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“Don't waste your money”

Great Smoky Mountains Railroad
Ranked #2 of 29 things to do in Bryson City
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Owner description: A 52-mile rail journey through valleys, inside winding tunnels and across spectacular gorges of the Great Smoky Mountains.
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Don't waste your money”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 9, 2013

We went to ride the Polar Express with great expectations and excited children. We drove almost 3 hours to get there in the pouring rain with very anxious children. I am a mother of 3 and we go and do a lot with our children so they have all kinds of memorable experiences. We took our younger two as we were told by others who had been our older one who is 9 is a bit to old to really enjoy it. We went on the 6:30 night train and rode in the Royal Palm which was crown class. We were told the night train was much more magical. We paid the extra to have a better experience. We were instructed to line up by the gates down the tracks in the pouring rain and stood there getting soaking wet for 20 min (even with umbrellas) waiting for the train to pull up. The kids were in awe as the train pulled up and we began to load while the kids were excitedly holding their gold tickets. As we found our seats one of our chefs approached us and my husband just says "hi how are you". His reply was "well I've been better I was stuck on here for 11 hrs yesterday and it will be close to that today too". First impressions say a lot and to say the least that was a terrible first impression. It was all down hill from there. Our chefs did not sing and dance and interact with the kids as we were told they would, when we got to the "north pole" it was so poorly put together my 6 yr old (who is very imaginative and loves fantasy) didn't buy it, then when Santa and his elf finally made it to our train car they rushed through and barely interacted with the kids. The elf was the most miserable person on the train. She didn't crack a smile or speak to anyone and rushed Santa by pushing him in the back to quickly move on. We didn't even get a chance to take our kids picture with Santa. The completely obnoxious and unruly child beside us that screamed and completely acted out the whole time definitely didn't help the experience. I never complain about things like this and we are easily entertained but this train ride is NOT worth the time or money. If we had paid $50 to take our family that would be one thing but the $200 we paid is outrageous for what we experienced. I will never consider doing it again nor will I recommend it to others.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
11 Thank AmberFChapman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level Contributor
10 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Enjoyable”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2013 via mobile

The smile on my grandsons's face was well worth the money we spent . We rode aboard the Polar Express. The staff were very friendly. I would recommend this to any family.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Chip O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lincolnton, North Carolina
Level Contributor
81 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“THE POLAR EXPRESS!!!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 7, 2013

What a wonderful experience to adults AND kids!!! The Polar Express was like a magic wonderland. We took the 6:30 train to the 'North Pole' and even with the rain, it was magical! Definitely a must do for families. If you can spring for the 1st class experience, do so! We received first class service all the way. The staff made the trip so much fun with lots of interaction with the kids AND adults. We all received a goodie bag, hot chocolate in a souvenir keepsake mug, a Polar Express jingle bell, and a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie. Take this trip at night so that the Christmas lights will be the best!

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Beth C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
21 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Good time for the kids...way overpriced.”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

We did the Polar Express ride. The kids enjoyed it, but at a cost of $139 ($40 adult, $26 children plus historic preservation fee), I guess I expected a little more. The staff were nice but one was a little annoying. Overall not bad, but expensive for what it is.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Bwburgin1015
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
80 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“Nice Ride and View”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 5, 2013

We have ridden the train several times. First of all go the cheap route and ride in an open air car. The bench seats face out and there are no windows. You can see out of both sides of the car giving you a better view. Because of the way the seating is, you can also visit with the other travelers. We have met some really neat folks. Just bring some extra clothing to keep you warm during the cold days. The only drawback we have experienced is people from the closed cars come out and discovering they can see better and stay. We have taken our mother who uses a wheelchair. The open air car was great for her. She was able to stay next to the window opening and see everything.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank imbatman3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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