What are the dates of the event?
Nov 25-27,30. Dec. 10 ,14-23, 26-28
What are the departure times of the event?
1 pm, 3 pm, 5:30 pm, 7:30 pm
NOTE: not all departures occur on each day.
What is at the depot?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ depot includes nearby parking, a ticket office, gift shop, restrooms, and a boarding area.
What food and beverages will be available?
On board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride, chefs will serve cocoa and cookies to all passengers.
Are there souvenirs and gifts?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride Gift Shop loaded with ornaments, toys, t-shirts, and souvenirs will be open for business during the event. It is located at the Depot. Make sure to stop by and shop for holiday gifts and memorabilia from your ride aboard THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride.
What happens on the train ride?
Passengers are invited to wear their pajamas on the train just like in the movie! On board the passenger cars are festively decorated for the holidays. The Conductor will welcome everyone aboard and punch each passenger’s train ticket. En route to the North Pole the book The Polar Express™ will be read and music from The Polar Express™ movie will be played. Passengers are served hot chocolate and cookies by dancing chefs. Upon arrival at the North Pole Santa Claus and elves are visible waving to the train as passengers watch from aboard the train. Santa Claus and elves then board the train. Elves will be in each train car and will entertain passengers and lead them in singing Christmas carols. Santa Claus will move through each train car and greet each child, giving them their own personal silver sleigh bell.
How long does the ride last?
The train ride lasts approximately 1 hour from the time the train departs the depot until it returns. Allow extra time for parking, picking up your tickets at will call, visiting the gift shop, and enjoying the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
Where does the train go?
The train departs from the Boardwalk and travels towards the North Pole on a round-trip journey. Passengers are inside the train cars for the entire activity.
Where is the North Pole?
To maintain the holiday magic the location of the North Pole is not disclosed.
Will everyone in our reservation be seated together?
Yes, as long as your group is all booked in one reservation, you will be assigned seats together. Depending on the size of your group, your reservation may require more than one section, in which case you will have seats assigned across the aisle or directly behind or forward of your main location.
What are the differences between the classes of service?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride offers three classes of service. All classes are in comfortable, heated cars and include a visit from Santa, hot cocoa, cookies and Santa’s special gift.
Diamond Class is our premium offering with seats in our upper dome car that features wide windows for viewing our stop at the North Pole. All Diamond Class guests will receive a souvenir Polar Express™ mug served with hot cocoa and a cookie. All Diamond Class kids will receive a shiny golden ticket and a sleigh bell from Santa! Seating in Diamond Class requires the purchase of an even number of seats.
First Class has seating around tables in high quality, vintage equipment. All First Class guests will receive a souvenir Polar Express™ mug served with hot cocoa and a cookie. All First Class kids will receive a shiny golden ticket and a sleigh bell from Santa. Note that seating in First Class requires the purchase of an even number of seats.
Standard Class is in traditional railroad seating with rowed seats. The Standard Class equipment is double-decker cars where the kids will be thrilled at the festive atmosphere. All Standard Class guests will receive a cookie and hot cocoa and all Standard Class children will receive shiny golden ticket and a sleigh bell from Santa.
Can the train accommodate wheelchairs?
We have wheelchair lifts and locations for chairs in our Standard Class cars only. Please call a representative at 855-487-1430 to book your tickets. Explain your specific needs and we will do our best to accommodate you.
What if my child has food allergies?
We cannot ensure that our special cocoa and cookies do not contain ingredients that your family member may be allergic to. Guests are welcome to bring their own snack option for a family member with allergies.
How do buy I tickets?
You can purchase tickets online or with our toll free number 877-726-7245. Representatives are available 7 days a week from 7 am to 7 pm CST. Any unsold tickets will be available at the depot on a first come, first served basis. Everyone attending must have a ticket, including children sitting on your lap under the age of two (a ‘babe-in-arms’ ticket can be obtained from our reservation agent or online.)
Will my tickets be mailed to me?
We do not mail out tickets. All tickets may be picked up at the ticket windows at the train depot the same day of the event. Will Call opens 2 hours prior to the first departure of that day.
How much do tickets cost?
The Event has Regular Pricing and Peak Day Pricing. Peak Day prices are higher per ticket than Regular Days. Regular days are before Thanksgiving. All other departure dates are at Peak Pricing. Prices range from $29 to $69 for children and $39 to $69 for adults depending on date of travel and class of service.
Groups of 25 or more receive 10% discount in Standard Classes only.
What are the age classifications for ticketing?
Child: age 2- 12; Adult: age 13 and up; Lap Baby: age under 2, held on adult lap
What should we wear to the event?
Sturdy shoes with closed toes are best for train safety. (No slippers, open-toed shoes, sandals, or flip flops) We encourage each child to wear pajamas just like in the book. It’s quite common for all members of the family to enjoy the Polar Express™ in pajamas; you’ll be amazed at how much fun it is to get Dad and Grandpa to join in!
