empty railroad car which makes for a great photo opportunity and it’s free. Inflatable winter characters glow under many twinkling lights which adds to the festive atmosphere.

Included in the Polar Express Train tickets is free admission to the Smoky Mountain Train Museum. Plan time before or after your train ride to browse through the exhibitions. You will be amazed by all the model trains on display.

My Family’s Take

We have ventured up to Bryson City for this experience during 3 different holiday seasons. My daughters have loved it, every time. Their eyes light up and they get all giggly when they talk about it. Our family enjoys drinking hot cocoa from our ceramic souvenir mugs throughout wintertime. We sing the Hot Chocolate song every time. Yes, the memories do last.

More Details

Over 48,000 passengers rode The Polar Express during last year’s holiday season. It’s a popular attraction, so book your tickets early, get into your pajamas, and head up to Bryson City. It’s a three-hour drive from Charlotte, but it will be a train ride your kids will long remember. Pack pillows and blankets for the ride home.

The Polar Express Train runs from November 8 to December 29. A listing of dates and times can be found on their website. Weekdays are the slowest, but these times will fill up once weekends are booked. They are closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

For more information, log onto www.gsmr.com.

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more