When it first came out watched it with the Grandkids, dozed off part way through it. Bought the video to see what I missed, doubt that I need to watch it again but maybe with the Great Grandkids in a year or two.

Casablanca I can watch numerous times, Red River I can watch numerous times, not so for the Polar Express.

Bill T.

The bell still rings for me. I watch the movie 2 or 3 times every year and enjoy it every time. A great movie. I also watch holiday in, white Christmas and several others during the season. 

As I grow old, the bell still rings for me!


We have the film, watch it every year out of nostalgia.

But I don't like it all that much. 

The animation doesn't bother me, but the story does.  Its message is Believe!  Believe in what?  Santa?  Hogwash.  Santa is the stepchild of this culture's rampart consumerism:  Gimme, gimme, GIMME!  Santa is the salesman of conditional love:  be good (in some vague fashion) and you prosper.  Be naughty, and you get coal.  And, just when you start to realize that Christmas is not about accumulating stuff, along comes Santa's minions to kidnap you for a nice brainwashing session.

None of that has anything to do with Christmas.

I am well aware that this position is unpopular, but the First Gift of Christmas was not a sleigh bell but rather the incarnate Word of God, who was given to us because we cannot be good enough. 


Frisco, MoPac, and T&P near Rolla, MO

VistaDomeScott posted:
Jim R. posted:
VistaDomeScott posted:
Grampstrains posted:
VistaDomeScott posted:

I have not watched it in years.  When I first started volunteering on the Cuyahoga  Valley  Scenic Railroad's Polar Express I watched the movie to get familiar with the story. We recreate the story on board CVSR'S Polar Express.  Disney requires strict adherence to the book & movie story.   Chefs serve hot hot chocolate, cookies, Trainman punch golden tickets, we roll through a well decorated, elf filled North Pole where Santa climbs on board to visit the kids. 

CVSR runs 2 Polar Express trains daily from mid November through just before Christmas.  50,000 passengers this year are riding CVSR trains to the North Pole from both Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.   It's lots of fun, but lots of effort as well by many hundreds of volunteers. It is always kind of sad when it wraps up in later December.  Pictured below are the 2 CVSR Polar Express consists at CVSR's Fitzwater Yard.  It's only 330pm but the evening trains are already being prepared for the North Pole trips.  20191115_14543120191115_14544420191115_145331

The Polar Express is a Warner Brother's film not Disney.

The Polar Express is now owned by Disney.  You probably have a copy that is pre Disney ownership, but trust me, It is ALL a disney show now and VERY strict as far as what we can and cannot do with this program.  

Since when? Disney hasn’t acquired Warner Bros.

You can argue the point all you want, but I work the train and we at CVSR are very well aware that it's now Disney owned story.  We had to go through specialized training this year to comply with the Disney specifications.  I do not follow entertainment news so I could not tell you when or how Disney acquired the Polar Express story.   Fact is that Polar Express story, movie, book, rights to merchandising, all Disney.  


Let me add to Scott's comments......

There is a lumber mill along the CVSR right of way that is redecorated every year to be the North Pole on the Polar Express run (Terry Lumber and Supply in Peninsula, a place I frequent).  In the beginning of of the Polar Express days, many of the employees there volunteered to be the characters at the North Pole.  During my last visit I asked if any of the guys were going to volunteer this year.  I was told "no" because they now have to go to "Elf School" to participate.  

Lou N

Elves with lower east side accents (where did they grow up?), and nasty little guys to boot.  Santa looked like anything but Santa.  Hobo was really weird.  Steven Tyler in a totally undeserving finale for such an unsavory character, placed in a so called classic?  The list goes on, but I'll take any Christmas Classic over that one.


- Crank

Eccentric Crank posted:

Elves with lower east side accents (where did they grow up?), and nasty little guys to boot.  Santa looked like anything but Santa.  Hobo was really weird.  Steven Tyler in a totally undeserving finale for such an unsavory character, placed in a so called classic?  The list goes on, but I'll take any Christmas Classic over that one.


- Crank

I guess we can assume Mr. Crank is not a fan 


 You are right on with that.  Last year Disney mandated that Elves no longer be on the train, but per the story they have to be dressed as chefs as in the movie with the hot chocolate.   Most of the elf volunteers had been doing this for decades, developed an elf wardrobe at their own expense.  Change doesnt come easily.  With the more demanding program and changed costume requirements many quit.  This year has leveled off somewhat but it's still short handed some nights.  Trainman and operating crew are still doing our same jobs and love going out to work the train regardless of the Disney program changes.  Disney wanted a consistent portrayal of the story on the many railroads that perform these seasonal trips.  CVSR has always done a fantastic job performing the story and operating a safe reliable train for all.  I actually think the changes are more in tune with the story, and I have no problem with it other than the ride is 15 mins shorter and some of our time with passengers is cut short.  It's a great program for the kids, and it helps keep CVSR running trains the rest of the year.  It sold out again, as it has for most years.  And Disney does not just allow this to happen for free.  Last time I was privy to numbers, 30% of each Polar Express ticket goes to Disney.  CVSR also has to buy the hot chocolate,  cookies, golden tickets, christmas decorations, etc.  But the story is a huge draw, I doubt if it were just train rides with Santa that it would command 5 weeks of 2 daily trains or more, sold out nose to tail.  

"I guess we can assume Mr. Crank is not a fan"  

Hey!  How come I got singled out?  MWB wrote he couldn't stand it.   But, I did love the fact that the poor kid from the other side of the tracks was singled out, made to ride alone in the last car  and never never allowed to hang with the other kids during the ride.  Now that's the Christmas spirit.

- Crank

Billy, the kid from "the other side of the tracks," chooses to ride in the observation car.  Billy also chooses to remain in the observation car when the other kids lineup to see Santa.  If I remember correctly, the conductor tells "Hero Boy" and the young girl (I forget if she has a name) "no one is required to see Santa."


It will come in handy to entertain the little ones.  Kids enjoy the movie and it will ad interest in the hobby.  I know of several families that have purchased trains because one of the sons wanted an Polar express or train for Christmas after watching the movie.

I'm glad I read this thread.  I had no idea that animation could have an effect on people.  Now it all makes sense, from the Disney movies, Toy Story, cartoons, etc. and now Polar Express. 

This is what has caused me to go to York, buy trains, enclose my covered patio, build a layout, etc.  It really wasn't me.  I was being controlled by the animation in Polar Express!  

I'm not sure I can make this reasoning stick with my wife, but it's worth a try.  After all, I read it on the internet 

twice so far. And in our house we know and teach the true meaning of CHRISTmas. Also I grew up watching the road runner and Coyote cartoons and never once thought that if I fell off a cliff or held a stick of dynamite when it when off I wouldn't die.





Saving Tinplate One Piece at a Time

Here's the difference for me....

My eyes still get watery at the end of "It's A Wonderful Life"....every year, every time that classic is watched.

But, PE?....Ever since it was pointed out that the train length...number of cars....varies from scene-to-scene, it's what I focus on...counting the cars.   I can't help rolling the eyes up as the count varies. ()   

But the wife still gets...'emotional'...at the end of the movie.

Of course she hears the bells all year long....plays in the handbell choir at church.

Oh, and after seeing Santa Claus in the PE movie...his TOWERING presence...I now have an idea for Lionel's Christmas lineup next year.  Take their iconic 1045 flagman accessory....with an equally towering presence...and dress him up in the PE Santa garb, holding/lifting that famous PE bell.  And replace the crossing sign with an LED Christmas tree....or at the very least a sign bearing a Christmas greeting...or two.

Ah, well, 'tis the season...


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