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Over the summer, I found out about an upcoming Christmas event based on the book, The Polar Express, where they take you on a magical train ride to the North Pole and immerse you into a live re-creation of the movie! My family and I visited the Polar Express Train Ride on its opening night, Friday, November 17, 2017. Below is my review of the event!
The tickets went on sale in late July 2017 and that morning, due to the extremely high demand, the server crashed. A lot of people had issues getting their ticket vouchers after inputting their credit card information, so that was a headache. The company told everyone who had already paid but did not receive their tickets via email to call customer service. Luckily, my order slipped through and I had no issues. I received my ticket voucher and promptly printed it out just in case anything else glitched.
The Polar Express had four boarding classes to select from – Sovereign Class Vista Dome (most expensive), Crown Class, Custom Class, and Standard Coach (cheapest option). I settled on Crown Class, which had to be purchased in a set of four, amounting to about $200 total. I invited my parents and sister to come along, and they were excited to go! Infants under 2 ride free, as long as they sit on your lap, so I did not have to pay for my 1-year-old son or my 9-month-old niece. They also offered “Early Bird” and “Value” pricing dates, so I made sure to go on of those dates for a better deal.
We made the one-hour drive from Orlando to Tavares, where the train departs. Free parking is offered at a nearby parking garage, and there are signs clearly posted directing you to the ticketing location at Tavares Square. We were there on the first day of the event, and it was a bit disorganized. Our train, scheduled for a 7 p.m. departure, was an hour and a half late. For those waiting, they were playing “The Polar Express” film, and we ended up getting to watch the whole movie.
We were in the Crown Class/Dining Car 466 (Gate 3), and the interior of our train was decorated with Christmas lights and pine garlands. Soon after, we were served our mugs of hot chocolate and cookies by dancing chefs as they sang the “Hot Chocolate” song. The conductor came by to punch our tickets with random letters, just like in the movie. All the actors were amazing, re-creating famous scenes from the film, and finally Santa arrived to give each child “the first gift of Christmas.” It took about half an hour to get to “The North Pole” (make sure to look outside at all the Christmas lights on the way there), and on the way back everyone in our train sang Christmas carols, with passengers calling out which songs we should all sing next. Make sure to also look out for the random Santa waving at the passengers as you approach “The North Pole!”
The train departing super late was the only downside, but overall we had an enjoyable time riding the Polar Express. If you are a fan of the movie, this is a cute event to attend!