Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

The Polar Express FAQ

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride will follow all local, state, and federal health orders for preventing COVID-19 spread. Per CDC and TSA directives, Rail Events Productions Inc. and THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride will require face coverings to be worn by everyone age two and older while on the train and in indoor public spaces. This requirement is due to our event operating on trains classified as transportation conveyances by the TSA.

Approved face coverings must be worn for the entirety of the train ride except when guests are actively eating or drinking. Prolonged periods of face covering removal are not permitted for eating or drinking and outside food and drink are prohibited on the train. Should guidance or regulations change, we will provide updates regarding additional directives. Please see the following FAQ for more information on approved face coverings.

Rail Events Productions employees and actors on board the train are also required to wear masks and are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

If you have already purchased tickets and cannot (or will not) wear a face covering we will issue you a rain check toward our 2022 season or a full refund at your request. These requests must be made no later than Oct. 1 to process your rain check or refund.

A very narrow subset of passengers with qualifying disabilities who cannot wear a face covering may apply for an exemption if they provide a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure. Individuals for whom wearing a face covering may only be difficult are not eligible to request a face covering exemption. Click HERE to download the exemption request form and instructions. 

We appreciate your understanding as we navigate changing requirements amid COVID-19. We are dedicated to hosting a safe event and will continue to provide updates as soon as they are available.

In order to enter our indoor spaces and board the train your face coverings must:

  • Be made of at least 2 layers of breathable material
  • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow you to remain hands-free

 

The following are NOT approved face coverings:

  • Neck gaiters and open-chin, triangle bandanas
  • Face coverings containing valves, mesh material, or holes of any kind
  • Clear plastic face shields

After missing our beloved guests in 2020, we are thrilled to return to Whippany, NJ for another magical season on board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride! Please see the notes below for some important updates on the 2021 season:

  • Health Measures: THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride will follow all local, state, and federal health orders for the prevention of COVID-19. Face coverings will be required for everyone age two and older due to our operation on trains classified as transportation conveyances by the CDC and TSA.
  • Updated Show Content: Our creative team spent the year off refreshing the show to keep our return riders tickled with fun new content. It’s still THE POLAR EXPRESS™ experience we all love – just with a fresh new script and surprises for 2021.
  • Enhanced Coach Seating: Seating in Coach Class has been adjusted so all seats face the performance area in the center of the car. This theatre-in-the-round style arrangement will give all passengers the best possible view of our wonderful entertainers. Seating in First Class remains unchanged and all seats face the same direction in those cars.
  • Onboard Treat: Walkers Shortbread is the Official Onboard Treat of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Whippany, NJ. Learn more about Walkers in the FAQ below or at us.walkersshortbread.com.
  • New Parking Lot: We have secured a new parking lot located at 9 Troy Hills Rd located directly adjacent to the old lot which has now been developed. The new lot is still a short walk from the station and boarding area. Please see the FAQ below for more information on parking.

Walkers Shortbread

It was over one hundred twenty-three years ago that the Walker family started baking shortbread in the Speyside village of Aberlour, where they remain to this day.

Joseph Walker founded the company when he opened his village bakery in 1898; now it is his grandchildren and great-grandchildren that continue the tradition of fine baking that he started. In fact, the founder’s personal guarantee is still marked on every pack to confirm that Walkers’ products are made with only the best ingredients obtainable. Though the Walker family have added many new products to their range during the last century, each and every one holds to those original values of quality and natural goodness.

As it always has been, our shortbread is made using only four ingredients: flour, pure creamery butter, sugar, and salt. We are proud to say that our products contain no artificial flavorings, colorings, or preservatives.

In its distinctive tartan packaging, Walkers range of products is packed with Scottish character, both inside and out. The name Walkers is recognized as a mark of excellence the world over, a true Scottish classic.

Walkers Shortbread is the Official Onboard Treat of THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Whippany, NJ. Visit the Walkers Online Shop and use Coupon Code POLARNJ to save 20% on your next order of Walkers Shortbread. Offer expires 1/31/22. Offer not valid on Sale Items.

