WinterFest at Worlds of Fun... Magical Memories for the Entire Family!

2018 Edition

WinterFest at Worlds of Fun is back this year and even better than last year! Kansas City's original theme park is transformed into a magical Christmas wonderland with amazing light displays, and warm hospitality from Christmas characters including Snoopy and the Peanuts gang, Scrooge and the Ghosts of A Christmas Carol, gingerbread cookies, Jack Frost, Christmas fairies, Santa, and more holiday friends. This new tradition is a favorite for Kansas City families and we're excited to tell you why!

This festival is truly magical. With fabulous live shows, a tree lighting ceremony, music, decorations, food and rides... there is so much to see and do. 

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. 31. 

There are 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 the Coca-Cola Polar Bear, Gingerbread Cookies, characters from A Christmas Carol, and the Peanuts Gang.

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.

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.

The Sounds of the Nativity gives families the chance to see a giant nativity, hear carols, and pet live animals.

Visitors may enjoy outdoor ice skating for an additional fee:

Throughout the park, you may purchase 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."

One of my girls' favorite activities was cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. For $15, you may purchase 4 GIANT (the size of a dinner plate) cookies and are supplied with frosting and sprinkles to decorate the goodies. This year, they moved this activity up near the Timber Wolf entrance. The new location is beautifully decorated with more space for creative cookie decorators. 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 and it is refillable during your entire stay. 

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!

WinterFest at Worlds of Fun is fabulous and it has become one of our favorite family traditions for the holidays. 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 at Worlds of Fun:

Susan Gimotty: Group included two parents, one 10-year-old and three teens. For our family, the biggest highlight of WinterFest was all of the lights - millions of them. We have been to Silver Dollar City’s Christmas festival several times, and Worlds of Fun’s lights were even better. The giant Christmas tree was spectacular, and the carousel was lit in the most beautiful blue and white snowflakes and Christmas trees. The food at WinterFest was delicious with unique treats offered just for WinterFest plus refillable hot cocoa mug stations located throughout the park to ensure guests stay warm. Lastly, our group — even the teenagers— enjoyed Mrs. Claus’s cookie decorating experience. For $15, we were given four GIANT cookies (you could choose a stocking, teddy bear, or snowman) to decorate. Mrs. Claus had all of the icing and decorations ready for us plus she shared her holiday cheer with us as she walked throughout the venue. We recommend this event to other families. It was well worth the money, and it was the perfect way to kick off our holiday season.

Lauren Greenlee: Group included two parents and three elementary age boys. There's nothing like a Kansas City Christmas and if you're looking for a fantastic way to usher in the holiday season, I can't imagine a better way than by attending Worlds of Fun's newest festival, Winterfest! My family of five attended opening night and there was something for everyone, from the foodie of the group hoping to try out new decadent treats to the show lover eager to hear a new twist on a classic Christmas carol. Little park attendees will be happy to know that Planet Snoopy comes to life as the adorable Peanuts Gang comes out to greet guests in their holiday best (Snoopy, of course, is decked out as none other than Santa Clause!). A selection of rides are still available to the public but guests can also expect to enjoy indoor fun ranging from shopping to shows (and even cookie decorating with Mrs. Clause!). After a wintry night of festive fun, here's what we learned. 
1)Bundle up! In true Midwestern form, the temps can be mild during the afternoon and plummet significantly as the sun goes down. Dress accordingly! Small things like scarves, hats, and gloves go a long way (and hand warmers don't hurt either!). Also, know that outdoor area heaters are scattered throughout the park to help warm you up before you venture off to a new area of the park. 
2) Come hungry! There are eight seasonal delicacies that are new to the park this winter from tuxedo dipped bacon to holiday funnel cake. The biggest hit with my crew? The pot roast slider with sweet potato fries.
3) There are special characters all throughout the park. More than any other time, Winterfest has a cast of cold weather visitors from Jack Frost to Candy Cane, the ghosts from A Christmas Carol and many more. And this band of Christmas characters is more than happy to stop by to visit and take photos with guests!

Gina Klein: Group included two adults, one tween and one teen.The highlights of our experience were the rides, the beautiful lights everywhere, the hot chocolate, and the Christmas music and performances around the park.  Our tween and teen both loved the rides, especially the Scrambler and Taxi cab rides, this time of year. They also really enjoyed the entire ambiance of the park with all of the amazing lights everywhere. It was truly a Christmas wonderland!  My family would definitely recommend WOF Winterfest to others. This is such a fun and memorable experience around the holidays, and riding some of the rides in cooler weather is much more pleasant than in the summer heat. It really makes the holiday season even more exciting and fun! 

