Now in its third year, the Grand Canyon Railway's (GCR) Pumpkin Patch Train had a record number of riders this year.
More than 6,570 people rode the train this year, compared to about 1,800 last year, according to Bruce Brossman, GCR's regional director of sales and marketing.
"People are having a ball. It's really a fun thing," Brossman said. "The weather's beautiful, the haunted train car is fun, the platform there is just very lively during these days, and the kids are in costume, the parents are in costume. It's turning into a very popular thing to do."
Brossman said word of mouth and a few extra dates helped contribute to the increase in riders. However he thinks the main reason for the growth in ridership was the ability for people to book tickets in advance for the Pumpkin Patch Train for the first time this year.
"We knew it would be successful once you could reserve it (in advance) but this is even more than we expected," Brossman said. "Polar started the same way, and then when we made Polar bookable online it just took off."
With the Pumpkin Patch Train completing its final run last weekend, GCR is now preparing for The Polar Express, which starts Nov. 8 and ends Jan. 4.
Brossman said this year's pace of sales for the Polar Express is slightly behind last year's, but not enough to be concerned about. After Halloween, GCR will start promoting the Polar Express more, Brossman said.
"That's when we typically see a spike in bookings once people go, 'Oh boy, the holidays are coming up. I've got to figure out what I'm going to be doing,' and the Polar Express comes to mind," he said.
GCR's goal for this year is to get 90,000 riders, which is similar to last year's amount. Brossman said the December dates for the Polar Express will fill up quickly.
"It just keeps getting better every year," Brossman said. "It's just become a family tradition in Arizona and it's a great way to celebrate the holidays."