WinterFest at Worlds of Fun.. a NEW Christmas Tradition
We have been eagerly anticipating the BRAND-NEW Kansas City Holiday Tradition - WinterFest at Worlds of Fun! Our family couldn't wait to celebrate Christmas at Kansas City's original theme park with Snoopy, Jack Frost, Santa, and spectacular lights. This weekend, our family headed to the theme park for WinterFest... an event that lived up to all of our expectations!
There is so much to see and do - it's impossible to do it all in just five hours! Plus, we visited with BEAUTIFUL weather and attendance was really high. Still, we had a great time and recommend this event to families - after you've been, you'll want to go again!
If you're thinking of heading to WinterFest, what should you expect and what should you know before you go? Here's the Scoop:
WinterFest at Worlds of Fun Weekends thru Dec. 30. Buy tickets online and save $10/ticket. Season pass holders may purchase discounted tickets to bring-a-friend. And, if you're buying a 2018 Worlds of Fun Gold Fast - you get one free 2017 visit (WinterFest) to enjoy! So, buy passes for the family this Christmas and enjoy WinterFest this year when you do! There is a lot to see and do, and the event is very well-attended. We chose to focus on the unique-to-WinterFest fun (vs. rides we enjoy year-round) and really use our time well. The event runs from 5-10pm, and there is so much to see, you want to choose wisely.
There are 10 live shows and many beautiful displays throughout the park. I recommend familiarizing yourself with the map ahead of time and prioritizing the shows you want to see so you can make the most of your time. We saw the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30 (you don't want to miss this... the "falling snow" finale delighted the children), Charlie Brown's Christmas Spectacular (a dance and musical revue starring your favorite Peanuts characters), Tinker's Toy Factory (a musical comedy as elves prepare to help Santa with Christmas Eve), Sounds of the Nativity (live animals on display all evening with musical performances), the Coke Polar Party (dance and sing with Coca-Cola DJs), and the Holly Jolly Trolley (musicians who travel via trolley throughout the park and carol along the way).
In addition, we enjoyed meet and greets with characters including Jack Frost, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Gingerbread Men, and Toy Soldiers.
We also enjoyed the many gorgeous light displays throughout the park. Le Taxi Tour takes riders on a trip through the 12 Days of Christmas a magical light display.
The train station and train were beautifully decorated.
The train is all decked out for Christmas with beautiful greenery and lights and a tour a la Jack Frost is comical and magical as riders enjoy a great view of the light displays throughout the park.
We loved the fun Christmas displays throughout the park.
Planet Snoopy is whimsical and fun with GIANT Christmas Lights decorating all the trees - my FAVORITE, a chance to make crafts and ornaments and fun throughout.
Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree Lot give kids a chance to explore and discover Charlie Brown's tree.
Near Planet Snoopy and the entrance to the Timberwolf is Artisan Alley, a shopping opportunity where you can buy gifts from local artisans and crafters. Jewelry, T-Shirts, soaps, pillows, and decorative items were a few items for sale. In addition to Artisan Alley, the many gift shops throughout the park sell a variety of holiday decorations and gifts including Peanuts Christmas memorabilia.
The Orient is beautiful with fabulous light displays, but the lanterns are the "star of the show."
The Coca-Cola Santa is a Holiday Classic and Worlds of Fun features a Coca-Cola Polar Plaza complete with holiday decorations and regular dance parties in the streets!
This tree is synchronized to music!
One of my girls' favorite activities was cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. For $14, you may purchase 4 GIANT (the size of a dinner plate) cookies and are supplied with frosting and sprinkles to decorate the goodies. Our girls decorated cookies, enjoyed a bit of their treat, then boxed up the left overs to enjoy later at home. This was a sweet treat and popular stop at the park. We also enjoyed the Hot Cocoa mugs - purchase a mug for $10.99 and it is refillable during your entire stay.
Choose from an array of sprinkles to decorate your cookie!
Rides, like the carousel, were beautifully decorated as well.
The girls loved the magic of "falling snow" and the many decorations throughout the park including the gingerbread village and Candy Cane Lane. Everything was beautiful and magical!
For the very first year, WinterFest at Worlds of Fun was fabulous and promises to quickly become a favorite family tradition for Kansas Citians. If you're still brainstorming and trying to think of the perfect gift - season passes to Worlds of Fun and a visit to WinterFest are one of our favorite picks. Enjoy making family memories at the park all year long!
Hear what other KC Parent writers have to say about WinterFest:
Maggie Uhl wrote, "My husband and I took our two daughters, 7 and 12, to WinterFest this past Sunday December 3. We were dazzled from the moment we got there. And the hits just kept coming. The park at Worlds of Fun was for us a truly magical right of sights, sounds, thrills and tastes. It's extremely hard to hit all those notes, but they did it. We walked around with hot chocolate (buy the mug and get refills free) and ate a holiday a funnel cake. There is an Artisan's alley to buy handmade gifts, lots of singing in the glittery air and shows galore, but maybe our favorite touch was sitting together around a REAL wood burning fire pit in Adirondack chairs, complete with a red Christmas pillows to make it cozy. THIS was my idea of a sweet festival. The twinkling lights are stunning in the night air, and they are everywhere you turn! 25 rides are up and running from simple thrill levels for the wee ones to coasters for the faster Christmas laughs. It even snows there. Christmas carols are in the air and the characters like Mr. Frost are gracious and kind. It is hard to pin all our favorite memories, but my girls would tell you talking with Mrs. Claus who has a cookie decorating kitchen up and running was a lovely touch. I would tell you: run don't walk to Winterfest. It is magic."
