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“Not quite Polar Express”
Review of Mt. Hood Railroad

Mt. Hood Railroad
Ranked #14 of 73 things to do in Hood River
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Attraction details
Owner description: Tourist railroad offering 4-hour scenic tours through the Hood River Valley to the base of Mt. Hood on a historic Excursion Train, Dinner Train or Brunch Train.
Useful Information: Activities for young children
Reviewed January 9, 2013

Mt. Hood Railroad did a great thing by rescheduling us when the trip turned snowy and icy and we were unable to make the departure. An hour drive turned into 2 hours and still didn't make it to Hood River. So kudos to them for accommodating us for a different day after Christmas. That is the only reason this is getting 2 stars.
Now I get the train is old and a bit run down. However, the employees uniforms don't need to follow. "Chef" coats are to be clean, crisp and free of stains. Same goes with Santas costume. This should be a no brainier. Also, a smile would be great. The kids were a bit confused and disappointed in the tickets that were supposed to be gold not black and white and in the conductor who just made random punches in them over their heads. My three year old was confused that there was no letter punched in it. Onto caroling, great idea, even better if the piped in music was turned off. Didn't have the cookies and hot chocolate so can't say much there other than I wouldn't want to take food from unclean workers. Nuff said. We were all put off by the hobo stumbling around shouting out random things. We get that in Portland for free. Now if some other characters of the book made appearances than it would make more sense. Finally, the guy with the monotone voice who talks occasionally and reads the story. This guy needs a different job. It just sounded depressing. Also, not everyone is sitting the same direction so to say Santas house is to your left is incorrect. There is a cute house on one side of the tracks and an ugly wear house on the other which one would you think Santas house would be? My three year old put it perfectly "That wasn't the Polar Express when do we get to do that?".

3  Thank Magooc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meagan B, Manager at Mt. Hood Railroad, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Thank you for commenting on your Polar Express trip. Typically the Conductor gets outstanding reviews as well as the Hobo (which is a main character on the movie). The Santa has his costume cleaned daily, not to mention that it was professionally made for him. The Chefs do start with clean uniforms; however accidents can happen on a moving train when you are making and serving hot chocolate. As for the the Narrator, he has done the best he can. He even memorized the book, word for word. All in all we strive to put on a great event but we realize we cannot please everyone. We will do our best to improve wherever possible. We hope that you keep this in mind when booking your next train ride aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad. Take care, Meagan

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264 - 268 of 407 reviews

Reviewed January 3, 2013

Don't waste your money! This is overpriced and boring. They could have done so much more with this trip to make it fun for the kids.

1  Thank Fun1345
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meagan B, Manager at Mt. Hood Railroad, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

I'm sorry that you have found this event so boring. We do our best to put on a show for the kids, but we realize that making this magical for adults it our biggest challenge yet. We would be delighted to hear from you with any great ideas on how we could improve this event. Feel free to email us by going to our website (mthoodrr.com). Thank you for joining us.

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

I'm all about production and yes there was some lag times in between the events, but it wasn't about me! Seeing my grandson smile and pleased to receive his bell from Santa was what this was about. The staff's interaction with the children was wonderful and played their characters well. The cocoa was just the right temperature, the gingersnap cookies tasty, the conductor punched the ticket as fast as he could and the ghostly character spoke with an english accent which endeared him to all. We had a really good time and I would recommend the trip to anyone wanting to see their child's eyes light up. Don't expect the ambiance of the movie, nor every detail to be perfectly in place. The price of your ticket should indicate what you will get. I will go again...... but I would love to be involved in the production of this just once because I "Believe" that this has the potential to be "Magical!"

Thank Margaret F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meagan B, Manager at Mt. Hood Railroad, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to post a review and some wonderful photo's on Trip Advisor. The Polar Express is quite a production for us to put on. We always welcome customer feedback, so if you would like to visit our website at mthoodrr.com and fill out a quick form with all your great input we would gladly take a look at it. It's good to know that your family had enjoyed themselves and we hope to see you again on the Polar Express.

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

filthy train cars ,almost no gift shops . they have 2 of them one at the main station that only had polar x press shirts and sweat shirts,and one at the top of the hill that had about the same choices.WTH !!!! i would have like to have seen at least a shot glass ,or something but nothing. then there was the servers that were basicly not there you had to ask for everything even water !!! the coffe cups and hot chocolate glasses were absolutely FILTHY just rinsed then put back on the table. then to the food pressed turkey dinner just like hungry man makes . YUM !!!!!! bottom line is if you want to see hoodriver put some gas in your car drive around the area to sight see and stop to eat at any of the great resteraunts in the area.you will be alot happier and healthier for it .

