Polar Express | Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel

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  • 2020 Polar Express

    The childhood Christmas classic comes to life at the Grand Canyon Railway

  • The Ultimate Polar Express Experience

    Experience The Ultimate Polar Express Experience aboard your own private charter train to the North Pole!

    Learn More
  • Hotel Packages Available

    Fully embrace the holiday spirit with an overnight stay in our winter wonderland in addition to your trip to the North Pole.

  • Now Fully Refundable

    Due to the uniqueness of 2020, cancellations for Polar Express train only or Polar Express packages are fully refundable.

    Reservation Policies

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Polar Express

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All Aboard to the North Pole!

Every winter the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express comes to life on a journey from the nighttime wilderness of Williams, Arizona, to the enchanted beauty of “the North Pole”—where Santa Claus and his reindeer are waiting with a keepsake present for every good boy and girl. You’ll be smiling from ear to ear, as you watch children’s faces light up when the train arrives, and enjoy hot chocolate and chocolate chip cookies while listening to this timeless story.

Make this a family holiday tradition, and call today to make your reservations (because space is limited to those who truly believe in the spirit of Christmas). The ride lasts a little over an hour, with the train leaving each night at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

TOTAL ROUND-TRIP TIME: Approximately 90 minutes.

Polar Express - REVISED

2020 Polar Express Train Rates
DaysAdult Ticket Price (Ages 16+)
Price does not include taxes and fees
Child Ticket Price (Ages 2-15)
Price does not include taxes and fees
Sunday-Thursday$47$33
Friday-Saturday$59$47
The Christmas Eve Limited$85$59

The Polar Express Train Ride

Here is a very special chance for you and the entire family to experience the magic of The Polar Express™, the classic children’s book by Chris Van Allsburg.

The Polar Express Package

A true Polar Express adventure including tickets to the North Pole, accommodations at the Railway Hotel, and meals for everyone! There’s no better way to bundle and save, with pricing starting at less than $90 per passenger (based upon 2 adults and 2 children). The package features:

  • Overnight stay for 1-night in a hotel room or suite – save 10%
  • One dinner in the Fred Harvey Restaurant per person – save 10%
  • One breakfast in the Fred Harvey Restaurant per person – save 10%
  • Roundtrip tickets for the Polar Express train
  • Memories to last a lifetime

What to Expect for 2020 Polar Departures

Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, certain precautions are being put in place in the interest of public health. Some, but not all, of these precautions are listed below and in the FAQ section.

Polar Express 9

Masks Required By All

Everyone, including Santa, will be required to wear a face covering when on property/train (children under 2 will not).

Health & Safety
Polar Express - REVISED 6

Socially Distanced Seating

The Polar Express will be operating at 30% capacity to help encourage social distancing. Please remain in your assigned seat at all times.

Polar Express - REVISED 7

Santa Will Still Stop By!

Santa will still be on the train! Santa will still pass out bells, but will be wearing a face covering while doing so.

Frequently Asked Questions

Williams is located about 30 miles west of Flagstaff along Interstate 40. If you’re coming from Phoenix, take I-17 north to Flagstaff. As you get close to the city you can take I-40 west to Williams. Look for Exit 163, exit and go south on Grand Canyon Blvd about a 1/2 mile. The property will be on the west side of the street. From Phoenix, the trip is about 2 and a half hours, but could take a little longer depending on weather conditions.To learn about current driving conditions, visit ADOT’s website with up-to-date conditions. If the roads are closed near Flagstaff, consider taking I-17 north and exit at Cherry Road on Highway 169 toward Prescott, which will eventually merge with Highway 69. Drive through Prescott and look for Highway 89 going north through Chino Valley. You’ll end up on I-40, just west of Williams. Simply make a right on I-40 and travel about 19 miles until you see Exit 163.

Will call train tickets will be distributed from two train cars on the East Platform behind the Fred Harvey Restaurant. Ticket Help Desk will be serviced from the exterior ticket window on the platform (not inside the depot).The guest who was responsible for payment will need to present a photo I.D. to receive train tickets.

Due to occupancy limits there will be limited access to all buildings including the Depot, Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, and Fred Harvey Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to dress warm and enjoy the outdoor Christmas Lights and Polar Express Movie showing outdoors. Extra porta-potties will be on site since indoor access will be limited. Parking is capped so that a maximum of 900 people are on property.

