I have taken the Polar Express on the Mt. Hood Railroad twice. First experience (2009) was awesome! Santa visited our car and sat on a chair. Each child was able to sit on Santa's lap and talk to him. Carolers came on board after Santa and led us through the singing of Xmas carols. The Carolers were funny...and I still have the memorable video of the caroler with the funny voice making funny sounds when singing Feliz Navidad. Naturally I wanted to go again. So in 2010 we boarded the train again with high expectations. The experience was quite a contrast to the first ride. Santa rushed through our train in a hurry to hand out bells to the kids. I'm not even sure my daughter even got a hug from Santa as he was in such a rush. No carolers. There was the addition of a hobo that was funny but I would take the carolers and a nonrushed visit with Santa over the hobo. When we boarded there was the ability to pay for a photo with Santa that was no different than then getting a photo taken at the mall...actually worse as there was more than one santa with a curtain between. My daugther could see thru the curtain to the santa next door. I think they had 2-3 santas taking photos and a long line. VERY disappointing. I spoke to the railroad who indicated that the dramatic change was in response to customer feedback and done to align with a different state polar express experience. Honestly I have no idea how anyone could see these as an improvement unless referring to the cost saved when replacing the army of carolers with a single hobo. Upon complaining and providing the feedback, I was offered nothing other than a defensive response. Hmmm...... I would definitely not go again. And since have been telling others not to go. This year we are trying the chehalis washington version.
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