I found a hidden gem and an easy holiday adventure. I’m talking about the Verde Valley Railway: The Magical Christmas Journey. This was its second year running and what fun it was!
The experience has a lot of similarities to the Polar Express in Williams, but not as far and not as expensive and definitely not as crowded.
The station is in Clarkdale so we drove up and back in one afternoon/evening (less than a 2 hour drive each way.) If we had more time I would’ve gotten dinner in Cottonwood or Jerome as they are right there and such quaint little towns.
We ended up eating at the cafe in the station and were very happy with our dinner, quick and easy. I was impressed by how clean everything was at the station, especially the bathrooms.
Also there was gift shop that we shopped around while we waited for our 7pm departure.
The train ride is a hour and like PE it goes to the “North Pole” where Santa, Mrs. Claus and elves are waving at the train. My favorite display I saw was the “Naughty Kids Coal Mine.”
Also like Polar Express, Santa boards the train and stops for pictures and talks to the children. His elf hands out “reindeer boogers” (jelly beans) and then the train heads back.
The entire experience was the perfect amount of time. Each train car has an “open air” car decorated with lights that you can walk back and forth from, which was super cool. I should also mention a full bar in each car as well! Our time slot was sold out and I have to say I didn’t feel like it was crowded AT ALL.
After the trip to the “North Pole, “ before we headed back to the valley we checked out the life size Christmas village which was so incredibly cute, I just wished I could move in!
We are days out until the jolliest time of year comes to an end, but next year, you'll want to make sure this is on your holiday line up.