On Friday, Todd and I picked up the boys from school a little bit early, and we loaded up to the car to head to Bryson City, North Carolina in the Smoky Mountains to ride the Polar Express. We met Todd’s parents and grandmother at an exit on the way out of town and they followed us up there.
It’s about a 3.5 hour trip to Bryson City, and the boys watched The Polar Express and The Santa Clause (with Tim Allen) to pass the time on the trip. Hayes crashed about halfway into the trip.
We got to Bryson City and went straight to our hotel so the boys could change into their pajamas. We stayed at the McKinley Edwards Inn and liked it. The rate was decent. Todd’s parents and grandmother were able to stay in a little cabin. Todd, the boys, and I stayed in a room with a king size bed and a hide-a-bed. The room was comfortable and well-decorated. I’d stay there again.
Our good friends, the Johnstons, were there the same day we were. And we were actually staying in the same hotel and riding on the same train car. So the boys were so excited to see their friends!
We headed to the train depot to get our tickets – and the boys got their golden tickets.
Then we got in line to board the Polar Express. We were riding on the Silver Meteor car. I think the only difference is that we sat at little tables instead of in rows.
The train ride is about an hour and fifteen minutes long and it walks you through some of the adventures through the books and the movie. Music from the movie is playing throughout the ride, and we had a dancing chef named Ginger Snap coming down the aisles to entertain us. The boys loved her!
Of course they brought us hot chocolate and we got to keep the cute mugs. Hayes loves the movie, so he was singing “hot, hot, hot chocolate! We got it!” the whole time. So cute! And he wanted to “cheers.”
I forgot my big camera, so a bunch of pictures ended up blurry.
Hudson just loved it. Their ages were perfect for this trip. They both sat and paid attention to the book and what was going on inside the car. They ate their snacks and just took it all in.
It was still light outside for most of our trip. The views outside the train weren’t always the best, but the kids didn’t notice at all. I imagine that when it’s dark it’s much more mysterious. When we approached “the North Pole” we got to see The North Pole, the house where Mr. and Mrs. Claus live, the church where they got married, and other fun buildings. It was very cute and the boys ate it up.
After we saw Santa, he came aboard the train to say hello to each child and hand a sweet silver bell to each child. It was pretty magical for the kids. And they love those bells, of course! Ha!
After the train ride was over, we headed over to a local pizza place with Todd’s parents and grandmother. It was seriously delicious and I wish I remembered the name of it!
We spent the night in Bryson City and headed back early the next morning to get back in time for the Gamecock football game.
If you are considering getting tickets for a ride on the Polar Express for your family, I highly recommend it. I’m glad we waited until the kids could really appreciate it. They do have to sit still for a good bit and we sang songs and they were able to participate. The whole experience was very well done and was very professional and streamlined. My kids came home talking about how they met Santa and at the North Pole. It was a really sweet experience!
It was a great way to introduce them to the Christmas season!