THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride
– 2023 –
IN THIS FAQ:
- Ticketing Questions
- The Experience Itself
- Day-Of Arrival and Timing
What are the exact dates of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for 2023?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum operates on November 10-11-12, 17-18-19-20-21, and 24-25-26. The event becomes daily starting Wednesday, November 29, and continues every evening through December 23. Performances each evening begin promptly at 5 p.m., 6:30 p.m., and 8 p.m. (see below for more details about arriving on time for your performance!).
When do tickets go on sale?
Tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum go on sale to the General Public beginning at 9 a.m. MT on Tuesday, October 3. Museum members will have early access to purchase tickets, beginning one week prior (September 26) and continuing through Monday, October 2. A special Early Access code is required for members during this time, and it also provides a discount off every ticket purchased.
Where can I purchase tickets?
Tickets are available online by visiting www.ColoradoRailroadMuseum.org/Polar-Express.
Are there any discounts available?
Yes! All tickets for performances prior to Thanksgiving are available at a 10% discount off regular ticket prices for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. In addition, Museum members receive a limited-time discount on tickets, in addition to being given the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance of the launch of ticket sales to the public.
I am a Museum Member, how will I receive my “Early Access” code?
Colorado Railroad Museum Members receive the first opportunity to order THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride tickets each year! This year, the member pre-sale dates are September 26-October 2. All Members who have ACTIVE membership accounts will receive a special membership access code at the current email address we have on file before sales open. If you’re a member and don’t receive this code before September 26, please call us at (303) 279-4591 during business hours (we’re closed on Mondays), or email us at email@example.com so we may update your email address and provide your code!
How do I become a Museum Member?
The Colorado Railroad Museum offers a wide range of annual Membership options for individuals and families. Early access and discounts to tickets for themed events such as THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride are included. Plus, you’ll also enjoy year-round benefits, such as free Museum Admission and Train Rides on weekends (except during Special Events). Benefits, costs and Membership levels are listed online here. Don’t wait, join or renew your membership online today!
Could THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride be canceled?
COVID continues to be a concern in our community. However, we want to assure you that the show is still on! Due to the need to keep our cast and crew free from COVID-19, we expect to continue to take protective measures for our cast and crew in 2023. Masks are suggested (but not required) for guests whenever indoors. Should masking or other precautions be mandated by local, state and/or federal authorities aboard trains or indoors, we’ll follow their guidance and email all ticketed guests right away. In the unlikely event that THE POLAR EXPRESS™ has to be canceled, including due to public health orders or other factors beyond the control of the event, we will endeavor to contact you and your tickets will be refunded.
Is access available for wheelchairs or persons with limited mobility?
For 2023, we’re pleased to announce that we do offer seating for wheelchairs, including aboard the moving train, during selected THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride performances. Our First Class Car features a wide platform and end door to make this access possible at THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event. We also have introduced permanent access to an onsite, accessible restroom on the Museum grounds.
What if a member of my party is gluten intolerant or lactose intolerant?
Our delicious THE POLAR EXPRESS™ cookies do contain wheat (gluten). During ticket purchase, you will be prompted to tell us if anyone in your party is gluten intolerant, so we may offer a cookie substitution. You are welcome to bring along a cookie or treat of your own choosing if someone in your party has a special dietary need. Also, our hot—hot—hot! chocolate does contain milk. If any members of your party are lactose intolerant, please consider bringing a hot cocoa substitute of your choice.
Will I have to wear a mask?
Masks are currently suggested (but not required) for guests whenever indoors. However, COVID continues to be a concern in our community. Should masking or other precautions be mandated by local, state and/or federal authorities aboard trains or indoors, we’ll follow their guidance and email all ticketed guests right away.
Can my group sit together?
For Standard Class seating, you are welcome to purchase the number of individual tickets required for your party. So long as you have purchased your tickets together, we will seat your group together in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion. On the train ride portion of your journey, two-person seats are arranged facing each other, so your group will be kept adjacent but will break up into smaller groups. For First Class, so long as you have purchased your tickets together, we will seat your group together in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion. however, seating aboard the train ride portion of your experience is only available as tables of four. If your group size is larger, you may book multiple tables at the same performance time (subject to availability), and we’ll keep your group adjacent to each other while on board the train.
