Thank You for WinterFest!

by Mike | December 30, 2017 | 5 Minute Read

WinterFest has extended our season of fun and amazed us all! Cedar Fair, on behalf of Park Hackers everywhere, thank you! This incredible season wraps up tonight. I was not able to visit past versions of WinterFest, because I did not live in the area. The scale, detail and quality of WinterFast surpassed every expectation I had.

The Lights and Decorations

The number being told is they’ve put up a half-million lights. I don’t doubt it, but it is difficult to comprehend or appreciate large numbers like that. The cool thing I observed from the lights was watching families streaming in through the entrance. After passing through the gate, they would emerge from under the International Street Restaurant. I witnessed their jaws drop and eyes open wide as the vision hit them. But the wonder didn’t stop there, the entire park, all the way up International Street to the Eiffel Tower, the Planet Snoopy area, the Kings Island theater, Action Zone, Coney Mall and the path that goes back to The Beast, the train and Rivertown areas, each had their own design themes and effects. Even the parking lot, the large road sign with wreath, and the entrance sign above the auto gates were gorgeous!

These were shared elsewhere, but I was so impressed with the retro Miami River Lumber Company ads. I took time to walk around and snap each of these clever posters. My friend and her colleaues in the sign department really nailed these. (No pun intended.)

The Shows

The shows around the park also exceeded expectations. The street performers were continuously fun and vigilant despite the cold weather. The singers and dancers in the Peanuts show were fantastic! I hope we see them again in the main season. The Plight Before Christmas was fun. The small ensembles each were terrific. If you got to hear The Mistletones, The Four Drummers Drumming, The Jingle Jazz, Holly Jolly Trolley and Blitzen’s Brass Band, you were served a treat!

It seemed that around every corner something special was happening. The wandering characters from Jack Frost to Ebenezer Scrooge were great to interact with.

The Food

As the writer of the Park Hacks books/blogs, I often talk about food. I was so impressed with the modified food holiday options. The fact that many of these were also included on the meal plan was a great bonus to give to park regulars. I enjoyed many variations of Hank’s Macaroni and Cheese bar. It turned out so well, I’m legitimately curious if this food option will replace the burritos next season. I think it would be a win for both park and visitors!

I explored the combinations at the Mac & Cheese bar quite a bit. My recommendations:

  • Choose your preference of white cheddar or classic macaroni.
  • Pick one meat option that appeals to you, all are good. (Brisket, pulled pork, breaded chicken and meatballs were my favorites, Hot dogs made the little ones happy.)
  • Then the sauce options. I enjoyed the hot sauce (like you find on buffalo wings) but there were also alfredo white sauce, barbeque, and the basil pesto sauce as popular options.
  • I thought the tomatoes, sauteed onions, and the grated cheddar cheese blend sprinkled on top of everything else, to be nice additions.

The many favorites that were still available was also great to see. Fridays and Saturdays I saw a lot of people enjoying Chick-fil-A. I enjoyed pizza and Panda Express still being around. Personally, it was hard to choose the turkey or ham options, because that has been served at home so much. Still, it looked great!


The coloring station in Planet Snoopy, the letters to Santa, and the cookie decorating were great successes. Watching ice carving and meeting Santa were cool too. I was constantly impressed how many people were involved in the ice skating. It appeared to be very popular and running pretty smoothly the entire time.

The artisan villiage was also fun to visit. I’m curious how successful the vendors were. It looked like a rough gig to man those booths for five or six hours each night. I was particularly impressed with the jig saw animal puzzles. The young lady who created these fun pieces was great to talk to about her craft.

The Investment

Clearly the park and parent company Cedar Fair has invested a great deal of money and effort to bring back WinterFest. The results were terrific. It appeared to be every bit the same scale as the Halloween Haunt. However, this brought pleasure to a far wider audience. I hope this means that we have WinterFest for many years to come! Thank you again to all the talented and hard working people at Kings Island and Cedar Fair. It was great and it means we don’t have as long to wait for it to open again in the Spring.

New Books

Don't forget to check out the all new Amusement Park Hacks book! It is available on Kindle and the paperbacks are on all major book websites. More formats coming soon! The photo at the top captured the moment when I was able to share a preview copy with my co-author Krystal. Bonus points and bragging rights if you can name the WinterFest show we're at in the comments below!

Krystal and I are working on the new edition of Kings Island Park Hacks. We’ve learned even more about Kings Island in the past year. The new version is an entirely new book. It will benefit from better orgainization of the Amumsent Park Hacks book. It will also have thorough coverage of Halloween Haunt and WinterFest too! Watch for it in early 2018!