“The Polar Express” is coming to life in Batesville, Mississippi this winter. While the classic children’s book was first animated on the big screen in 2004, the real life version will operate at select times between November 20 and December 27 this year, reports Travel Pulse. The Christmas-themed train is expected to attract 30,000 to 40,000 riders eager to join the excursion, which transports travelers between Southaven and Canton, MS.
Those aboard the train will be entertained by dancing chefs, singing elves, and a read-along of the book that inspired it all while enjoying hot chocolate and cookies. They’ll also get to greet Santa Claus and his helpers in Pope, MS, just over seven miles into the trek. Perhaps the main reason why the ride is anticipated to be so popular? Passengers are invited to wear their pajamas. The idea is to provide children, families, and lovers of the tale with a train-ride experience that’s almost as magical as the story itself.
An Influx of Tourists
While this is the first time the Polar Express has come to Mississippi, these festivities aren’t the only Polar Express experience in the world. Iowa Pacific also operates the excursions throughout the U.S and England, to the tune of around 30,000 passengers each. Still, he announcement of the Polar Express’ planned excursions has caused a flurry of activity in Batesville.
In order to accommodate the arrival of tens of thousands of tourists, Batesville officials plan to upgrade parking lots and sidewalks near the railroad depot. Local merchants and restaurants are planning to stay open late, while hotels are eager to house the influx of travelers. And officials estimate the just-over-a-month-long event will result in the creation of 100 temporary jobs for local residents. At the same time, Iowa Pacific will be hard at work re-opening 90 miles of track between Canton and Grenada and restoring freight and rail service on the track throughout seven counties in Mississippi.
Want to get in on the holiday action in Mississippi? Tickets range from $20 to $85 per person, and they’re now on sale. Would-be travelers can choose from premium, standard, and economy classes, but everyone on board will enjoy the same show in addition to the visit with Santa. Those who sign up for The Rail Baron Club will be the first to have access to tickets for the 2016 holiday season.
If hotels in Batesville are booked up, or you’re just looking to avoid the crowds, simply book a hotel in nearby Robinsonville, which is only an hour away by car. And there’s plenty to see in the area (even beyond the Christmas extravaganza). Batesville is only an hour-long drive to vibrant Memphis, and just a 30-minute drive to Water Valley, MS, home of the Casey Jones Railroad Museum. (The museum is packed with railroad memorabilia and other items of historical interest.)
This post was posted by thehipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on December 9, 2015.