Before you go to Wonderland this summer read this

You might be excitedly planning your next visit to Canada’s Wonderland or planning to drop your kids off with friends. In addition to the usual things like very long lines now that things are back to full capacity, there are also very important things that are new this year. No, you do not need masks or vaccine certificates. But, YES, you will need a debit or credit card to pay for anything in the park.

Cash is no longer accepted anywhere in the park; if you are planning to drop off your kids or send them with others, you need to either give them a card to pay, or they can use their smart device like Apple or Google Pay. If those are not options, there are Cash-to-Card Kiosks in the park to turn cash into a card. These kiosks will give you a free pre-paid debit card that can be used anywhere, not just at the park. The minimum amount on the card is $5, and the maximum you can put is $500. The cards are not reloadable, and there are no transaction fees.

Another noticeable change and one to be aware of is the Tim Hortons that used to be in Kidsville has been changed to a different cafe. I used to grab my coffee and sip while the kids played at the playground. This year it looks like the only location is the one by the waterfall. If you have a meal plan it’s a good idea to be aware of which locations accept the meal plan. For example, the Subway near Leviathan does not accept the meal plan but the one in Kidsville does. Be sure to check which meal establishments accept the meal plan before you line up to avoid disappointment.

If this is your first visit to Canada’s Wonderland – you must plan your visit. The park gets extremely busy on weekends, and the lines can be long. When the kids were younger I found it very useful that I could literally filter the activities and thrill levels I wanted and then just focus on those rides specifically. You can plan out a game plan online ahead of time. You can do this for rides and activities and also for dining. If you wanted to know exactly which restaurants accept the meal plan, you can filter online or through the app.

If you live far away and it will be your only visit that summer, I suggest paying the extra for the Fast Lane. If Fast Lane is not an option, go early and have a game plan of the rides and attractions you want to experience ahead of time. If you have a season pass, take advantage of the early ride times and avoid the long lines once the park is open to everyone. I found this especially useful for getting to Splahworks and actually finding a spot to sit in the shade.

If you live close and have a season pass, I like to divide and conquer; one day devoted entirely to Splash Works Waterpark and another day to rides. When the kids were younger, I would do all the rides in Planet Snoopy and Kidsville early and then walk around the park and do other activities in the afternoon on the way out of the park.

A tip for the parking pass, I learned early on that it’s better to put the parking pass on one of the kids’ cards than on one of the adults. The holder of the parking pass must be in the car for the parking pass to be accepted. The year that we had it on the adult card only that adult could bring the kids to the park. If the pass is on your child’s pass even if a grandparent, friend or other caregiver is taking the child the parking pass will be accepted as long as the child is in the car.

If you are doing any water rides like Wild Water Canyon, you will get wet, so bring a change of clothes or add these to the days you are planning to go to Splashworks.

I’m personally very excited that the Cantebury Theatre is reopening and that there is a whole lineup of activities this summer throughout the park. Some of the things already planned include a dog show, Cirque experience, and multiple food fairs. I’m not huge into rollercoasters as much as the kids are, so it’s great to take in the other entertainment in the park. I plan to leave the kids at home and go on a date night or girls’ night out to some of the festivals, especially the Brew & BBQ one. 

Some of the shows already announced are below and you can keep up to date on new ones on their special events page. 

• WoofJocks Canine All-Stars (May – June, dates TBA): These amazing dogs will wow with their tricks, flips and athletic skills in a fun, choreographed show. 

• Tundra: A Cirque Experience (June 24 – Sept. 5): This magical show themed to a humorous tale of Canadian exploration returns to Canterbury Theatre, bringing mesmerizing displays of acrobatics, aerial artistry, and bike stunts. 

• Victoria Falls High Divers (June 25 – Sept. 5): Brave divers gracefully leap from the top of Wonder Mountain over the falls to a pool more than 18 metres (60 feet) below.

 • Fall Out – Stunt Dive Show (June 25 – Sept. 5): These divers take competition to a whole new level in a fast-paced, energetic stunt show that pits athlete against athlete on trampolines and high-dive towers. 

• Shows with The PEANUTS Gang (various dates): Kids can join Snoopy and friends in a returning show “Charlie Brown’s Jungle Journey,” dance with favourite characters at the Peanuts Block Party or see Snoopy conduct a fountain orchestra at Snoopy’s Symphony of Water.  

This year, Canada’s Wonderland also features an extensive lineup of events and festivals:

 • Fireworks (May 22, July 1, July 31, Sept. 4) – Witness spectacular fireworks display of explosive light and colour high over the park skyline choreographed to a lively soundtrack.

• Brew & BBQ (June 24-26) – The annual BBQ festival returns with foot-stomping live music, dozens of craft beers and ciders, plus a mouth-watering summer menu featuring ribs, gourmet burgers and BBQ chicken.  

• Celebration Canada (July 1-17) – It’s Canada’s biggest birthday celebration! Join us for lively music, street entertainment and see the impressive skills and antics of the West Coast Lumberjacks. Then indulge in Canadian foods like beef sliders, poutine, mac’n cheese and more.  

• KidZfest (July 23-Aug. 7) – This party is perfect for families and kids with special guest appearances by Marvel superheroes, dance parties with the PEANUTS gang, interactive games, activities, live entertainment and more.  

• NEW! Taste of Portugal (Aug. 13-14) – Step into a festival celebrating the time-worn charm of Portugal, with lively street entertainment and traditional foods including succulent roast chicken and the sweet, rich and perfectly crisp Portuguese custard tarts.

• NEW! Taste of Ireland (Aug. 20-21) – The flavours and spirited culture of the Emerald Isle arrive at Canada’s Wonderland with lively Celtic music and dancers and hearty Irish fare featuring Guinness BBQ Pork Ribs, Irish Shepherd’s Pie and sweet desserts like Chocolate Guinness Cake and Butterscotch Apple Cake. 

• NEW! Taste of the Caribbean (Aug. 27-28) – Enjoy island flavours from jerk chicken to specialty seafood, rum cake and coconut sweets, plus fruity summer drinks while the sounds of steel drum music fill the air.  

• Oktoberfest (Sept. 10-11, 17-18) – For two weekends, guests will be treated to German-themed food, drink specials and traditional festival bands in the castle courtyard of Medieval Faire. Enjoy classic sausage, schnitzel, Bavarian pretzels, and a tall stein of refreshing lager.  

If you have children with special needs, this post might be helpful. The post was written about WinterFest, but all the same, services are available all year round.

If you haven’t stayed for the evening the nights are really fun and there is a water show set to music. If you have other tips for how to help families enjoy Canada’s Wonderland and reduce stress, please feel free to share them in the comments.

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