We stayed in the Stratter Hotel. It was very family friendly and enjoyable. The town of Durango is great and the rec center is a great place for the kids to burn off steam when it is too cold to play outside. We have come to the Polar Express for the past two years. The steam train arriving in the dark is awesome. We bought the premium package both years. The first year (2010) was great. The staff on the train were fun and enthusiastic. However, last year our staff was terrible, didn't want to sing or engage with the kids. The conductor didn't want to have his picture taken with the kids or use the paper punch to a message into their "Golden Ticket." Additionally, Santa's Village is obviously just lights on frames and the car headlights on the highway are a dead giveaway that it is not real. Several little ones, including my 5 year old were very upset saying "this is fake." We had to quickly make up a story about Santa not giving out his real location because all the kids would run away there and Santa couldn't get any work done. Additionally, there were two Santa's on the train; one very real Santa and one very fake with the lopsided pillow stuffing beard. Would be so much better if they hired two "real" Santa's and maybe took the train a little deeper into the woods with lights out in the distance. The whole car headlights shining right into the train was so disappointing. They have everything they need to make this the most magical experience ever, I hope they make some adjustments. I do want to say that we will definitely be back. Hopefully this year is better.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.