As the excitement of the holiday season starts each November, Canada’s Wonderland, located just outside of Toronto, transforms into an enchanting Winter Wonderland.
Each year, Canada’s Wonderland invites visitors to immerse themselves in a festive winter wonderland filled with dazzling lights, captivating music, a variety of holiday performances, and rides from November to January.
WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland 2023 is a perfect holiday destination for a family outing or a romantic date night under the lights.
This year, I went to visit WinterFest to uncover all its secrets and share them with you. In this blog post, you’ll find essential tips and all the information you need to make the most of your visit to WinterFest. From insider knowledge to the best spots for photography, I’ll guide you through this festive wonderland.
So, let’s dive into what makes WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland a must-visit event this holiday season.
When is WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland Open?
Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest 2023 is open on select dates from November 17, 2023, to January 6, 2024.
While you will want to confirm specific dates and hours on the Canada’s Wonderland website, WinterFest runs Friday-Sunday evenings in November and early December. Starting December 26. WinterFest is open every day until January 6, including New Year’s Eve.
On Fridays, WinterFest is open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. On all other days, the event is open from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., including New Year’s Eve.
Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest Tickets
Regular admission tickets (ages 3-64) can be bought online for a range of prices. Your best price is a Friday night ticket at $29.99, while Saturdays and Sundays cost $34.99. For Juniors, who are under 48 inches tall, and Seniors, the price is even more affordable at $19.99.
There is also an opportunity to buy a bundled ticket that includes admission, food, and a souvenir mug for unlimited free hot chocolate.
For those who frequent Canada’s Wonderland, the best value lies in the Gold Pass. Currently priced at $114.00, this pass includes unlimited access to Canada’s Wonderland during the regular season, SplashWorks, Halloween Haunt, and WinterFest. Purchasing a Gold Pass now will include all the events in the 2024 season!
It’s an excellent investment if you plan to attend multiple events throughout the year. The more you visit, the more you’ll appreciate the value of the season’s pass.
There are no fast-pass tickets during WinterFest. All tickets can be purchased through the Canada’s Wonderland website.
Is Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest Worth It?
WinterFest is absolutely worth visiting, especially if you’re looking to start your holiday season with a unique experience. WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland offers a captivating display of beautiful lights and Christmas trees, creating a festive and enchanting atmosphere.
It’s a very different experience from the park’s Halloween Haunt or the regular Canada’s Wonderland admission, offering a less crowded and more relaxed environment. This makes for a delightful evening of entertainment, perfect for families or a special night out.
However, it’s important to consider the costs. When you add up the admission, parking, food, and any additional amenities, the expenses can accumulate. But for those looking to indulge in a festive event that truly celebrates the spirit of the holiday season, WinterFest is a great destination.
Keep reading to learn about all the fun things you can do at Canada’s Wonderland WinterFest.
What is Included in WinterFest?
WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland is packed with lots of activities and experiences that are fun for all ages. From thrilling rides and ice skating to enchanting light displays and cozy fire pits, keep reading to find out what’s included in your WinterFest entry.
1. Rides at WinterFest
Visitors to WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland often wonder, “Are rides open during WinterFest?” There are, in fact, 22 rides open during WinterFest 2023.
These include favourites like the Sledge Hammer, Swing of the Century, and the Psyclone. Unlike Halloween Haunt, however, all of the major roller coasters are closed.
Thunder Run is the only roller coaster in operation during WinterFest, but for the little ones, there are plenty of options in Snoopy Land and Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town.
2. Snow Flake Lake Skating
One of the best things to do at WinterFest is skate on the impressive rink in front of Wonder Mountain. Surrounded by hundreds of sparkling lights, it is a magical experience.
While there is an extra fee to participate in the WinterFest ice skating, you will get 30 minutes on the ice with a limited number of skaters. It is a perfect place to enjoy ice skating in this magical setting without all the crowds.
Remember to book in advance to secure your spot, as sessions are limited each day.
3. Holiday Lights and Photo Opportunities
The park is a wonderland of lights, with themed areas like Candy Cane Lane and the Northern Starlight Tunnel. It’s a photographer’s paradise, with countless Instagram-worthy spots. Don’t miss the 50-foot Christmas trees at the entrance – perfect for that festive family photo.
4. WinterFest Entertainment
There are a number of live shows, from Christmas Carolers to drummers and dance crews. The tree lighting ceremony each night is a highlight, alongside the indoor show, Tinker’s Toy Factory, which is a great way to warm up and enjoy some holiday entertainment.
5. Photo With Santa
The personal visit with Santa at his workshop is a special touch. It’s free to visit, and while there is a fee for souvenir photos, the experience of a private visit with Santa makes it worth considering for that traditional holiday picture.
