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Winterfest 2018 Discussion Thread

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Spoke with a few employees last night who said last night seemed the busiest of the run. Saw a lot of people with vouchers and buying all season drink cups so maybe a lot of “Christmas gifts” coupled with predicted rain tonight and tomorrow pushed crowds up. Little concerned that those same people all said the week last week including the weekend had been pretty dead. Hope last night made up for that. Wonder if we’ll see any more closures due to rain since tonight looks to be a washout like last Thursday. 

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5 minutes ago, brent said:

Spoke with a few employees last night who said last night seemed the busiest of the run. Saw a lot of people with vouchers and buying all season drink cups so maybe a lot of “Christmas gifts” coupled with predicted rain tonight and tomorrow pushed crowds up. Little concerned that those same people all said the week last week including the weekend had been pretty dead. Hope last night made up for that. Wonder if we’ll see any more closures due to rain since tonight looks to be a washout like last Thursday. 

I think a lot of the disparity in crowds had to do with the fact that most people didn't know the park was open last week plus you have a lot more people off work this week than last week.

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33 minutes ago, teenageninja said:

I think a lot of the disparity in crowds had to do with the fact that most people didn't know the park was open last week plus you have a lot more people off work this week than last week.

Yes. I think the open every day was hindered a bit this year by the fact that a lot of schools were still in through weds. Done even Friday. I think last year more schools were out the whole week before. I think it might actually be better to NOT do every day until the week between Christmas and New Years and instead put those payroll hours into longer days every Saturday. I think you could get more people in and higher guest spending with a longer day than a quiet, poorly attended Tuesday night. 

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Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to get out to Winterfest this year. Having to work early hours has made it difficult as it is, but the biggest problem seemed to be whenever I could squeeze in a night to go, it would rain. 

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We enjoyed the park being open daily the week before Christmas - even though the days were work and school nights, we were able to enjoy dinner, a show, the lights, and leave by 830 with our mug of hot chocolate.  What is missing is the advertising on TV and Radio (my friends in the tri-state area said there have been no Winterfest commercials or TV interviews about the event with staff whereas in the summer KI ran a commercial about every couple of hours).

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I haven't seen any advertising for it in Central Kentucky.  I've blabbed on and on about it though!  A coworker is bringing her family and I am bringing a friend for NYE.  My parent wanted to c.this year, but they are dog sitting and it just didn't work out logistically.

Think about this, though:  So many people said WinterFest would never return because of the unpredictable weather, the market has changed, Cedar Fair has no interest, etc.  In just two seasons, the park has opened up more real estate than it ever did before for WinterFest, had more rides open, more shows, more food and more lights than ever before.  The event has spread to almost half of the CF parks.  It's free for pass holders. And it scored a #2 spot in the USA Today poll, beating Dollywood!  (if you take stock in these fan-based polls.)

Pretty impressive.  

 

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11 hours ago, jtro223 said:

I haven't seen any advertising for it in Central Kentucky.  I've blabbed on and on about it though!  A coworker is bringing her family and I am bringing a friend for NYE.  My parent wanted to c.this year, but they are dog sitting and it just didn't work out logistically.

Think about this, though:  So many people said WinterFest would never return because of the unpredictable weather, the market has changed, Cedar Fair has no interest, etc.  In just two seasons, the park has opened up more real estate than it ever did before for WinterFest, had more rides open, more shows, more food and more lights than ever before.  The event has spread to almost half of the CF parks.  It's free for pass holders. And it scored a #2 spot in the USA Today poll, beating Dollywood!  (if you take stock in these fan-based polls.)

Pretty impressive.  

 

Technically it rebooted at great adventure in 2016, but you have to wonder if that was more of a “guaranteed better weather” test of some of the concepts that were really designed for the parks that started it in 17. And I really think the response to this event, and the feel of the park and the level of immersive entertainment will begin to shape the regular season more and more as we go. I think we are already seeing this with the proposed international festival this summer. 

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On 12/27/2018 at 10:22 AM, jtro223 said:

Wow, the park was packed last night!  I am glad to see large crowds, and through the magic of WinerFest, it didn't feel crowded!

I tried the buffet at Reds.  I was not impressed at all.  Glad I had the meal plan so  I had to only pay $5 and I am glad I tried it.  But a decent buffett needs to have more than 5 or 6 selections.  The food was very good (except the green bean casserole, it was too "earthy" for me) but the sweet potato casserole and the mashed potatoes were ice cold!  I think the rolls were left over from Sunday.  Hard as a rock, shrunken and wrinkled. The ham was very good.  It would have been nice to have a soup and a dessert.  (They were not giving out the cookies I have heard so much about.)  I must have just hit the buffet on an off day or time because I have heard great things about it.  I hope the park continues to offer things like this.

