How to Plan a Wintertime Polar Express Vacation in Arizona
image by Melissa Hincha-Ownby
Williams, Arizona is the home of the Grand Canyon Railway. Each year, beginning in November, the Grand Canyon Railway opens its Polar Express service. As travelers on the Polar Express make their way to the North Pole, they share in the story of "The Polar Express," a book written by Chris Van Allsburg. Hot cocoa, cookies and a surprise visit by Santa Claus await the mostly pajama-clad passengers. A trip on the Polar Express makes for a fun wintertime family vacation.
Visit the Grand Canyon Railway’s Polar Express webpage to determine this year’s availability dates. The Polar Express is usually active from the beginning of November through early January.
Choose your desired date and time; there are both weekend and weekday nights available. The train leaves each night at 6:00 p.m., but certain nights have a second train available. Trains that run on nights with two runs will have a second, 8:00 p.m. departure time.
Browse the Polar Express Package to see if it suits your vacation plans. The package includes your trip to the North Pole, a one-night stay at the adjacent Grand Canyon Railway Hotel and dinner and breakfast at the Railway Max & Thelma’s Restaurant.
Check for hotels in nearby Flagstaff, Arizona if there are no rooms available at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. Flagstaff is about a 30-minute drive from Williams along Interstate 40. The Flagstaff Convention & Visitors Bureau website has a comprehensive listing of hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts and cabin rentals in the Flagstaff area.
Call 1-800-THE-TRAIN to reserve your train ride. The Polar Express tickets sell out every year so it is important to make your reservations as early as possible in the year.