Winterfest is back! I visited with the kids and got all the deets on what’s the same since the first year and what’s new this year. Yes, it is still worth the visit and I think even more so now since everything is outside. It’s absolutely gorgeous and a great time for the whole family or even for an adult visit but you want to plan ahead and book as much online as possible before you go.
This year you have to show your proof of vaccination with ID for everyone 12+. The checkpoint now goes like this : Scanner, check bags, check proof of vaccination and check tickets/passes.
IMPORTANT: If you are planning to skate, you should go over to the candy cane lane and get your skating wristband first before going through the checkpoint. The skate check-in is where ticket sales used to be. If you previously booked to bring your own skates but change your mind you can add on skates at the park and it’s just the difference of what it would have been online.
For skating, you will need to fill out a waiver to make it easier you can fill it online and print it off and skip the wait. If you don’t do it online you will have to fill it out at the park before you can get your wristband. To skate you must book online ahead of time and spots are limited. The cost is $12 to rent a skate and $5 if you bring your own. If you have your own skates they must be in a bag when entering the park with them.
Before you go here’s what you need to know:
As I mentioned, you need to pre-register for skating online. To secure your spot online there is a cost of $12 which includes skate rental and helmet for guests under 48″ or $5 if you have your own equipment. 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. My kids prefer to use their own skates because the skates provided at Wonderland are the ones with the tips for figure skating.
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 .
This year all the shows are outdoors. All the shows are timed well keeping families in mind. There is nothing in the theatre for 2021
I saw a few of the outdoor shows and singing and they are all good. I really enjoyed Cool Yule Christmas. 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 the magic happens in the Christmas markets well this is what you’ll feel like – It’s that gorgeous. With Winterfest, I feel like 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.
New this year there is a mulled wine and ice wine tasting area. They’ll be there for 6 weeks.
Now! Let’s talk about 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.
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. Masks are recommended in areas where distancing is not possible and masks must be worn indoors. If you have children with special needs you might find this post useful.
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 and local 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. It looks much different at 7 pm than it does at 4 pm.
Visit the gift shop
All the shops have really cute souvenirs and lots of snacks. My son loves to get something every time we go, and I figured out the perfect thing. It’s $2.99 and small. It’s the small pack of chocolate-covered pretzels with sprinkled candy cane on top. It’s not going to break his piggy bank, and it’s not a lot of sweets either. Win/Win My favourite was the gingerbread house collection.
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 (Note, when we went this weekend crayons were not available but you can still write and send your letter to Santa)
Finally, my card had value for me. I’ve been going for years and paying just to chaperone my kids. Full disclosure I love winter and love the holidays so walking around in a winter wonderland with holiday music playing is pure joy for me.
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.