Polar Express ( Bryson, North Carolina)
Updated: Nov 28, 2021
Do you still believe?
If so, All aboard for a fun 1.15 hour train ride to the North Pole!!!
Who is ready to get this holiday season chugging!?! Grab the family mathcing PJ's ( I was so impressed almost everyone had them on and it was fun seeing even dads walking around town in PJ's) Check out these cute Polar Express PJ's (Amazon Link)
Here is a t-shirt if they dont want to wear PJ's (Amazon link)
We drove the roughly 2 hour 45 min drive to the charming town of Bryson, North Carolina! We booked our tickets in May, yes, you really do need to book that early!
We booked the first class tickets to get the full expereince. In May I also tried to book a cabin/hotel room and they were all booked already. I would highly recommend staying over if you can, I will expalin more why below. Some cars have seats, first class has seats or a booth to sit in with tables.
They have a few cute items you can add on to your ticket.
We put the Movie in and watched it on the way! Click here to purchase one from my Amazon link. We took the route from Blue Ridge. From Andrews, North Carolina there are really no restrooms or places to stop excpet Rivers End to eat at. This road is windy (think road to Hanna in Hawaii curves but a real 2 lane road). I will say I was nervous to drive it home but we made it! So make sure all go to the bathroom before you do this part. I think it was 33 miles and took about 45 mins.
We brought snacks/waters in the car too if we needed them.
This would not be a fun drive in bad weather or fog. This is from their website: We encourage guests to plan ahead and stay apprised of the latest weather developments. Cancellations of a POLAR EXPRESS departure because of inclement weather are very rare. If you’re staying in the Gatlinburg/Sevierville, Tennessee area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service announces road closures and openings on Twitter, or call (865) 436-1200 extension 631 for a recorded message.
In such case Highway 441 is closed through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Interstate 40 typically remains open. Use 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713 as your destination to find an alternate route.
Once you get to this Charming town there is gas and a McDonalds and Arbys. We chose to drive and park in the big lot they have. You can park on the stret but it is only for 2 hours. They have so many charming stores and everyone is so friendly.
Places to eat:
We tried to get a table at 4 and it was crazy! So go early
Nick and Nates (across the street)
Anthonys (across the street)
Box Car Cafe and Cones ( you can order ahead online) (right behind the station)
The Depot actaully had a few things to eat like pizza, hot dogs etc.
We ate at Natahal Brewing Company. They have inside adn outside seating adn a loarge grass area for kids to run around. They were short staffed (covid times) when we went so took a while for our food abd burgers over cooked but will try them again when times are better)
We then walked around the area to shop. We got an ornamet at the Christmas store behind the depot. You will also find a lite tree great for pictures and bathrooms.
If you forgot PJ there are many stores who sold them.
They sell snacks in the depot you can bring with you on the train. They did not sell any on the train. There are also stalls as you walk to the train that have like kettle corn adn a toy maker.
When it is time to board look under your time they write on the ticket you will see a number like 1,2,3,4 that is your boarding spot and you can also look for your car name.
You can wait in the depot to stay warm. There are picnic tables in there.
Pick up your tickets in the tent outside. You will get real tickets and a Golden Ticket.
We had first class tickets, so if you do not have first class it could be different, so when you walk in your seat is already assigned to you so book together. On the table was a Believe Candy bar made locally for each person, one Believe bag.
They then come out and sing and dance and bring you hot cocoa in a styrofaom cup in a ceramic mug.
From their website: Hot Cocoa Mix Ingredients: Sugar, Whey, Corn Syrup Solids, Non-Dairy Creamer [Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and/or Soybean Oils), Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivataive), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sugar, Mono-and Diglycerides, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Steroyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, Colored with (Annatto, Turmeric)]. Cocoa processed with Alkali, Maltodextrin, Creamer [Whey, Nonfat Dry Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dipotassium Phosphate, Monoglycerides], Cocoa Salt, Sodium Aluminosilicate (to prevent caking). Tri Calcium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavor, CONTAINS: Milk and Soy
Whipped Topping Ingredients – Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Palm, Palm Kernel, Coconut, and/or Cottonseed) Contains less than 2% of the following; Sodium Caseinate (A milk derivative, not a source of lactose) Destrose, Artificial Flavor, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monosterate, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Colored with Turmeric and Annatoo Extract. CONTAINS: MILK.
They then give each person a snickerdoodle cookie.
The they have a recording by the author of the Polar express You may want to bring your own copy of the book.
Click here to purchase, book along with you! They come around with a big version but walk the whole car during it.
The conductor will come around and click their tickets too!
They then turn the lights out and on the left side of the train they have a village lit up and you can see Santa!
It is then time to see the Jolly Man himself. He will come around and see each table!
Sparkle and Noel were our car people and did a great job of keeping it festive. Make sure at the end of the trip to tip them when you leave.
After your ride they have a train museum you can go in.
You can leave strollers at the Depot and they had golf carts for those, like grandparents who needed a ride to their train car.
There are bathrooms in the first class cars, not sure about the others.
Everyone leaves with a bell................ hopefully it still rings for you!
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