Yes, the Big Easy has a Polar Express! After we did the roundup of Polar Express trains in Texas, so many readers wanted to know holiday trains near them. So first up is New Orleans, because I’m in love with the city and it’s a perfect weekend away from Houston – we might even ride the Polar Express in New Orleans this year. The NOLA Polar Express may not have a vintage steam engine like the one in Texas but it does have all the bells and whistles including gifts from Santa, Christmas carols and holiday cheer!
What is the Polar Express, New Orleans?
The NOLA Polar Express is a short holiday train ride run by Amtrak. The roundtrip train ride begins and ends at the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal. The ‘decked in boughs of holly’ train welcomes passengers of all ages in their holiday pajamas and promises a memorable treat for the children. Car attendants and hosts punch the ‘Believe’ golden ticket and the festive ride begins. Dancing chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies just like in the movies. Everyone reads along with the classic book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.
Then comes the most exciting part of the journey! Santa and his elves board the train to greet passengers. This is my most favorite part of the Polar Express train rides; I love watching the children’s faces light up as they squeal in excitement on seeing Santa. Everyone clamors around Santa for a hug and to receive their first Christmas gift – a silver sleigh bell!
The one hour long ride also includes Christmas carols, dancing with elves, characters from the movie Polar Express. The Polar Express nicely re-creates this classic children’s story and is a perfect family event to start the holidays.
Tips to enjoy Polar Express ride, New Orleans
I have many tips to enhance your Polar Express train ride experience: Book your tickets early; ticket sales begin in July and more than half the rides are already sold out before Halloween!!! Arrive an hour in advance for your train rides as it gets crowded. Buy matching pajamas for the entire family, they enhance the festive spirit of the train ride and create amazing pictures! Take along your copy of the Polar Express book to read in the train. Take along marshmallows to put in your hot chocolate. Take LOTS of pictures!
The Polar Express starts from the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal located at 1001 Loyola Ave, New Orleans, LA 70113