Sarah Lyon, mother of six children ranging from 3 to 12-years-old, wrote, "We loved the lights and how the park was decorated. The little kids love the Planet Snoopy rides and the older kids love Spinning Dragons. They also enjoyed the characters walking around. They did a good job interacting with the kids. My oldest son loved the hot cocoa. Two of my kids loved the music and shows. Another really loved the fake snow. I would recommend it to others. I think it's a great holiday tradition and love that they added this. I felt like there was plenty to do and the park was well staffed and clean. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. I overheard lots of positive comments from other visitors, some saying they had visited every weekend during Winterfest."
Erin Jones McIntosh wrote, "I am such a sucker for a festive seasonal outing. Christmas isn't Christmas without driving around KC looking at lights, finding the best Santa, photo opps at Union Station, hot chocolate on the Plaza, and holiday crafts at Kaleidoscope. Kansas City is so magical at Christmastime, and I force my family to enjoy it all, every single year. Usually in precious coordinating (but not matching) outfits. This year, when I heard about Winterfest at Worlds of Fun, I was intrigued. We aren't usually amusement park people - sadly, none of my kids or my husband enjoy roller coasters. But the commercials hooked me and the idea of mixing up our usual Christmas traditions sounded like fun. Because crowds, people in costume, and thrill rides are the things of nightmares for one of my children, we decided he could stay home and watch football with his dad. As much as I love to channel Clark and Ellen in creating epic family memories, I know when to quit. So for this one, it was me and my 15 year old son, 12 year old daughter, and 6 year old daughter who bundled up and headed out to see what Winterfest was all about. We chose a Sunday evening, thinking it might be less crowded. We lucked out with great weather - it was chilly, but not freezing. As we approached the entrance to the park, we could see lights in the distance and faint notes of familiar carols coming from the speakers. I felt a tingle of excitement and looked at my kids. They were grinning. This was going to be fun.
And so it was, for all of us. My 15 year old had just has much fun as the 6 year old, and if you have children with a big age gap, you know how awesome and rare that is. We rode all of the non-scary rides, and the lines were short enough that the kids could ride their favorites more than once. There was not a single argument over where to go or what to do. We were all in for all of it. The atmosphere was so magical - the park was completely transformed into a Winter Wonderland, and it was beautiful. We met Jack Frost and a Sugarplum Fairy, some dancing Snowflakes, and Mrs. Claus! We did the cookie decorating experience - a messy but very fun way to get out of the cold for a bit. We also took advantage of the refillable souvenir cups of hot chocolate, which was great - the four of us shared two and had plenty of delicious hot chocolate to keep us toasty as the night became colder. I loved the Nativity-themed petting area - it was complete with goats, calves, lambs, camels, and donkeys. I was surprised but really appreciated the acknowledgement of the Christian aspect of the season. And what an engaging way to do it! The fuzzy calves and timid little donkeys melted my heart. We took a break from rides to listen to the Mistletones perform, and we also caught part of the Cool Yule Christmas performance. Both were entertaining, and even got a stamp of approval from my teenager. After a few hours (we arrived at 4pm and left around 8:30), we were tired, but it was really hard to leave. Had we not had school the next day, I think we would've stayed even longer. I really hope that Worlds of Fun continues to offer this event - it was a really special way to kick-off my family's Christmas season. There were no fake smiles, scratchy sweaters, meltdowns or arguments. There was a lot of snuggling, laughing, singing, and SUGAR. And when it was all over, we truly felt warm and fuzzy and ready for the holidays. And everyone slept really good that night."
Jessica Samuel, a UMKC student and local writer, shared, "Ohhh Joy to the world, where do I start! Kansas City’s Winterfest at Worlds of Fun is definitely a treat for the family. The park this time of the year is filled with all kind of goodies. Literally. Worlds of Fun has transformed their most viewed as summer amusement haven into a winter wonderland. When you enter the park not only are you greeted with friendly faces like Jack Frost, Santa, Mrs. Clause, walking talking snowflakes, you also get to partake in the festivities like caroling and cookie decorating! The absolute best part about walking through this amusement park for this holiday season, is that its inclusive! So, if you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa the park didn’t forget about you, they have small displays to include both you and your loved ones. Oh but wait there’s more! The park shuts down the larger coasters, but still manages to keep you entertained. If you enjoy ice skating, the park has included an ice rink. They also have tones of holiday inspired plots where you can pose with your family for pictures. My personal favorite, was the huge Worlds of fun snow globe that you and your family can stand inside! If you’re looking for a Christmas excursion that both big kids and small kids alike can enjoy, I definitely would recommend Kansas City’s World’s of Fun Winterfest. "