Why are you selling First Class tickets only in groups of four?
Our First Class Car aboard the train features individual tables seating up to four ticketed persons. These are sold only as a full table of four, although you are welcome to bring a smaller group size (leaving an empty chair or two if necessary). We are unable to adjust table size to accommodate more than four ticketed persons, as doing so would block the aisles and interfere with performances on-board the train. If you have an odd sized larger group, consider bringing along friends and extended family members to make the number work out to multiples of four!
Can I return my tickets for a refund?
No, we do not offer refunds. Tickets can be exchanged for a different day and time (if available) without need for an exchange fee, and with enough notice before the originally scheduled event. NOTE: Once the event is sold out, refunds are not available. Please consider transferring your tickets to friends or other family members—just contact us so we can update our ticketing records, please (see below).
Can I transfer my THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride tickets to a third party?
You may transfer your ticket block to a third party. However, we request that you immediately inform the Museum of the transfer, and provide the Museum with the name and email address of the new ticket owner. For First Class seating, you must transfer entire Tables of Four. Note: In the past, FAKE tickets have been sold to unsuspecting individuals, and these cannot be honored. Our tickets are all virtual, so there’s no “certificate” to be exchanged or sold. If you are purchasing such tickets, please contact us to ensure the seller actually purchased them in the first place.
What if THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is Canceled for Any Reason?
In the unlikely event that THE POLAR EXPRESS™ has to be canceled, including due to public health orders or other factors beyond the control of the event, we will endeavor to contact you and your tickets will be refunded.
THE EXPERIENCE ITSELF
Does THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride take place aboard a real train?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ experience here at the Colorado Railroad Museum is a multi-part experience. Starting in our newly-remodeled THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion with a pre-show, once the clock strikes YOUR boarding time the show shifts into full throttle! The “Hot Chocolate” song and dance is performed live, followed by a dramatic, theatrical re-telling of The Polar Express story. Next, you’ll move outdoors to await the awe-inspiring arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™, featuring vintage railroad coaches pulled by an authentic, coal-burning steam locomotive! Your train will head for the North Pole, where you’ll watch from on-board as Santa and his Elves present “the first gift of Christmas.” Once your train returns, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with Santa and pick up your very own Silver Bell.
How long is the train ride?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum is a multi-part experience that unfolds at several locations. The entire experience lasts approximately 2 hours. The experience begins in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion, with a dazzling pre-show featuring cabaret-style holiday music. You’ll then move into the Main Show filled with song and dance, featuring “Hot Chocolate” and a dramatic performance of The Polar Express story from the book. The next stop is trackside, where you’ll await the dramatic arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™. Climb aboard and you’ll be whisked off to the magical North Pole, with entertainers aboard the train bringing the story to life during the journey. Upon your train’s return from the North Pole, you’ll have the opportunity to visit with Santa in his own workshop!
Which side of the train has the “best” view?
The focus during the actual Train Ride part of your experience is on the performances taking place in the cars themselves! Characters from the movie will come alive inside your train car as you travel to the North Pole. Once the car has stopped at the North Pole, children will have the opportunity to stand and look out the window towards the North Pole for the best view.
Is there assigned seating aboard the train?
No. Standard Class seating is assigned by our staff after your purchase, in order to place different group sizes into appropriate seating arrangements in one of three coaches for maximum room and comfort. This is because the capacity of all three of our Standard Class coaches varies. First Class seating is determined during boarding, with preference given to anyone requiring a wheelchair or other assistive mobility device.
How can our large party sit together?
Parties wishing to be seated together should purchase seats together at the same time, for the same date and performance time. Don’t delay – once each specific performance time sells out, no additional tickets are available. For groups larger than 28, your group may be separated into two groups for seating aboard the train ride portion of your experience. If you have already purchased tickets separately for the same exact performance date and time, and would like to request being seated together, please contact Rob Kramer at (720) 274-5149.
Will I get to meet the Conductor of the train?
Yes, your conductor will call “All Aboard” when the train is ready to leave the station. He will also stop by to punch your ticket during the journey to the North Pole. There will be other storybook characters on board the train as well, so you won’t want to miss this exciting journey.
