Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (2024)

All Aboard to the North Pole!

Every winter the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of “the North Pole”—where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl. You’ll be smiling from ear to ear, as you watch children’s faces light up when the train arrives, and enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies while listening to this timeless story.

Make this a family holiday tradition, and call today to make your reservations (because space is limited to those who truly believe in the spirit of Christmas). The ride lasts a little over an hour, with the train leaving each night at 5:30 p.m.and 7:30 p.m.

TOTAL ROUND-TRIP TIME: Approximately 90 minutes.


Schedule & Pricing

Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (1)

Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (2)

2024 Polar Express Train Rates

Rate TypeAdult Ticket Price (Ages 16+)
Price does not include taxes and fees
Child Ticket Price (Ages 2-15)
Price does not include taxes and fees
Value Rate$59.99$43.99
Standard Rate$70.99$56.99
Holiday Rate$97.99$67.99

The 2024 Polar Express Train Ride

Here is a very special chance for you and the entire family to experience the magic of The Polar Express™, the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

Make a Reservation

  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (8)
  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (9)
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  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (11)
  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (12)
  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (13)
  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (14)
  • Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (15)

The Polar Express Package

A true Polar Express adventure including tickets to the North Pole, accommodations at the Railway Hotel, and meals for everyone! There’s no better way to bundle and save 10% on your adventure to the North Pole. The package features:

  • Overnight stay for 1-night in a hotel room or suite
  • One dinner in the Fred Harvey Restaurant per person
  • One breakfast in the Fred Harvey Restaurant per person
  • Roundtrip tickets for the Polar Express train
  • Memories to last a lifetime

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do we get to Williams?

Williams is located about 30 miles west of Flagstaff along Interstate 40. If you’re coming from Phoenix, take I-17 north to Flagstaff. As you get close to the city you can take I-40 west to Williams. Look for Exit 163, exit and go south on Grand Canyon Blvd about a 1/2 mile. The property will be on the west side of the street. From Phoenix, the trip is about 2 and a half hours, but could take a little longer depending on weather conditions.To learn about current driving conditions, visit ADOT’s website with up-to-date conditions. If the roads are closed near Flagstaff, consider taking I-17 north and exit at Cherry Road on Highway 169 toward Prescott, which will eventually merge with Highway 69. Drive through Prescott and look for Highway 89 going north through Chino Valley. You’ll end up on I-40, just west of Williams. Simply make a right on I-40 and travel about 19 miles until you see Exit 163.

Once we arrive in Williams, where do we pick up our tickets?

If you booked a Polar Express package, you will receive your train tickets upon check-in at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel front desk. Will call train tickets will be distributed at the ticket counter inside the Grand Canyon Railway Depot, located next to the Fred Harvey Restaurant. The guest who was responsible for payment will need to present a photo I.D. to receive train tickets.

How far in advance of our departure should we arrive?

Train Only Guests

We recommend arriving at least one hour before departure. This should provide enough time to pick up tickets at will-call and be ready to board The Polar Express. The train will begin boarding 15 minutes before departure. You can certainly pick up your tickets earlier. Tickets will be available at noon (12:00 PM) on the day of your departure.

Polar Family Package Guests

The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is conveniently located adjacent to the Williams Depot. You can begin checking in at the hotel at 3:00 p.m. Upon check in you will be issued both your train and meal tickets. Dinner and breakfast at the Fred Harvey Restaurant, also located next to the hotel, is included in your package. If you’re on the 5:30 p.m. departure, we recommend arriving to Williams around 4:00 so you can check-in, pick up your train tickets and have plenty of time for dinner.

What can we bring with us on the train?

The passenger cars have luggage racks near the ceiling so feel free to bring coats, diaper bags, camera bags, backpacks and anything else you need. Even though the cars have luggage racks, we recommend only bringing what you really need on the train. Strollers can be parked outside the depot. There is a limited amount of space in the vestibules (between the cars) on the train, but we recommend parking strollers by the depot as there are plenty of covered areas. Also, all families are encouraged to bring their own copy of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to read along to the story during the journey. Brand new copies are available for purchase at the Depot and Fred Harvey Restaurant Gift Shops.

What are the seating arrangements?

Seats on board The Polar Express are bench-style, with two passengers per bench. Booking seats in even numbers is strongly recommended. If your family is traveling with another family on a separate reservation and would like to be seated together, please contact Central Reservations at 1-888-848-3511. While we do our very best to honor all seating requests on board The Polar Express, we cannot always guarantee them.

What else is there to do in Williams?

Other activities at Grand Canyon Railway include story time with Mrs. Claus and pictures with Mr. C in the Polar Room. Also, have your kids stand on the patented Naughty or Nice Meter™ to see if they might be expecting a lump of coal in their stockings! Be sure to visit with our staff Elves and Hobo, who will be wandering around the Platform throughout the evening. In fact, if you’re around the Hobo’s campsite 45min prior to departure you might see him sharing some hobo wisdom with Polar Express passengers.

I have a package with meals - what are the hours of The Fred Harvey Restaurant?

During Polar Express, the restaurant will be open for dinner from 3:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. Breakfast will be open at 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. The full buffet is available during Polar Express nights, as well as special desserts made just for the holidays! No alcoholic beverages are permitted aboard The Polar Express. Adult beverages are available at The Fred Harvey Restaurant and inside the hotel at Spenser’s Pub.

