All Aboard!

Hop on the Polar Express train ride through the Great Smoky Mountains, Nov. 9–Dec. 31. Families enjoy an hour-plus, round-trip journey, departing from Bryson City depot in Bryson City, North Carolina. Kids will press their faces against the glass windows in wonder, watching the wilderness and natural beauty pass on their way to the North Pole.

Step out of reality for a bit and right into the magical world of the beloved book and motion picture, enjoying the movie soundtrack played aloud on the train, along with a live reading of the story. Sip hot chocolate and meet Santa Claus when he makes his way onboard with a gift for the kids. Sing along to Christmas carols and create a fun, whimsical memory with the kids.

Purchase tickets in advance, as they sell out quickly. Choose by class of service and time of year for the best fit for your family experience.

Best for Little Ones

Infants, ages 0–23 months, ride for free in coach class; everyone else enjoys the traditional train seating, seasonal decor and fresh-baked cookies with cocoa for $28–69, depending on the time of season. This option is a great budget choice, while including a majority of the experience. There are a limited number of four-seaters available, so families of four or more may have to split up in twos.

Best for Groups of Four

Next up, guests opt for the middle-tier Crown Class, boasting large picture windows and cozy seats for four. Sip from hot chocolate in a Polar Express tumbler and enjoy the scenery passing  outside. The whole family or group of four can sit together at a table and enjoy the experience, $10–79.

Best for Mega Fans

Go all out and reserve your space in first class, featuring plush furnishings and souvenir mugs filled with hot cocoa, enjoyed with specialty sweets in an authentic setting. Prices range by age (infant to adult), $17–91.

Dress the part and shop matching Polar Express pajama sets, sized for the whole family. There are stuffed toys and souvenirs to sift through as well for kids to clutch on the ride or take away as a memento of the trip. Read the full two-month schedule here and plan your ride.