I was wondering if the boy in Polar Express dreamed everything or was the train magic (like they said)?
There are some fact suggesting that it really happened.
Fact #1 Christmas Gift from Mr. C - In the end scene the boy received the same gift he chose, from santa. The Bell. and there was a letter saying that he found the bell on the sleigh. it was fallen from boys's pocket.
Fact #2 - The bell and Believing. It's heard to only those who believe about Christmas and magic, The boy didn't hear it first. but the he learned to believe and he heard, and in the final scene the parents don't hear it too, as they do not believe in magic, but the boy and his sister can hear it.
and also some fact suggest that it's a dream
Boy's coat getting ripped - his coat got ripped while he was going out to see the train, but in the morning it wasn't ripped and newly ripped when he was going down. That could suggest what happened was a dream.
One of the best answered I've seen about this point, copied from Yahoo answers credits goes to original writer.
- The major plot point of the story was if the boy was going to believe in things that may or may not be true. It wasn't about whether or not the train was real, whether the experience was real or even if he met Santa Claus. It's about whether or not he is going to believe in such possibilities, evidence or no.
In some ways, the boy's journey was reflected in all the other characters: he had to develop friendships, take leadership/responsibility, learn to take chances, and simply believe in such things. The train ride, the ticket, the kindly conductor, those were just the means by which he came to that conclusion