The kids will love seeing Santa and his elves

By Patti Pietschmann, Travel Diva

Family fun on the Polar Express

We know. You really want to be abroad or on a cruise for the holidays. Alas, it’s not possible right now. But we have a next best idea.  How about hoping on the Polar Express with the family.

Santa and his little helpers are heading to the North Pole via the  Grand Canyon Railway. It’s the 20th season of Polar Express. And it is selling out fast. That’s because everyone wants  to celebrate Christmas and all things Santa.

The train is going through extra sanitizing protocols, too. Mask and distancing are mandatory. And you can cancel seven days before departure.

The Polar Express schedule runs on select dates from Friday, November 6 through January 3.  It leaves from  the Railway’s historic depot in Williams, Arizona, to the North Pole at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Polar Express reservations can be made by calling 1-888-848-3511 (7a-7p MST) or by visiting You can also chat with a Pavlus Travel advisor about other options. Call 800-528-9300.

90 minutes of family fun

The 90-minute holiday experience delights both the young and the young at heart. It’s like a page from Chris Van Allsburg’s classic children’s book. Hot chocolate and chocolate-chip cookies are served. And so is  a glimpse of Santa Claus himself. Music and laughter (masks on) fills the train, making the journey to the North Pole an eagerly awaited yearly tradition.

Pavlus Travel holiday guide

The cookie monster’s chocolate chip cookies

Tickets are available Sunday through Thursday for $47 (adults) and $33 (children); Friday and Saturday for $59 (adults) and $47 (children); and The Christmas Eve Limited for $85 (adults) and $59 (children).

The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel also offers the POLAR EXPRESS™ Package. This includes  overnight accommodations as well as POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride tickets and breakfast and dinner at the Fred Harvey Restaurant.

Charter your own train for friends and family

The Ultimate Polar Express Experience  allows you to charter your own private train to the North Pole! Ride in the exclusive, first-class historic train cars. Think of  your a living room on the rails. Ride the train with your family and friends to the North Pole and we’ll bring the classic book and movie to life. The magical ride from Williams features the Conductor personally reading the story at a distance to all the children. Plus, your own private chef will present treats like cookies and hot cocoa. Parents can enjoy refreshments from a private bar. Then, Santa Claus will visit the train. Each child receives the signature Polar Express bell.

Social distancing and masks are required throughout the entire experience. Visit for full details and information on the train, the experience, and health and safety protocols.

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