If I haven’t read the book or watched the movie, will I still have a good time?
We recommend that you take the time to watch the movie before you journey to the Museum for your THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride experience. Yes, you can read along or just listen as we dramatically re-enact the story of The Polar Express on its adventure to the North Pole. But if you have read the book or—better yet—watched the movie, you’ll feel as though you’ve just stepped into the memorable and timeless story of this magical train ride, with your child as a part of the cast.
Should my children dress in their pajamas?
In the story, all the children taking this magical train ride are awakened from their beds on Christmas Eve. Join the fun by bringing your children in their pajamas. Adults are also welcome to join the PJ party fun. *Note: It’s winter in Colorado! Guests will be outside as they wait for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ to arrive, so make sure to wear warm layers and appropriate footwear.
Where can I buy a copy of the movie or story book?
Both are pretty widely available! During THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event, please stop by the Museum’s Depot Store for books, videos, games, and other holiday gift ideas. Many items are also available from our online web store.
How long is the experience?
Each multi-part performance lasts about 2 hours, considering that most guests arrive early for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion pre-show, and many stay later to visit with Santa after the train ride to the North Pole. You’ll be glad you did!
Will my child get to meet Santa personally?
Santa will make an appearance at the North Pole, where he will give out “The First Gift of Christmas!” as everyone aboard the train watches. Once your train returns from the North Pole, Santa will be available for your party to visit with in-person and capture those special photos.
DAY-OF ARRIVAL AND TIMING
The time listed for your performance is when the show actually BEGINS. Please plan to arrive 30 to 45 minutes in advance of the listed showtime. A pre-show will begin 30 minutes prior to your listed showtime to entertain you as guests assemble! Please DO NOT arrive too early – we cannot accommodate guests prior to 1 hour before your listed performance showtime. Note: This arrival timing restriction is to ensure our check-in area is not overcrowded. If you do arrive early, we ask that you wait inside your car until 1 hour prior to your listed showtime.
Dress for Winter Weather
Be sure to wear comfortable, warm shoes! Pajamas are encouraged, of course, but please make sure to have jackets and protective outerwear available. You’ll be outside for 10-15 minutes to await the arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ after enjoying the cabaret-style show in THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion. NOTE: While our Polar Express Pavilion is heated with forced air heaters, windy, snowy or especially cold nights may mean that we cannot fully control environmental comfort levels. Train cars are individually heated but also subject to temperature variations during your ride to and from the North Pole.
Check-In Location near Pavilion
If you’ve attended THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Colorado Railroad Museum prior to 2020, you may have gotten used to checking in at the Depot Store. For 2023, Check-In is located immediately opposite the main driveway entry gate to the Museum’s parking lot. The Depot Store is the Event Exit only, to help ensure a one-way flow for all guests as part of our continuing comfort and safety measures.
Where is the Colorado Railroad Museum Located?
We are located at 17155 W. 44th Avenue, in Golden, CO 80403. From Denver, take I-70 east to CO Hwy 58. Take the McIntyre Avenue exit, turn right, then immediately turn left onto W. 44th Avenue. The museum is a little over a mile to the west, on the right-hand (north) side of W. 44th Avenue.
Is parking free for the event?
Yes, parking for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ 2021 is free. It’s available on-site at the Colorado Railroad Museum, 17155 W. 44th Avenue, Golden, CO 80403.
Are there restrooms aboard the train?
There are NO restrooms aboard the actual moving train. However, restrooms will be available before and during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Pavilion cabaret-style show, and prior to boarding of the train and after your return from the North Pole. Accessible restrooms are located near our Depot Store building.
Will the event be canceled because of weather conditions?
No. The Polar Express Train Ride is a seasonal winter event, and will operate in all weather conditions including rain or snow. Please dress appropriately—you’ll be outside a few minutes while waiting for the arrival of THE POLAR EXPRESS™. In case of inclement weather, please plan ahead and allow additional time to safely make your way to THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event.
Masks are currently suggested (but not required) for guests whenever indoors. This event has been set up to encourage a one-way flow for guest comfort. However, COVID continues to be a concern in our community. Should masking or other precautions be mandated by local, state and/or federal authorities aboard trains or indoors, we’ll follow their guidance and email all ticketed guests right away.