Frequently Asked Questions
How can I contact a reservations agent?
The easiest way to make reservations is to book online by visiting the Schedule & Tickets page.
Reservations agents may also be reached via phone at 1-800-74-TRAIN and CHOOSING OPTION 1 (during the hours listed on the phone message). Please be aware, call volumes are often high. If you choose to leave your number for a call back, doing so multiple times will move you to the end of the line each time.
You may also message us. During business hours this will almost always get you the quickest response.
Where is the station located?
8594 W. State Road 56, French Lick, IN 47432. When traveling from the Indianapolis area, do NOT follow the shortest route. This will take you on a tour of the backroads of Orange County, Indiana.
What is THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride is a re-creation of the classic children’s story on board a real train. 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. Elves lead passengers in caroling and fun holiday activities on the return trip to French Lick.
How is this event different?
THE POLAR EXPRESS™ Train Ride at French Lick is an immersive event that is officially licensed by Warner Bros. Consumer Products. This is the only officially-licensed THE POLAR EXPRESS™ event in the Southern Indiana and features a staff of energetic hosts who lead the train in an interactive, 70 minute-long experience. Each coach is dressed in festive holiday décor and features color-changing lighting synched with the activities on board.
How long is the experience? When should we arrive?
Trains depart PROMPTLY at their scheduled departure time. We cannot stress this enough! The train does actually leave at the time that is listed as the departure time. Really! If your train is scheduled to depart at 5:30pm (and we are on Eastern Time in French Lick), the train really does leave at 5:30. If you arrive at 5:35, you will NOT be able to board the train. In this instance, no compensation will be made. Please don’t upset yourself by missing the train. The staff really is disappointed when we have to tell people that they have missed their train and will be unable to ride. To avoid this, please arrive no less than 1 hour to allow time picking up pre-ordered books or tickets from Will Call, visiting the restroom, activities area, and gift shop. Should you miss your train, there are no refunds or exchanges. Again, French Lick is on EASTERN TIME (Fast Time). If you are traveling from Evansville or the western part of the state of Indiana – French Lick is an hour ahead of you – ON EASTERN TIME. Make sure to allow enough time to arrive at least one hour prior to your scheduled departure. At worst, you will have some time to visit the Gift Shop and Activities Area.h.
What are the different classes of service?
Dome Class Tickets – Tickets are sold in tables of four.
First Class Tickets – Three of the first class cars feature table and chair seating at 4-seat tables. One car features both two & four-seat tables. First Class seating must be purchased as full tables (i.e. if you have three people in your group, you still must purchase the full table of four)
Coach Class Tickets – Each Coach Class car has available seating for 80 passengers (With the exception of Car J which seats 40). All 80 seats will be filled.
Please do not bring car seats or other carriers for children under two, as all non-ticketed passengers (under 2 years old) must be held on an adult’s lap.
Is seating assigned?
Tickets are assigned by railroad car. Seating within that car is open and groups wishing to sit together should arrive early to ensure they are at the head of the boarding line for their car. If you wish to be certain that your group will all be in the SAME CAR, please purchase all tickets for your group at the same time.
First Class and Dome Class table cars are reserved seating based on the table number selected at the time of ticket purchase.
Will there be a professional photographer?
There will not be a professional photographer on the train. You are welcome to take your own pictures throughout the event, and especially with Santa Claus… just keep in mind Santa is on a very tight schedule.
How soon should I book tickets?
This event sells out and advance tickets are required. It is best to book your tickets as early as possible in the year.
How do I book group tickets?
Large groups are encourage to call the reservations office for assistance in booking their group. Groups are strongly encouraged to have one individual purchase all of the tickets to ensure they are all booked on the same car. For further assistance with booking your group, please message reservations agents.
I would like to bring a group but we all want to purchase seperately. Can we do that?
Yes, you may. HOWEVER, there is a very real possibility that your group will be seated on different cars. It is STRONGLY suggested that one person makes the purchase of all tickets for the group to ensure that they are able to sit together on the same car. Under no circumstances will the Railroad “rearrange passengers” to accommodate a group which has purchased tickets on two or more cars.
