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“Polar Express 12/10/2008” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Great Smoky Mountain Railroad

Great Smoky Mountain Railroad
226 Everett Street, Bryson City, NC 28713
800-872-4681
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Type: Scenic Railroads, Landmarks
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Attraction details
Owner description: A 52-mile rail journey through valleys, inside winding tunnels and across spectacular gorges of the Great Smoky Mountains.
sylva,nc
1 review
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Polar Express 12/10/2008”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 23, 2008

I rode the Polar Express this year with my neice, newphew and my 12 week old son and some adults. This year i put us on 1st class instead of standard like last year. Let me tell you, the 1st class was definitely worth it. Instead of feeling like i'm back in high school on a school bus, they have nice big tables and comfortable chairs. The windows are really big for the kids to see out of. The 1st class also holds fewer people which was nice because we all had our own room. I got the hot chocolate which was me was cold, but perfect temperature for the kids, it came in a cute little red polar express mug that we all got to take home with us. The treats they gave us were pretty good, some muffins, cookies,and pastries as well as the chocolate covered marshmellow santa which was russell stovers chocolate... We all danced and sung songs as we rode into the night. The moonlight overlooked the river beautiful making it seem kind of majestic. As we got to the North pole, the car attendents said "Everyone, look and see the North Pole, you have to wave to Santa or he wont know there is anyone on our car!" My nephew who is 4 just jumped up and started waving like crazy. After a little while Santa arrived at our car. He picked up my 12 week old son and posed for pictures and picked up my 1year old neice to get some pictures with her. Then Santa got next to my newphew and took pictures with him. We didn't have books, but Santa signed the mugs and out Golden Tickets. My son as young as he is wouldn't stop smiling for Santa and started to cry when he left!!! But I was excited about the whole trip, it's not great for adults but if the kids are happy it makes it all worth it. You have to have a positive attitude because if you don't enjoy it then the children wont enjoy it. To see the smiles on their faces, I will be riding again next year!!

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CharlestonSC
1 review
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Polar express ride on Saturday December 20”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 22, 2008

We had an awesome time! It was pouring down rain but we didn't let that get our spirits down. The kids were excited and so were we! We had a group of 10 (7 adults and 3 kids)...a family Christmas get together. The ride was complete with songs from the movie, the story read aloud, hot chocolate, a marshmallow chocolate treat, christmas songs, dancing, the north pole, "the real" Santa, and a bell! We loved every part of this adventure. We didn't have any expectations so everything that happened was a surprise and fun! A few tips: Arrive early, be prepared to wait in line some, bring large umbrellas in the case of rain, bring snacks, if you have a copy of the Polar Express book-bring it along, and most importantly your camara and a festive attitude!
We stayed in a cabin rented by the Watershed cabin company...another great experience!

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
NC
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great Smokies Railroad: Polar Express”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 20, 2008

December 18 2008

Just returned from a night on the Great Smokies Railroad, Polar Express train RIde. Went with my husband and our 2 girls ages 4 and 5yrs. We all had a FABULOUS time!

We did the upgraded Club Car seating which provided the nicer seating and train cars, we were given complimentary Hot Cocoa Mugs and served pastries. The attendant was Wonderful, very outgoing, friendly and great with the kids--they danced the entire way to the North Pole!

Once we arrived in the North Pole, Santa climbed on board to give all the kids "magical bells", he then came back through all the cars for pictures, autographs, and to gather all the kids wish list!

We will definately return next year for another Magical Trip!

Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
USA
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
“Polar Express”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2008

The reason I say neutral for this is as an adult is was not worth the price. With that being said, it was for the kids. They had a good time. 6 and a half girl and 2 and a half year old boy. We had recently watched the movie for the first time. We booked on a Sunday for the following Thursday. (we went on Dec. 11 08). We took the 5:00 train ride. It was light when we left and dark on the way back. Pros and cons to both. (As a side note, it would have been way better if there were snow on the ground. While you can't predict that, the later in Dec you go, you'll have a better chance.) While it was light on the trip up, we could see some nice picturesque sites but could also see the "poverty" and delapidated houses and trailers. While on the way back, it was dark and you couldn't really see much. Not that many houses have xmas lights. Just a little up in "the north pole". Where they say those are the elves houses.
We got in line about 20 minutes before boarding. It was orderly and not problems there. Just make sure you line up near your train. The name is on your ticket and the name is on the side of the train. There are 4 of us in the family so we took the 2 benches (no tables in the regular cars. i think only in the higher priced club cars). Each facing the other. Of course if you get "car sick", you'll want to ride in the seat facing the direction you are going. There were 2 waiters in our box car (one younger girl and one older man). After we started moving, they played the hot cocoa song over the speaker system. The music could barely be heard which was disappointing. They served the hot cocoa (which was pretty decent) and at a warm temp for the kids to be able to drink. They also gave a very good chocolate covered marshmellow santa. I can't remember the name of the chocolate but it was a mainstream brand. Not See's but one like that so it was not some cheap thing. Once they finished passing out the drinks, they read the PE book. If you can, be sure to bring the book with you. Santa will sign the book. Once we hit the "north pole" they point out Santa to you. He is outside waving with a few elves and near his sleigh. We sit on the train for about 5 minutes and then start heading back to the depot. At this point, Santa is on board somewhere going through each car. The waiters pass out a paper paphlet of xmas carols that we all sing together until Santa arrives in our car. He was very good. He goes one by one to each family and kids. He takes pictures, talks and asks the kids what they want. I did not feel he rushed through at all. In fact, spent more time that I would have thought. We had our books and he said he would sign them on the way back through. (which he did) They probably play that by ear as it may take longer to get him through to see everyone before the train gets back to the depot. After he left our car, we picked back up with the carols and that was it until we arrived back. It's about an hour round trip or so.
Like I said, not worth the money for the adults but the kids liked it and we have to pay whatever they want as we want to do this for our kids.
There was a 6:30 train and 8p train. For our age of kids, this would have been too late. They get tired and cranky around the 7p time so keep that in mind depending on your childs age.
The train windows do slide up. Some lock in place and some don't. Be careful with that for kids heads and fingers sticking out. We need the fresh air as the train got pretty stuffy and hot. They even pass out paper towels to each person to wipe the widows as they steam up.
Hope this review helps someone.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
“Love trains and nature.... They runied it for me!”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed October 26, 2008

Was very excited about going on a train ride through the woods and just having a good time with nature and the train, I love trains and nature, my SO booked us on the club car and I was hoping to have a great time.

Then came the problem, My SO and I are Thirtysomes, We were booked on a club car with the rest of the passengers being a group of retires from Blacksburg, va ...., Her and I and 30 some odd 60+ people in a small club car. talk about feeling awkward (the train had another clubcar). We were not told we were being placed in to this group, they didn't not make any effort to in there tickiting to not place two solo passengers with a large group, they only care about taking your money!

So at the beginning of the trip i asked why they would do this and if we could be moved, I was told by the crew that no one on the train could tell me why and that I would need to speak with the depot after the train ride was over. I was told by the staff that it was unfortunate but that it was nothing they could do that it was ticketing. I was given a form to fill out and was told that someone would call me about the issue that i raised... as of now i have not heard from them and do not expect to.

About the train trip, ask which club car you will be on the diffrence is like night and day, and it is the same price, the century is older (or not refurbished) and the windows are smaller and the chairs are uncomfortable... the other club car is nicer and has couches.

The boxed lunch is not required and food at the NOC is better anyways... they make it sound as if the boxed lunch is required. The club car is not worth the extra money, We actually had more fun the second half of the trip when we ran away from the elderly people staring at us and wen back to the open air car.

If you have a problem and want to complain dont bother as you will most likely not hear from them...

Nice train, Pretty area, not worth the price of the trip, you can see better views by care and for free...

Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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