Polar Express now boarding in Bryson

In 1985, Chris Van Allsburg wrote The Polar Express, a story of a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes a young boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus. “The Polar Express,” published by Houghton Mifflin Company, has become a contemporary holiday classic, with over 6 million copies sold worldwide. In 2004 Warner Bros. Entertainment reunited the Academy Award-winning team of Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis in an inspiring animated version.

That same year Great Smoky Mountain Railroad began operating The Polar Express. More than 30,000 passengers rode The Polar Express with the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in 2010.

The one-hour round-trip excursion comes to life as the train departs the Bryson City depot for a journey through the quiet wilderness for a special visit at the North Pole. Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, guests on board will enjoy warm cocoa and a treat while listening and reading along with the magical story. Santa will board the train, greeting each child and presenting them with a special gift just like in the story — their own silver sleigh bell. Christmas carols will be sung as the train returns to the depot.

The Polar Express operates through Dec. 24. Ticket prices begin at $39 for adults and $26 for children ages 2-12. Children under 2 years old ride complimentary. For more information and reservations please call 800.872.4681 or visit us online at www.GSMR.com. Premium rates apply to Nov. 25-27, Dec. 17-23 and all Saturday trains.

Crown Class ticket prices are $49 for Adults, $36 for children 2-12 and $10 for less than two years. First Class seating upgrades are available. Each guest will receive a deluxe serving of warm cocoa in a souvenir Polar Express mug and other treats in addition to the standard offerings. Upgrade to First Class at $59 for adults and $41 for children. Children under two years old are $15.

There will also be a Polar Express Christmas Eve Limited. Each guest will receive a special Christmas souvenir. Adult ticket prices are $51 and children 2-12 are $37. First-class seating upgrades are also available. Adult ticket prices are $72, children 2-12 are $50 and $20 for less than two years.

Smoky Mountain Trains Museum admission is included with all train excursion tickets. Without train excursion admission is $9 for adults and $5 for children.

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