Thursday night I went on the most magical Christmas adventure. I heard there was a Polar Express in Carson City, about 20 minutes from where I live, and I knew I had to do it. I mentioned it to a few friends, but no one seemed that thrilled about it, so I decided to just do it on my own.
I'm so grateful that I did it early in the season, although it would have been so much more magical with snow, because it got me in the Christmas spirit - more motivation for Blogmas :) Here I will review my experience on the Polar Express}... ALL ABOARD!
When you first pull up, don't worry there is a lot of lighted parking, you are welcomed by Christmas lights and these signs! There are also bathrooms in this area (note there are none on the train itself so use them before or after!)
I'll include some of my favorite Polar Express quotes in Italic!
"Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."
There is a building, where you wait for the train, and it's filled with all kinds of Polar Express, train, and Christmas gifts! There are actually two buildings but I only took pictures inside of one of them.
There is an area where you can get your picture taken with Santa in addition to getting one with the big guy on the train itself!
I took some pictures of my ticket when I got home. I don't really know the significance of only one punch - all of the other kids got a few each - but I was alone so maybe that's why!
You wait for the train in this covered/semi-heated area. It was magical to see the train pull up and have all the people aboard waving at you.
Finally it was our turn to board the train. The train was supposed to depart around 8pm and I think we started boarding around 8:05 or 8:10pm so they weren't running too far behind. As you can see, the outsides and the insides of the train cars are wonderfully decorated. Above the seats, there were a bunch of super cute stuffed animals, ornaments, and stockings.
Once the train started moving, they started reading the book The Polar Express, while the cooks handed out hot cocoa and cookies! After, a few cooks walked around with the book The Polar Express so we could see the pictures as the book was being read. My friend noted that I had a "solo traveler lid" because I did the train alone. ;)
Finally, we reached the North Pole! It was decorated with little houses, a tree, and elves. We stopped for a minute and Santa himself boarded the train! I thought I would throw in our "selfie" even though I didn't take it with my Canon. I was afraid I wouldn't get a picture with him but he said "You have a camera - let's take a selfie!" It was the most adorable thing ever. And even though it's not the best photo, you can see the pure joy on my face :)
The elves also boarded the train with Santa. As he walked around and took pictures with everyone, they handed out bells. It was really sweet to see the elves interact with all the kids.
"The first gift of Christmas!"
The bells were a great touch and I love having my own, but they became slightly annoying after a while. You just handed a bunch of little kids, jacked up on sweets, no sleep, and pure adrenaline, noise makers! Haha
"At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."
On the way back from the North Pole, the elves played games with the passengers. They sang songs and played "Santa says" a Christmas version of "Simon Says". Instead of rushing off the train, I stayed on board so I could take pictures without people in them. I also asked a few of the staff if I could take a picture of them, all of which said "Of course!" Although it can sometimes be embarrassing to ask, I always love how those photos turn out.
"The thing about trains... it doesn't matter where they're going. What matters is deciding to get on."
Here are a few additional pictures inside the little shop which you use to enter and exit the train. It was such a magic night and extremely fun! Everyone I talk to think it's extremely brave for doing it alone, but I'm an only child who is single a lot and keeps moving to towns where I don't know anyone! I've learned that it's better to face the uncomfortableness of doing something alone versus not doing it at all. And it's actually not that bad!
All in all, I would HIGHLY recommend riding the Polar Express.
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.