Stories from the Smokies

By the time this holiday season ends, more than 90,000 Bryson City visitors will have ridden The Polar Express, the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad ‘s seasonal attraction that brings the classic children’s story to life.

The Polar Express experience begins as soon as visitors arrive at the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad Depot. Guests are now treated to a sound and light theatrical presentation never before experienced on the Polar Express in Bryson City. There is a spectacular synchronized light show to a familiar Christmas song that guests will enjoy while waiting for the train. All 18 train cars have white rope lighting around the exterior edges and light up the landscape as the train travels to pick up Santa at the North Pole Village, which is illuminated by 62,000 colorful lights.

Character interactions have been expanded throughout the train ride including hobo, show conductors, chefs, waiters, dancing elves and Hero Boy. This is a high-energy experience with games, songs, dancing, storytelling and interaction with each guest. Talented local students at Swain County High School and Western Carolina University filled these roles.

With the addition of a new first class car, The Michigan, the train now has seven luxury cars for Polar Express. A new amenity for all first class riders this year is a 100% Chocolate Train Sucker handmade at the Heavenly Fudge Depot in Bryson City.

What’s it like to ride The Polar Express? Watch this video…