Melissa Bellach: Group included 2 parents, 1 grandmother, and three children (preschooler-kindergarten). Even walking into the park, the decorations were amazing. It was a very family-friendly atmosphere and the lights made the rides even more fun! Meeting the characters was so much fun and we loved decorating with Mrs. Claus. Our family highly recommends this event to other families! Our children's favorite things included: Kindergartener - making cookies with Mrs. Claus. Preschooler - the rides and drinking hot chocolate. Toddler - all the decorations and riding the carousel with all the lights (over and over again!).

Alison Gibeson: Group included two parents and five-year-old son. This year my family started what I hope will be a new family Christmas tradition of going to WinterFest at Worlds of Fun. My son was especially excited about checking out Camp Snoopy, and it did not disappoint him. He loved all the rides and is asking to go back again this summer. He also had the biggest grin on his face when watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas Spectacular, and for several days now he’s been enjoying the results of cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus. Personally, I was impressed with all the light displays and the talent of the performers and actors. I also appreciated the live nativity and performers singing traditional Christmas songs about Jesus’ birth. The evening we went the weather was good, which is always helpful. It was quite comfortable when wearing coats and gloves. As someone who doesn’t always enjoy large crowds, I also liked the size of the crowd there as there were lots of visitors, but it wasn’t overcrowded at all. Overall, I definitely recommend WinterFest to other families. I think there is something everyone can enjoy there.

Wendy Connelly: Group included 2 parents, our 2 kids (ages 12 and 10) plus two friends (ages 11 and 9). Highlights for our family: Riding the Prowler together and the dazzling lights that put us in the holiday spirit. Kid faves: Lorelei (12)—the decorations and lights; Gryffin (10)—Prowler.

Hannah Berry: Group included two adults. This event is best for families with children. The shows, rides and activities are really geared more for children than adults. Families will want to note that there is an addition fee for cookie decorating, carriage rides, ice skating, and of course, souvenirs and food. For warmth, you'll find patio heaters spread throughout the park, as well as fire pits. 

Sarah Lyons: Group included 2 parents, 1 teen, 1 preteen, 1 elementary age, and 3 preschoolers. We had  a great time. The kids loved the rides and the characters. The train was a favorite and we all loved the hot chocolate. It was a cold evening but it really warmed us up. Favorite part: It was a great time with family. I would recommend it because it was a great way to spend quality time with kids. Could become a fun tradition.

Jessica Samuel: Group included two adults and two preschoolers. Worlds of fun simply never disappoints! This year I got into the Christmas spirit with my mom, (who drove from St. Louis to see what the hype was about) With my two older brothers Dominique and Jason , my sister- in- law Angie, and my nephew O'dell. Every year, I'm astonished at the decorations and full fledged character's. This year certainly takes the cake! First the huge Christmas tree greets you at the entrance of the amusement park, then character's in full wardrobe are sure to follow.  As a courtesy the park employees use their high def cameras to help catch a family flick  when you enter. I was shocked when one of the employees asked if I would like one with my phone. I thought that was particularly really nice! It really made me feel welcomed and not pressured to do anything but enjoy myself. (We later compared the pictures and ended up buying the better one anyway. But I loved how there was no pressure.) After making our way past the entry of the park, my nephews eyes lit up. Honestly mine did too. We were so confused as to where to start first. To our left were carolers dancing on the stage and to the right was a merry- go round and fully dressed character's. I put my nephew down for two seconds while the rest of us decided and off he went! First he stopped over at Jack Frost and his sweetly dressed partner. After shaking Frost's hand he smiled and jetted back over to his original goal, the merry- go round. Watching him laugh and jump around made my day! After that of course we had to stop by the gift shop. My mom went nuts for the Christmas ornaments, she really couldn't decide if she needed another 2 or 15 more to add to the others on her tree back home.  The rest of us played in the over-sized structures, my favorite was the up right snow angel. Getting in it was hard, but once once I figured it out, I couldn't stop laughing at my siblings getting in and out of them. One extra attraction that I noticed this year that I didn't see last year was Letter's to Santa. The theme park created a safe haven for kids to write Santa what they want for Christmas. Now, where an when they send those off too gave even me slight wonder to the miracles of Christmas.  There are also so may scenic places to take pictures and the characters and fixtures were all about family fun. The only downside of  the Winterfest experience was food... all that excitement definitely makes you hungry, so if you don't want to be the last to eat get there early! 

Kerrie McLoughlin: Read her Worlds of Fun WinterFest blog here!

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