5 Ways to Celebrate the Season at Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest (Even if You’re Not a Fan of Amusement Parks)

Disclosure: Visit Kansas City and Worlds of Fun hosted my experience at WinterFest. However, all opinions are my own.

Red miniature pickup truck with Christmas decorations at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

I don’t know about you, but it can be hard for me to get in the holiday spirit when the weather is still climbing into the 60s in December. The past few weeks I’ve been feeling like I need an extra dose of holiday cheer. So when I learned about an opportunity for us to experience Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest, I jumped at the chance for a weekend getaway to Kansas City.

Even though I’m not typically a huge fan of amusement parks—I recently learned that the spinning, swooping rides I loved as a kid are no longer my friend—I was intrigued. The amusement park has hosted this seasonal celebration since 2017 and the potential for holiday merriment seemed high.

It didn’t take long for me to start feeling like less of a Grinch. Worlds of Fun’s new WinterFest event is a great way to celebrate the holiday season, even if you aren’t a roller coaster fanatic or avid amusement park goer. After spending the evening exploring the park, I’ve compiled my top five ways to celebrate the holidays during this unique event.

Take Time to Slow Down

Holiday lights on a model plane at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

We discovered some of our favorite parts of Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest by taking time to just wander. The thoughtful little details and small changes that transformed the park from a summer destination to a twinkling winter wonderland were seriously impressive.

If you’re visiting with smaller children, this might not be as effective a strategy. But taking the time to enjoy the little moments, even amongst the crowds, really made the evening memorable for us.

White light reindeer in front of a red barn at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Admire the Variety of Decorations

Large colored bulb lights in a tree at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

One of the things that truly surprised me about WinterFest was the variety of decorations throughout the park. From classic white lights to vibrantly colored displays timed to music, each area of the park is themed perfectly with the existing rides and attractions.

Of all the areas, I enjoyed the oversized, colorful bulbs in Planet Snoopy the most. These cartoon-like lights were the perfect compliment to the Peanuts illustration style and added to the whimsy of the evening. I also couldn’t help stopping to admire the glowing Chinese lanterns near the Spinning Dragon roller coaster each time we passed by them.

Red Chinese lanterns over a pond at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Fake lollipops and lights at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Find a New Perspective

The Polar Express billowing smoke from below at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

When I first started planning our trip, I was surprised to discover that quite a few of the park’s rides are open during WinterFest. While it’s a fun novelty to be able to ride a roller coaster in December, this is also an incredible opportunity to see Worlds of Fun in a new way.

We decided to stick with the lower impact rides, and were delighted to discover some seasonal touches around the park. Rides like the Worlds of Fun Railroad and LeTaxiTour were transformed into the Polar Express and the 12 Days of Christmas to get riders in the holiday spirit. These slower rides were the perfect way to experience the park in a new light.

Holiday decorations on the Spinning Dragons roller coaster at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Expect the Unexpected

The Jingle Jazz ensemble performing at at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Official tree lighting ceremony at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

If you’re expecting WinterFest to simply be Worlds of Fun decorated for the holidays, you are mistaken. Not only is the park full of twinkling holiday displays, but there’s also unexpected touches at nearly every turn. From a petting zoo near the Sounds of the Nativity pavilion to dozens of talented musical performers throughout the park, we were delighted to discover all sorts of characters, performers, and unique activities. We particularly enjoyed stumbling upon the musical stylings of the Jingle Jazz ensemble and the 1950s era trio The Mistletones.

When you’re in the mood for a sweet treat, stay warm with steaming souvenir mug of hot chocolate. For $10.99 you can refill your mug as many times as you’d like throughout the evening. Pair your cocoa with cookie decorating in Mrs. Claus’ Kitchen. For $14, visitors can decorate four jumbo sugar cookies with all sorts of frosting and sprinkles. These sweet treats make the perfect edible souvenir from your visit to Worlds of Fun.

Petting zoo near the Sounds of the Nativity pavilion at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Souvenir hot chocolate mug at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Decorated cookies from Mrs. Claus' Kitchen at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Remember to Believe in Magic

Candy cane lights on trees at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

As a kid, it always seemed like the holidays were this incredibly magical time. Now as an adult, it can be easy to forget that feeling with all of the hustle and bustle that seems to accompany the holiday season.

It was unseasonably warm on the night we visited WinterFest so we were expecting to have to imagine our “winter wonderland.” But as soon as the official tree lighting ceremony came to a close, we were delighted to discover that big, fluffy snowflakes had begun to flutter down from above. Thanks to a little Worlds of Fun magic it snows in performance areas around the park every 10 minutes or so.

Excited about fake snow at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

70-foot-tall tree at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

If you Visit Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest

Lights reflecting in water at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest in Kansas City, Missouri

Plan your trip to get in the holiday spirit at Worlds of Fun’s WinterFest through December 31.

The park is open select dates from 5 to 10 pm, but the parking lots open at 3:30 pm if you’re looking to avoid a long line. If you plan to arrive early, you can explore the International Plaza and Das Eishaus Ice Skating Rink beginning at 4 pm before the rest of the park officially opens.

Based on the size of the park and the amount of things to see and do at WinterFest, I recommend planning ahead and deciding which rides and experiences you want to visit before you arrive. We made a point of seeking out any rides or activities we wanted to do early in the evening before lines got longer (and it got colder out). Also, don’t forget about the official Tree Lighting Ceremony, held nightly at 5:30 pm under the park’s 70-foot-tall Christmas tree.

Admission: Ticket prices start at $26 (plus taxes and fees) per person if you purchase tickets online in advance.

Worlds of Fun, 4545 Worlds of Fun Avenue in Kansas City, Missouri

Share Your Thoughts

I would love to hear from you! Have you been to Worlds of Fun? What’s your favorite way to celebrate the holiday season?

Discover the spirit of the holiday season at Worlds of Fun's WinterFest! Even if you're not a fan of amusement parks, this event is sure to put you in a jolly mood.

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Comments (3)

I had the same experience, Megan: WinterFest really brought that magical feeling of childhood Christmases back. Definitely worth the drive from Chicago!

It was such a fun time! We’ll definitely try to make it back again next year too. Thanks for reading, Julie!

Hello Megan,

I was wondering if I could get some insights from you on your post for a recap report I am working on.
Please shoot me an email at rachel.spears@worldsoffun.com if you are open to it!

Thank you for your consideration. Love all of your photos from WinterFest!! 🙂

Best,
Rachel

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