IMG_1779The Polar Express rolled into St. Louis again this year and this past weekend my family and I had the opportunity to go downtown to Union Station and experience the fun. Our Sunday night consisted of the Magical Holiday Dinner & Show as well as The Polar Express train ride. The dinner and show started at 5PM and the train ride was at 6:30PM. We had planned everything perfectly and the timing could not have been more perfect.

We left our house at 4PM and arrived at Union Station at 4:30PM. We weren’t exactly sure what the procedure was so when we stepped into the mall we asked the kindest little elf which way we needed to go. She was so helpful and got us on our way. If you are going to the dinner and the train ride I would highly recommend getting to Union Station at least 30 minutes before your dinner starts so you can park and also get in and get your boarding pass and tickets ready for the train ride before you eat. There will be many more people just riding the train and not eating dinner so it will save you time after you eat so you don’t have to get your passes.

IMG_1684After getting our boarding passes we took a few photos and then headed down to the Union Station Hotel’s Grand Hall for the Magical Holiday Dinner & Show. This was essentially a buffet style dinner with a plethora of food choices all set in the Union Station Hotel grand hall. The ceiling was lit up with a colorful light show set to an exciting soundtrack of holiday music. The buffet food was really good. As a picky eater there was plenty of food that I really enjoyed. There was also a good amount of choices for those that are not as choosey as I am. The kids had chicken strips, mini cheeseburgers, corn dogs, tator-tots, and mac and cheese. It was all so good. Along with a dessert tablet filled with cookies, candies, cupcakes and more… We definitely got our fill of food and got to enjoy an amazing show filled with lights and sound. If you are hungry for a buffet style dinner with a great selection of options I highly recommend checking out this awesome Magical Holiday Dinner & Show before your ride on the Polar Express. My wife and kids had a fantastic experience and with the courtesy presented by the Union Station staff I would love to do it again this year.

IMG_1701After we got our fill at dinner we headed back down to where you get your boarding passes and did some of the cool activities there before our train was set to depart. My recommendation is that if you are not getting the dinner and will just be riding the train, get to Union Station about 60-90 minutes before your boarding time. This will allow you plenty of time to do all of the fun activities available. We planned it out perfectly and while there were many more people at the depot than when we were there earlier, we still had plenty of time to write a letter to Santa and mail it off. We also took some cute pictures, and also checked out the balloon artist. The kids had a blast running around and checking out all of the cool activities. Alex seemed a little more interested in the giant blow-up snowman hanging out in the mall more than coloring or writing letters, so we let him run off some steam while we waited to board the train. Once it was time to board the train we lined up with the rest of our train car and waited patiently for our turn to board. 


We were in the North Pole car this year and followed our elf representative to our car and was seated promptly at our table. There are three class of tickets you can get for the Polar Express train ride. We were fortunate enough to ride in the premium car that had a table. This was nice as it gave us a place to put our hot chocolate as well as our bags and coats that we had with us. With Alex being so little I feel like this really helped us instead of having to have him sit in a regular seat. It gave the kids the ability to move around just a bit without being too constricted to a seat.

Since I mentioned hot chocolate it did not take long for the fun to begin on the train. Almost immediately as everyone was seated the servers started rushing out that hot, hot, chocolate! Because we had premium seats we got our hot coco in a closed cup but it came with an awesome Polar Express mug. I believe the mug is only available for premium and first class tickets, so if you are in coach are looking for a mug you may want to talk with someone in the gift shop about purchasing one.

  Hot hot chocolate! #stlpolarexpress #unionstation #merrychristmas   A video posted by St. Louis Dad (@dadstl) on


IMG_1757Anyways, once we got our hot chocolate the conductor came around to make sure everyone’s ticket was punched and once that was finished we were on our way to the North Pole. The train ride started with the story of The Polar Express being read over a loud speaker but with the servers holding up several copies of the book so all the kids could follow along. The servers were amazing. They interacted with all of the children asking them to help turn pages, giving high fives, tickling and making sure everyone was having a good time. Abby and Alex loved when they would rush by singing or holding the story. They gave high fives and were so excited when they would give them some attention.

