All Aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! This memorable journey will take you on an incredible roundtrip ride! Believe the magic this Holiday season!

About This Trip

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad is back in 2022! The 1¼ hour round-trip passenger excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Children’s faces show the magic of the season when the train arrives at the North Pole to find Santa Claus waiting. Santa will board THE POLAR EXPRESS™, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift as in the story, their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as they return back to the Bryson City Depot. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad from Great Smoky Mountains Railroad on Vimeo.


We encourage guests to plan ahead and stay apprised of the latest weather developments. Cancellations of a POLAR EXPRESS departure because of inclement weather are very rare. If you’re staying in the Gatlinburg/Sevierville, Tennessee area, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park Service announces road closures and openings on Twitter, or call (865) 436-1200 extension 631 for a recorded message. In such case Highway 441 is closed through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Interstate 40 typically remains open. Use 45 Mitchell Street, Bryson City, North Carolina 28713 as your destination to find an alternate route.

Official THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Gifts of 2023

The Polar Express (Hardcover) – Pick up your very own copy of the classic novel that started it all, The Polar Express. Your special gift will be gift wrapped and signed by Santa Claus.

Polar Bear Plush – The Polar Bear Plush will delight all ages and comes wrapped up in their very own scarf and beanie set. 12” of pure cuddliness.

Beanie Bear & Blanket Combo – This bundle includes our Polar Express blanket and the softest little blue bear to cuddle up with.

The Polar Bundle – This bundle comes with an exclusive blanket only available when purchased in advance. This bundle also includes a 7” Snowman Plush and an 8oz souvenir tumbler that can be filled with FREE COCOA at our café located on the depot deck on the day of your ride!

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Lanyard – Grab hold of your ticket and don’t let go! This fun souvenir will be a reminder all year long of the kid in all of us and the power of belief.
You can add any or all of the official THE POLAR EXPRESS™  merchandise to your reservation whether you book online or by phone at 800-872-4681! Already have a reservation? Give us a call at 800-872-4681 to have a reservationist add it to your reservation.

How to Purchase

You can purchase your tickets online or call our reservations department at (800) 872-4681. We strongly discourage attempting to purchase your tickets the day of as a majority of dates and/or times are sold out. No matter how you purchase tickets, they’ll be waiting at will call. Ticket prices vary by class of service.

Where to Go

All departures are from the Bryson City Depot in Bryson City, NC. Entrance to the parking lot is located at:

45 Mitchell Street Bryson City, NC 28713

Plan on being here by 1 hour before your departure.

Classes of Service and Pricing

First Class

First Class features interior carpet and plush furniture along with new exterior paint and detailing to highlight the cars authenticity. Large windows and climate control for comfort. Table tops of 4 and 2 are available. You may be seated at a table of 4 if your party is 2. All guests will receive a specialty treat, a cookie, and warm cocoa served in a THE POLAR EXPRESS™ souvenir mug! Also guests will receive one souvenir tote per reservation. Make your reservation now!
Off Peak$68$47$19
Christmas Eve$99$74$30
RateAdult (13+)Child (2-12)Infant (0-23 Months)

Premium Crown Class

Premium Crown Class features windows that are able to open for fresh-air, ceiling fans and heat for cooler evenings. These classic cars will transport you into the movie with their restored wooden interiors resembling the train from the film. Booth seats are arranged in sets of four with two facing each other. All guests will receive a specialty treat, a cookie, and warm cocoa served in a souvenir THE POLAR EXPRESS™ tumbler by the car’s friendly POLAR EXPRESS staff! Make your reservation now!
Off Peak$63$44$16
Christmas Eve$93$71$27
RateAdult (13+)Child (2-12)Infant (0-23 Months)

Crown Class

Crown Class features climate control for comfort, large picture windows for optimal viewing, and easily accessible restrooms. Seats are arranged in sets of four with two facing each other. This is wonderful for families or parties who wish to stay grouped together throughout the duration of their ride. All guests receive a cookie and warm cocoa served in a souvenir THE POLAR EXPRESS™ tumbler. Make your reservation now!
Off Peak$54$39$11
Christmas Eve$86$67$23
RateAdult (13+)Child (2-12)Infant (0-23 Months)

