Vote of the week: Theme parks in the snow?
How would you like to visit a theme park in the snow?
I know that many Theme Park Insider readers around America are enjoying a "snow day" today, with winter storms making their way across the country. And more than a few of you might be daydreaming about escaping to a nice, warm Florida or California theme park.
But theme parks don't always operate in the warm sunshine. Tokyo Disneyland recently got buried in a snow storm:
Photos courtesy Disney
And Disneyland Paris gets its share of snowfall, too.
Heck, it's not unheard of for the Orlando theme parks to see a stray flake every decade or so.
And in Southern California? Well, forget about snow in Anaheim. (But if you crave winter, just drive up into our mountains. Only an hour away!)
Regional theme parks have tried snow-covered holiday events from time to time. I remember the WinterFest event at Kings Island in Ohio, though my wife starts shivering uncontrollably each time I mention it.
Let's make this a Vote of the Week. What do you think about visit a snow-covered, winter-wonderland, temperatures-below-freezing theme park?
If you've got some theme park snow stories, please share 'em in the comments. Have a great weekend, stay warm, and thank you again for being part of Theme Park Insider!
Few years ago, I went to SF Great Adventure (might have been Opening Day, but I'm unsure)..under threat of a predicted blizzard, with 30 degree temps. The blizzard never materialized, but I took a ride on the Runaway Mine Train in a snow flurry, and I was the only rider. That's the only time I've been on a coaster in the snow.
It would be amazing to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in the snow. It would only make the area feel extra magical and authentic. As it is, I could spend hours hanging there.
Kennywood started opening for weekend nights in Nov. & Dec. in 2010. We've gone 4 times. Its a blast to see the park bathed in snow. Plus they have fire pits and hot chocolate interspersed throughout the park. Great ambiance. Some attractions are open, except for of course, water rides and coasters. We actually enjoy the park more in the winter than the hot sweltering summer. And it gets packed. Shoulder to shoulder on some nights.
Interesting related story: My first trip to Holiday World, when it was still called Santa Claus Land, as a small child happened to take place in an unexpected blizzard. My dad packed us in the family station wagon and as soon as we hit the road, the snow began to fall like no tomorrow. In fact, we got stranded in Santa Claus, IN overnight in what was supposed to just be a day trip. All the big rides were closed, but I didn't know the difference. I had no idea what it was supposed to be like. I believed my dad had actuially taken us to the North Pole! We ate in Santa Claus' restaurant and THERE HE WAS! The real Santa Claus! We walked down the snow covered streets and visited displays of vintage toys which I was convinced was Santa's toy shop. I distinctly remember looking at an animated circus scene with moving parts and a model train. Had I known that many rides were closed, I might have been disappointed, but the whole experience is now a treasured memory of an innocent time in my life.
I went to Kings Island's Winterfest one year. I really did enjoy the event. It was a completely different feel than going during the summer. Unfortunately they cancelled the event the next year and have not had anything like it since. I definitely don't expect it to come back with it's current ownership.
I absolutely love the photos of Tokyo and Paris in snow, but as an Australian would I choose to go there then? Not unless I was loaded (which I'm not). If I lived closer and had a pass, I'd go in a heartbeat. Probably only once it twice depending on what's open. I'd be happy at DL or WDW year round. As beautiful as those parks are in winter I
I also went to WInterfest at Kings Island. It was cold, and none of the coasters could run, however the event was great. I specifically remember ice skating on the fountain pond, and great CHristmas shows.
Those photos do look really nice, but I'm thinking much nicer to look at than be in :-)!!
Kings Island's Winterfest was a wonderful event. It truly felt like an entirely different park. It's unfortunate that Cedar Fair didn't want to continue putting it on. They could have really built something there. Hopefully with more and more regional parks doing holiday events (like Kennywood, Lake Compounce, and Busch Gardens in recent years) Kings Island might revisit Winterfest someday.
I've always thought it would be fun to visit a park in the snow, but it would really depend on the park. A Disney park full of indoor attractions? That would be great. Somewhere like Dollywood that has a setting where snow would fit? Excellent as well. A Six Flags or Cedar Fair park? That wouldn't be so much fun as nothing would be running and the atmosphere of the place wouldn't be enhanced.
It snowed the first two years I went to BGW's Christmas Town. My thought was that it looked beautiful for the first hour and then became a fairly crummy park experience.
I had the misfortune to go to WDW in Dec 2010, in the midst of a cold snap. We unwisely chose to go to AK on the coldest day of our week there (It was in the mid-30's). Have you ever noticed how there is very little true indoor space in Animal Kingdom? The gift shops and restaurants are built to look authentic to their regions, which means most of them don't have closeable doors or windows. There really wasn't anywhere to escape the biting cold, unless we wanted to ride Dinosaur or see It's Tough To Be A Bug over and over.
Once went to Silver Dollar's City's Christmas Festival when it was about 28 degrees at the start of the day, and just got colder from that point. By the time we left for the day it was in the low teens and we were completely frozen. Don't get me wrong, all the lighting, music, and Christmas shows made it feel like a Winter Wonderland, but if not for the hot chocolate, Wassail, and 60 degree cave tour, we would not have lasted for the whole day.
Those photos look so amazing, that I'd probably book my vacation to those resorts during the winter just for that.
"Kings Island's Winterfest was a wonderful event. It truly felt like an entirely different park. It's unfortunate that Cedar Fair didn't want to continue putting it on. They could have really built something there"
"Disneyland only has that fake soapy snow."
Our visit to Kings Island's Winterfest in 2005 was on a very snowy day, which a relatively rare thing for early December in Cincinnati. Since Winterfest focused more on shows, food, and activities like ice skating than rides the snow didn't have much of an impact. It actually helped make the park feel all the more Christmas-y. Winterfest was more about having a holiday event in the unique setting of International Street and Rivertown than riding rides like one could all summer long. If I recall correctly only three rides were scheduled to be open (the carrousel, Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle, and the train) and all of them ran in the cold temperatures.
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