Once the story ended we stopped at the North Pole and picked up a special passenger, Santa Claus! He came on board and greeted each and every child on the train. He took time to take pictures with everyone and even gave them their first gift of Christmas! A shiny magical Christmas bell. Abby and Alex both loved seeing Santa, with Abby even more excited than all of her previous years of meeting the jolly old man.

IMG_1782Once Santa left our train car we started heading back to Union Station and this is when the fun really started kicking in. There was music and dancing and I think there was even something that was like a conga line. The kids had a blast belting out the Christmas carols and then when songs from the movie Frozen came on, you would have though Queen Elsa herself was on board that train. Every single kid, girl and boy was singing the music from Frozen. It was so cool. I think even my wife Destiny got in on that action. I know she loves to “Let it Go”.

We arrived back to Union Station and unloaded from the train. We browsed through the gift shop and then headed back to our car. Both kids were very tired and ready to go home. All of the fun and excitement from the train just wore them out. Alex was asleep before we even hit the highway and Abby was out pretty much when we got home. It was an amazing evening and a big recommendation for anyone in the St. Louis area to check out the Magical Holiday Dinner & Show as well as The Polar Express train ride. Many memories were made at this event and I hope you and your family has just as an amazing time as we did. Did you ride The Polar Express? Share your experience below, tweet it to me, or share it on my wall!

St. Louis Dad was provided with these products as compensation in exchange for an honest review. Check out the event on Facebook and visit to get your tickets before they sell out!

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By Richie

I'm a 40-year-old father blessed with two wonderful children: a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. My life revolves around my beautiful wife, who is the cornerstone of our family. Without her unwavering support, none of what I do would be possible. By day, I serve as a network administrator for a local school district, ensuring smooth operations in the realm of technology. During the evenings, you'll often find me engrossed in various creative pursuits, from illustrating books to crafting websites or composing music. But above all, my priority is spending quality time with my kids. Parenthood has been a profound journey of growth and discovery for me, and now, armed with a keyboard instead of a pen, I'm eager to share my experiences and insights with others.

11 thoughts on “All Aboard The Polar Express!”
  1. Hi! I realize this post is a year old, but I’m considering purchasing tickets to this event, and I just came across your website. I’m interested in the holiday dinner and show, but I have a 3 year old who is very sensitive to sound. I can barely get him to use a public restroom because the toilets flush so loudly, it freaks him out. Would you recommend this show for our family, or will the music simply be too loud?

    Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Katie!

      I would say that the show was a little louder. The music wasn’t soft, it was probably just a little quieter than a movie theater. So it is still a little loud. It was a really cool experience with the light show and the food was delicious. Thank you for commenting!

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  3. The Importance of Wine Bottle Capsules in Winemaking
    The history of winemaking has been a rich one with its timeline stretching across several millennia. Unknown to many, it varies in category and type. Still and sparkling wine production are the two general categories in winemaking. The only distinction between the two is that still wine involves carbonation while sparkling wine does not. The most common variations in winemaking include red, white and rosé wine. The exquisite process of producing this classic beverage holds a culture of celebration and festivities. Its manufacturing is a tedious one starting from the selection of fruit, to its fermentation into alcohol, up until the process of bottling it into liquid. One key material in producing a certain wine bottle is the wine bottle capsule. It is typically the covering found over the cork. People often try to disregard these parts; after all, they are only focused on the drink itself. Little did they know that without these key parts, they would not be enjoying that same drink at all. Here is what you need to know about the importance of wine bottle capsules in winemaking.

    Protective Sleeve for Exposure

    Wine bottle capsules are intended as protective sleeves on the neck of a wine bottle located just over the cork. Outside elements can be deemed as detrimental to the production of the wine itself. And quite frankly, exposure to air might tamper the safety of the beverage. Without these wine bottle capsules, the fermented fruit drink might not be safe to ingest any longer.

