To believe or not to believe in Santa is a question of whether or not you believe in magic. Do you believe a man can fly across the world in a single night and perfectly deliver presents to each and every household and not set off alarms or knock over lamps and spook the dog. Yes, it's impossible, but is it more fun believing or not believing? I always ask my son that as he begins to chip away at the Santa theory. He always agrees with me that it's more fun to believe.
So my problem with The Polar Express is that the hero boy of the story is being rewarded for not believing in Santa. And how is he being rewarded? He's being taken on the most magical trip ever created. Sure it's spooky at times, but the end result is that the boy gets to meet Santa himself. So why him? Why not another child who already believes? Shouldn't they be rewarded? Why does this little shit get a ticket? That's like Willy Wonka giving the factory to a kid who didn't return the everlasting gobstobber. If the boy would rather spend his time being a doubter and poking holes, then let him be. No need to scare him into it or try to prove it to him. Save his golden ticket for someone more deserving. Someone who believes in the unbelievable. Of course all of this message is lost on my son who enjoys the movie's frantic pace and wacky train ride. But it's not lost on me.