Before you go to WinterFest read this

Wonderland is trying to get you to buy into their WinterFest. Well I’ve got some news for you. It’s worth it. Go!  It’s been open for three days and we’ve been there all three days. The first night we went at 8 pm, two hours before closing, and it wasn’t too busy. This worked because the kids are older but we didn’t get to skate. The second day we go there at 4:30, 5 hours before closing and skating was already sold out for the day! The third day we went at 6pm until 9pm and I learned that it’s unlikely we’ll get a skate time without booking online.

I found out that they only have about 50 tickets available for free and it’s on a first come first serve basis. In reality, if you want to skate and you are not the first 20 families in the park it’s unlikely you’ll get a skate time. The best way of actually getting a skate time is to book online and pay the $10 to secure a spot. If you are able to go right at opening you might have a shot of getting a skate time. After our experience I decided to write a post to give you some tips for your visit.

Before you go here’s what you need to know:

As I mentioned, you need to pre-register for skating if you want to secure a skate time otherwise it’s on a first come basis and might be full for the day. To secure your spot online there is a cost of $10 but that includes skate rental and helmet. This is a good option if you have to rent skates anyway or you don’t want to have to bring skates around with you. There are lockers available too. You MUST book the skate time at least one day in advance. Get all the deets on booking your time and skate rental here .

Only a few rides are open in the adult section but most are open in planet snoopy. The carousel, bumper cars and boo blasters were among the popular ones in our group. To see a list of all rides available go here .

There are really good shows both indoor and out throughout the park. All the shows are timed well keeping families in mind. The show in the Cantebury theatre is only 25 minutes! My 8 year old was mesmerized and there were lots of toddlers and pre-schoolers in attendance as well. If you have little ones don’t miss Tinker’s Toy Factory.

I saw a few of the outdoor shows and singing and they are all good. I really enjoyed Cool Yule Christmas. There are lots of shows and in the three days that we’ve been so far it was impossible to see them all. WinterFest is not just for families. I’m planning to go with hubby one night and also as a girls night out. There is something for everyone. For a list of the live entertainment and where they are located throughout the park click here .

Christmas market – I don’t have to say much else, right?  Lots of delicious food options including vegan options, fresh fudge, Bavarian food, butter cookies, and of course cotton candy plus other vendors as well.

The best food places are still open throughout the park with lots of hot chocolate options. The funnel cakes and beavertails had the longest lines, as usual. 

I know you’ve watched those holiday movies where magic happens in the Christmas markets well this is what you’ll feel like – It’s that gorgeous.  And for the first time in 10 years of Wonderland  passes I am finally getting value out of my adult pass. For the most part I’ve felt that I’ve just been paying to supervise my kids.  I don’t generally like roller coasters and the kids were too little to go on the bigger rides with me.  I’m glad I got the gold pass because I’ll be going back a lot. I cannot wait for it to be covered in snow I know that will make it feel even more magical. 

Now! Let’s talk planning your visit and that’s more than checking out the hours and what to do. 

What to wear: 

The obvious. It’s winter. It’s cold. It’s night. 

Dress warm. 

I had my little guy in snow pants, hats, neck warmer.  He was toasty and happy.  Most of the kids with a frown on their faces were dressed poorly. 

The not so obvious. Dress cute if you plan on taking photos at all the photo ops and believe me there are tons of opportunities. 

Photos : The lines are long. I recommend doing photos towards the end on your way out if your kids are older and won’t be too tired or overstimulated.

If you have to go during the busy hours the lines will be very long for photos.

Saturdays are the busiest days by far! Sunday evenings are the least busy since it’s a school night.

To avoid the lines go at opening or two hours before closing.  If you have a gold pass you’ll go back a few times so two hours is plenty. If you are only planning to visit once you’ll need about 4-6 hours if you plan to do everything.  My recommendation is to make an outing out of it.  If you are not booking your skate online as soon you so enter the park go over to the registration area and book your skate time. The registration area is on the left side when you enter across from the skating rink.

After booking your skate time I recommend seeing the shows and then walking around once it gets darker. It looks much different at 7pm than it does at 4pm.

Visit the gift shop 

The kids can spin the wheel to taste different types of jellybeans and you can sample different types of shortbread cookies. Plus, they have lots of cute gifts.  Katelyn picked up this sweater. 

You can write letters to Santa. AND the best part is when you post the letter your little one can see it being delivered to Santa right away! See the video here

Finally my card had value for me. I’ve been going for years and paying just to chaperone my kids. 

Not quite the ice queen but I had my queening moment 🙂 I hope this helps you to have a great time at WinterFest. I’ll keep updating this post as we visit. The only thing that can improve WinterFest will be when it starts snowing and everything gets even more magical.

5 thoughts on “Before you go to WinterFest read this

  1. Great review. You have convinced me to upgrade my pass to Gold.
    I was torn between going to Aurora Winter Festival at the CNE or going to WinterFest at Wonderland. Now I know.
    Thank for the tips and the time you spent writing a thorough review.


    1. Glad you found it useful Paolo. It makes sense to upgrade the gold pass now since you get to access this year’s WinterFest and then get the full year membership for next year as well. If you had a parking pass it carries over, too.


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