The Polar Express is a classic book that many read at Christmas time. It most recently became popular again when it became a movie. After some encouragement from my friend Tairalynn – because her family along with many friends were planning to go and well why not make it a group of almost 30 going – we decided to get tickets to go on an amazing railway adventure, and ride on The Polar Express. What sold us was that with Evie still being under 2, she was free to ride since she could be a lap child still. We were wavering about going before finding this out because the tickets are definitely a bit up there for cost… you do have to take into consideration that you are paying to help fuel a train, and the staff needed to run it. Neither Jason, or I had ever been on an actually train before, we were really excited to go! We knew Evie was going to love it because she loves all things train currently.
First things first after paying for parking, and finding a spot was to go and pick up our golden tickets. If you have never read The Polar Express, or seen the movie, it is about a little boy, who is doubtful of Santa, and he ends up on a magical train that is headed to the North Pole. He ends up on the journey with several other kids, all in pajamas because they were all in bed when they were invited on the train ride. Each child has a golden ticket they have to hold onto so that the conductor can punch it for their ride. The kids end up with letters punched into their ticket, these letters stand for something. I definitely recommend reading the book, as I have several memories of it being read to me when I was a kid.
The tickets are important, you do not want to misplace them. Evie was all about the tickets so we had to watch her to make sure she didn’t set it down somewhere. Thankfully with having bought “first class” seats, we also had smaller tickets for riding the little train in the roundhouse. She was happy with those, and we were able to put the golden tickets away for safe keeping.
We actually arrived very early, a bit over 2 hours early for our ride. I am so thankful we did because we got to see the train ride before us depart. We even got to take photos on the caboose of the train during daylight. We would have missed out on that if we arrived just before our train time. There was also lots to do in the roundhouse. Everything from writing letters to Santa, crafts, photos with Santa, decorating cookies, and much more. We had no problem filling up our time before our train ride. Evie happily went around and checked out everything there was, and we did not have to worry about big crowds since the train slot before us had just departed. We even got to see a few little areas others didn’t because Evie won the staff over with her charm. If you do go to The Polar Express next year, definitely arrive early.
We weren’t entirely sure what to expect, but I was thrilled to see that the characters from the book all made appearances, either off or on the train. The conductor even came over to our large group at one point and visited all of the kids. Evie missed that moment as she was busy people watching out the window. Silly girl!
We headed back to the train station about 30 minutes before our ride and waited to get on the train. Jason, Evie, and I had a little row to ourselves since it was just the 3 of us. It was nice to have a little spot to ourselves, especially since it was a bit late and Evie hadn’t had a nap yet. Apparently we were seated on the perfect side, as several said that the seats marked A, B have the best view along the tracks. Good to know as seats are assigned for first class, so if you can call and request that side if you ever ride on The Polar Express.
The ride itself was wonderful. We saw lots of Squamish scenery, it really is a gorgeous part of British Columbia. During the ride some of the characters from the movie made appearances, and even lead us in Christmas carols. We were treated to cookies, and hot cocoa during the ride. My favourite part though was when the conductor came along and asked for everyone’s tickets. He punched the letters into the tickets and let the pieces fall onto the adults heads, this caused many kids to go into fits of giggles. Evie was simply over the moon to be getting to ride on a big train, her joy made us happy.
It was bed time by the end of our ride, and we headed to our car soon after our ride finished. The actors do come out and hang around the buildings which provides for some photo opportunities if you have major fans of this movie in your family. We loaded back up into the car and made the hour and a half drive back home. Evie went to bed a very happy girl that night, as she was talking away and giggling before falling asleep. I heard her say the word train several times over. I hope this adventure is a memory she always has.