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Grand Carnivale 2021 changes and reviews


BoddaH1994
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I thought I’d make a thread so we can discuss Grand Carnivale 2021 now that it’s started.

Here are some changes:

- The opening ceremony is much more of a show than it was. The song and dance numbers are great but the dialogue parts run a little long. Over all an improvement over the previous version. 
 

- Instead of having entertainment in the specific countries areas, the entertainment was localized to the Bandstand. There are 3 acts: acrobats doing an act that’s almost identical to the opening act of Cirque Imagine, a drum corpse, and another acrobatic act. Although there is technically less entertainment, it seems to work better. I’m 2019 the Chinese performers drew large crowds but Germany, India, and the other countries often had no one. The entertainment is also “scaled up,” meaning there’s more to see. I realize this will be controversial but I think the direction made sense. 
 

- We did tasting cards. The 9 sampler is good during the entire run of GC so we tried to conserve a little. The lines were long at times and moved slowly but I have to admit that the food was amazing. 
 

- The parade was similar to 2019 but many of the floats are either completely changed out or have been renovated. I truly did enjoy the parade this year. 
 

Here are some photos:49ECC40B-677A-4DF9-B734-0433FEBAFFC6.jpeg416D96C8-F075-4888-AD13-7FF5E11054AF.jpeg7F8346D3-25B2-40FB-B704-F190C43ABA8C.jpegFCB06B76-2B4B-4219-9A67-F73258818F16.jpeg86C93E60-B6D2-4E57-9625-C84CA922D37E.jpeg

What are your thoughts on the changes?

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I have not seen the parade yet, (I will do so next Saturday :D), but as for the Opening Ceremonies, I really liked that they brought Cirque-style acts back to KI. Also, I was confused as to why the drumming went on for so long as I was under the impression there would be multiple acts (besides the drums and the acrobats). However, I did enjoy both acts. Also, why are there two Opening Ceremony shows (or there seems to be - one at 5:00 and one around 6:15)?

On another note, I get why they centralized everything, but I miss having to "discover" new things once you get to each pavilion, like the drummers/dancers of India or the Cyr Ring for Germany. So far, though, I have enjoyed Carnivale. I think the parade will be really cool!

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49 minutes ago, King Ding Dong said:

What country does that bread cup thingy full of larva represent?

Italy. It’s funny because my girlfriend said the same thing. Don’t be fooled, it’s delicious! Since it looks like a waffle cone I kept referring to it as “Italian Ice Cream” to annoy my friends. Feel free to recycle that. 

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1 minute ago, super7 said:

I’m here on Sunday 7-18.  Park is crowded.  It’s a mgmt fail not to open the food booths all day as they are pure revenue (no dining plans).  

I bet they’d open the booths at 2 or 3 if they could staff it.  Then again, GC is advertised to start at 5:00, as it was last year. 

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Some observations (and yes I will be kind AND critical - I LOVE these types of events and want them to succeed, but I also will always share my thoughts on how I feel they can the the strongest they can be. I am NOT employed by the park and do not have line of signs into costs or feasibility - just ideas!)

Was there on Monday night, so nice crowd but not a weekend crazy

Food was great (all 5 tastes - like that the pass holders can do a "run of event" pass. Really like the seating areas - makes the overall event feel more upscale. People were using them - makes you realize when you provide really nice seating and great food, people take advantage of it and spend money

Parade was nice. I like the later start time (8:30 vs 8) lets the lights show up more. Seems like the show stop is shorter this year - maybe to still wrap up by 9. Miss the elephant drum float and a few of the other costumes, but I like that they are freshening it up this year. LOTS of ripped fishnets and we are only 3 days in. Some of the girls look a little "women of the night" when combined with all the feathers and such - hope they regularly replace as the run continues otherwise its gonna look REAL trashy by Aug 1 LOL. Miss parking a few of the floats by the stage for the dance party. These added some drama and light last time - maybe these blocked up the area too much. 

I like the opening show - like others have said, it seems to drag on a bit - just sing... dance... shoot confetti and get it going

Miss the entertainment throughout. Maybe next time they can find a blend - smaller, single performer acts in each area and a few larger "carnivale" type acts on the main stage. The areas just feel a little quiet with no entertainment or craft activity (those have been consolidated as well) I do like there was an accordion guy in Germany, so maybe they are playing with a few "pop up acts"

Added decor looked nice, but if you buy garlands with lights in them... plug them in - especially when they are on buildings covered in lights and electrical plugs. Seems like this was hit or miss - actually lot of the areas seemed dark. No lights in the Chinese lanterns and the lights on those pergolas weren't plugged in, lots of garlands not lit (some even with cord run to them - like they just ran out of time). Wish there was more overhead string lights in the country colors or something to light the countries up more. I think loosing the stages made these areas even darker than last time.

