My tips for Blackstone Valley’s Polar Express
What a magical, magical night.
In case you’re living under a rock, the Polar Express train ride is one of the most magical ways to celebrate the holiday season. We tried to go last year but couldn’t get enough tickets sitting together, so we waited until this year.
The Polar Express train ride is really well done. We attended the Blackstone Valley Polar Express train ride in Woonsocket, RI. You enter the Polar Express train station where there are plenty of photo opportunities with chefs, elves and the conductor as you wait for boarding time. Then you board the train and get your golden tickets. They had fake snow blowing at the exit to the station which was such a magical touch.
The train ride is 1.5 hours long, 45 minutes to the North Pole to pick up Santa and 45 minutes back. It ran like a well orchestrated play, with timing being perfect and the right amount of entertainment and silence. First we read the Polar Express book. I especially loved that the version the chef carried around was extra large so everyone could easily see the pictures.
Then we enjoyed some hot chocolate and cookies, just like in the book. We sang some Christmas songs and met Santa, who gave each child a bell in a beautiful box. Santa did not rush through the aisles but instead spent a minute or two at each row.
After Santa’s visit, we sang some more, colored in coloring books, and the adults played a fabulous game of bingo. When the ride was over, we exited to find lanterns along the pathway and Santa in the station, ready to meet each child again for a photo opportunity.
In case you’re thinking of taking your children this year, here are some tips and thoughts:
1. Buy your tickets way, way in advance.
I bought our Polar Express train ride tickets on Labor Day weekend while wearing a tank top hanging out at the shore. It was hard to think about the holiday season while it was still summer, but it was worth it because we got seats together.
2. Pay attention to the seating options.
There are different options for train cars with different seating and price points, so pay attention to that when buying your tickets. Our seats were in Comet which was perfect for our group of young children and parents.
Also note that we received different things based on which car we were in. For example, in the Comet car we received a basic plastic bag to hold all of our hot chocolate travel mugs, bells, coloring books etc. In the car next to us, where the tickets were more expensive, they received adorable reusable bags.
In general I would say the tickets were a huge value. We paid $44 each and not only did we have 2 hours of fun, but the kids met Santa, got cute reusable Polar Express travel mugs, a high quality bell, a yummy cookie, a coloring book with crayons, and a candy cane.
3. Wear holiday pajamas as a family.
It was so adorable to see the different families dressed up in matching pajamas and robes. We had all the kids in the same jammies, but it would have been even more fun if we were in pajamas too.
I bought Leveret pajamas and robes, but if you want more ideas for matching Christmas pajamas check this out: 8 ridiculously cute family matching pajama sets
4. Don’t bring your coat.
The train cars are heated, and they decorate the storage above the seats. Once we made it into the station we sent one person from our group to put all of our coats in the car. The station was packed and it would have been too much to hold coats and bags and not lose any kids.
5. Go early.
We got there about 15 minutes before boarding and it was perfect. The Blackstone Valley Polar Express train ride website actually recommends an hour before, but I don’t think we would have needed that much time.
6. Kids with allergies are safe here.
The hot chocolate at the Blackstone Valley Polar Express train is made without dairy, and the cookies have a clear label with the ingredients. I love that they take care to make it as safe as possible for ones with allergies.
Everything was clearly well thought-out, from selling popcorn and drinks in the station before boarding, to having portable heaters set up outside the station for when you’re in line. If you’re thinking about going to the Blackstone Valley Polar Express train ride but are unsure – GO FOR IT. You will not regret it!
Raffi’s highlight: When the conductor punched his golden ticket
Alessandra’s highlight: When she got her hot chocolate.
Valentina’s highlight: When Santa gave her the shimmering box with her bell. She ate the box right away. ha!
Feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer.