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The Polar Express – Bryson City NC

Written by : Tammy Coleman

Do you remember the magic of Christmas? Do you remember how magical decorations looked, the spirit and excitement in the air in December the same as when you were a child?   

One quaint town that embodies the spirit of Christmas around the Christmas Holidays is Bryson City. The town is all a glow with lights, the store fronts are beautifully decorated and the Polar Express Train whistle can be heard nightly. 

One must do around Christmas time is The Polar Express! The Polar Express resonates the magical feelings of Christmas you remember as a small child. The train departs the depot for a 11/4 hour round trip journey over the mountain and through the woods to the North Pole. Set to the motion picture soundtrack, riders enjoy warm cocoa and cookies while recreating the magical story.   

Children’s faces light up to show the magic of Christmas when the train arrives at the “North Pole” where  Santa Claus comes aboard,  greets each child on the train and presents each with a special gift (just like in the story), their own silver sleigh bell. On the train ride back to the depot, is also filled with fun:  the book is read to the children and the servers entertain the car with Christmas carols for the remainder of the ride.   

Here are a few tips to making your experience even better:  

  1. Plan on arriving early to have time to explore all the activities at the depot ~pictures with Santa, the Polar Express movie is playing, the model train museum (free with your ticket), visit the gift shop as well as the fabulous little town shops across the street, etc.  
  1. I would recommend going when it is dark.  It is not so magical in the daylight. But at night, it is all lit up and more magical! 
  1. Use the restroom before you get off the train! Each car has a restroom.  At the depot there is only one public restroom and the line gets long when passengers begin departing the train. 
  1. Some families are wearing pajamas just like the children in the movie! We choose to only dress the kids in pajamas and the kids thought that was absolutely amazing! The rest of us were not so excited with pajamas and wore regular clothes. 
  1. Dress warmly. It is cold in December!! 
  1. Get pictures with Santa!!!! The Santa we saw was an exact replica of the real Santa, beard and all!! 

Bring your camera, your children and your true spirit of Christmas because seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.  

“This bell is a wonderful symbol of the spirit of Christmas, as am I. Just remember, the true spirit of Christmas lies in your heart.” ~Santa Claus, The Polar Express 

Does the bell still ring for you? 

Please let me know if I can help you. You can reach me at 828361-2725 or

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