Coach Class

Coach Class features windows that are able to open for fresh-air, ceiling fans and heat for cooler evenings. Seats are arranged in sets of four with two facing each other. A cookie and warm cocoa is served to guests by the car’s friendly POLAR EXPRESS chef! Make your reservation now!
Off Peak$44$29$0
Christmas Eve$76$57$0
RateAdult (13+)Child (2-12)Infant (0-23 Months)

Class Comparison

AmenityFirst ClassPremium Crown ClassCrown ClassCoach Class
Meets SantaYesYesYesYes
Children receive silver bellYesYesYesYes
Served CocoaYesYesYesYes
Served CookieYesYesYesYes
Story Narrated/MusicYesYesYesYes
Sing-a-long CarolsYesYesYesYes
Padded SeatsYesYesYesYes
Restrooms AvailableYesYesYesYes
Assigned SeatingYesYesYesNo
Large Picture WindowsYesNoYesNo
Additional TreatsYesYesNoNo
Souvenir Ceramic MugYesNoNoNo
Souvenir Travel MugNoYesYesNo
Windows Open/CloseNoYesNoYes
Lunch/Dinner AvailableNoNoNoNo

Ticket fares subject to 7% Historic Preservation Fee. Schedules, fares, motive power, equipment, seat selection, and meals are subject to change without notice. We guarantee the class of service you select. You will be notified if a change in schedule or motive power affects your reservation. Payment in full at booking by major credit card is required to finalize a reservation. You may cancel your reservation in full or in part and receive a refund less a $14.00 fee per adult ticket and $7.00 fee per child ticket as late as 48 hours before departure. Within 48 hours of the departure the reservation becomes nonrefundable. You may reschedule any time prior to your originally scheduled departure with a $7.00 fee per ticket for another date within the same calendar year. You may not reschedule a reservation after the scheduled departure. No exceptions are made for weather, illness, or road closures.

Whipped Topping Ingredients – Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Palm, Palm Kernel, Coconut, and/or Cottonseed) Contains less than 2% of the following; Sodium Caseinate (A milk derivative, not a source of lactose) Destrose, Artificial Flavor, Polysorbate 60, Sorbitan Monosterate, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Colored with Turmeric and Annatoo Extract. CONTAINS: MILK.

Hot Cocoa Mix Ingredients: Sugar, Whey, Corn Syrup Solids, Non-Dairy Creamer [Partially Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and/or Soybean Oils), Corn Syrup Solids, Sodium Caseinate (a Milk Derivataive), Dipotassium Phosphate, Sugar, Mono-and Diglycerides, Silicon Dioxide, Sodium Steroyl Lactylate, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavors, Colored with (Annatto, Turmeric)]. Cocoa processed with Alkali, Maltodextrin, Creamer [Whey, Nonfat Dry Milk, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Dipotassium Phosphate, Monoglycerides], Cocoa Salt, Sodium Aluminosilicate (to prevent caking). Tri Calcium Phosphate, Cellulose Gum, Natural and Artificial Flavor, CONTAINS: Milk and Soy

Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS book and characters trademarked and copyright 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. THE POLAR EXPRESS and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.(s20)

You agree that THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event (the “Event”) for which you purchased tickets and/or attended is a public event, that your appearance and actions inside and outside the venue where the Event occurs are public in nature, and that you have no expectation of privacy with regard to your actions or conduct at the Event. You hereby irrevocably grant permission to the Event’s host railroad, licensor, sponsor(s) and/or their assigns to use, copy, display, distribute, exhibit and utilize your name, image, digital image, likeness, acts, poses, voice, appearance, movements and statements in any live or recorded audio, video or photographic display or other transmission, exhibition, publication or reproduction of same, including at the Event (regardless of whether before, during or after the Event) for any purpose, in any manner, in any medium or context now known or hereafter developed without further authorization from or any compensation to you or anyone acting or entitled to act on your behalf.

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