On Nov. 29 I took my Hail, Raph, Amber, and Brooklyn to ride the Polar Express train at Mt. Hood Railroad. For the price of the tickets, it wasn't really that fantastic. It was overall a fun experience but not something that I would repeat.
The train ride itself was very short. A total of 45 minutes from start to finish, the train went straight forward then backed up to the depot. The dancing chefs in the movie all seemed to be wisened old cooks singing, dancing, and serving up some creamy, delicious hot chocolate, instead they were mostly teenagers in stained uniforms. The hot chocolate that was served to guests was lukewarm and far from creamy as it was made with water.
The train was decorated nicely and smelled of Christmas with its fresh garlands, bells, red velvet bows and lights. The lights inside were rather bright, however, so it was nearly impossible to see outside when we pulled up to the "North Pole" where the toy factory, Santa's house, and the caribou supposedly were. Hobo Jo, the hobo that lives on top of the Polar express was funny and engaging with the kids attempting to get them to trade him cookies for odds and ends that a vagabond would have.
The souvenir station wasn't that expensive overall. I purchased my son a color book with the Polar Express for $1 and a giant coffee mug that holds 1/3 of the pot in each cup for only $10. It's the best coffee mug any caffeine needing parent can have.
Overall, the experience was fun, but not something that I would pay to do again. The price of the tickets were not worth a two hour drive to sit on a train for a 45 minutes.