Polar Express In NJ: A Magical Escape


Get ready to bring the beloved Christmas tale—The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg—to life where juggling chefs, holiday carols, and, of course, steaming cups of hot chocolate are all part of the magical journey when you go board the POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at the Delaware River Railroad Excursions in Phillipsburg, NJ. The sights and sounds of the popular film are all on this magical 90-minute trip to meet Santa, creating a memorable experience and holiday magic for the whole family. So put on those Christmas PJs (matching not required), and get on board the Polar Express in NJ—scroll down for what to expect on this timeless holiday event. (featured photo taken at the Polar Express Train Ride on the Delaware River Excursions).

The Polar Express out

The platform is bustling at The Polar Express. Photo taken at the Polar Express Train Ride on the Delaware River Excursions

Feel the holiday energy

The Christmas energy starts from the moment you arrive. The entrance to the ticket area and train is decked out with big rainbow lights, a massive inflatable tree, and presents decorating the pathway. It’s easy to have your anticipation grow as you walk by everyone dressed in their holiday PJs making their way to the train.

The Polar Express top

Views from the top of the train are festive as you find your way to your seat. Photo taken at the Polar Express Train Ride on the Delaware River Excursions

All aboard

As you walk onto the Polar Express train car and settle into your seat, the excitement builds as car hosts work their way through the train, punching each passenger’s golden ticket. Then, the real fun begins—dancing chefs come out to serve hot chocolate and delicious cookies. Once everyone is served, the timeless tale The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is read aloud, and after, you can enjoy all the music of the Polar Express movie during the train ride to keep the Christmas spirit flowing. 

The Polar Express juggler keeps the crowd entertained. Photo taken at the Polar Express Train Ride on the Delaware River Excursions

Stealing the show

Special touches throughout the 90-minute ride make the Polar Express experience one your kids will remember forever. “Santa’s” elf at the beginning of the train ride checks to see who has been naughty or nice—make sure you get an elf selfie before he leaves. The elf is full of jokes to entertain kids and adults, a warm-up before the juggling chefs appear. They steal the show as they stop by each group to juggle and engage with the riders, feeling exactly as it appears in the movie. But the best part for everyone is when Santa appears and fills the train car with delight as he and his helpers greet passengers. Each guest is given an iconic souvenir highlighted in the book and film – a silver bell from Santa’s sleigh with a velvet ribbon to remind everyone of the true spirit of Christmas.

The Polar Express food

Food is available for purchase near the train. Photo taken at the Polar Express Train Ride on the Delaware River Excursions

What to know before you go

Before and after the train ride, you can enjoy the mini-festival at the platform. A food truck serves hot dogs, french fries, and festival specialties, and there is a tented picnic area to eat in. Inside the tent, you can admire decorated trees and other light decorations. Once you enter the train, there is open seating. Hot chocolate and cookies are served during the train ride. The Polar Express runs for select dates; the remaining dates are December 15,16 and 17, 2023. The train rides run on Fridays at 6 PM and 8 PM, Saturdays at 2 PM, 4 PM, 6 PM, and 8 PM, and Sundays at 2 PM, 4 PM, and 6 PM. The experience is $38 per child and $48 per adult. NJ MOM tip: If you miss the train ride this year, it is recommended that you buy your tickets as early as July 2024 next year.

For more information, visit The Polar Express Train Ride with Delaware River Railroad Excursions websiteFacebook, and Instagram.

The Polar Express Train Ride – Delaware River Railroad Excursions
38 Market Street
Phillipsburg, NJ 08865
(877) 872-4674

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.