Train Only Guests

We recommend arriving at least one hour before departure. This should provide enough time to pick up tickets at will-call and be ready to board The Polar Express. The train will begin boarding 15 minutes before departure. You can certainly pick up your tickets earlier. Tickets will be available at noon (12:00 PM) on the day of your departure.

Polar Family Package Guests

The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel is conveniently located adjacent to the Williams Depot. You can begin checking in at the hotel at 3:00 p.m. Only one guests should enter the lobby for Hotel check in due to occupancy limits. Upon check in you will be issued both your train and meal tickets. Dinner and breakfast at The Fred Harvey Restaurant, also located next to the hotel, is included in your package. If you’re on the 5:30 p.m. departure, we recommend arriving to Williams around 4:00 so you can check-in, pick up your train tickets and have plenty of time for dinner. Restaurant seating will be at 50% capacity. Seating waits may be expected in both Spenser’s Pub and the Fred Harvey Restaurant. Fred Harvey Restaurant guests will be served attendant plated meals. There is no self-service due to COVID-19 precautions.

The passenger cars have luggage racks near the ceiling so feel free to bring coats, diaper bags, camera bags, backpacks and anything else you need. Even though the cars have luggage racks, we recommend only bringing what you really need on the train. Strollers can be parked outside the depot. There is a limited amount of space in the vestibules (between the cars) on the train, but we recommend parking strollers by the depot as there are plenty of covered areas. Also, all families are encouraged to bring their own copy of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg to read along to the story during the journey. Brand new copies are available for purchase at the Depot and Fred Harvey Restaurant Gift Shops.

Seats on board The Polar Express are bench-style, with two passengers per bench. Booking seats in even numbers is strongly recommended. If your family is traveling with another family on a separate reservation and would like to be seated together, please contact Central Reservations at 1-888-848-3511. While we do our very best to honor all seating requests on board The Polar Express, we cannot always guarantee them. Seating has been reduced to 30% capacity to encourage social distancing. Please remain in your assigned seat during your ride.

Other activities at Grand Canyon Railway include pictures with Santa in the Polar Room. Also, have your kids stand on the patented Naughty or Nice Meter™ to see if they might be expecting a lump of coal in their stockings! In between the Depot and Railway Hotel, enjoy the always entertaining Light-O-Rama, a holiday lights spectacular synchronized to your favorite Christmas tunes.

During Polar Express, the restaurant will be open for dinner from 3:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. Breakfast will be open at 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Restaurant seating will be at 50% capacity. Seating waits may be expected in both Spenser’s Pub and the Fred Harvey Restaurant. Fred Harvey Restaurant guests will be served attendant plated meals. There is no self-service due to COVID-19 precautions. No alcoholic beverages are permitted aboard The Polar Express. Adult beverages are available at The Fred Harvey Restaurant and inside the hotel at Spenser’s Pub.

Parking is free and is available around the hotel and depot complex. There is a parking lot east of Grand Canyon Blvd. as you enter the Railway’s complex as well as parking west of the hotel. You may want to budget a few minutes extra to find parking as parking is capped so that a maximum of 900 people are on property.

Due to the age of the equipment not all rail cars are ADA accessible. Please contact our Central Reservations Department for arrangements at least 7 days prior to arrive so we may make arrangements for your family.

Arizona is always in Mountain Standard Time.

Due to occupancy limits there will be limited access to all buildings including the Depot, Hotel and Restaurant. Guests are encouraged to dress warm and enjoy the outdoor Christmas Lights and Polar Express Movie showing outdoors.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed onboard the Polar Express

No; however if guests would like to bring their own special items they may. All cookies are individually wrapped and the hot cocoa is served in disposable cups.

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Cancellation Policy for 2020 Polar Express Reservations ONLY

For 2020 ONLY (valid 11/6/20 to 1/3/21), cancellations for Polar Express train only or Polar Express packages are fully refundable, provided you cancel the reservation and obtain a cancellation number at least 7 days prior to the date of travel. Cancellations made less than 7 days prior to the date of travel will be non-refundable, and your payment will be forfeited. Reservations booked within 7 days of travel are immediately non-refundable.

For a full list of our Polar Express Reservation Policies, please click here.

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