All aboard! This holiday season, experience the magic of one of the most beloved Christmas stories of all time, up close and personal. Just a short drive from Tacoma awaits The Polar Express Train Ride in Elbe, Washington, where passengers of all ages will embark on a picturesque winter train ride to the North Pole. For the third year in a row, the Mount Rainier Railroad returns with their most popular event of the season, bringing the Christmas spirit to families in the Pacific Northwest from November 16 through December 31, 2018.

Based on the classic Christmas children’s book, and later an award-winning film, the story of The Polar Express comes to life onboard this one-of-a-kind train ride, set to the enchanting soundtrack from the movie. Passengers on The Polar Express will enjoy an immersive theatrical performance on their 90-minute journey to and from the North Pole. Characters from the story will have you captivated from the moment that you board the charming 1950’s Amtrak steam train.

Polar Express Hot chocolate
Hot chocolate? Oh, they’ve got it! Let a parade of performing chefs present you with warm hot chocolate and Christmas sugar cookies. Photo courtesy: The Mount Rainier Railroad

Just like in the film, the train conductor makes his way around the locomotive to punch your golden ticket with a  “B” for “believe.” Lit with holiday lights and draped in festive garlands, the holiday decorations in the train cars are just as mesmerizing as the snowy winter scenery right outside your window. As the train climbs and winds its way through the forest and across the Nisqually River, passengers will enjoy hot chocolate and delicious Christmas cookies presented by charismatic chefs, while the story of The Polar Express is brought to life through singing, dancing and a reading of the book.

As you travel full steam ahead through the Upper Nisqually Valley, watch with glittering eyes as you pass through the North Pole, where Santa Claus and his reindeer will warmly welcome you. Santa makes his way around the train cars, presenting each child with the first gift of Christmas, their very own silver bell to remind them of their voyage to Santa’s village. Families are encouraged to wear pajamas on the train ride, to fully experience the magic of this classic Christmas tale, which has become a family holiday tradition for many in the South Sound.

Polar Express Train Ride
Enjoy a reading from the original story of The Polar Express. Photo courtesy: The Mount Rainier Railroad

“Our family has made this a yearly holiday tradition,” Meghan Larsen, a fan of the train ride, tells us. “Last year my five-year-old son sat in awe and amazement throughout the whole experience. From the theatrics to the beautiful scenery outside the train, we’ve decided to make this an annual Christmas adventure for the past couple years, and plan to keep the tradition alive.”

Join in the family-friendly, seasonal fun by experiencing The Polar Express from November 16, 2018, through New Years Eve. With over 30 different dates to choose from, make a day of it or plan to stay the whole weekend in the frosted foothills near Mount Rainier where you can enjoy unique dining, lodging, local art and more.

Reservations to ride The Polar Express are required, and it’s a good idea to purchase ahead of time, as tickets sell out quickly. Ticket fares vary according to date and seating choice, but deals can be found on select days and times. With more than 70 different excursions throughout the holiday season, trains depart at 3:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 7:30 p.m. on select dates.

Polar Express Santa
Your dedicated train conductor will lead you on a magical journey to find Santa at the North Pole. Photo courtesy: The Mount Rainier Railroad

Stay warm and cozy on your trip to the North Pole by bundling up in your comfiest pajamas! The Mount Rainier Railroad offers The Polar Express Pajamas to purchase for adults and children. Each two-piece set of pajamas is decorated in classic images from The Polar Express, come in all sizes, and are under $30.

Standard class seating and first class seating are available to choose from. Standard class seating tickets are open seating, where passengers will be served a Christmas cookie with hot chocolate in a disposable mug. First class tickets have reserved seating, which guarantees your party gets to sit together, and include a collector’s edition souvenir mug with your hot chocolate and cookie. All train cars and coaches are heated, as well as have wheelchair accessibility and restrooms on board.

Tickets are currently on sale now for The Polar Express Train Ride!

Book early to ensure your choice of dates, preferred departure times, and class of service are available. Reservations can be made online or by calling the Mount Rainier Railroad at 360-492-6000.

The Polar Express Train Ride is located at the Mt Rainier Railroad Depot, 54124 Mountain Highway East, Elbe, WA 98355.

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