Walkers Shortbread

Walkers Scotland

For the most efficient purchase experience, we recommend booking tickets here on our website as our phone lines are extremely busy during periods of high demand. Once tickets have been released, reservation agents can be reached using the form on our Contact Us page or by calling 973-419-6255 during the following hours:

Monday-Friday: 9:00am – 9:00pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 6:00pm

Sunday: 2:00pm – 6:00pm

All times are Eastern Standard Time.

Please leave a callback number as instructed if prompted by our phone system. An agent will return your call as soon as possible and the return call may come from an unfamiliar number or area code. Please only leave a callback number once. Leaving the same callback number again bumps you to the end of the queue.

Parking is available in a new lot located at 9 Troy Hills Rd, Whippany, Hanover, NJ for $10 per vehicle. Parking passes should be added to your order during checkout and your ticket confirmation will serve as your parking pass. This lot is located directly adjacent to the old lot and is a short walk from the station and boarding area.

Whippany Station is located at 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany, Hanover, NJ. Parking for those with the proper disabled parking placard or plates is available adjacent to the station. If a member of your party has mobility issues but you do not have the proper disabled parking placard, passenger drop-off will be available at the station as long a member of your party is available to move your vehicle to the parking lot.

Parking:

Boarding:

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a magical re-creation of the classic children’s story led by a cast of talented actors on board a real train. Have your golden tickets ready for the Conductor! Passengers are served hot chocolate and Walkers Shortbread by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the classic book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the First Gift of Christmas after Santa boards the train to greet families. Performers engage passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the heartwarming trip back to the station.

The entire experience in Whippany and on the train is roughly two hours in length. It is required that guests arrive approximately one hour prior to their departure time. This allows time to park and check in at the Whippany Station. Boarding will begin 20 minutes prior to listed departure times. The train ride itself is one hour in length.

The boarding platform closes 10 minutes prior to departure. No passengers will be allowed to board after the platform has been closed. This includes parties who may have other group members that boarded separately.

A full range of exclusive THE POLAR EXPRESS™ gifts and keepsakes will be available for purchase at the event. The gift shop is located inside of Whippany Station, just steps away from the welcome tent and boarding area. Built in 1904, the beautifully restored station epitomizes a classic railroad structure of yesteryear and is the perfect place to do your holiday shopping before or after your ride.

The Polar Express Gifts

Is your family ready to arrive in style wearing matching pajamas this holiday season? Would you like to bring your own copy of the book to read along with during the trip? Exclusive, officially licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ pajamas, books, and DVDs are now available to order online prior to your visit! Whether you are attending our event or enjoying a fun THE POLAR EXPRESS™ party at home, hop on board with our new and unique products. Quantities on popular items are limited so order now and complete your holiday shopping before supplies run out.

We offer adorable matching family pajamas with iconic THE POLAR EXPRESS™ images that adorn both youth and adult sizes. Soft and cozy fleece styles will keep you warm on your train ride and throughout the season at home. Be sure to add the classic hardcover book and DVD to your order! Confirmed orders ship within 7-10 days.

Visit raileventsretail.com to shop now!

There are two classes of service on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Whippany, NJ: Coach Class and First Class. Please visit The Ride for full information and photos of each.

Coach Class

Coach Class cars seat approximately 100 passengers inside of restored commuter coaches adorned in festive holiday decor. Seating is arranged in a 3-2 configuration with three seats on one side of the aisle and two on the other. Designated wheelchair spaces are located in select coaches and can be booked online by selecting the wheelchair space icon and adjacent companion seats as needed. For an enhanced experience, all seats now face the center of the coach. Please review seating charts carefully when booking.

2021 Coach Class Pricing

Value Departures: $48 Adult, $42 Child │ Standard Departures: $58 Adult, $53 Child │ Premium Departures: $68 Adult, $63 Child

Additional ticketing service fee and local tax will apply. A $10 parking pass is required for each vehicle and your ticket confirmation will serve as your parking pass.

