What to expect

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride, presented by Countertop Solutions, returns for its 27th year at Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (CVSR) from November 6 – December 20.

The ride is based on the classic book by Chris Van Allsburg and the run-away hit movie about a doubting boy who boards a magical train ride on Christmas Eve. The train takes him to the North Pole, where the boy meets Santa and receives a special gift. This heart-warming story reminds both children and children at heart to believe in the magic of Christmas. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ excursion recreates this enchanting experience and has become a family tradition for residents of Northeast Ohio and beyond.

Please be aware that due to Covid-19, THE POLAR EXPRESS™ will be conducted in a way that safeguards the health and safety of our passengers, volunteers, and staff.

Changes to the program include:

  • Tickets can only be purchased in groups of four or six (table cars offer groups of six with limited
  • Masks that cover the nose and mouth will be required while boarding the train and for the entirety of the ride for passengers 2 years and older unless a guest is consuming snacks or beverages while in their assigned seat.
  • Seating capacity on all train cars will be at no more than 50%. Carefully considered staggered seating arrangements have been made so groups are at least 6’ a part. If staggered seating arrangement are not feasible then a plastic barrier has been placed between group seating.
  • Temperatures for all passengers will be checked prior to boarding.
  • Throughout the train ride, there will be regular sanitizing of highly trafficked surfaces. We ask that you allow our team members to sanitize. We have taken great strides to ensure there will be of minimal disruption during the program. Hand sanitizer will be available to passengers at the north and south end of each train car.
  • There will NOT be a Café car. Therefore, concessions and souvenirs will not be sold. You may bring factory-sealed, prepackaged snacks and drinks. We ask that you consume all food in the first half of the program and prior to our arrival at the North Pole. We will ask that guests put away any remaining food at this time and their masks are to be worn for the duration of the trip. Personal water bottles are allowed on the train. Alcoholic beverages and fast food will not be permitted on the train. 
  • Once you have boarded the train, please remain in your assigned seats. When onboard, please ask to be directed to your designated restroom.
  • At your seats, there will be a bag with all your supplies for your journey to the North Pole including THE POLAR EXPRESS™ bell, songbooks, bottled water, cookies, and other items.
  • Hot chocolate will not be served this year. Packets of hot chocolate will be included in your bag. We hope you will share the magic of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ when you get back home by enjoying a cup of hot chocolate.
  • The first page of the songbook contains an itinerary for the evening and will indicate when items from the bag will be used during the trip. Please help us keep the magic alive and follow the timeline with us.
  • Even with physical distanced seating, all families will be able to safely see the North Pole out of the train windows.
  • When Santa makes an appearance, he will be wearing a mask. Please help your children understand and keep them one reindeer length away from him. Pictures with the children will be one reindeer length away to keep Santa and you safe.

Thank you for your understanding as we all work together to make sure THE POLAR EXPRESS™ train ride is as magical and safe as possible!

Give the gift of an experience! Gift cards to Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are perfect for any occasion. Purchase a gift card!