Irvine Park Railroad Christmas Train Ride

The Irvine Park Railroad has the Christmas Train Ride the whole month of December! It is located in the city of Orange but really isnt too far away from newport beach. It’s basically all the way up Jamboree near the toll roads and took about 25 minutes to get there.

Snagging tickets to this train is a little more difficult. They used to sell out years in advance but this year they had a ticket release date and you could by online the day they were released to give everyone a fair chance of getting tickets. I went online at 8am so I could get the date and time I wanted.

I heard that going at night was best because that’s when it’s all lit up of course but now that I went I would do it totally different. Let me show you some photos and tell you about it, and then at the end i’ll tell you what I would have done differently and why

Our train ride was scheduled for 6pm and we got on a little early at 5:45pm. I was prepared for a cute train ride with holiday lights. I knew there was supposed to be a Santa’s Village after the train ride with activities for the kids and photos with Santa if you wanted. HOWEVER, I was slightly wrong.

The train ride is cute and there are pretty lights .. but it’s main purpose is to drop you off at “The north Pole” where you will wait in the freezing cold to take photos with Santa. Then the train will pick you back up and you will see a few more lights and drops you back at the start. Which is Santa’s village where you can do all of the cute kid activities.


  1. I already took our photos with Santa at fashion Island last week and spent $45. So there wasn’t anything to do at “The North Pole” besides by a $3.00 styrofoam hot (luke warm) chocolate.

2. I didn’t pack a diaper bag for a 15 minute train ride… Little did i know we were being dropped off. The baby SH*T his diaper. Of course he did. I went to check his diaper and got poop on my finger UGH. So now I’m out in the cold waiting for this train to pick us up with s stinky kid and poop finger. OH JOY!! lol

3. By the time we got back to the village the kids were cold and tired and wanted to go home. So therefore we did not partake in any of the cute activities.

If I had to do it again next year..

  1. I would buy train tickets for 4pm that way I could take photos with Santa before it got dark and then see all of the lights on the train ride back to the village.
  2. I would probably arrive an hour early (again in the daytime) to do the fun kid activities.
  3. I would bring a diaper bag on the train ride!
  4. I would not buy any of their food or drinks and bring your own snack/water bottle.
  5. Make sure the kids have warm jackets and beanie if you do go at night!

Thanks for reading! Have you been before? Let me know what your thoughts are and when your favorite time to go is!?


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