Christmas is in the air. I can still smell the hot chocolate and hear the joyful music from our visit to the Kings Island WinterFest! It truly was an unforgettable experience with the park transformed into nine enchanting winter wonderlands featuring ice skating on the Royal Fountain, the Eiffel Tower turned into a magical Christmas tree, up to 17 rides including Mystic Timbers, more than 5 million lights and strolling performers all throughout the park!
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday. I love the lights, the smells, and the tastes of all things Christmas. My family usually goes pretty big for this holiday too. All the things. Visits with Santa at the mall (Macy’s downtown has one free where you can take pictures BTW), a gazillion lights all over the house, Ugly Christmas Sweater parties, The Festival of Lights, Water Wonderland with Scuba Santa at the Aquarium, and making enough cookies to feed an army… We do enough to make your head spin. And when Christmas is over, we all finally breathe again. But its all in good fun!
This year we got to try something new. The Club Mom was invited to opening day at Winterfest at Kings Island OMG it exceeded our expectations. It was everything I remembered as a kid and MORE! We were in awe of the Christmas lights that covered the park, especially the Eiffel Tower which is decorated with lights to look like a giant Christmas Tree! Every time you look at it, the lights are changing colors and are absolutely breathtaking. We just LOVED all the lights!
Here are The Club Mom “MUST DO’s for you Kings Island Winterfest Visit!
- The North Pole Post Office: This was our #1 favorite thing. Immediately when we walked in, it felt like we were at the North Pole! An Elf greeted us and handed out paper and pens to have each child write a letter to Santa. When they were finished they each got to go up to the head elf who then zip-lined each letter into the North Pole Bin. My kids were in awe and still talk about the post office with the elves.
2. The Shows!! Ok, for perspective… we got there at 5:30 and my kids rode ONE ride, the bumper cars, which was right next to the Charlie Brown performance that we HAD to go do because my son is obsessed with Peanuts! Our game plan that night was to do all the things you cannot experience on a typical day at Kings Island. So we made sure to map our our time wisely by checking the list of rides open, activities available, and shows which helped us make the most of our time there. I HIGHLY recommend you do the same based on your kids age and interests otherwise you wont see half of the awesome things. You could spend hours zipping through the park and still not see everything, so PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Some of our other favorites MUST DO’s included:
* The Holiday show located right on International Street which leads to the Eiffel Tower. We were bedazzled with dancers, singers, and fun surprises throughout the entire show. My kids wanted to be right up front and center, so make sure to check out the shows times to get the best viewing spots!
* The Peanuts performance in Kiddie Land (next to the bumper cars)! This was my oldest’s MOST FAVORITE! Well, mostly because the Peanuts characters grabbed his hand and pulled him to parade with them to Snoopy’s dog house for some VIP photos! But also because my 7 year old is a MAJOR Peanuts fan!! I love that Kings Island has so much Peanuts stuff!!
3) After galloping through the park for a while, we were pretty cold and ready for some refreshments and snacks! THANK GOODNESS for the awesome hot chocolate/ coffee mugs (Retail $10.99). We were able to get FREE unlimited hot chocolate and coffee on your first visit and then just $1 (tax included) refills for our future visits the rest of the season! I hate to say it, but we probably drank $100 worth of hot chocolate (hello, wired children)… but it was a LIFESAVER when said children lost their gloves and had cold fingers. Plus it gave them a little zip of sugar to keep walking through the park! These mugs are awesome and as far as I could tell, “leak proof” from falling over in our stroller!! The food lines were rather long, so don’t wait until you have hungry bellies screaming at you! BUT, I will say, the Funnel Cakes were AHHHHMAZING. As in, the BEST. I. HAVE. EVER. HAD. Its worth the wait, especially if you plan to stand in the line for the train (which will get long fast), so maybe split parents and have one stand in line for food and other with the kids for the train. We did not make it to the train, so we may have to go back for round 2!
4) …. AND lastly (but most importantly), THE LIGHTS!! I mean, it was just magical! Words cannot describe the fascination in my kids eyes everywhere they turned. While we did not make it to all 9 of the uniquely themed winter wonderlands, each one we visited did not disappoint. Our favorites were International Street and Candy Cane Lane. Lots of characters dressed up and interacting, fun music playing and the lights dancing to the music! It was just awesome.
Something we did not plan to do, only because of fear of time/ amount of time you have to commit to it, was Ics Skating. If you know you want to Ice Skate, I would recommend buying your tickets and filling out the disclosure before you arrive. You must choose a time slot and those fill up fast, so it would be best to do this before you go so you get your first time choice.
Overall, this is one event you do not want to miss! If you live in Cincinnati, this is a no brainer. If you live outside of Cincinnati, I highly recommend a visit to Kings Island Winterfest as well as Great Wolf Lodge which is right behind Kings Island! My family just bought a Groupon to Great Wolf Lodge and recently stayed there over Thanksgiving! Another awesome experience. I will share more details on The Club Mom Blog soon! Stay Tuned!!
Kings Island kindly provided my family with tickets and mugs so I could share my experience with you. All the opinions and thoughts are my own. ENJOY!