Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Whippany Station located?
Whippany Station is located at 1 Railroad Plaza, Whippany, Hanover, NJ 07981.
What is THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a magical re-creation of the classic children’s story on board a real train. During a trip to the North Pole, passengers are served hot chocolate and a treat by dancing chefs, enjoy a reading of the book by Chris Van Allsburg, and receive the first gift of Christmas (a silver sleigh bell) after Santa boards the train to greet families. Attendants lead passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the return trip to Whippany.
How long is the experience? When should we arrive?
The entire experience in Whippany and on the train is roughly two hours in length. It is required that guests arrive approximately 45 minutes prior to their departure time. This allows time to park and check in at the Whippany Station. Boarding will begin 30 minutes prior to listed departure times. The train ride itself is one hour in length.
Do you have a gift shop?
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.
What are the different classes of service?
There are two classes of service on THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride in Whippany, NJ: Coach Class and First Class.
Coach Class cars seat approximately 100 passengers inside of restored Comet 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 Glacier Gulch (2) and can be booked online by selecting the wheelchair space icon and adjacent companion seats as needed. Not all seats face the same direction in Coach Class, so please review seating charts carefully when booking.
2018 Coach Class Pricing
Value Departures: $45 Adult, $40 Child │ Standard Departures: $55 Adult, $50 Child │ Peak Departures: $65 Adult, $60 Child
Additional ticketing service fee and local tax will apply
First Class cars seat 52 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 are served their hot chocolate in a collectible THE POLAR EXPRESS™ ceramic mug which is theirs to take home.
2018 First Class Pricing
Value Departures: $65 Adult, $60 Child │ Standard Departures: $70 Adult, $65 Child │ Peak Departures: $75 Adult, $70 Child
Additional ticketing service fee and local tax will apply
Is seating assigned?
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 as not all seats face the same direction in Coach Class.
Do you have a seating chart? Which direction do seats face? Which side is the North Pole on?
All First Class seats face the same direction towards the front of the car. Coach Class seats face different directions, so please study the seating chart below closely. Groups who would prefer to sit facing each other should try to book seats in Glacier Gulch based on the seat directions shown below. 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).
In order to accommodate expanded theatrical and narrative elements, cars with table and chair seating are not being utilized in Coach or First Class cars. Please see the previous FAQs for more information on Coach and First Class seating.
What are the differences between Value, Standard, and Peak pricing?
The only differences between Value, Standard, and Peak pricing 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.
Where do we go once we arrive in Whippany?
Whippany Station is located at 1 Railroad Plaza at the intersection of Mt. Pleasant Ave/Route 10 and Whippany Rd. Parking attendants will direct cars from the plaza into adjacent on-site parking lots (no off-site parking or shuttles are utilized). A check-in desk is located next to the boarding area and passengers are required to check in prior to boarding. It is required that guests arrive approximately 45 minutes prior to their departure time. There will be a number of fun activities for families to enjoy while waiting. Guests receive THE POLAR EXPRESS™ souvenir golden tickets at check-in. Boarding will begin 30-minutes prior to departure. Train doors close approximately 5 minutes prior to departure and trains will not be held for those arriving late. Trains depart and return to the same location at Whippany Station.
How soon should I book tickets?
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.
Is the event wheelchair accessible?
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 at the front of Coach Class car Glacier Gulch (2). 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 inside of Whippany Station.
Designated parking spaces for those with disabilities 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 contact a reservations representative to select and purchase the appropriate wheelchair/companion seats.
Where can I find food allergy information?
When booking your tickets, please inform a reservations representative if anyone in your party has a food allergy or special dietary needs. Please also inform your car’s onboard staff members as you board the train. Cookies and hot chocolate are served on the train. The cookies do not contain nuts, but may come from a facility that processes nuts. The hot chocolate contains dairy. Anyone with a food allergy or special dietary needs is welcome to bring an alternate treat or drink item on board.
Where do we park?
Parking is free. Attendants will direct cars from 1 Railroad Plaza (at the intersection of Mt. Pleasant Ave/Route 10 and Whippany Rd) into adjacent on-site parking lots. No off-site parking or shuttles are being utilized this season. The walk from the parking lot to the station is approximately 200 yards on crushed gravel.
Designated parking spaces for those with disabilities or mobility issues are located directly adjacent to the station. Please notify parking attendants if a member of your party has mobility issues and requires a designated space closest to the station.
Can we take a train or bus to the event?
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, NJ. For more information on train service, please visit www.njtransit.com
Limited regional bus service to Whippany (on weekdays only) is offered by NJ Transit Bus 73 which has a stop (labeled Hanover Twp) at Mt Pleasant Rd/Route 10 and Troy Hills Rd. From this stop, it is a three block walk to Whippany Station. Please see the full Bus 73 schedule HERE.
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.
Are there restrooms on board the train?
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.
Do infants ride for free?
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 emergency.
What should my family wear?
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.
Where does the train go?
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.
Are tickets refundable?
Like sporting events, concerts, and other live events, tickets for THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride are not refundable.
Will the event take place if there is snow or other inclement weather?
Trains will continue to run in snow and other weather conditions. However, trains may be cancelled or postponed at the Morristown & Erie Railway’s discretion due to weather or operational considerations. The event may also be cancelled or postponed if the State Highway Patrol closes major roads and freeways due to snow or natural disasters. Full refunds will be offered in these scenarios.
No Alcohol Policy
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a family-friendly event and no alcohol is sold or allowed on board the train. Intoxicated passengers or those found in possession of alcohol will be removed from the event without refund.