6. Write a Letter to Santa
In Charlie Brown’s Christmas Town, the North Pole Post Office is a charming spot where you can write a letter to Santa. It’s a sweet activity that adds to the holiday magic for children and the young at heart.
7. Relax by an Outdoor Fire
A number of outdoor fire pits are scattered around the park. These cozy spots are perfect to relax with a hot chocolate or apple cider. The Lazy Bear Lodge and other areas provide a romantic ambiance, perfect for a peaceful break in the midst of WinterFest excitement.
8. Igloo Village
Renting an igloo for the evening can be a unique and cozy experience. It’s a bit of a splurge at $199.00, but for a special occasion or a family gathering, it offers warmth, privacy, and a special touch to your WinterFest visit.
The rental includes access to the igloo for the entire evening for up to eight people.
9. Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus
At an additional cost of $26.99, decorating sugar cookies with Mrs. Claus can be a bit pricey, especially compared to other activities. It might not be for everyone, but if cookie decorating is up your alley, it’s a unique experience. There is limited availability for this activity, so be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time.
10. Holiday Shopping and Festive Food
WinterFest wouldn’t be complete without the opportunity to indulge in some holiday shopping and delicious festive treats. Stroll through the Christmas Market or the Mistletoe, where unique gifts and holiday decor can be purchased.
There are lots of places to pick up seasonal food, including Beavertails (a Canadian classic treat), Festive Funnel Cakes, and hot apple cider at the Cider House. The Jingle Bar is also a licensed bar where you can purchase a WinterFest cocktail or Ontario craft beer.
I will be honest; the food at Canada’s Wonderland, even with all it’s fancy names, is still basic fast food and expensive. If you are looking to save a few pennies, perhaps wait until you leave the park and head to the Starbucks located right across the street from Wonderland.
My Tips for an Enjoyable WinterFest Experience
Here are some essential tips for visitors planning to attend WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland, based on my experience:
It’s important to dress for the chilly weather. Wear a hat, mittens, a warm coat, and consider snow pants. I saw many visitors who had to buy gloves at the park as they were not prepared for the chilly weather! Remember, they are going to be expensive if you need to buy them once you get to Canada’s Wonderland.
Go on the Rides First
To avoid long lines later in the evening, head to the rides as soon as you arrive. This strategy lets you enjoy the popular attractions before the crowds build up.
Make a Reservation for Skating When You Buy Your Ticket
Skating requires a reservation and costs $10 if you bring your own skates, or $15 with skate rental. Book your Wonderland WinterFest skating time slot online in advance to secure your preferred time.
Canada’s Wonderland skating availability is limited, and without a prior reservation, you may miss out on the opportunity to do this highly recommended activity.
Complete Skating Waivers
All skaters must complete a waiver, available online. Those under 18 need an adult signature. Skaters under 48 inches tall must wear a CSA-approved helmet and be accompanied by an adult on the ice. Helmets are available with skate rentals.
Bring Your Own Skates
If you have skates, bring them to save money. Don’t forget your skate guards. That being said, the skate rental is only an additional $5.00, so it’s certainly affordable if you don’t want to bring your own.
Arrive When the Park Opens
Getting to the park early helps you avoid crowds and lines later in the evening. You will also have the opportunity to see the park come to life as the sun sets and the holiday lights start to twinkle.
Pro Tip: Booking the first skating slot allows early park entry, maximizing your time at the event.
Utilize the ‘Bring-A-Friend’ Pass
If you have a season’s pass, you can buy a ‘bring-a-friend’ ticket for only $19.99, a great deal.
Holiday Fun at Wonderland’s WinterFest
As the holiday season approaches, WinterFest at Canada’s Wonderland stands out as a must-visit destination. With its dazzling lights, thrilling rides, enchanting ice skating, and cozy fire pits, WinterFest promises a magical experience for all ages.
Whether you’re seeking a fun family outing, a romantic evening, or simply a festive way to celebrate the season, this winter wonderland has something special for everyone. So bundle up, grab your friends or family, and head to WinterFest for an unforgettable holiday adventure full of memories and festive cheer!
Before You Go: Learn More About Canada’s Wonderland
Now that you’ve read this post and have decided to visit WinterFest, you may be interested to learn more about Canada’s Wonderland Amusement Park and Wonderland’s water park, Slash Works.
Each fall, Wonderland also transforms into a thrilling and spooky destination with Halloween Haunt, featuring haunted houses, scare zones, and eerie entertainment.
And for those coming from out of town, you may want to consider booking accommodation close to Wonderland. My post describing where to stay near Wonderland will give you my top hotel picks for the area.
For those looking for more winter activities in and around Toronto, check out my posts: