Join Us for a Magical Trip!

What to Expect

Set to the sounds of the motion picture soundtrack, passengers will relive the magic of the classic story as they are whisked away on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ for a magical one-hour trip to meet Santa. Once on board, your hosts will work their way through the car and punch your golden ticket before hot chocolate and a delicious cookie are served by dancing chefs. Passengers then read along with the classic children’s book, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg.

Santa and his elves board the train to greet passengers with the first gift of Christmas. During the trip, characters on each car lead passengers in an immersive onboard experience – just like in the film! In addition to the wonderful memories made on this magical trip, each guest will take home a keepsake sleigh bell and souvenir golden ticket.

Passengers are required to arrive approximately one hour before their listed departure time and check in at the event area in the Great Hall. Further event information is available in Frequently Asked Questions.


Each coach on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at Chicago Union Station offers the same class of service. In order to offer the best experience for all guests, seating is assigned on board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. You will select your own seats during the online checkout process as you would on an airline. Please review seating charts carefully. The onboard presentation is designed to accommodate all seat directions and all passengers enjoy the same quality experience. If you are a returning guest, please review seating charts carefully as the seating arrangement has changed. Coaches featuring a 3 x 2 seating configuration are being utilized this season to offer a better theatrical experience and more options for parties with odd numbers. Please visit Frequently Asked Questions for more information on these cars.


Did you have a great time on board? See where else the train can take you. Consider Amtrak for your future travel needs.