1  Thank foodavenger17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meagan B, Manager at Mt. Hood Railroad, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

I'm sorry you did not enjoy your trip on the Holiday Lunch Train. Although your comments about the service and cleanliness of the train and it's glassware isn't typical we will make improvements where we can. Concerning the Gift Shops; the Mt. Hood Railroad only operates one Gift Shop which is located in the Depot. During the Holiday Season we have over 30,000 passengers attend our Polar Express event and typically our depot is full of Gift Shop items not as many people, but during this busy time we do have to cut back on our Gift Shop space as well as product. I apologize for not having a bigger selection in our Gift Shop at that time. The other Gift Shop you are referring to is privately operated; not by the Mt. Hood Railroad. Again, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy your trip and hope to see you again in the future.

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Reviewed December 28, 2012

We had read many reviews of folks who had already rode on The Polar Express trying to get an idea of what it was like before we got tickets. I think having tickets to the upper dome car probably made it an even better experience. My husband and I had known we were going on 12/22/2012 with our two young sons, 3 & 7. Playing up the theme of the story with the little kids being on the train in their pajamas, we got our boys matching santa pajamas, and we had matching flannel pajamas to wear. Once the boys knew they were going on The Polar Express, they could not contain all that excitement, the whole way from Hillsboro to Hood River, we kept hearing "we're going on The Polar Express and will get to see Santa!!!" My 3 yr old, thought we might be actually going the same route as the story, so we had to let him know we wouldn't fall in the ice (water) or worry about the train having a light out. The boys had gotten souvineer "The Polar Express Round Trip tickets". They left on the table so the conductor could see it to punch. Since we did sit in the dome, it was decked out with holiday decorations. NIce & comfy, not chilly. One table 4 seats, so 2 facing the other 2. Songs from the movie playing over head.The "Chefs" were there to hand out our souvineer polar express mugs. Once the train started to get going, they handed out hot cocoa in little plastic coffee containers, but we put those into the mugs to keep from spilling. The Hot Chocolate song was being played while the cocoa was being handed out, drank. The cookies were good molasses, one for each person. The cocoa was warm, not hot, which was probably so all the children wouldn't burn themselves on something hot. Probably not hot enough for adults, but we liked ours just fine. Our "chefs" chatted with us, very friendly and answered our questions. Had a bit of a bumpy ride, but that's expected on a train. The Conductor did come around and punch everyone's Polar Express tickets. One ticket got a "P" and the other a "E". The Conductor even had some of the little confetti punches to sprinkle on the boys like in the movie when he is punching so quickly. Pretty entertaining to watch and the kids seemed to really enjoy. We did see the ghost come through and talking to the families in our car. He was probably rushed to hit every car, but did a good job. Over the load speaker we could hear needing to switch tracks, and caribou were blocking the tracks. The family that had the very last seat in the dome car had that back window, so their kids looked out and yelled they didn't see any caribou. Ohh well. Got to the North Pole, and we're told Santa's house was on the left and the toy factory on the right. Someone's home with a set of lights around a fence, not sure about the factory, but Santa was there with his elves and lots of lights to look like the north pole. "Reindeer hooked up to the sleigh", which is where going at night time probably is better for feeling like you are out there. This is where Santa got on the train. Since we were the last car, but closest to where Santa seemed to get on the train, I think he spent more time with all these kids. His elf came around to get the kids excited for Santa coming their way. He spent a good amount of time with each child, as many pictures as you could try to take, and gave each child their own Polar Express 2012 bell. A Great Keepsake along with the mug and ticket. As Santa went on his way down to the next car, our "chef's" had us singing Christmas carols, then did the storybook. We could hear over the loud speaker, the story being read, and the chefs walking around with the book showing each table. The ride back to the train station was a bit more calm, the kids seemed a bit tired and wore out from all the excitement. Santa did stay at the train station for a little bit for any extra pictures people wanted.
The train depot had the movie playing on a little tv, and a small amount of polar express souvineers you could buy while you waiting for your train. We had a great time as a family, and enjoyed seeing how much excitement the whole adventure was for our boys.

3  Thank missyjoremy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Meagan B, Manager at Mt. Hood Railroad, responded to this reviewResponded January 14, 2013

Thank you for joining us aboard the Mt. Hood Railroad's Polar Express! I'm pleased to read that your family really enjoyed the trip. You also have some great photo's that you posted which really show off the excitement of your children. We hope to see you again on another one of our upcoming events. Take care, Meagan

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