An Adventure on the Polar Express Grand Canyon Railway
Sure, it seems like you’ve just made the transition from swimsuit to sweater, but if you want to embark on what will likely be the most epic holiday adventure ever (yes, ever) it’s time to start planning. Stat. The Polar Express Grand Canyon Railway is the ultimate holiday train experience, replete with Santa, his elves, cookies, stories…you name it. But, Santa doesn’t wait for procrastinators so you’ll want to reserve your tickets early. Read on to discover more about this memorable train ride adventure.
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About the railway
The Grand Canyon Railway, located in Williams, Az, has been chugging passengers on its breathtaking Grand Canyon tour since 1901. During the holiday season, this historic train ride transforms itself into the illustrious Polar Express where kids and parents alike can enjoy the warm and touching story written by Chris Van Allsburg.
Booking the trip
Believe it or not, the tickets are about 1/3 sold by the summertime, but it’s not too late to purchase. When you reserve your tickets online, you have the option of purchasing either a package that includes hotel stay or individual train tickets. Package prices will vary depending on the number of hotel nights, type of room, and the time of train departure. Individual train tickets will be either $27 or $32 depending on the time of departure, and children’s tickets will be either $15 or $20. Trains depart at 3:30pm, 5:30pm, and 7:30pm from the Grand Depot and here is an online map to guide you.
All-inclusive packages are available if you want a one-stop shop. The Polar Express Package includes: Round-trip tickets, one night at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, and two meals at the Railway’s Grand Canyon Café. You can also just book your own hotel and purchase individual train tickets by themselves. Parking is plentiful and free which is one less thing you have to worry about on the big day.
Day of your ride
Purchased, non-transferrable train tickets are only available for pick-up at will call 30 minutes prior to departure. It is strongly recommended that you pick the tickets up an hour ahead of your riding schedule. Only the person whose name is on the reservation will be allowed to pick up the tickets at will-call with valid photo identification. So don’t forget that driver’s license!
What to expect on the train
The Grand Depot will be festively decorated and will even showcase a model train to get the little ones pumped for the upcoming ride. On board, you will be treated to a wonderful reading of the classic Polar Express story while they sip and munch on hot chocolate and cookies. Music from the Polar Express will be play throughout the ride as the kids can color with Mrs. Claus and sing with the chefs. Once they arrive at the North Pole, Santa will get on board to deliver each child a surprise gift (their very own bell from Santa’s sleigh! Shhhhhh). Be sure to take advantage of photo-ops with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and the entertaining chefs!
What to bring on the train
Dress the whole family in pajamas! Anything you need is okay to bring on the ride including diaper bags, camera cases, blankets, teddy bears, water and milk bottles, and snacks. Just note that space is limited so try to bring the bare necessities. Strollers are highly encouraged to be parked at the depot instead of lugging them onto the train.
Refunds are only available if cancelled 3 days before the date of travel. After 3 days it is completely non-refundable and you forfeit what you paid for.
“Like” this story if your kids love train rides (or if you’ve ridden the Polar Express) and then let us know in the comment section below your fave place to ride or see trains.