Frequently Asked Questions:
How much time should I plan for the full POLAR EXPRESS™ experience?
To get the full experience, we recommend allowing 2 1/2 hours. The round trip train time to the North Pole and back is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. HOWEVER, you'll want to be at the Durango depot at least 30 minutes before actual departure time in order to experience the performance that occurs as the train STEAMS in to the station! Final boarding is 10 minutes before departure. After the train returns to Durango and drops you off at the D&S Museum, you'll want to visit with Santa's LIVE reindeer and walk through the Museum that is beautifully decorated in Christmas theme. In the Museum, kids and families can visit with Santa, have a chance to talk to Santa one-on-one, and have their professional photograph taken by Sharpshooters (purchase optional).
Is there a Concession Car on THE POLAR EXPRESS™? Our Concession Car is converted to the Hot Chocolate Factory during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ and is not open to the public. However, during the trip to the North Pole, we serve hot chocolate and a treat to everyone. You are welcome to bring your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages if you need something more during the one hour+ round trip.
Can I purchase alcohol during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event? This is a family-friendly, kid-focused, alcohol-free event. We will not offer any alcoholic beverages and passengers are not allowed to bring their own alcohol on board the train.
Are there restrooms on the train? Yes. Restrooms in most coaches will be available and you may go to the adjacent coach if yours does not have an operating restroom. There are family-size portable restrooms next to the D&S Museum when you arrive back in Durango.
How soon should I book my tickets? For best seating we recommend you book your seats as soon as you are able to finalize your date. Certain departure times and certain cars book quickly! If you are in town during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ and HAVEN'T made a reservation, please check to see what we have available. We often have seats available even on same day!
What choices do I have when choosing what car I want to ride? We have Standard, Deluxe and Premium-class seating to choose from every night. All cars are heated. ALL passengers receive hot chocolate and a treat and have a personal chef in your car. ALL children receive a bell from Santa. ALL cars are decorated for Christmas.
Standard-class: Seating: Forward-facing; two people per seat; up to 40 passengers in each car.
Deluxe-class: Seating: 'Flip-over' seating enables parties to face each other. Upgraded amenities include your own take-home souvenir ceramic THE POLAR EXPRESS™ mug.
Premium First-class: Seating: Table and chair seating in historic, first-class style as the whole family enjoys the upgraded amenities including your own take-home souvenir ceramic THE POLAR EXPRESS™ mug. Special 'theme' Christmas decor!
Is the D&SNG wheelchair-accessible car available on THE POLAR EXPRESS™? Yes, our wheelchair-friendly coach has a hydraulic lift to load a passenger in their wheelchair into the coach to ride right along with family and friends. It also features an ADA restroom.
How should we dress? As in the story, we encourage everyone to wear their pajamas on this special journey, but be sure your pockets don't have any holes! Layer your clothing so that you'll be warm outside while waiting for the train and be able to shed a coat while riding inside the train car and visiting Santa in the Museum after the train ride! Snow boots are recommended.
Where can I park my car? If you need downtown parking, it is available in the D&SNGRR Parking Lot on College Drive (next to McDonald's) for $4.00 per vehicle. There is also public parking and City of Durango transit.
What time should I arrive at the station? We recommend being at the station at least 1/2 hour before your departure time. Don't miss the pre-boarding show!
What happens before we board THE POLAR EXPRESS™? Pick up your tickets at anytime before your departure but remember that the depot will be very busy during THE POLAR EXPRESS™ evenings! Be sure to arrive at least 1/2 hr before the scheduled departure time to see the pre-boarding performance and the 'grand entrance' of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train (be sure to watch for the hobo in the box car!)
What happens during our ride to the North Pole? Enjoy hot chocolate and a treat served by your personal chefs. You can bring your own THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book to read along as the chefs walk through the car showing everyone the pictures in their book. (You may be able to get it signed by an elf or your chefs!) Gift-wrapped books are available at the Durango Depot ticket office and gift shops for purchase. Chefs will let you know when we are getting close to the North Pole!
What happens at the North Pole? Enjoy the thousands of lights and see Santa and his elves. See the North Pole town in the distance and the little shops. Wave to Santa as you pass. The train will stop and Santa and his elf will board your train!
What happens on the return trip? While Santa visits each car, your chefs will lead you in specially selected Christmas carols on the return to Durango. Santa will get to visit YOUR car and all the kids aboard the train will receive a special gift from Santa! When you return to the station, be sure to say hello to the live reindeer before going into the Museum! The Museum is decorated beautifully for the Christmas season and you can spend time there to enjoy all the exhibits. Santa will meet you there so that you can sit on his lap and tell him what you'd like for Christmas and get a professional photo taken for optional purchase and online viewing.
What if I need to cancel my trip? We understand that it is often hard to predict if circumstances will change and we are offering a FULL REFUND if you need to cancel your trip MORE THAN 60 DAYS before trip date. However, if you cancel LESS THAN 60 DAYS before your trip date, no refund will be given.
What if I need to change my trip? If change is requested MORE THAN 60 DAYS before trip date, the fee is waived. If request is made LESS THAN 60 DAYS from trip date, we will apply a $6 per seat service/change fee. If you UPGRADE to a more expensive car or trip date, the fee will be waived!
Are the roads safe to travel in winter? Need to know current road conditions in Colorado? Click here: http://www.cotrip.org/roadConditions.htm
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Based on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book and characters ™ & © 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
All rights reserved. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ and all related characters and elements are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.