    Prevents Rodent and Pest Contamination

    Prolonged storage is one distinction of wines from other beverage. However, it is not safe to consume a wine that is infested with rodents, insects and pests. For instance, you stored a wine for a decade, only to find out that a rat has contaminated the said drink through the cork. That is why it is important that the wine bottle be safely secured with a wine bottle capsule to ensure that the cork is as it is and is not compromised by an unsafe environment.

    Catchment Surface for Pouring

    Wine bottle capsules also serve as a catchment surface for wine bottle once it is being served. It is possible to have wine drippings during the pouring of the wine. This is to make certain that no drop of wine will go to waste. It also serves as an added aesthetic tool to decorate the wine bottle itself.

    Polylaminate capsules – where is it from?
    Imagine you take a bottle of good whiskey, look at the label, and the next step, before you enjoy the taste, you open the cap, take out the cork and pour the drink into a glass with ice and then take a small sip. This is a kind of whiskey tasting ritual. We cannot imagine it if at least one step is missing. That is why, in addition to the whiskey itself, every element of this drink’s packaging plays an important role in forming an opinion and affection for a particular variety and brand.We suggest using our polylaminate capsules for spirits to create a good consumer’s experience. The polylaminate cap is a composite material, a kind of “sandwich” made of aluminum and polyethylene, in which polyethylene is coated with aluminum on the outside. We produce caps from our own production of polylaminate material of various thicknesses (from 50 microns to 150 microns). The material is flexible enough and the cap made of it is suitable for most bottles used for spirits, such as vodka, whiskey, brandy etc. Also, a large number of wine producers use the polylaminate cap to decorate their bottles. In decorating technology, the cap can reflect almost any designer’s idea, combining different colors, foil with a noticeable shimmer, and embossing.What are the functions of a polylaminate cap:

    The polylaminate capsules is the visual art in the first place. To complete the overall design of your product, you will naturally need to close the cork with a polylaminate cap.

    To bring all the ideas of a product designer to life, we can make the decoration of the cap, thanks to which your product will stand out favorably on the shelf; or use UV inks to glow with your logo in a dark club or bar.

    With the BRANDING of the polylaminate capsules, it can become the “standard-bearer” of your product, which will be visible both from the side and from the top of the bottle, thanks to the decoration on the top disk of the cap.

    In addition to the elegance of product design, you should not forget about protection and open control of your product. Due to the tight shrinkage of the polylaminate capsules and the correct perforation, it will be impossible to re-cap the bottle without obvious signs of opening. Moreover, thanks to the unique technology, at your request, we can produce such a cap, which will be impossible to remove from the bottle without opening it.

    Wine labels: why are they so important?
    On the liquor labels, we can find angels, beautiful Argentine or Italian mountains; hidden stories in them, and these labels can help you find the liquor you are looking for in your favorite store.

    For the world of liquor to work, it is necessary to have certain regulations that take care of us as consumers. These protect from the creation process to the way the liquor is presented to us and reaches our hands; In other words, there are also rules for liquor labels! Could it be that this liquor that you take home today will be the right one? Learn to decipher the label. There are several segments that makeup liquor labels, you will see that every detail is important and by learning to decipher them you will be able to choose the liquor that suits your tastes and needs. A label may tell you that:

    Brand or name of the liquor: These are easy to recognize; they are the names that normally always stand out on liquor labels; it can be in a romantic typeface or something more elegant. The important thing is that it is in their personalized designs that they convey the spirit of the brand to us, they also give us two key clues; who is the creator and the name of the liquor we have in our hands. When it comes to checking the liquor labels, if the name of the brand is well known, it can tell you about its good quality and if you don’t recognize it; it can be a good opportunity to know something new.

    Denomination of origin or D.O: This part of the liquor labels mentions the name of the natural area that has given life to our liquor. In old world liquors (Europeans) it is very common to find it on the label, do you know names like Rioja or Emilia Romagna? This is because they are liquor regions that for many years have dazzled the palates of the whole world and have become something like a quality seal.