First Class

First Class cars seat 48 or 54 passengers inside of beautifully restored 1940’s era coaches from the golden age of rail travel. First Class cars feature festive holiday decor, ample legroom, overstuffed reclining chairs in a 2-2 seating arrangement, and large windows for the best view of the North Pole. In addition to more comfortable accommodations, First Class passengers receive a collectible THE POLAR EXPRESS™ ceramic mug which is theirs to take home.

2021 First Class Pricing

Value Departures: $70 Adult, $65 Child │ Standard Departures: $77 Adult, $72 Child │ Premium Departures: $85 Adult, $80 Child

Additional ticketing service fee and local tax will apply. A $10 parking pass is required for each vehicle and your ticket confirmation will serve as your parking pass.

Yes. In order to offer the best experience for all guests, seating is assigned on board THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride. You will select your own seats during the online checkout process as you would on an airline. Please review seating charts carefully and note that all Coach Class seats now face the center of the coach. First Class seats still face one direction as in the past.

All First Class seats face the same direction towards the front of the car. Coach Class seats now face towards the center of the coach for an enhanced performance experience, so please study the seating chart below closely. Since the train travels to the North Pole and returns over the same tracks, all passengers will ride forward for half of their trip and backwards for the other half (or vice versa).

Whippany Seating Chart

In order to accommodate expanded theatrical and narrative elements, cars with table and chair seating are not utilized in Coach or First Class. Please see the previous FAQs for more information on Coach Class and First Class seating.

The only differences between Value, Standard, and Premium departures are the dates and/or times of the rides. Lower demand departures are priced lower to offer those on a budget options and higher demand departures are priced accordingly. The event functions exactly the same on all departures and passengers enjoy the same experience.

It is recommended that reservations are made as soon as your group knows which date and time you would like to attend. Tickets are expected to sell out quickly for this popular event.

Groups of 20+ are eligible for an early reservation period when tickets must be booked over the phone at 973-419-6255. Please note that the name of each member of your party is required to complete the check-out process, so please have these prepared prior to speaking with a reservation agent.

To qualify for early access, group tickets must be booked in a single transaction and passengers must ride on the same departure with seats that are located together. Third party vendors are not permitted to purchase group tickets for resale or to provide access to early booking. Group discounts are not being offered in 2021 and onward.

Tickets cannot be added to or removed from a group order once placed. Upon arrival, a single member of the group is responsible for picking up all of the boarding passes and Golden Tickets from the Box Office. That person will then disperse those items to the rest of the group.

Passengers who require special ADA accommodations such as a wheelchair space may also book during this early access period. 

Active-duty military members and first responders with the appropriate ID card are eligible for a $5 discount on each ticket (up to 10 tickets). To check out, please enter promo code HERO5 and select the applicable discount ticket product. Please note, the active-duty individual or first responder must be a member of the attending party and must present their valid service ID card for verification when checking in at the event. If the appropriate identification cannot be presented by this individual, you will be charged the difference in ticket price before being allowed on board the train.

Whippany Station and the train are wheelchair accessible, however, wheelchair seating is limited. Access to the train is provided by a mobile lift on the platform and space for wheelchairs is located in select Coach Class coaches. Unfortunately, due to the historic dimensions of our 1940’s era First Class cars, wheelchair seating is not available in First Class. It is also important to note that there are no wheelchair-accessible restrooms located on the train. However, there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms located on the event grounds.

Designated parking spaces for those with disabilities and the proper disabled parking placard are located directly adjacent to the station. Please notify parking attendants if a member of your party has mobility issues and requires a reserved space. If a member of your party requires wheelchair access, please select the designated wheelchair space and companion seats online or contact a reservation agent at 973-419-6255. 

