The Polar ExpressI could not share with you the excitement I felt when the movie The Polar Express (with Tom Hanks) was released to the big screen a few years ago! It has always been one of my all time favorite books and for it to come to life in movie format and done so well was fabulous. The book has always been part of our family tradition's even without the movie and so this was just one more thing to share with my kids.
This year I felt it was worth it and a great time (age wise) for my kids to experience a live Polar Express! I actually planned it out and purchased my tickets early as they tend to sell out well in advance. What a wonderful way to kick start our Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.
So a few recommendations for others as they might want to plan their Polar Express Trip! We live in the Pacific North West. So I am not sure if there are other train excursions like this except in our neighboring state Washington (North from us). So first do some research to see if there is one near you! For us.. it is the Mt. Hood Railroad that puts on The Polar Express excursion. It is a little expensive so when you are ready and I would recommend kids ages that you feel they would remember such a magical event. My boys were 3 and 6 when we did this. But I noticed older kids and their parents as well as many young babies (they really couldn't participate in all of the activities or understand what was happening so some babies seemed scared.)
Secondly I recommend having the kids dress in their pajamas as part of the full effect.
Third, read the story or watch the movie or both prior to the event. We not only did that but we did not share with our kids that they were going on the excursion until the night before! What a surprise that was for them. And built some excitement for the drive up. For us it was a 2 hour and 15 minute drive from our home. (Some of you might live closer to the train depot that may put this on.
Finally, be prepared with a camera because you will get a personalized visit with Santa! We did and it was amazing.
The experience included: a personalized ticket (just like in the movie), chef's serving cocoa and cookies, elves, Santa and the "hobo" from on top of the train (like in the movie). We received mugs, and the kids were given the bell for believing! It was magical!
One last note: for our particular train ride it was super rocky so if you are susceptible to motion sickness come prepared with your Dramamine or whatever pill you might need. If not sit back, relax and enjoy the ride!