CLEVELAND - There are many places to get into the holiday spirit, but only one in Northeast Ohio that takes you to the North Pole.
The golden tickets to ride the Polar Express are not just a part of the popular Christmas movie. Cleveland is just one of about a dozen locations in the country where you can hop a locomotive to the North Pole.
Kelly Steele, Director of Marketing Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad helps with the annual tradition.
“It’s a great memory making opportunity for families,” she said.
The Polar Express is in its 17th year. And this year it will transport 37,000 passengers through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Along the way Santa’s elves sing songs, read “The Polar Express,” serve hot chocolate and a chocolate chip cookie.
Train conductor Bob Doles says thePolar Express ride is magical.
“This experience is very much like the movie. The Polar Express is supposed to be for kids, but you should see the look on the faces of the adults when they ride the train. They love it as much or more than the kids do,” Doles said.
After a quick hour train ride from the station, passengers arrive in the North Pole, where Santa jumps on-board.
At this winter wonderland there are popular Christmas characters and plenty of cheer as the Polar Express slowly passes by.
“We change it up just a little bit. Each year the North Pole seems to grow a little bit as we’re allowed to have more access to more parts of the North Pole,” Steele said.
Parent, Sandra Ramirez, says it's worth it. “You see your kids having fun.. definitely you love it!”
And 4-year-old, Luca Bucci, agrees. “It was awesome seeing Santa Claus because it was really awesome!”
The amount of holiday cheer on these train car leaves passengers with the message "to believe"
Elf Cindy is definitely a believer. “You get to the North Pole and the magic descends on you – it’s magical.”
And Steel agrees.
"If you walk off the Polar Express and you’re not feeling Christmas, then we’ve done something wrong,” Steel said.