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Put on your flannel PJs and climb aboard these train rides that bring Chris Van Allsburg’s classic Christmas book to life.

RELATED: 5 hotel gingerbread houses that will give you the Christmas feels

This train is exceeding the maximum cuteness capacity. Credit Grand Canyon Railway.

This train is exceeding the maximum cuteness capacity | Credit Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway Williams, AZ

The only thing more enchanting than the Grand Canyon is this 90-minute ride from the Flagstaff area to a winter wonderland. On board, passengers enjoy live entertainment, photo ops with costumed characters and a reading of The Polar Express. Upon arrival at the “North Pole,” you’ll be greeted with cookies, hot chocolate and a gift for every girl and boy from Santa himself.

Roasting marshmallows in December; we're liking this Florida "North Pole" thing. Courtesy of Florida Railroad Museum.

Roasting marshmallows in December; we’re liking this Florida “North Pole” thing. | Courtesy of Florida Railroad Museum.

Florida Railroad MuseumParrish, FL

The Florida sunshine ain’t the only thing that’ll warm your heart this season. Feel all cozy inside when you climb aboard the North Pole Express in this town about 40 miles south of Tampa. Carolers get the party started on board, as the train makes its way to a field where everyone enjoys hot cocoa, cookies and, of course, a visit with the Big Guy.

Why wear a coat when a robe will do? Credit Jerry/Flickr Creative Commons.

Why wear a coat when a robe will do? | Credit Jerry/Flickr Creative Commons

Whitewater Valley RailroadConnersville, IN

This 19-mile-long scenic railroad is about an hour’s drive southeast of Indianapolis, but you’ll feel a world away. Climb aboard for hot chocolate, cookies and a reading the The Polar Express as you travel through the countryside. When you disembark at the “North Pole,” Santa and his helpers will be waiting with gifts from the workshop.

The 13-mile round trip on the Train of Lights takes a little over an hour. Credit Moyer Photos/Flick Creative Commons.

The 13-mile round trip on the Train of Lights takes a little over an hour | Credit Moyer Photos/Flick Creative Commons.

Niles Canyon RailwaySunol, CA

Leave behind the fast pace of Silicon Valley and take a journey on the Train of Lights, an illuminated locomotive with departures at sunset and after dark. Regardless of which ride you choose, you’ll want to splurge on a ticket in the glass-domed upper level for an unobstructed view.

Look out for elves on the El. Credit Ocean Yamaha/Flickr Creative Commons.

Look out for elves on the El |  Credit Ocean Yamaha/Flickr Creative Commons

CTA Holiday TrainChicago, IL

Winter in Chicago can be brutal, but Santa and his elves are out to warm hearts on this urban train ride. While the elves pass out candy canes and spread Christmas cheer inside, Santa rides on an open-air flatcar “sleigh” (brrr), so he can wave to boarding passengers. The six-car train is decked out for the holidaysinside and out, so tourists won’t be the only ones hankering for a photo op on the El train.

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Tagged: California, Christmas Travel Ideas, Family time, Florida, Midwest

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Dalia Colon

Dalia Colon

Dalia is a multimedia journalist in Tampa and the Smart Travel Insider for VISIT FLORIDA. Follow her on Twitter @daliacolon.

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