Do you know the story of the Polar Express? It’s about a boy’s journey to the North Pole to rediscover his belief in Santa Claus. It was book turned major motion picture starting Tom Hanks and is meant to teach both kids and adults that it is never too old to believe.
Well, apparently Polar Express rides to the North Pole have become a tradition for many families and tickets are in huge demand. I had never heard of the rides until my family and I were invited to ride the Polar Express on the Saratoga & North Creek Railway last weekend. Right now Amtrak is offering a special that makes it very easy for families to get to Saratoga for a night and back from NYC. They’re offering a coach train that rides up the scenic Adirondack route running between NY and Montreal, one-night accommodation in a local hotel, tickets on the Polar Express (with a gift) and 10% off the Circus Cafe for dinner. The cost is $235 per adult, $75 per child.
A weekend in Saratoga Springs is an absolutely lovely getaway. It’s an easy trip up, and the views from the train overlooking the Hudson River are breathtaking. We grabbed an 8:15 train and were in Saratoga by lunchtime. After checking into The Inn at Saratoga, a Victorian inn in the center of town, we took a stroll around town, shopped, had lunch and were on board the Polar Express by 5:30 at the Saratoga Springs Train Station.
I like kitsch and I love the holidays, so I knew I’d enjoy the ride. Kids ride in their PJ’s. and are given golden tickets to board the train. The cars are decked out in Christmas garland and lights there is music from the film playing for the first half of the ride, Christmas music during the second half. On-board conductors bring the tale of the Polar Express to life, dancing through the aisles holding a copy of the book showing its illustrations. We were served hot cocoa and cookies and were given a commemorative mug. Half-way through the ride, we entered the North Pole with a vision of a lit up village outside our windows with elves popping out and Santa Claus boarded the train with his elves to give each child a silver bell and ask the infamous question: “What do you want to for Christmas?” It is said that only children and those who still believe can actually hear the bell ring. I’m not sure my kids heard it ring, but they might have and didn’t tell me.
Afterwards, we went out for dinner at the Circus Cafe in town, which serves popcorn before dinner and homemade cotton candy for dessert and had a comfortable night’s sleep at The Inn at Saratoga.
Needless to say, at the end of our 24 hour stay, my son stated, “This was the best day ever.”
I can’t blame him for saying that – it was pretty special.
For package reservations, contact your professional travel agent or call Key Holidays at (800) 783-0783.
To make Polar Express train-only reservations, please call 877-726-7245 or go here to reserve up to 24 hours in advance.
Disclosure: I was provided with complimentary transport and accommodations but paid for my own meals and miscellaneous expenses. No opinion was asked of me and all thoughts stated are my own.