    Grape type: This is the type of grape that your liquor is made of, some of the best known are: bobal, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet sauvignon blanc, merlot, malbec, chardonnay. It can tell you a lot about the characteristics of your liquor; for example, pinot noir takes first place as the white of red grapes for giving life to very smooth red liquors.

    Harvest year: Strong wind and an arid land like La Rioja in Spain can give grapes the power to create a liquor that is unforgettable and conquers the palate of the world’s greatest experts. The work of nature is essential and that is why the natural conditions in which our liquor was harvested have a lot to do with the personality it will have.

    The labels, as you may have understood by now, should show the basic information about the liquor. All of this is necessary, but it is also part of the aesthetics of all content. It is the overall impression that can be seen of the bottle when looking at it on a shelf in a store or in a restaurant. Let’s say that this global aesthetic allows a first presentation and approach of the consumer, to get to know each other “face to face” through the information contained in the label.

    How to Use Shrink Caps on Wine and Beer Bottles
    After all of your bottles have been safely filled and corked, you can choose to put heat-shrinkable capsules (shrink-caps) over the neck of the bottle. While not necessary to preserve the wine, they give a nice finished look to your bottles, and when coordinated with labels give your wine a professional look. Shrink-caps are called so because heat is used to shrink the plastic onto the bottle neck, holding it tightly and smoothing out any wrinkles or seams in the plastic. The best way to apply this heat is with the steam from a teakettle. At a rolling boil the teakettle will produce enough steam out of the end of it’s spout to shrink a capsule in only two or three seconds. Be careful not to burn your fingers! You can use blow dryers, but they are very slow. Hot air paint strippers work better, but they aren’t as fast as a kettle, and are a bit more dangerous to use. In a pinch, the heat from an electric stove element will also serve to shrink the capsules on, but again, be careful with a hot stove. The safest method is using a Fast Seal Tool to hold the shrink-caps in place while you dip them into a pot of boiling water. There are special Hand Held and Bench Top Shrink Machines called Thermocapsulers. They will shrink the caps in one second, and are ideal if you are going to be sealing large amounts of bottles. After sealing, you should leave your wine bottles standing upright for at least the first 24 hours. The compressed air has to work its way out past the cork, and it can only do that if the bottle is standing up. If you immediately turn the bottle on it’s side, the pressure will still be there, but the wine will now be pushing against the cork, and could force it out of the bottle. After 24 hours (or two or three days: it isn’t critical to do it right away) you should turn the bottles on their side for long term storage. This is when the wine against the cork will keep it moist, preventing leaks.

    Advantages and applications of PVC shrink film
    PVC shrink film can be divided into printing level and ordinary packaging level. Printing grade PVC shrink film, as its name implies, is used for printing and can be processed into printed labels. The vast majority of beverages on the market use PVC labels, such as those used on black tea, green tea, and mineral water bottles. Ordinary packaging grade PVC shrink film can be made into tubular film, L-shaped fold film according to requirements, and can be processed into tube bags and flat bags. Although ordinary packaging grade PVC shrink film can also be used for printing, the printing effect is not fine, and There are few printable colors. Generally, one or two colors can be printed according to the majority. PVC shrink film is widely used in wine, food, sporting goods, disinfection tableware, electronic appliances, daily necessities, crafts, construction products, audio and video products, pharmaceuticals, stationery, toys, portals, plastic hardware, glass ceramics, etc Packaging to make its appearance more vivid and beautiful, improve product packaging grade, and protect the product from dust and messy flowers. Is currently an ideal film packaging material.

    Advantages of PVC shrink film:

    1. Wrap the goods stacked on the pallet to make the packaging stable and neat and waterproof;
    2. It has the characteristics of high tensile strength, large elongation, good self-adhesion and high transparency;
    3. Shrink film, heat shrink film is mainly made by mixing and extruding several different grades of polyene resin, with puncture resistance and high performance;

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