Entertaining & Celebrating Family Travel

Christmas Traditions: The Northpole Express

What was your favorite Christmas story to read as a child? 

Mine was, by far, the Polar Express. I remember distinctly reading it in school with classmates, the rich colors in the book, the magic of the story, and everything was so vivid I can remember reading it for the first time like it was yesterday. When I was in college, the movie came out, and yep, I went to see it in the theater in 3D with snow falling right in front of my eyes like I was there. Even in college, I felt like a kid again. 

Once I had children, I knew I would pass along the tradition of reading the book to them, but before I became a mom, I had no idea of the other magical opportunities to bring the story to life like the North Pole Express®.

This year was our second attending the Grapevine North Pole Express®, and believe it or not, it felt even more magical than the first time we took the boys just two years ago. Maybe because now they are 3 and 5, and both really get it, I don’t know. Still, there is something so special about Christmas being in the air and being on a Christmas train headed to the north pole with your little kids smiling and eating cookies that fills my mama heart with so much joy it’s practically bursting. 

What I loved most about our North Pole Express this year was the following:

Mrs. Clause was on the train with us for the entire ride! Our first year, she stopped in our car and made an appearance, but she hosted our train car this year. It was so great that she led us in song and stopped by the boys’ seats to talk to them frequently. She shared with Deuce that there are often reindeer nearby in the forest, so he kept looking out to see if he could see one. She also asked both boys what they wanted for Christmas and wrote it down on a notepad so that Santa wouldn’t forget!

She handed out cookies that she had made to all of us on the train and Christmas bells to the children. 

Once we got near the North Pole, Santa arrived! Oh, how we loved Santa. I loved most how much time he spent with each of the kids on the train. He told my boys a story; he spoke with them about what they wanted for Christmas and even did his infamous laugh when he made a few Santa jokes. It was so sweet and endearing to see. 

When the ride ended, we got off the train and were handed mugs of frosty chocolate milk that Richard enjoyed. 

Here are some of my tips if you’re visiting The North Pole Express® for the first time. Or, if you are considering taking your children or grandchildren in the future:

  1. BOOK EARLY. I can’t stress this enough. These tickets go so fast that as I’m writing this post at the beginning of December, they are completely sold out until after Christmas. Through the Grapevine Texas USA website, you can get added to a distribution list to be notified when tickets go on sale; I highly recommend it. They usually go on sale around September. 
  2. PLAN YOUR TRIP/DAY AROUND YOUR TRAIN RIDE. We take our trip with our annual Gaylord Texan Christmas trip when we go. This is something you don’t need to do, but it’s 2 miles away, so if you do plan on going to the Gaylord, I recommend scheduling your North Pole Express® trip for either before or after your Gaylord stay. I know some people make their North Pole Express trip first, then visit the Gaylord. We did our Gaylord trip first, then the North Pole Express. Keep in mind you have to check-in 30 min before your ride, and the ride itself is about 45 minutes long. 
  3. DAY RIDES VS. NIGHT RIDES. I have heard great things about taking the North Pole Express in the evening because you get to see the magic of all of the lights of the homes and businesses nearby, and it’s more similar to the story. If you have older children, I recommend doing this (these tickets go even faster, so be sure to book ASAP). Since my boys are 3 and 5, we still like the day trips, as they are in bed by 8 pm, and I don’t want them falling asleep! If you have young children that still nap, I’d recommend doing the train after naptime around 2 pm.  
  4. CHRISTMAS PAJAMAS! People often ask if you “HAVE” to wear Christmas pajamas on the train. The answer is, it’s not required, but yes highly suggested to partake in the fun. Most of the children on the train wear Christmas pajamas. Some families participate, and all members have on pajamas. I usually have the boys wear pajamas, and then I style Demetrius and myself in similar pattered clothing. If you have really young children, keep in mind that if they wear footed pajamas, you need to fit shoes on them! Footed pajamas, especially the wool kind, can be hard to layer with shoes, so a pair of loose rain boots might be appropriate if your child is wearing a footed pajama. However, I’d recommend just putting them in pajamas that aren’t footed if possible to make it easier on you and them. 
  5. HAVE FUN! TAKE LOTS OF PHOTOS. You are welcome to take photos on the train ride, so be sure to get some great ones of your kiddos. I love looking back at the pictures and even some of the videos of us all singing Christmas carols.

I hope that you get to enjoy the North Pole Express as much as I have with my children. I look forward to continuing to take them until they tell me they are too old and don’t want to anymore! If you have any questions I haven’t included in this post, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to DM me on @Instagram or @Facebook, or use my @Contact Page to reach out.Praying you and your family have a Merry and Blessed Christmas season

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  • Reply
    Portia Gorman
    December 4, 2021 at 7:25 pm

    I love all of these traditions you’ve begun! What a beautiful family!

  • Reply
    December 6, 2021 at 5:07 pm

    What a lovely tradition! I enjoyed the pictures here and you provided such a vivid description. Great article!

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