THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride in Perris is coming back this holiday season to the Southern California Railway Museum! Get ready to be whisked away on a magical one-hour train ride to the North Pole. Passengers will be immersed in the magic of the classic story THE POLAR EXPRESS set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack.
In this post I will tell you what to expect. We got to ride it in 2019, it was gone in 2020, but it's running ThIS YEAR!!!
Our Experience on the Perris, California POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride
Our family loved the Polar Express Train Ride at the Southern California Railway Museum in Perris, CA. We also enjoyed the Train to Santa's Workshop at the Orange Empire Railway Museum that was held the year before. So we super excited to return and see the new Polar Express version. FYI, the museum was formerly called Orange Empire Railway Museum.
THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride is a magical re-creation of the classic children’s story led by a cast of talented actors on board a real train. The experience starts before you even board the train.
(My apologies for the foggy photo. It really was foggy...which made the experience even more incredible. It just didn't photograph well!)
Then you board to train onto your assigned train car.
Once on board, your car hosts will work their way through the coach and punch your golden ticket.
Have your golden tickets ready for the Conductor!
THE POLAR EXPRESS story then come to life as the characters enter and exit the train cars to a narrated story.
One of the most fun parts of the show is when the hot chocolate comes dancing down the aisles. Passengers are served hot chocolate by dancing chefs, and this year, Walkers Shortbread.
Seriously, everyone was a so nice!
After everyone gets their hot chocolate, the performers read the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.
And after the story...look outside!!! Where are you???
THE NORTH POLE. You'll see dancing elves and fun little North Pole Village.
Then it is time to return back to the train station.
On the way back, the performers engage passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities. A great way to get into the holiday spirit!
What's that sound????
Is it SANTA CLAUS???
Yes!!! Santa and his helpers board the train to greet passengers. During the trip, the characters on each car will lead passengers in caroling and onboard entertainment just like in the film!
At the end of the night, each guest is given the first gift of Christmas – a silver sleigh bell. This was a truly the most special moment of the night. The kids were so excited.
Each guest gets to take home the keepsake sleigh bell in addition to the wonderful memories made on this magical trip.
Look at how happy they are. This seriously was a fun Christmas activity for the whole family. We definitely will do it again this year!
How to make your Polar Express Train Ride more Magical
You can always take a ride on the Polar Express and just enjoy the ride. But I really recommend going all-out if you want to make it even more magical. The more you get into the experience, the more magical it will be.
- First of all, make sure to ARRIVE EARLY. I recommend arriving at least an hour or more earlier than your train departure. This will give you a chance to get your tickets from the ticket booth, take photos around the train and museum grounds, and also check out the additional activities that are available to enjoy. We had the opportunity to write letters to Santa and take photos by the tree and Polar Express backdrops. You also want to be outside right when the show starts, because the train conductor and Hero Boy come out and start the show off before you enter the train.
- Second of all, you need to wear your Christmas jammies! It makes all the difference in the amount of fun you will have. It's so much fun to get matching jammies with the family. And don't be embarrassed to wear them. Trust me, everyone who didn't wear them, will wish they did.
- Third, bring your camera! There are so many special moments that happen along the train route, and you're going to want to capture them. The look on my kids faces when the hot chocolate came dancing down the aisles, and when Santa gave them each a bell is something I am so glad I got a video of.
- Fourth, bring a jacket or a blanket. You won't need them on the train, but while you are waiting, it can be chilly...AND foggy! I don't know why, but it's always chilly and foggy this time of year at the Southern California Railway Museum.
- Finally, come with a full stomach. Perris is a nice little city, but the area around the train is pretty void of places to eat. And there isn't food available on the train. So make sure to eat before you come. Besides the hot chocolate and cookie they give you, that's all for food.
How Does the Polar Express Train Rides in Perris, CA and Grand Canyon Railroad Compare?
If you've been wanting to go to the Polar Express Train Ride at the Grand Canyon Railroad but can't make the trip, do the Polar Express Train Ride in Perris, CA.
Believe it or not, they're practically the same! I have personally done both train rides and they are the same script and run by the same company Rail Event Productions.
Whether you are riding in Perris or riding at the Grand Canyon, the music, story and actors scripts are the same. The trains that are used are different because they use the trains located at each train station. Both are comparable. The main difference that I can note – is the location. It can snow at the Grand Canyon Railroad, so that can make things a little more magical. Also the North Pole decorations are different, but not enough to really make a difference in the experience.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Polar Express Train Ride in Perris
How much does the Polar Express Train Ride Cost?
The Polar Express Train Ride in Perris costs between $44 and $70 depending on an adult or child ticket, and time of day you choose to ride.
How Long is the Polar Express Train Ride Experience?
About an hour!
What ages do you recommend for this experience?
THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride is great for the whole family. I would say that a it is especially fun for kids 11 and under...and for their parents and caregivers who will get to see the joy they will express during the trip.
Is the experience the same for everyone?
Yes! Each train car gets the same experience and the same show. There are no upgrades. The Value, Standard, and Premium pricing is in regards to the the times and dates you choose. Weekends and night time slots are more money due to the popularity.
Is the seating assigned?
Yes! You get to choose your seats when you purchase your tickets similar to that of an airline.
Do you have to wear a face mask?
Yes, according to the CDC guidelines, face masks must be worn during the entirety of the ride, unless you are actively eating.
All Aboard the Polar Express Train Ride - Where to get tickets.
Now that you know how much fun the Polar Express Train Ride is, you probably want to purchase tickets for the family. Click here for tickets and more information about the Polar Express Train Ride experience.
Looking for more family Christmas Events in Orange County?
Check out this great list of over 100 Christmas Events and Activities in Orange County, CA.
What seats do you recommend for a family of seven?
I t think all the seats are great! I am not sure if I would get 7 on on side, or 3 on one side and 4 on the other. Probably across from each other.
Seeing a little Christmas magic leave my child’s eye was devastating. The actors and all that was great, however, the train “ride” was ridiculous. My son noticed right away that the train only goes back and forth like 3 times, and was expecting more “North Pole” action. Some effort on the train “ride” and more of a North Pole experience would’ve been great. 100% my son knew nothing was real. Way too expensive for what y’all did.
rose m mejia
is the polar express over with until next year
I believe that there times you need a handheld mike and definitely times you don't y'all need to get lapel microphones for some of the scenes and better realasation it will look better when you are doing a one on on with another actor or a musical number
Me and my party went and were disappointed a bit because of the change that happened this year, because we like to look outside the windows and this year with the windows not an option to look out of it kind of took away from the experience as we liked having the north pole scene outside the train which was fun to watch and see the kids reactions when we go to the north pole, so I felt that kind of took away from some of the magic and fun of it other than that everything else was excellent me and my party just missed having the north pole scene outside the train and we also missed having the locomotive outside before we boarded the train the rest of it was fun just missed some of the original things, which we felt like brought more of a magic touch to the ride.