If a member of your party has a disability and requires a wheelchair space, please select the designated space/companion seats online or contact a reservation agent to assist with additional needs. These seats are comprised of a designated wheelchair space (no seat) and companion seats located across the aisle. It is important to note that there are no wheelchair-accessible restrooms located on the train. However, there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms located on the event grounds. For additional information on wheelchair access, please see the previous FAQ or contact a reservation agent at 973-419-6255.

If you would like to request a sign language interpreter please book your tickets via phone and notify the agent of your request. A Rail Events Productions team member will reach out directly to coordinate this service with you.

Rail Events Productions does not guarantee an allergen-free environment. Walkers Shortbread and Nestle Hot Chocolate are served on the train. A complete list of ingredients is available below and at the Box Office for your review.

Walkers Shortbread

Ingredients: Wheat Flour (Wheat Flour, Calcium Carbonate, Iron, Niacin, Thiamin), Butter (Milk) (32%), Sugar, Salt.

Allergens: Wheat, Milk. May contain tree nuts.

Suitable for vegetarians and Certified Kosher OUD.

Nestle Hot Chocolate

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup Solids, Dairy Product Solids, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil (Coconut and/or Palm Kernel and/or Soybean), Coacoa Processed with Alkali, and Less than 2% of Salt, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Caseinate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminosilicate, Mono-and Diglycerides, Guar Gum, Artifical Flavor.

Allergens: Contains Dairy; May Contain Soy and/or Wheat.

Train service from New York’s Penn Station, Hoboken, Newark, and points west to Morristown, NJ is available via NJ Transit’s Morristown Line. From Morristown, riders will need to take a cab or ride-share service approximately four miles to Whippany Station at 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany, Hanover, NJ. For more information on train service, please visit www.njtransit.com

If you plan to take mass transit to the event, please allow ample time in case of delays and study schedules/maps carefully. THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is not responsible for the on-time performance of mass transit. Trains will not be held for late arrivals and tickets are non-refundable.

A limited number of restrooms are available on board the train. Please alert a staff member if a member of your party needs to use the restroom, as they may need to be escorted to another car to access the nearest one. It is important to note that there are no wheelchair-accessible restrooms located on the train. However, there are wheelchair-accessible restrooms located inside of Whippany Station.

Children under two may ride for free provided they are not occupying a seat and ride on an adult’s lap. A free infant ticket must be selected at checkout and the name of the child must be provided on the reservation. This is to ensure every passenger can be accounted for in case of an emergency. 

Children under two receive a silver sleigh bell from Santa but do not receive a treat or hot chocolate.

Families are encouraged to wear warm pajamas just like passengers from THE POLAR EXPRESS™ book and film. Passengers will spend time on an unheated platform as they board and disembark from the train, so appropriate winter attire is also recommended.

Want to arrive at the event in style? Officially licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride pajamas and the original book by Chris Van Allsburg are available for order at raileventsretail.com. Orders ship 7-10 days from the time of purchase.

The train follows a point-to-point route through woods and neighborhoods surrounding Whippany, NJ during its trip to the North Pole. This route includes several changes in direction that are incorporated into the one-hour onboard presentation.

Like sporting events, concerts, and other live events, tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride are not refundable. However, passenger names can be changed prior to the event by clicking the Customer Support Form in your confirmation email or using the Contact Us form on our site.

If event departures are canceled and trains do not travel from the station for reasons including (but not limited to) weather, mechanical issues, or COVID-19 restrictions, all passengers on affected departures will receive an option to ride a departure on a later date in 2021 (based on space availability) or a full refund.

Changes to the date and time of a reservation can be requested but are subject to availability and pricing differences. If seats are available on another date/train, our reservation agents will do their best to accommodate your request. However, no guarantees can be made that your reservation can be changed. Please use the form on our Contact Us page or call 973-419-6255 to initiate a date or time change request.

The purchaser must change the entire order to a single date and departure. The purchaser may not split off a portion of the order for a different date or time.

