This time last year, I was booking tickets for our family to attend the Polar Express Event in North Conway, Nh. Getting tickets to this event isn’t exactly easy. They have strict deadlines and they are given out via a lottery system on the Polar Express website. The other alternative, instead of the lottery, is to book a package through a local participating resort or hotel. We live about 3 hours from North Conway New Hampshire so getting away for a weekend to North Conway is do-able by car. If you have young children, this is a MUST see event and personally, a great weekend getaway.
We booked a two night package through the Marriott Residence Inn in North Conway. The package included a two night stay in one of their studio suites with kitchenette, breakfast, pictures with Santa, afternoon of crafts and 5 polar express tickets. The hotel is very new, clean and nicely decorated. The rooms are beautiful and very spacious. As for the polar express tickets, we ended up purchasing the Dome Polar Express tickets. They are a little bit more money but well worth it if you can afford it. The dome is the top part of the train and it only seats about 30 people. It was really cool riding up that high on the train. The hotel makes all of the arrangements and pre-purchases the tickets.
The polar express train ride to the North Pole is amazing and they do a wonderful job mimicking the book and story. We ate dinner right in the center of North Conway (which is literally less then a 1/4 mile from the Marriott) and then walked across the street to the North Conway railroad station where the train departed for the North Pole promptly at 7pm.
The kids all wore their pajama’s.
The center of North Conway is loaded with fun restaurants all kids friendly and casual. We ate two times at Horsefeathers Restaurant. Once downstairs at the old fashioned ice cream parlor (they serve dinner also) and once upstairs at the “windows on Main Streeet”. By far, my favorite place to eat in North Conway.
This picture above was taken at Horsefeathers in the downstairs, Ice Cream Parlor portion of the restaurant. Very fun for the kids.
My son was obsessed with the red motorcycle behind him. His momma kinda was also :).
AFter dinner we walked across the street to the railroad station and boarded our train.
They served hot chocolate, cookies and gave each of the kids a warm fleece scarf.
This is the dome part of the train.
Once we arrived, we were greeted by Santa’s elves. Literally hundreds of them.
We walked a bit through a winding dirt pathway listening to the elves sing as we made our way to the North Pole.
Along the way we passed Santa’s workshop.
We we arrived at the North Pole after about a three minute walk. We all gathered in a fully decorated large dome where Santa arrived and read the book, The Polar Express.
Can I just tell you, this was an incredible magical experience. Truly one I will never forget.
As we boarded our train to head back to the railroad station, my son said, “mom, can Santa come home with us?” I said, he will be visiting us soon on Christmas Eve in a few short weeks.
The timing was perfect. We went two weeks before Christmas which made it even more special in my opinion. The Polar Express Event in North Conway is hands down, one of the best family events we have ever done. Besides the polar express, North Conway is loaded with high end outlet stores so you can shop til you drop, restaurants and of course, ski slopes. Trust me, you won’t be lacking for anything to do! We did this trip last year in 2012 and I just realized, now is the time to book if you want to take your little ones on a magical weekend (or during the week) Christmas event. I was not paid to write this post. I just really loved this trip and think you will as well. Don’t worry if you missed the deadline for the lottery tickets. Many of the hotels purchase the tickets in bulk over the summer and have them available if you book a nights stay at their hotel. Chances are, you will need a place to stay :).