Activity Review: Polar Express
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
For the holiday season, I try to commit to 2-3 activities. Trying to commit to too many activities can be overwhelming and takes the fun out of the holiday season. Two years ago I saw the Polar Express Train Ride in Baltimore, but it was already sold out. Last year I just had Rori, so it wasn’t on my mind at all. This year, I decided I wanted to do it! Rashad and Riann are getting older so I didn’t want to wait too long and they weren’t interested at all.
First I went on the website to view the ticket options. There are three ticket levels:
Gold Class, which is a private heated rail car. This ticket option was already sold out.
Then there’s the Silver Class, which was quad seating for four. By the time I looked up tickets, there were only Silver Class tickets available during the weekday show at 4 pm. Since Rasoul and I both work and Baltimore is about 45 minutes away, we knew we couldn’t make it.
The last ticket option is Bronze Class, which is two seats next to each other. At first I was nervous that there wouldn’t be enough seating and that we would be separated. But since this was the only ticket option, I decided to purchase them.
We purchased four tickets. We made the decision to keep Rori home, she’s at an age where she’s really active and we knew that wouldn’t work well. So we asked my mom to watch her while we hung out with our big kids.
After purchasing the tickets, I was really excited!
PRO TIP: Watch the movie in advance. I’ve heard of Polar Express for years, but never watched it. A few days in advance, I watched it with Riann. There are elements in the train ride that appear in the movie. If I didn’t watch the movie, I wouldn’t have a clue and a lot of things wouldn’t have made sense.
We arrived a few minutes early and got in line. We were really excited. And it was great seeing all of the families dressed up.
They had snacks and food for sale, so we grabbed a few things while we were in line. We then went inside once the doors opened and had our tickets scanned. We were then told we could go ahead inside. From there, it was a bit overwhelming. First you walk into a big room. It was super crowded. And in our current times, it was a bit weird that there were no social distancing protocols. We then saw a few stations where kids could do activities like color and make bracelets. We stood around while Riann did some of the activities. From there, we stood around. Then we saw people moving towards the other side and getting in line, so we did too.
We then saw a dance floor. On the website, they said it was a dance party before the train ride. To be honest, the DJ was playing kind of low (or the space was just that loud) that we didn’t realize it. And we definitely couldn’t see the dance floor because of the number of people.
They then did a mini play of the movie. We were all standing, but the stage was elevated. Rasoul put Riann on his shoulders so she could see. A lot of parents did the same thing. After the short show, we then headed to board the train. The welcoming was ok, we were a bit excited.
We then had an opportunity to pick our seats.
Pro Tip: If you’re torn between the quad or the cheaper bronze tickets, I would get the bronze tickets. There were seats that faced each other, so we had an opportunity to sit together without paying for the more upgraded ticket price.
They then gave each family a gift bag and told us to wait to open it until we got off. On the train ride, they read some of the story from the book and there was music. Overall it was a bit underwhelming. One thing we did enjoy was that Santa came through the car and took pictures with each family. All of the children loved it!
At the end, you are taken to “the north pole” where there are activities, you could view trains, take pictures, and then there was a santa there where you could take pictures with him for a fee.
Overall this was an ok experience. If you have the budget and won’t miss the money, then I’d say do it at least once. If not, thenI would say you can skip it.
For ages, I think 5-7 are the perfect age range to experience it. I noticed a lot of smaller babies and kids were having meltdowns, then for older kids, it’s just not that exciting.
For them to improve the experience, I recommend better organization once you enter the space and less crowds. For the actual train ride, I recommend something more engaging than storytelling as young kids get antsy. And also more engaging activities at the north pole.
Overall we had a great time and made the best of it! Have more questions? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.