What should we bring?
This is a memory you’ll want to save so we suggest bringing a camera with a flash if you are riding an evening train due to the lighting conditions. During boarding guests will be outdoors so dress for the weather. Have your reservation number or confirmation email to present to the Will Call Clerk.. Your ticket includes the ride and cocoa and cookies served on board as well as a silver bell for each child. Additional gift shop items are available for sale including The Polar Express™ book.
What is the address of the event?
Depot: 400 Beach St. Santa Cruz, CA 95060
What are the driving directions?
From the Bay Area: Head northwest toward Christopher Columbus Hwy/Interstate 80 HOV, Continue onto I-580 W/I-80, Take the Ashby Ave/CA-13 exit, continue onto CA-13 S/Ashby Ave N. turn right onto Seventh St, turn left onto Murray St, turn left onto Ninth St, turn left at the 1st cross street onto Ashby Ave, keep left at the fork, follow signs for San Fransisco/Interstate 80, keep left at the fork and merge onto I-580 E/I-80. Take exit 8B on the left toward Alameda/San Jose, continue onto I-880 S (44.3 mi), continue onto CA-17 S(26.6 mi), take exit 442 on the left toward Ocean St/Beaches, merge onto Ocean St (signs for Ocean St/Beaches), turn left onto Campbell St, continue onto Riverside Ave, turn right onto 2nd St, turn left onto Cliff St, turn left onto Beach St, your destination will be on the right.
From the East(Capitola Mall): Head south on 41st Ave, turn right onto Brommer St, turn left onto 7th Ave, turn right onto Eaton St, continue onto Glenn E. Coolidge Memorial Bridge/Murray St, continue to follow Murray St, continue onto E Cliff Dr, continue onto San Lorenzo Blvd, turn left onto Riverside Ave, turn right onto 2nd St, turn left onto Cliff St, turn left onto Beach St, destination will be on the right
From the South: Take CA-1 N for 23.46 miles, take the Morissey Blvd exit, EXIT 440, keep left to take the Morrissey Blvd ramp, turn right onto Water St., take the 1st left onto Poplar Ave. turn right onto Soquel Ave, turn left onto Ocean St, turn right onto San Lorenzo Blvd, turn left onto Riverside Ave, your destination is 0.1 miles past Leibrandt Ave.
What parking is available and what is the cost?
There is ample parking directly across Boardwalk Gate 3. We have a designated area for disabled parking for automobiles that display the proper IDs. Parking is $10.00 per vehicle.
When should we arrive for the event?
Please arrive 45 minutes prior to your trip. This will ensure proper time to find parking, pick up your tickets and visit the Gift Shop.
What is the cancellation policy?
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of this train event, there are no refunds, reschedules or cancellations. Please be sure that when you make your reservation, you know exactly which date and which departure time you wish to secure. The train will depart in rain or snow. In the event the train is unable to operate you will be notified immediately and given a complete refund or the opportunity to reschedule.
Are there any discounts?
We offer group discounts of 10% for Standard Class only for groups with a minimum of 25 riders paying with a single method of payment. Please see more Group information below.
Are there any refunds?
Unfortunately, due to the popularity of this train tour, there are no refunds, reschedules or cancellations. Please be sure that when you make your reservation that you know exactly which date and which train time you wish to secure. The train can depart even in rain or snow. In the event the train is unable to operate you will be notified immediately and given a complete refund or the opportunity to reschedule
What if the weather is bad and travel difficult?
Please prepare for winter or holiday road and traffic conditions! THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is not liable for road closures or delays. This event will run no matter the weather. In the event the train is unable to operate you will be notified immediately and given a complete refund or the opportunity to reschedule.
Are we hiring?
For employment opportunities, visit the link below..
Are discounts available for groups?
We offer group discounts for Standard Class only for groups of with a minimum of 25 riders paying with a single method of payment.
How many people qualify as a “group”?
A group needs to have a minimum of 25 ticketed passengers, babes in arms do not count towards this total. A babe in arms is a child under 2 years of age who sits on an adult’s lap.
Will all members of our group be seated together?
Yes, your group will be assigned an exclusive block of seats together. Tickets will be printed for these seats, but not assigned to individual members of the Group. This allows your group members to determine individually which seats they would like to sit in during the ride. Please advise your group members to arrive early to ensure smooth seating aboard the train.
How do we make reservations for our group?
We have dedicated Representatives to accommodate your special Group needs. Please contact them through the dedicated phone line or email listed below to make your reservation. We cannot currently book your Group’s reservations online. Please speak personally to our group representative to be sure your reservation is given the attention it requires.
Will the tickets be mailed to us?
We do not mail out tickets. All tickets should be picked up at the Will Call table at the Train Station the same day of the event. Group tickets will be bundled together for the group leader to pass out to group members within their designated seats. Will Call opens two hours prior to the first departure of each day.
How do I contact customer service?