November 7-January 4, 2015
A favorite holiday tradition for kids of all ages (including the adults!) is the Polar Express Train excursion at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad. The popular book by Chris Van Allsburg is a story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. “The Polar Express,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company, has become a contemporary holiday classic, with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. In 2004 Warner Bros. Entertainment reunited the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in an inspiring animated movie version.
The 1.25-hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the “North Pole” to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board The Polar Express, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. (They do not run on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.)
Visit their Web site for info and tickets.
Ticket prices begin at $40 for adults and $26 for children ages 2-12. Children under two years old ride complimentary.
Crown Class ticket prices start at $50 for Adults, $36 for children 2-12 and $10 for 23 months and under. Upgrades are available for Family First Class seating where each guest will receive a deluxe serving of warm cocoa in a souvenir Polar Expressmug and other treats in addition to the standard offerings. Upgrade to Family First Class starting at $60 for adults and $41 for children 2-12. Children 23 months and under are $15.
Ride the Polar Express Christmas Eve Limited for an evening you will never forget! Each guest will receive a special Christmas souvenir. Adult ticket prices are $53 and children 2-12 are $35 and less than 23 months ride complimentary. Family First Class seating upgrades are also available for this Christmas Eve. Adult ticket prices are $74, children 2-12 are $50 and $20 for 23 months and under.
Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Read more about the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad and about other Holiday Events and Outings.
Ticket Changes: The train runs no matter the weather! If you see rain in the forecast for your trip, you can reschedule at least 48 hours in advance for $6/ticket fee.
Arrive Early: You should arrive at least 30 minutes before departure. Or arrive earlier to explore downtown Bryson City a bit. Take photos on the caboose and browse the shops.
Directions: From downtown Asheville, it's 65 miles to the depot in Bryson City (for GPS, use 45 Mitchell St. Bryson City, NC for parking area). It's also convenient to stay in the Sylva or Cherokee areas.
Click here to visit their Web site.