Riding the Polar Express

Cape Cod Central Railroad's Christmas Excursion

The Polar Express movie was an animated head-spinning 3D journey through which the hero of the story, a doubting boy learns to believe again. While I would never want to go on a train that plummets down impossibly-steep declines, skitters across shattering ice lakes, and is inhabited by at least one ghost, I would love to take a mystical trip on an antique train to the North Pole to visit Santa Claus, especially if I could see the magic of Christmas with my two grandsons. The Cape Cod Central Railroad, for the Christmas season, has become the Polar Express, giving us the chance to ride the mystical train to Santa’s village.
The Cape Cod Central Railroad station in Buzzard’s bay was easy to find. I used the GPS, but I didn’t really need it; there’s just one main road in and out. The train station was decked out in lights, brightly and cheerily lit in recognition of the season. The station has a small gift shop Christmas ornaments and other keepsakes, but most importantly they had copies of the book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.
Each child, typically in pajamas, gets his own golden ticket that the conductor punches with a flourish, creating a shower of golden hole-punch confetti. With Diamond Class passes, our seats were up the tight staircase to the top level of the observation car. We had a comfortable booth for the four of us and the large windows gave us great views when we traveled to Santa’s Village.


Then off we went, the train pulling us across the Cape Cod canal toward Santa’s Village. Dancing chefs brought hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies in decorative Polar Express mugs that we were allowed to take home.


Then the children were gathered together to listen to a reading of The Polar Express. My grandsons are 5 and 7, so being read to is always special, but reading about a magical train going to Santa’s Village while at the same time being on a real train going to Santa’s Village made the trip magical.
Then we arrived at Santa’s Village, where Santa and his elves waved while the train slowed down to let them on. The story reading had just ended, so the children were all excited about the prospect of meeting Santa in person. The elves were just as energetic and musical as the chefs.
Santa visited with each of the children in turn. In the book, this is where the hero of the story gets the “first gift of Christamas”, a bell that can only be heard by those who truly believe. Each of the children got his own bell, which they all seemed to enjoy ringing all the way back to Buzzard’s Bay.
The elves led the children (and us adults) in singing Christmas carols. The more outgoing of the children (all girls in my case) joined the elves in dancing and clapping.

Brimming over with Christmas spirit, we arrived back to Buzzard’s Bay and from there the drive home to dream about Santa.

The Polar Express runs from mid-November to Christmas with multiple departure times. For exact dates, times, and availability, visit them online www.capetrain.com/polar-express-train-ride.com or call 888-797-7245.
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