Where do we park?

Parking is free and is available around the hotel and depot complex. There is a parking lot east of Grand Canyon Blvd. as you enter the Railway’s complex as well as parking west of the hotel. You may want to budget a few minutes extra to find parking as there will be as many 3,000 people on property.

I have mobility restrictions. What are my options?

Due to the age of the equipment not all rail cars are ADA accessible. Please contact our Central Reservations Department for arrangements at least 7 days prior to arrive so we may make arrangements for your family.

What time zone is Arizona in?

Arizona is always in Mountain Standard Time.

Is alcohol allowed?

No alcoholic beverages are allowed onboard the Polar Express

Are the cookies and hot cocoa dairy/gluten/nut free?

No; however if guests would like to bring their own special items they may.

My question isn't answered above, can you help?

If you have additional questions, please contact us via email at [emailprotected]

Terms & Conditions

Hotel package rates are based on adult double occupancy, and do not include tax. Train-only tickets are per person, and prices do not include tax. Valid for travel from 11/09/23 – 12/30/23. Rates subject to change without notice. Cancellations for Polar Express train only reservations are non-refundable, and cancellations for Polar Express packages are subject to the forfeiture of 50% of the deposit. Cancellations are considered to be a reduction to the number of guests or a cancellation of the entire reservation.

Get Your Tickets
or call 1-888-848-3511

TM & © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel (2024)


Is Polar Express ride worth it? ›

Honestly, we had the best time and everyone was so friendly and in character and everything was executed so well. It was definitely a wonderful and festive way to kick off the holiday season. You could REALLY feel the magic of Christmas!

Do you get off the train on The Polar Express? ›

You are on board the train for approximately 1 hour. Once your experience is over you can spend as much time in our gift shop as you wish but we tend to find guests spend around 15min – 30min here before you head back on the shuttle to the car park.

How long does The Polar Express take? ›

We ask guests to arrive at the check-in time shown on your e-ticket at the park and ride this gives us enough time to shuttle you to site and for you to grab a bite to eat if you wish. You are on board the train for approximately 1 hour.

What happens on The Polar Express ride? ›

Passengers are entertained by a reading of Chris Van Allsburg's classic, The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the North Pole, passengers deboard to watch Santa present the first gift of Christmas. Before exiting the train at Candy Cane Lane, all passengers who BELIEVE will receive their own sleigh bell.

Is Polar Express better at night or day? ›

Consider what time of day you travel. Younger kids may do better on earlier trains, but the last train ride of the evening is arguably the most atmospheric when it's darker outside, the train cars seem cozier, and you can see the holiday lights better.

Do you wear pajamas on The Polar Express train ride? ›

Children under two receive a silver sleigh bell from Santa but do not receive a treat or hot chocolate. What should my family wear? Families are encouraged to wear warm pajamas just like passengers from THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book and film.

Is there a toilet on The Polar Express? ›

The carriages are stationed so you can't see either end of the train. The carriages were decorated with tinsel and lights and there are toilets on the train. The journey was entertaining with music, dancing chefs, ghost hobo and the conductor. We had hot chocolate and a giant cookie.

What is included in The Polar Express train ride? ›

Passengers 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. Attendants lead passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the return trip.

Do you eat on The Polar Express? ›

There are no meal options on board the train. All passengers will receive hot chocolate and a cookie as part of the experience.

What is the best age for Polar Express? ›

Because of its suspenseful scenes, The Polar Express isn't suitable for children under 6-7 years. We also recommend parental guidance for children aged 8-13 years. These are the main messages from The Polar Express: Sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.

What to wear in Polar Express? ›

What should I wear for THE POLAR EXPRESS™? We encourage our guests young and old to wear pyjamas, just as in the book with a dressing gown for good measure.

What is the difference between standard and premium on the Polar Express? ›

There are two classes of travel, standard and premium. Premium class passengers will each receive the special limited edition ceramic POLAR EXPRESS™ mug and a POLAR EXPRESS™ bag for each pair of seats.

What is the difference in seating on the Polar Express? ›

FIRST CLASS: Pods of four seats facing each other with a small table in between. Sold in groups of four with a commemorative Polar Express mug (must purchase a seat for everyone in your party) Includes complimentary digital photo download. PREMIUM UPPER DOME CAR: Mix of booth seating and set of captain's chairs.

Does the Polar Express train ride actually move? ›

Yes, the train does move. You will be on-board for approximately 1 hour.

Why do people like The Polar Express so much? ›

With some of Tom Hanks' most underrated performances, outdoor visuals that still hold up today along with a memorable soundtrack and score, this groundbreaker in animation is still a great watch for both those filled with nostalgia and those looking for a new Christmas classic to watch.

Why is Polar Express so unsettling? ›

The Polar Express is controversial and “creepy” to some viewers thanks to its animation style, which created a phenomenon known as “Uncanny Valley.” While the filmmakers clearly opted for a more realistic art style, many of The Polar Express' characters look human but not human enough.

Why is The Polar Express so trippy? ›

Well, it's because of the animation. The graphics are so life-like, but at the same time, not quite realistic enough, which has given many the creeps. Well this is because of uncanny valley – the notion that the more human-like a non-human character becomes, the more we like it, until it becomes too unsettling.

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