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Review of The Polar Express

The Polar Express
Ranked #1 of 53 things to do in Palestine
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Texas State Railroad begins service to the North Pole aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ starting on Saturday, November 11, 2017. The magical story comes to life the minute the train departs the Palestine Depot for the journey to the North Pole. (The adventure is even more fun when families and friends show up in their pajamas!) Enveloped by the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the tale as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™. Once onboard, chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies as they recite the classic children’s book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. At the North Pole, Santa and his elves greet passengers and then board the train. St. Nick gives each child the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell (only believers can hear ringing!). On the ride back to THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train depot, chefs lead passengers in singing joyous Christmas carols.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Loved this train ride because the staff was so into the holidays and singing with the kids. To go first class we had to buy two pairs of tickets and once on the train we figured out why...they sell booths for four. We have a one year old and 6.5 year old and they both were overjoyed with this ride...perfect amount of time-approx 30 minutes to the north pole and 30 minutes back filled with singing. I was pleasantly surprised that we were given souvenir ceramic mugs that we drank our hot chocolate-really nice. Santa also gave the kids engraved sleigh bells. Yes this was a bit pricey but well worth it. We took great photos. I thought the gift shop was 50-50, 50% interesting things, 50% cheap however there were many items that I have not seen online. I thought the professional photograph was really cheesy- a photo backdrop. We stood in front of a PE blanket in the gift shop that was just as nice. The only food available is carnival type food that is really expensive. Arrive early to get great pictures in front of the train. on line ticket purchase was safe and easy....buy the book at the book store before you go.

6  Thank cowboybooth
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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145 - 149 of 201 reviews

Reviewed February 6, 2013

Overall, we had a great time. The train was clean, the staff followed the story and interacted with the children, singing added to the excitement, but there were a couple of things that could be improved upon. With all the money that each ticket cost, they could definitely improve on the North Pole. The decorations were worse than most residences have for the holidays. Please update them. Also, the Santa wasn't believable. Many Santas have real white beards these days, or atleast a better fake beard! Lets get a more realistic looking Santa for next year. Last but not least, why weren't all passengers given a bell by Santa? Adult tickets cost the most, and yet they were not given a bell, even when I was told over the phone that we would. This is a great souvenir for the trip. Please have books and more items available in the gift shop. Very bad shop.

6  Thank grammypammy51453
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2013

A little on the high price side, but worth every penny. Lots of history. Great staff. It runs more then just the CHRITSmas time.

This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2013

I get aggravated at adults who review this from an adult perspective. The Polar Express train ride is really geared towards young children. An adult should get a kick out of their child's enjoyment and not expect to be entertained so much themselves. Stepping down from soap box now.

I would say that this experience is good for children about 6 and under. Maybe a year or two older if they are a bit on the immature side or still believe in Santa.

From the perspective of a young child several things about this experience are quite exciting:
1. The train station is lit up and decorated. Kids like that.
2. When the train is about to pull into the station and you can hear its whistle, the anticipation is evident on their young faces.
3. Actually watching the train pull in as it blows autumn leaves in big gusts of steam is quite impressive. I never get over how huge the engine is. I can only imagine how amazingly big it must seem to my children.
4. Boarding and being on a train ride is a new experience for most children. Feeling the lurch as the train begins to move, hearing the whistle, feeling the rocking, hearing the tracks beneath-that's good stuff for a child. We should always be looking for a way to expand their life experiences.
5. Children love conductors. 'Nuf said.
6. The story read over the speakers is better with a book of their own to look at the pages-but at any rate kids like stories.
7. Kids love cookies and most kids love hot chocolate. So what if they only get one, its not about eating cookies.
8. Kids love Santa and only have a vague notion of what the "North Pole" looks like. We have been twice and both times my kids loved the lights and didn't say a thing about the "North Pole" not being good enough.
9. Kids love ringing bells. (Much more than their parents enjoy hearing them rang.)
10. Kids love singing and dancing. The cooks have always been very friendly and energetic.

So for an adult, approach this with the right frame of mind. Try to be a kid again. Young kids love it. If you bring a ten year old and they hate it, well duh, you should have known better...just sayin'.

22  Thank TexasPaula
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

I took my 3 and 7 year old in December 2012, and it was not at all what I expected. I was disappointed in the quality of the event. For the price that we paid ($268 for four tickets), I expected the decorations at the North Pole to be fantastic - it was not. It was cheesy. A few Christmas lights thrown up in some trees and a small little shed to be Santa's house. I expected for the waiters on the train to be very entertaining. They were not. My kids were bored before we even reached the North Pole. The hot chocolate was not even hot, but lukewarm rather - perhaps that was a safety thing for the kids' sake, and you are served ONE cookie per person. For $268. Would not ride this train again.

5  Thank Melissa F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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