Do you have a gift shop? Can we pre-order merchandise?
There is a gift shop onsite that offers a wide array of Merchindise from The Polar Express. This ranges from light-ups, to blown glass ornaments. Currently merchindise can not be pre-ordered.
Can we bring or purchase The Polar Express book?
The book is available for purchase in the onsite gift shop. Of course, if you already have a copy, you are welcome to bring it along.
Is the event wheelchair accessible?
Yes. A wheelchair lift is available on-site that will accommodate standard-size wheel chairs and SOME small motorized chairs. Scooters and oversized chairs are not accommodated on the train. There is a transfer wheelchair available. Please contact the railroad in advance of ordering your tickets to confirm accessibility.
The following cars are the only cars accessible to wheelchairs – PLEASE message the railroad prior to ordering as equipment is subject to change:
Car D, Car H, Car J, Car K, Car L, Car M
How do I book tickets for someone with a disability?
Guests with questions on boarding and seating for those with a disability are strongly encouraged to call the reservations office at 1-800-74-TRAIN prior to booking their tickets.
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. You MUST also inform your car’s onboard staff members as you board the train. Cookies and hot chocolate are served on the train.
The cookies are nut free.
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. In addition, please notify your conductor when boarding so that alternate arrangements may be made.
Where do we park?
Free parking is available in the French Lick Resort’s BLUE LOT, located directly adjecent to the French Lick Scenic Railway. Follow the parking signs from Highway 56.
Also, as much as we would really like it to be, the Blue Lot is not painted blue. Unfortunately it is just a plain parking lot.
Can we take a trolley or bus to the event?
Guests staying at the French Lick Hotel or West Baden Hotel may take a bus from the the front of the hotel and be dropped off at the entrance to The French Lick Scenic Railway. Guests at those hotels also have the option to take the trolley to the Railroad entrance. The trolley may not always be in operation.
Are there restrooms on board the train?
There are restrooms on the train, but guests are encouraged to “take care of business” prior to boarding the train. That way you won’t miss any of the show.
Do infants ride for free?
Children under 2 years of age ride free on an adult’s lap.
What should my family wear?
In the story, all the children taking this magical train ride are awakened from their beds on Christmas Eve. Join the fun by bringing your children in their pajamas too. Adults are also welcome to join the PJ party fun. Really… there are not too many occasions where it is actually acceptable to wear your pajamas out in public. Join in on the fun (just remember that it is winter so sometime the ground is wet, and it does get cold; so proper footwear and a jacket might not be a bad idea).
Where does the train go?
Why to the North Pole of course!
Are tickets refundable?
Tickets are non-refundable/non-exchangeable.
Can I change my reservation to a different date or time?
Tickets are non-exchangeable. Please plan accordingly prior to purchase.
Will the event take place if there is snow or other inclement weather?
This being a winter event, trains will continue to run in snow and other weather conditions. However, trains may be cancelled or postponed at the Railroad’s sole 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. Cancellation of the event will be done as early as practical and Facebook is the best place to obtain up-to-date information on the status of trains. Guests will be notified via phone and/or email (using the contact information provided at the time of ticket purchase). Full refunds will be offered in these scenarios.
No Alcohol Policy
Alcohol is not permitted at the event site nor onboard the train. Guests bringing alcohol will be asked to dispose of it or leave the event site.
Guidance and regulations are changing rapidly with regard to COVID-19.
The French Lick Scenic Railway will, regardless of current regulations, be continuing with a standard it set many years ago. All high-touch surfaces are wiped and/or sprayed with sanitizer down between each trip. This includes handrails, door knobs, seat backs, and tables. In addition, hand sanitizer stations will be available at each boarding vestibule and in every restroom.
Masking guidance is ever changing and we certainly do encourage you to wear a mask if pandemic conditions warrant it. Should regulations or mandates (Local, State, Federal) be in place at the time of your ride that require the wearing of a mask, then you will have to wear one. NO refunds will be given for failure to wear or refusal to wear a mask if required by law, ordinance, mandate, health code, or local, state, or federal regulation.
While we do encourage vaccinations, we do NOT require guests to show any type of vaccine card, or vaccination record to attend the event.