Name changes on tickets are allowed. Passenger names can be changed at any time prior to the event by clicking the Customer Support Form in your confirmation email or using the Contact Us form on our site.

Trains will continue to run in snow and other weather conditions. However, trains may be canceled or postponed at the Morristown & Erie Railway’s discretion due to weather or operational considerations. The event may also be canceled or postponed if major roads and freeways are closed near the event due to snow or natural disasters. Full refunds will be offered in these cancelation scenarios.

No. For the comfort and safety of all guests, pets and emotional support animals are not permitted on THE POLAR EXPRESS Train Ride. Only trained service animals with identification cards are permitted in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and New Jersey law.

THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a family-friendly event and no alcohol is sold or allowed on board the train or on the event grounds. Intoxicated passengers or those found in possession of alcohol will be removed from the event without a refund. This is a zero-tolerance policy. 

1. The Will Call Box Office CLOSES ten (10) minutes prior to schedule departure time, all boarding passes must be picked up prior to this time.

2. The Boarding Platform CLOSES 5 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE, no passengers will be allowed to board the train after that time.

3. Tickets are nonrefundable and nonexchangeable.

4. Tickets are valid only for the date, time, car & seat shown on the ticket. Purchaser acknowledges that they have individually selected their seats. Rail Events Productions Inc. (“REP”) is not responsible for errors in seating.

5. REP and its agents reserve the right to refuse service or de-board passengers for disruptive or offensive behavior.

6. REP does not guarantee an allergen free environment.

7. Passengers are prohibited from bringing alcoholic beverages or weapons onto the event grounds.

8. Smoking is not allowed on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride event grounds or on board the train. (this includes e-cigarettes and other similar devices).

9. REP does not accept liability for loss or damage suffered by the ticket user. For more information please review the Release of Liability and Indemnity.

10. Your ticket purchase and/or participation in any train related departure/event grants REP permission to use your image in its promotional materials.

11. RELEASE OF LIABILITY, COVENANT NOT TO SUE, AND INDEMNIT a. As lawful consideration for ticketed admission on to the premise for this event, I, on behalf of myself and on behalf of my heirs, successors, personal representatives, and assigns hereby shall indemnify and hold harmless Rail Events Productions Inc. (REP), American Heritage Railways, its officers, directors, employees and owners from and against any and all third-party costs, expenses (including reasonable outside counsel’s fees), liabilities, judgments, losses, damages, suits, actions, fines, penalties, claims and demands of any kind and asserted by or on behalf of any person, independent contractor or governmental authority arising out of the ticket holder’s participation, entrance, or presence on the premises, except for gross negligence or willful misconduct by REP. REP shall not be liable to ticket holder on account of:

i) any failure by Ticket Holder to perform any of the agreements, terms, or covenants or conditions of this Agreement,
ii) any failure by Ticket Holder to comply with the statutes, ordinances, regulations, or orders of any governmental authority unless caused by the failure of REP to perform under this Agreement or
iii) any accident, death, or personal injury or property damage which shall occur on or as a result of the ticket holder’s participation, entrance, or presence at the event venue except as the same may be caused by the sole misconduct or omissions to act or negligence of REP, its employees or agents.


b. Guests and Ticket Holder waives all rights against REP and its agents, officers, directors, and employees for recovery of damages to the extent these damages are covered by the commercial general liability or commercial umbrella liability insurance maintained pursuant to this agreement.

c. If any term or provision of the Agreement is found to be unenforceable or invalid such shall not affect the other terms and provision which shall remain binding and enforceable.

CREDITS

Executive ProducerAllen Harper
Executive ProducerJohn Harper
ProducerMichael May
Artistic DirectorScott Calcagno
Production Stage ManagerMichael George
Lighting DesignerGuy Rhodes
Sound DesignerJoe Palermo
Costume DesignerJesus Perez
General ManagerJarrette Ireland
Production ManagerKevin Broomell
Company ManagerAnne Drysdale
Marketing ManagerJamie Ryan