Jump to content
IndyGuy4KI

Winterfest Then till Now - Opening Night Info

Recommended Posts

Winterfest 2017 is just days away and I thought it would be cool to share what KIC has in its archives. From our Park history page here is information written by Admin @CoastersRZ on Winterfest starting back in the 1982 season.  There is a link to the page with over 100 pictures from past Winterfest events and then we get into Winterfest 2017!

 

In 1982, Kings Island opened its gates in December to a park that was transformed into a winter wonderland. The Eiffel Tower was decked out as a large Christmas tree, and there was ice-skating in the royal fountain. Guests could visit with Scrooge, or enjoy a ride on the Smurf`s Enchanted Voyage. Guests could also embark on the Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad, take a spin on the Grand Carousel or the Hanna Barbera Carousel or take in the shows.

Kings Island`s WinterFest debuted in 1982, one year before the Cincinnati Zoo started their winter festival, dubbed “Festival of Lights.” Millions of guests enjoyed WinterFest over the years. Then Paramount Communications purchased the park and wished to keep the park open longer in the fall. The result of staying open through the end of October was that they would not have enough time to prepare for WinterFest. So they decided to discontinue it after the conclusion of the 1992 incarnation.

On July 25, 2005 Kings Island announced that they were bringing back WinterFest in 2005, after a thirteen-season absence. Paramount`s Carowinds also announced that they will introduce WinterFest in 2005, for the first time in their history. It would feature many of the old traditions established at the original, and many more. All the decorations were brand new, as the original ones were either sold off or donated. They decided to reinstate WinterFest after years of surveying park guests about the concept. Preparations began years in advance as well: a new sound system on International Street was installed, more indoor dining establishments in 2005 on International Street , and a renovation of the Royal Fountain.

For WinterFest 2005, the Eiffel Tower was once again decked out as a large Christmas tree. The Royal Fountain was once again transformed into a large ice skating rink. The Kings Island and Miami Valley Railroad wass transformed into the White Christmas Express, complete with a cast of 1940`s era characters. On Swan Lake in Rivertown, there was Holiday Illuminations, featuring an immersive light show on the lake and in the surrounding forest. There was also a Christmas parade through the streets, as well as a Toy Factory musical in the Paramount Theater. Nickelodeon Central was transformed into Santa`s Christmastown and the Paramount Story was transformed into the Nickelodeon Holiday Tree lot. The Festhaus was transformed into the WinterFest Haus, with live entertainers on a revolving turntable stage. The classic Scrooge`s house returned for the reincarnated Winterfest. Also, every night, one lucky family was chosen to light the Eiffel Tower. In addition to the train ride, the park had both the Grand Carousel, and the Hanna Barbera Carousel open. They also had Pixie and Dixie`s Swingset, Topcat`s Taxi Jam and Scooby Doo and the Haunted Castle open for the guests enjoying WinterFest.

The master planning of this multi-million dollar event was conducted by Jack Rouse Associates. They designed and produced the thematic elements for the White Christmas Express, Santa`s Christmastown, Holiday Illuminations on Swan Lake, as well as the thematic elements in the WinterFest Haus and the thematic elements for Scrooge`s house on International Street.

With the Paramount Parks purchasing the park in 2006 by Cedar Fair, it was announced that this second incarnation of Winterfest would not return for a second season in 2006.

In 2016, Cedar Fair announced that they would hold a Winterfest event at sister park, California`s Great America, with the possibility of expanding to other Cedar Fair Parks in the future.  In the summer of 2016, it was announced that Winterfest would once again return to Kings Island for the 2017 holiday season.  Sister parks, Carowinds and Worlds of Fun will also be hosting Winterfest in 2017.  This new version of Winterfest will be included free for Gold and Platinum pass holders. Winterfest Version 3.0 is set to debut on Friday, November 24th, 2017.  

Full article here with Winterfest photo library at the bottom of the page: https://kicentral.com/parkhistory/winterfest/

 

I will be on FB live and posing to other social media outlets on Friday the 24th as we experience the new Cedar Fair Winterfest 2017.  Feel free to use this thread to post your thoughts and pictures.  We will also be posing updates in this thread through the evening. We hope Winterfest 2017 will become the start of a yearly holiday tradition for years to come at Kings Island. Here are a few pics the park sent to me this morning for sneak peak! Thanks Don and Chad!

See you in the park!

KIWinterFest_001.png

KIWinterFest_003.png

KIWinterFest_002NEW.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

International Street looks fabulous with all the lights.  I like how they not only outlined the roofs of the buildings, but have lights casting overall purple/blue hue on the facade of the buildings and the trunks of the trees.

It looks like the entertainment is going to be top notch.  I am sure that this will be a family tradition for years to come.  I can`t wait for Friday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am fairly certain that the Carousel and KI and Miami Valley railroad were open for the first season of Winterfest.  Other rides were eventually added in later years.  I haven`t seen a park map from that first season of Winterfest to confirm.   I could always be wrong.   I would love to see a map from that first season.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, CoastersRZ said:

I am fairly certain that the Carousel and KI and Miami Valley railroad were open for the first season of Winterfest.  Other rides were eventually added in later years.  I haven`t seen a park map from that first season of Winterfest to confirm.   I could always be wrong.   I would love to see a map from that first season.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that no rides would be operating.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I recall, (it’s been a long long time ago, so I could be wrong) season 1 was international street only with the KI theater, a small section of Hanna Barbera Land with carriage rides through Coney Mall. Then the.next season expanded to Rivertown ending at The Beast. It seems like the Carrousel and Smurfs were the rides season 1 with the train came later. I don’t recall it expanding beyond those areas. However, there was a lot of fun packed into those areas!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 minutes ago, upstop said:

As I recall, (it’s been a long long time ago, so I could be wrong) season 1 was international street only with the KI theater, a small section of Hanna Barbera Land with carriage rides through Coney Mall. Then the.next season expanded to Rivertown ending at The Beast. It seems like the Carrousel and Smurfs were the rides season 1 with the train came later. I don’t recall it expanding beyond those areas. However, there was a lot of fun packed into those areas!

