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Review Highlights
Just Okay - Wheelchair User Notes Included

Yesterday we took the Mt Hood Railroad's Fall Excursion. We'd wanted to view the fall foliage and... read more

Reviewed 21 October 2018
TheCheerfulGivers
,
Battle Ground, Washington
Christmas train ride

We sat on the top tier w clear views of farms, forest, and a waving smiling Santa at a halfway... read more

Reviewed 3 weeks ago
linedancer12018
,
Salem, Oregon
via mobile
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Reviewed 11 December 2017

We brought our two kids to this ride with high expectations for an experience of Christmas magic. We paid generously for the diamond class, which we very much regretted. The bathrooms and the music system were both out of order, and the lack of music left the ride feeling especially dry and not very festive. The hot chocolate was cold, essentially chocolate milk. The staff was very friendly and tried hard, but appeared not to have much of a grip on how the trip was supposed to go or on how to entertain children. It particularly was awkward when the elves read to us from a book which half of the kids could not see or hear. The ride had about five scenic minutes, followed by yards of various sorts and orchards. Christmas town itself is a red cardboard cut out next to a broken down car lot, abandoned buildings and general junkiness. My three year old son actually said of santa's house, "Nobody can live there, its flat!" Santa himself had blonde locks sticking out underneath his wig, which my daughter immediately noticed. By the end many children were squirming, whining or flat out screaming. Not even close to worth the money or the long drive.

Date of experience: December 2017
5  Thank kmeelia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 December 2017 via mobile

We rode the “Polar Express” as a family at the Mount Hood Railroad on December 8th. I have to place quotes around the title because nothing about this ride had any semblance of the movie.

The train arrived 30 minutes late, defeating the purpose of buying 4:30 tickets. We hoped to enjoy the majestic scenery of the Columbia River Gorge, but it was completely dark before the train departed.

The sign with all the car numbers on it pointed us the wrong way. Then we boarded the correct car to learn that the loud speaker system was not working. The “elves” did their best to sing Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer, but most people had already lost the spirit.

The “hot” cocoa was just cocoa, not even warm. The gingerbread flavored cookie was stale and cold.

Refusing to give up (to their credit) the elves did their best to read “The Train to Christmas Town”, but nobody could hear them as they paced back and forth through the car. The large population of children grew restless from the lack of entertainment and easily drowned out the elves while they tried to salvage the disaster.

As if they hadn’t already done enough, the elves announced Santa’s workshop outside the window, but it was completely dark and indistinguishable from all of the other darkness.
The only thing that came close to expectation was when Santa boarded the train. The kids genuinely enjoyed sitting next to Santa and taking photos.

We drove three hours to the Hood River Railroad and booked a hotel in the area to stay overnight. We paid top dollar for what friends and advertising had convinced us was the best Polar Express experience around. Next time we’ll stay local and ride the Mount Rainier version of this same idea. Mount Hood Railroad provided what can best be described as a really sad train ride.

Date of experience: December 2017
5  Thank ggeme001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 November 2017

We took this excursion today with our 4 grandkids and their parents. Ages 2 months, 3, 5 and 6. It left right on time. We had tickets for the Dome car and were seated at tables where we enjoyed hot cocoa at just the right temperature for little kids. It was served in cups with lids which prevented accidents. They also enjoyed the ginger cookies wrapped in napkins. All through the hour long ride, the children were entertained with cute and friendly storybook characters. They also had crayons and pictures to color while waiting for the train to start up. We have 3 very lively enthusiastic children and they were never bored - they loved every minute of the ride. The Dome car was very comfortable and warm and the scenery was lovely . Christmas Town was a little underwhelming but that is the only minor criticism of this very fun and festive trip. I recommend it highly especially for kids. Will definitely do it again !

Date of experience: November 2017
1  Thank Gloria V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 October 2017

I hate to write a bad review but do feel people should know what they are getting into beforehand.

First the positives: very friendly helpful staff who did try to help you in any reasonable way they could. The themed trips, which we did not take, sound like they would be entertaining for families.

Negatives: My wife and I have travelled on classic scenic railroads from West to East coasts but this train ride seemed pointless. As an earlier reviewer noted there was little to view other then fruit tree farms, vineyards and commercial lumber yards, etc. Most of which were obscured by tree and bush growth along either side of the tracks. We could not get the observation car which seemed nice and instead sat on hard chairs at a table in the snack car which reeked of popcorn. The bathroom was disgusting. The destination, while a nice enough little town, also seemed pointless. There was no commentary on the outbound journey and the return journey commentary left much to be desired. The locomotive was a diesel and the whole railroad was of little interest to a train buff. Parking was ridiculous. You park, walk a good distance to the station ticket window, wait on a long line to pick up pre-ordered tickets, pay $5.00 for a parking pass then have to return to your parked vehicle to put the pass on the dash. Come on folks this is 2017 and we booked with computers. We didn't preorder food, bought locally, and were told the preordered food left much to be desired. I could go on but won't. As another reviewer noted the ride between Portland and Hood River was more scenic and certainly more comfortable and less costly. Pass this railroad by.

Date of experience: October 2017
4  Thank BUtraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 October 2017 via mobile

We booked this adventure as a treat for my train loving son's 5th birthday. It was a 3 hour drive from our home to the train station and if we do it again we'll definitely stay overnight as the town is so cute. We booked the Diamond seats which puts you in Dome seating in booths on the second level. It was really nice. I originally booked the First class which is table and chair seating in the snack bar car. This section is great for adult parties and if you want to have wine and beer near. This was definitely the "party car". Standard seating also seemed very nice, it did seem colder in this car and you had people walking through it to get to the snack bar, however the seats were comfy and this and the Diamond seating seemed the best for kids.
The "Train Robbery" was fun and not scary for kids as the actors were great with all ages. There was also a magician who visited each table. The ride was fairly long and the show was fairly short so I'd suggest bringing something along to keep the littles occupied. You are allowed to bring food and drink on the train. The BBQ lunch you can buy is pretty good for $12. Bringing your own food can save you some money though for buying something cute in Mt. Hood or a hotel room to stay the night.

Date of experience: September 2017
Thank Alibetad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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