Everything you need to know about the Polar Express in French Lick, Indiana

My post about the Polar Express & YouTube video get a ton of views & I can't help but think how disappointed they must be when they land on there, because blogging back then was really just talking about your weekend & what you did. & from what I can tell they are coming to those pages for info!

So I thought I would make a post giving the info they are looking for! It's been 2 years since we went last, however, we have been several times so I've become quite the expert on the Polar Express in French Lick.

You watch our video below. Note: GoPro video quality is MUCH better just years later. The video is so so dark!

1. Get your tickets early

I put a reminder in my phone to buy my tickets at the end of JULY. Yeah, I know crazy. But, these tickets sell out quick. However, our last time going you could buy them already for next year while we were there. So, if you can even think about Christmas time the following year DURING the current Christmas time, you buy them starting in November the year before.

2. Ticket Info

There is no novelty ticket like the one in the Polar Express but I print them from HERE & have the girls carry those to give to the conductor for him to hole punch.

Currently{2019}, they start November 6th as the first weekend and run til the day before Christmas Eve.

Ticket prices {currently as of 11/2019}
COACH -- $40

Car selection: I personally don't think what car you in makes a huge difference. If you choose first class the dome car is very neat!
NOTE: if you want to purchase first class, you must purchase the entire table. Tables sit 4 or 2 people.
Assigned Seating: there is no assigned seating in coach, only assigned cars. If you have a bigger family or group, for sure arrive early for the best chance at all sitting together though.
In first-class, you are assigned by table when you purchase your tickets.

Are Polar Express tickets refundable?
Really think about the dates when you book, as you more than likely are making them months or a year out. Tickets are non-refundable and not transferable to a different date.

 Also, there is never a Polar Express promo code.

3. What to Wear

This is totally up to you! My girls always wear their PJ's in true Polar Express fashion. One year we had to layer as it was very chilly, another year it was very warm & were good to go with just PJ's. Us parents do not wear our PJ's, however, I would say 75% or more of parents DO dress in theirs as well. Wearing PJ's children or adults is not required at all. Go in whatever you would like!

NOTE: the cars are very drafty. Dress warm if it is cold outside. Bring a small blanket if it is very cold.

Pro Tip: take a copy of the Polar Express book with you. They play a narrator reading the book over the speakers, it fun for the kids to follow along as they read.

Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

4. What all happens? Where do we go?

From their website :
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a re-creation of the classic children’s story on board a real train. Passengers are served hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the first gift of Christmas (a silver sleigh bell) after Santa boards the train to greet families. Elves lead passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the return trip to French Lick.
Surprisingly, I have seen some bad reviews on trip advisor for the ride. So many people were complaining that the elves were just high school girls. & I am semi confused because... I am trying to imagine what they were expecting? Actual elves? Nevertheless, the elves ARE what I assume are highschool girls. They go above and beyond with the kids. They are lovely singers. On the way back, they play games with them and get the kids to get up & dance.

The hot chocolate is always good, & very hot hot hot ;) The Christmas cookies aren't anything to rave about. Just a generic grocery bakery cookie, but still delicious. We didn't ride this for the quality of cookies.
Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

Where do we go: 
Why the north pole of course! :)

How long is the ride:
First, please please do arrive early. There is fun stuff to do ahead of time & plenty of photo ops. They depart promptly at your reserved time. They will not wait for you. If you are traveling to get here, like us, leave with ample time! We leave with wanting to get there a little over an hour early.
The ride itself is about 70 minutes long.

Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

5. Extra Fun

-The ride itself is enough. But, after you pick Santa up at the North Pole he comes on board & you are able to get a professional photo taken with him on the train. Then, he gives the first gift a Christmas. Just as he did in the Polar Express, it's a bell. It's great quality & engraved with the "Polar Express" on it & tied, of course, with a red bow.
Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

-They have a gift shop full of amazing souvenirs. Like the conductor's hat, light-up wands, you can buy the actual book there, ornaments etc. 

-There are a few photo opportunities while you are there. In the gift shop, they have where you can buy prints on-site or buy them on a USB. Every time we have gone the best purchase for your money is to just buy them all on the USB.

Polar Express train ride, Polar Express, French Lick, Polar Express French Lick

- Activites tent, they have a tent full of fun things to do. Lego table, coloring pages, a huge board to write a letter to Santa. In there, is where you can also pick up a Polar Express newspaper. This makes a keepsake as it has the date on it!


Hope all of this was helpful when planning your ride on the Polar Express train ride in French Lick!