Season 1 was just International Street and the Festahaus.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, CoastersRZ said:

I have confirmed with Don that the Grand Carousel and train were open for the first Winterfest.

Very strange. I have attached a map of Winterfest ‘82 as well as another article that reported no rides would be operating. The Carousel did operate Winterfest ‘83-onward as did the Enchanted Voyage.

 

 

CA72E403-EC1C-4223-81CB-E704BB08121F.jpeg

98D0BB26-84C9-4C7A-BA6D-8B354634E703.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd still be surprised if the train was open the first Winterfest. If it was open, then the fact it wasn't included in the article or map above suggest it was a last-minute decision. And this last-minute decision would have required staffing train engineers and ride operators, opening an un-decorated pathway between International Street and the train station (which would also require additional employees to clean and patrol it), and pulling the ride out of its off-season maintenance.

It makes more sense that the 1982 Winterfest was smaller scale and, following its success, the park decided to expand the event in 1983 and have rides open during it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Winterfest was a very fun event! For starting up this event after all these years, Cedar Fair did not set this up for as one season try out. Eveything was top notch, from the decorations to the shows. We only tried the Mac and Cheese Bar, but was wonderful!! 

See KIC Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more pictures!

20171124_185457.jpg20171124_220103.jpg20171124_215844.jpg20171124_215911.jpg20171124_215830.jpg20171124_211748.jpg20171124_201721.jpg20171124_215820.jpg

20171124_210333.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really liked the effects they had on the Eiffel Tower with the lights, it was really cool to see. Overall the park looks absolutely amazing with all the decorations for Winterfest, I will say it was kinda surreal to see some long lines on some rides that usually don't get much love such as Zephyr and the train. I was there from 6pm-10pm and I feel like I only scratched the surface of everything Winterfest has to offer!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, upstop said:

I’m wondering.... since DA is being removed and that section of the park was closed off, just what to expect for next year? There are so many possibilities! I’m totally enjoying Winterfest and looking forwards to many more to come!

I would expect a wooden fence with teaser signs. Just my guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lol. True... I was thinking and typing, but not being specific. I was thinking that the area from Killmart past BLSC is closed during this years Winterfest so I was wondering if this area might be expanded upon in next years Winterfest. I’m expecting that there will be a big expansion for Winterfest next year.... based on the crowds I’m hearing about, I’m pretty sure the event will be expanded next year. Fingers crossed!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure where to put this, so I'll ask it here, TIA.

Was the sledding open last week?  (hard to make snow in the 50s), if so, is it an up charge to go sledding?

My son is gluten and dairy free.  During the season he usually got the chicken fingers and fries from the coney mall potato works (I doubt they are dairy free, but it didn't seem to affect him so it was his "go to").  That is obviously out of the equation, are there other gluten free options in the park?  We're planning on going Sunday evening, and thinking I may need to get him something to eat prior, then bring him some snacks to enjoy during the evening.

How long were the lines/wait for ice skating last weekend?  I'm assuming last weekend was more crowded than this weekend will be, due to it being both opening weekend as well as Thanksgiving weekend, but certainly no guarantee on that.  I think I read the wait for Misty was around 30 minutes, much less than I would have guessed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Sledding is always open. I think the surface is actually just slick and no actual snow nor ice is involved.

2. I believe you can still get chicken fingers and fries at Rivertown Potatoes (I’m just not sure if they are gluten free). Check with guest services to be sure.

3. The lines were long for skating last Friday, but that was mostly for skate rental. The rink holds quite a few people, so I’m sure the wait was minimal to get onto the ice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, medford said:

Not sure where to put this, so I'll ask it here, TIA.

Was the sledding open last week?  (hard to make snow in the 50s), if so, is it an up charge to go sledding?

My son is gluten and dairy free.  During the season he usually got the chicken fingers and fries from the coney mall potato works (I doubt they are dairy free, but it didn't seem to affect him so it was his "go to").  That is obviously out of the equation, are there other gluten free options in the park?  We're planning on going Sunday evening, and thinking I may need to get him something to eat prior, then bring him some snacks to enjoy during the evening.

How long were the lines/wait for ice skating last weekend?  I'm assuming last weekend was more crowded than this weekend will be, due to it being both opening weekend as well as Thanksgiving weekend, but certainly no guarantee on that.  I think I read the wait for Misty was around 30 minutes, much less than I would have guessed.

The sledding was open. There is no actual snow involved with it. It's just white turf. And no, there is no charge to slide. That is, however, a very common question I hear as an employee of the sledding hill.

 

Hopefully others can better answer your other questions. 

 

Edit: Well upstop beat me. Hope your questions are all answered.

Actually, one thing to add about the skating. I've heard it did sell out Friday night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×