 

I also wanted to try the "international" foods at the Festhaus.  I was still full from the buffet so I wanted to take my second meal "to go."  Got a refill, asked the cashier what time they stopped serving (most places do not stay open until closing except I Street during normal season).  He didn't know and said to ask the folks behind the serving line.  On the way out, I wanted some pull apart bread and they were sold out.  I asked if it were available anywhere else in the park and was told "Uh...I don't know."  Maybe this is part of the root of the food service issue at KI.  Basic things should be common knowledge like closing times and if something is available elsewhere.  Side note: the pull apart bread is awesome and if it is only available, I think the park should look at expanding it to other areas.  It is reasonably priced and an arguable hit.  (but maybe they limit supply to increase the urgency to purchase?)

All this to say--I think that food service has improved at KI.  This is not a rant post!  ;)

 

Up until Wed we loved the reds buffet. Something was really off that night. The green beans were awful, my husband said something to an employee and their response was they had a different crew.

And yes, no dessert, I asked and they just shrugged their shoulders. But when we were leaving the park we were in the trim a tree shop and they had the cookies for sale at the cash register, I couldn't believe it. We stopped at guest services just to let them know we were disappointed and we were told they didn't expect the crowds, that was not an answer as we were the second people in the restaurant. I was looking forward to having it NYE but now I'm not so sure.

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On 12/27/2018 at 5:20 PM, Winterfestguy said:

We enjoyed the park being open daily the week before Christmas - even though the days were work and school nights, we were able to enjoy dinner, a show, the lights, and leave by 830 with our mug of hot chocolate.  What is missing is the advertising on TV and Radio (my friends in the tri-state area said there have been no Winterfest commercials or TV interviews about the event with staff whereas in the summer KI ran a commercial about every couple of hours).

I did see one Winterfest commercial on TV recently (maybe it was last Sunday), but other than that, I haven't seen/heard any promotion for it.

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Tried the Pull-a-Part Cinnamon Bread from the Turkey Leg Stand last night. I thought it was pretty good! For some reason it was 50% off, plus it stacked with the Gold Pass 10% off. 

Overall, the park was really busy. About a 45 minute wait on both MT and FOC. Peanuts showplace was full for the What the Dickens first show of the night. The train was at full capacity when we rode. I would say it was a fantastic night for KI business wise.

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When we are at the Reds Buffet on the 23rd, they were already really low on cookies and they were limiting them to one small box per family, and if you were in a group like we were, one box per group (that equaled 1/2 a cookie for each person!).  So it is no surprise they seemed to totally run out - Why they didn’t at least go buy and give out the individually wrapped chocolate chip cookies like they always serve at picnics will always be a mystery.

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Love all the photo ops in the park, but they really need to rethink the lighting. One big floodlight directly across from it is horrible for shadows. I have lots of “creepers” in almost of my pics! 

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14 hours ago, Winterfestguy said:

When we are at the Reds Buffet on the 23rd, they were already really low on cookies and they were limiting them to one small box per family, and if you were in a group like we were, one box per group (that equaled 1/2 a cookie for each person!).  So it is no surprise they seemed to totally run out - Why they didn’t at least go buy and give out the individually wrapped chocolate chip cookies like they always serve at picnics will always be a mystery.

The cookie thing is mind boggling. What is supposed to be the simplest thing possible (giving out bags of cookies) has managed to simply upset people due to inconsistent portions and “rules” as to who gets cookies and who can’t. Some of these people paid $25 for their meal. 

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59 minutes ago, BoddaH1994 said:

The cookie thing is mind boggling. What is supposed to be the simplest thing possible (giving out bags of cookies) has managed to simply upset people due to inconsistent portions and “rules” as to who gets cookies and who can’t. Some of these people paid $25 for their meal. 

It has been my experience that this is how terrible the food service has been all year.  I've over 110 visits for the season and have experienced poor food quality, inconsistent portions, and many more issues well over 50% of my visits. It's become a running joke between the wife and I as to whether it'll be an "issue free" meal.  In fact, just earlier this week I was served 1 (ONE) slice of smoked turkey as my dinner.  The excuse given was "it's a thicker slice that's why you only get 1".  

 

I have spoken to the VP of Food and Beverage (Mark B.) and both chefs (Nathan and James) repeatedly throughout the season.  Their reactions to feedback at this point are solely lip service.  I can't even begin to count the number of meals that guest services has had to "credit" me (aka give me a free replacement meal) this year.  The changes needed to bring food service up to par has to start at the top, and frankly, those in charge at the moment clearly aren't up to the task.

