Polar Express a YES or a MESS?

Polar Express / Delaware River Railroad Excursions

99 Elizabeth Street Phillipsburg, New Jersey 08865

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Once again I asked my family and friends to put another family friendly attraction to the test. This time it was The Polar Express in, Phillipsburg, NJ (right across the bridge from Easton, PA).

The Setting:

When you arrive at the train you see each train car decorated with Christmas lights and trim. The train trip is loosely based off Polar Express the movie and book. They read the story over the loud speaker as they pass out cookies and hot coco (which is prefectly warm and not hot). The train then “picks up” Santa Clause. He makes his way down the train handing out bells to all the kids (movie reference). ¬†Next comes jugglers, more hot coco and a “hobo” playing the banjo (movie reference). Then Santa comes back and takes a pictures with all the kids. We did a group shot which turned out really cute.

The Reality:

“between you and me”

The group concensses on the trip was that we were glad that we did it but we probably would not do it again and here is why:

1. Solid 90 minute drive outside the city. Too far for what it is.

2. Shuttle bus: The main parking lot fills up quickly so most likley you have to park in the other lot and take a shuttle bus. Not a huge deal unless it is crowded or until the train ride is over and everyone is trying to get on the shuttle busses at the same time….then is when you and your cranky little ones are cursing the shuttle bus concept.

3. Pack Snacks: The snack car is located in the middle and basically has less than what a local high school football concession stand would have. It is also ALL junk food: oreos, popcorn, candy bars, fruit snacks, soda, etc. I packed a bag of pretzels, granola bars, water, and crackers. We ate it all.

4. The Santa was nice and a decent looking Santa…which we all know is important. However at one point they stopped the trip and we just sat on the track so that Santa could get to all the kids before the trip was over. We were stopped for at least 30 minutes which can be really tough for little ones. That needs to be planned much better. They could have have two Santas since the snack car was in the middle. They could have gotten away with that without the kids getting confused.

5. Age wise I think this was a really tough trip for the 2 and under crowd. You are allowed to walk up and down the train but overall there is just not enough going on to keep them entertained.

6. I thought the train cars were nolstalgic and my friend Kelley just thought they were on the old and on the beat up side. So again it is all in how you look at it.

7. Side note: The juggler seemed to think it was cool to say something widly inappropriate. My friend Jess said to her son “Look at those balls” when the juggler came by and the juggler followed that up with “Yeah and someone is juggling too.” Now I am a jokester but ahhhh really…he went there?


I love the people I went with. I loved that we made the best out of it and the trip is totally what you make it. As a city Mama do I think it was worth the $76 for 4 people + the long drive? NO. I can’t say this one needs to be on your list. If I lived 30 minutes away or less it would not have been a big deal. The kids did have fun. They were excited and there were only a few times that they got bored. Again I would say that you can skip this one. It just was not as neat or magical as we all wanted it to be.

Thank you to all my friends that made the trip with me! xoxox



  1. Hello,
    i just wanted to take a second to say I am sorry you didn’t enjoy your ride.
    We do have two Santas on the train, one on each side, and we never stopped.
    It may have seemed that way a we had to go very slow.
    Ill tell you what happened. Two families got in a fight with Santa in the middle.
    One poor little girl was caught in the middle and Santa had to spend his time keeping her from crying. I cant even imagine people could behave in such a way. I had to move one family to the opposite end of the train. it was an issue of respect, and existing with your fellow human being.
    I am sorry they knew nothing of the Christmas spirit.
    We are all volunteers that run the train, and to see such behavior makes us quite sad.
    Please come visit us in the spring, and ride behind the steam locomotive. Take your family to the ol’susquehanna mine, its allot of fun!

    1. Author

      Chris thank you so much for writing such a nice note to HH.com. I have posted your comment on the site and on HipsterHenry Facebook so everyone will see it!

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