this post contains affiliate links
For the last few years, The Polar Express has been my youngest sons’ favorite Christmas book and movie; to the point where weeks after Christmas he acts out the beginning scenes.
“Well, are you coming?
“Why to the North Pole, of course! THIS is The Polar Express”
All day long, through Valentines Day.
Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to take him on The Polar Express Train ride for a while now, and this year, at 5 years old, will be the perfect year for it!
Normally, December for our family means a trip to Disney, but since we took a quick weekend getaway back in September for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, we decided to visit The Great Smoky Mountains this year.
We’ll be staying at Windham Smoky Mountains in Dolly Parton’s hometown of Sevierville and while I’m still working on the agenda, I knew that since we’d be close to The Great Smoky Mountain Railroad, a ride on The Polar Express was definitely in order.
If there’s one thing about me you should probably know, it’s that I’m a big researcher and vacation planner. It must stem from years of Disney planning for our family vacations, but I really like to have an idea of what we’re doing, where we’re going and a general outline of what to expect.
While I embrace spontaneity and believe there is truly a time and place for it, planning family vacations with a large family is neither the time, nor the place. Teens are a tricky lot sometimes.
So the tickets are all purchased and I’m secretly hoping that it’s just as magical as the book and movie because the initial reviews I’ve read have me a bit scared. We’re picking up the train in Bryson City, North Carolina, which is almost a two-hour drive from where we’re staying in Sevierville.
First-Class tickets for six of us came to $430 and should include a souvenir mug, a snack and the first gift of Christmas for each child (silver bell) so once we’re back from our trip I fully intend to do a thorough review to let you know my thoughts.
Right now, in the weeks leading up to our trip though, I’m frantically trying to ensure we have everything we need for the best trip possible, and of course that means a little bit of shopping and pre-planning.
The website recommends wearing pajamas to reinforce the magic of the trip and we’ll most likely oblige. I have my eye on these merino wool pajamas from Simply Merino for little man; they look absolutely cozy and adorable!
We have our copy of The Polar Express, so we’ll be bringing that as well.
The staff will either read or play a recording of the story so bringing your book to follow along with is recommended. I also read that some families have Santa sign their book when he comes on the train to visit with the kids, so we’ll see how that pans out.
Since it’s about an hour and 40 minutes from Sevierville, TN to the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City, NC, we’ll be playing The Polar Express in the car as well.
A few years ago I made the transition from DVDs to Digital, so of course one of the first purchases I made on Amazon.com was The Polar Express (digital version)
Now, I’m a New England girl, born and raised but having lived in South Carolina now for eight years, I’ve become kind of a cold-weather wimp. Once the temperatures dip below 50, I’m done for.
To ensure cozy comfort though, whenever we plan ski trips to Massanutten or in this case, a winter trip to the mountains, I’ll be packing several packs of Hot Hands Hand Warmers.
Because our tickets are scheduled for a day right in the middle of our trip, I will also be picking up a few things to do at the condo before the trip to kind of build up the excitement. All four of my kids love jigsaw puzzles, so this Polar Express Christmas Holiday Glitter Puzzle will be the perfect evening activity.
Another option is the Polar Express Opoly board game it seems the perfect activity for the family during the holidays! Finally, the Polar Express Board game; each player works to get the first gift of Christmas. I chose this board game for our family just because I felt it was something that my 5 year old could play alongside his siblings, more than the monopoly style game.
I would be remiss not to mention the devastation that the Smoky Mountains has suffered over the last few days with the wildfires. Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and the mountains have become one of our favorite family vacation destinations over the years so while I’m sad, I’m also happy to go back to the area and show our support by partaking in as much of the tourism industry as possible.