 

I started taking photos of the meal, timing how long I stood in line while my "hot" food got cold, and interacting with other guests in line to get a feel for their impressions.  I stop in at guest services regularly to share all of this and the front line folks always say "we'll pass this on up".  However, if management doesn't bother to look at the data then they are just sticking their head in the ground and ignoring the problems.

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Someone on FB said today is the last day for carriage rides. I was looking forward to finally doing that tomorrow (new years eve). Along with the International buffet not happening tomorrow the list of things I was hoping to do is drastically going down. I wish they had a later ice skating time slot as well. Hopefully most of the restaurants and shops stay open later than 10 because I fear there wont be much to do from 10 - midnight now. 

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2 hours ago, standbyme said:

@Rallyomalley The fact that you have been to the park 110 times and yet you still continue to eat the park’s food tells them that they have no reason to improve it.

To be fair, I eventually gave up on the non-franchised food.  Chick-fil-A is identical to what you'd get outside the park, as is Skyline.  I'm not a Subway fan, but I'm going to assume it's similar to what's available outside the park.

I worked close by, so it wasn't anything to just pop in.  

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For anyone who has ice skated on the fountain already... I went ahead and got my time slot tickets online so they wouldn't sell out but do you HAVE to get there at the beginning of the session time or can you come half way into it. I don't want to skate the whole 90 min.                                                         

 

Also I'm bringing a friend the online ticket "deal" was a wash once they added the service charge in so I decided to purchase at the gate. At any point during the night do they discount tickets. Like after 8 or 9pm or is it still full price all night?

Any help or input is appreciated thanks!

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15 minutes ago, Melody said:

For anyone who has ice skated on the fountain already... I went ahead and got my time slot tickets online so they wouldn't sell out but do you HAVE to get there at the beginning of the session time or can you come half way into it. I don't want to skate the whole 90 min.                                                         

 

Also I'm bringing a friend the online ticket "deal" was a wash once they added the service charge in so I decided to purchase at the gate. At any point during the night do they discount tickets. Like after 8 or 9pm or is it still full price all night?

Any help or input is appreciated thanks!

You can come and go as you want from the ice during your session. You don’t have to get there when it starts. 

I do not believe that there are any discounted sessions. Unfortunately the online “discount” simply offsetting the surcharge is kind of a fact of life with this. 

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6 hours ago, BoddaH1994 said:

You can come and go as you want from the ice during your session. You don’t have to get there when it starts. 

I do not believe that there are any discounted sessions. Unfortunately the online “discount” simply offsetting the surcharge is kind of a fact of life with this. 

You can come and go from the ice to the “shoe station” but you cannot leave the ice and return during the 90 min session(just to clarify a bit)  This keeps people from “swapping out” skates during the time slot. Also purchasing on line doesn’t really save money, but it does save time not having to go get tickets when you get there. 

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Finally made it to Winterfest last night.  Turned out to be a great night.  They did a really great job with it again this year.  Atmosphere is amazing.  Ate dinner in the International Restaurant again this year.  Single best experience of Winterfest, in my opinion.  I realized last night one of the best things about visiting this late in the year, is that it won't be long until the park is open again!

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18 hours ago, AlliePap said:

My pass was stolen and on the King’s Island website it says I would be able to replace it for a “nominal fee” Any idea how much that would cost?

Really need a answer. With the last day on winter fest coming up I need to get a new card so I can renew for the new year

 

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5 hours ago, brent said:

You can come and go from the ice to the “shoe station” but you cannot leave the ice and return during the 90 min session(just to clarify a bit)  This keeps people from “swapping out” skates during the time slot. Also purchasing on line doesn’t really save money, but it does save time not having to go get tickets when you get there. 

Okay, that’s news to me. Thanks for the clarification!

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On 12/14/2018 at 2:20 PM, IndyGuy4KI said:

I really like What the Dickens!! A must see in my book, and the Cinnamon Bread!

You are absolutely correct! A must see. Saw it for the first time last night, and it was fantastic. Those three guys did a great job. I really hope they have the show next year. 

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Really. Where is everyone? Crappy night up till now but at 8:30 it’s BEAUTIFUL, warm and EMPTY! The “dance club” looks totally deserted! Hopefully it picks up like the wind has! My kids are “ skating” which looks more like water skiing! 

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Really. Where is everyone? Crappy night up till now but at 8:30 it’s BEAUTIFUL, warm and EMPTY! The “dance club” looks totally deserted! Hopefully it picks up like the wind has! My kids are “ skating” which looks more like water skiing! 
Are fireworks still on for tonight??

Sent from my SM-S320VL using Tapatalk

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