All Aboard: Our Trip to the North Pole

11 12 2010

So y’all know I’ve never done a review (translation: nobody has ever asked me), and I’ve often wondered what my price would  be. Would I say yes to the first offer? Or would it need to be something truly special?

You’ll be pleased to know we have an answer: train tickets. That’s right. When I received an e-mail offering a complimentary ride on the Heber Valley Railroad’s North Pole Express, I nearly peed myself. I don’t think there’s a way to adequately portray just how train-obsessed Little G is at this point in his 2-year-old life. Just know that riding a train is pretty much nirvana.

I was a little concerned we might not be able to go, what with the plague hitting our house and all, but I needn’t have worried. Monday night Big G was up until 2 am vomiting, and Tuesday morning he woke up at 5:30 asking, “Are we going on the train today?” Car left work early and we headed up the canyon. Little G treated us to a continual chorus of “CHOO CHOO!” for the entire 45 minute drive, so we were pretty relieved when we arrived at the train station.

We met up with Grandma and Grandpa (I may have finagled tickets for them as well. Ahem. We all know the ideal adult-to-child ratio in chaotic situations is two adults to every child.) and boarded the train.

Did I mention Little G was a bit excited?

The atmosphere on the train was very festive—decorations, music, and a passel of energetic kids—and we were soon on our way. Our emcee made a half-hearted effort to get people involved in jokes and singing. I’d have to say that’s one of my small complaints—she didn’t seem particularly involved or concerned in the entertainment aspect of the train, and when the ride is an hour and a half, that’s a whole lot of time to kill if you don’t have a very enthusiastic person at the helm. But the kids didn’t much mind.

Notice most of my pictures are of Little G? Big G was busy bouncing off the walls and shushing other people.

Cute little elves served chocolate cookies and scalding-hot chocolate. That would be caution number two: do not let your children drink the hot chocolate until a period of approximately twenty minutes has passed. It’s that hot. I ended up throwing ours away because really, holding two cups of dangerously hot cocoa while children scurry about is not my idea of a good time.

Still, we weren’t on the train for the hot chocolate. We were headed to…The North Pole. The train finally stopped to pick up an extra-special visitor. It actually stops for a little while, as they need to hook the engine to the other end of the train to head back to the station. I started to feel a little claustrophobic, because it was a bit warm and there were a lot of very noisy kids and we were trapped on the train…but that’s just me. I have issues, as all of you very well know. Everybody else was just excited Santa was on the train.

Oh, did I not mention that? Yeah. The special visitor was Santa. Duh.

Little G wasn't quite sure what to make of Santa... he checked with Grandpa.

And all the kids received little souvenir tops from Santa, which I like much better than the usual sticky-finger-inducing candy canes!

I don't know why my kids can't take a normal picture with Santa.

The next day I asked Big G what he thought of the train ride. His answer: “When can we go again?” I tried again, thinking I could do this brilliant review in “interview-the-preschooler” style. “What was your favorite part?” I asked. He said, “Can we go tomorrow?” I finally gave up. I think we can safely say the North Pole Express was a huge success with my boys.

Do you want to take your kids on the North Pole express? Great news! The Heber Valley Railroad has generously offered a discount to my lovely blog readers! You can get $5 off coach tickets on December 14, 15 and 16. Just call the train directly at 435-654-5601 and ask for the “Utah Blogger” discount. Be sure to mention my blog name. If you don’t know what that is, you make me sad.


Heber Valley Railroad’s “North Pole Express” is a magical journey Utah families will treasure this holiday season. As a new twist on an old tradition, the North Pole Express will feature a live reading of “The Night Before Christmas,” a classic holiday favorite that will come to life as families enjoy a festive ride to the North Pole.


Guests aboard the North Pole Express will enjoy singing carols, sipping hot chocolate and eating cookies while reading along or listening to the “The Night Before Christmas.” Children are encouraged to wear their pajamas for the ride. Upon arrival at the North Pole, Santa and his sleigh will greet the children and give each child a special Christmas gift.


Tickets are now on sale for this popular holiday train, which is a long-standing tradition for thousands of Utah families. First class service is available most weekends during the North Pole Express schedule. Due to the high demand for tickets, the Heber Valley Railroad is offering two matinee excursions on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 23-24, 2010.


The North Pole Express will depart every Monday through Saturday through December 24, 2010.


Nightly Excursions

  • Depart 5 p.m.; return 6:30 p.m.
  • Depart 7:30 p.m.; return 9 p.m.


Matinee Excursions (December 23-24 only)

  • Depart 2 p.m.; return 3:30 p.m.


Schedule and Fares

Family Night: December 1, 2, 6, 13

  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)


Coach: December 3, 4, 7-11, 14-18, 20-23

  • $32 adult, $29 senior (ages 60 and above), $21 child (ages 3-12)


First Class: December 3, 4, 10, 11, 17, 18, 20-23

  • $47 adult, $44 senior (ages 60 and above), $36 child (ages 3-12)


Matinee: December 23, 24

  • $29 adult, $26 senior (ages 60 and above), $18 child (ages 3-12)


Tickets can be purchased by calling SmithsTix at 800-888-TIXX, by calling the railroad at 435-654-5601, online at, or at the Heber Valley Depot, 450 South 600 West, Heber City. For more information and directions, contact the Heber Valley Railroad at 435-654-5601 or visit




5 responses

12 12 2010

AWW Little G looks in heaven. so cute!!

12 12 2010

So I must first say, I LOVE Big G’s super GQ pose. Totally cracks me up.
Then I will follow with…
HOLY CRAP they want HOW MUCH to ride on a train!!! Even with $5.00 off…
It’s a conspiricy I tell you!! They make these movies like “The Polar Express” and get our kids all excited about trains…and then charge us through the nose…
Oh, Yeah Merry Christmas! Glad you are feeling better!

11 12 2010

What about the Grinch that took away the jingle bells and programs. That’s sad.

11 12 2010

Since I’m part of the Grammar Police, I’ll point out that my first sentence should have ended with a question mark.

11 12 2010
Debbie Cranberryfries

Great review. So funny that we were sitting like three benches away. 🙂

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