The areas still seem a little unbalanced. Few ideas for "next time" in next post.

 

 

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Countries grouped into 2 "area sizes"

A - New Orleans, Germany, France, China,Italy - have food, entertainment and craft or game

B - Mexico, Spain, India - have food and entertainment only

Smaller acts in each area with larger acts on mainstage 

New Orleans - (along path in front of KI Theatre) Jazz Band - Crown craft

Germany - accordion player

Mexico (along path by Tower Gardens)  - leads into Hanks Burritos - Mariaci Band

China - Tower Gardens - drummers - lantern craft. Maybe even use some of the red lights from Winterfest  

India (path by International Showplace) Sitar player - dance

Spain (nook between French corner and Spanish building - strolling guitar player

Italy - Opera Singer

All areas have overhead string lights in county flag colors along with flags

International Showplace is used for area international groups (music, dance) to perform on a voluntary basis for free park admission - drives attendance as family members get discounted tickets to watch performers. 

 

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11 hours ago, brenthodge said:

Some observations (and yes I will be kind AND critical - I LOVE these types of events and want them to succeed, but I also will always share my thoughts on how I feel they can the the strongest they can be. I am NOT employed by the park and do not have line of signs into costs or feasibility - just ideas!)

Was there on Monday night, so nice crowd but not a weekend crazy

Food was great (all 5 tastes - like that the pass holders can do a "run of event" pass. Really like the seating areas - makes the overall event feel more upscale. People were using them - makes you realize when you provide really nice seating and great food, people take advantage of it and spend money

Parade was nice. I like the later start time (8:30 vs 8) lets the lights show up more. Seems like the show stop is shorter this year - maybe to still wrap up by 9. Miss the elephant drum float and a few of the other costumes, but I like that they are freshening it up this year. LOTS of ripped fishnets and we are only 3 days in. Some of the girls look a little "women of the night" when combined with all the feathers and such - hope they regularly replace as the run continues otherwise its gonna look REAL trashy by Aug 1 LOL. Miss parking a few of the floats by the stage for the dance party. These added some drama and light last time - maybe these blocked up the area too much. 

I like the opening show - like others have said, it seems to drag on a bit - just sing... dance... shoot confetti and get it going

Miss the entertainment throughout. Maybe next time they can find a blend - smaller, single performer acts in each area and a few larger "carnivale" type acts on the main stage. The areas just feel a little quiet with no entertainment or craft activity (those have been consolidated as well) I do like there was an accordion guy in Germany, so maybe they are playing with a few "pop up acts"

Added decor looked nice, but if you buy garlands with lights in them... plug them in - especially when they are on buildings covered in lights and electrical plugs. Seems like this was hit or miss - actually lot of the areas seemed dark. No lights in the Chinese lanterns and the lights on those pergolas weren't plugged in, lots of garlands not lit (some even with cord run to them - like they just ran out of time). Wish there was more overhead string lights in the country colors or something to light the countries up more. I think loosing the stages made these areas even darker than last time.

The areas still seem a little unbalanced. Few ideas for "next time" in next post.

 

 

I agree with a lot of what you have to say. I miss some of the old floats too but I’d rather have a hit or miss situation than have the same floats again and not get to see all of them. 

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Went last night with the grandkids and absolutely loved it.  brenthodge brings up some great points and I'm sure it will get to those in charge and be considered.  If there's one thing I've noticed is that KI takes ideas and considers them, they are really good about hearing and responding to guests suggestions when and where appropriate. 

I miss the Elephant float too (maybe because of the drumsticks they decided not to have it because of just coming off of COVID) however there is the possibility that it is at another Carnivale.  Seems like they could swap floats in and out and trade off every year with other Carnivale's in the chain.  I wouldn't be surprised to see a float from CP 150th in a carnivale in the future.  It's the way of keeping things fresh. (you could take the 1 off the 150th float and use it at KI next year :)).

The biggest thing I noticed yesterday was the cultural diversity of the crowd.  I may be mistaken but I think Grand Carnivale attracts people of different ethnicities to visit the park which is FANTASTIC!  Kind of like when Dayton has "A World Affair".  It attracts all different types of people from different cultures.  It may have been true in the past but I just didn't notice it but it was good to see yesterday.

Overall we had a great time and will be going back during Carnivale just to experience it all.  I still have tastings to try and being able to use the pass on other days is a big plus.  The culinary team is a true treasure of the park.  The shows are great, the 9:30 show at the tower is awesome with all the parade people interacting with guests it just feels like the "place to be" at the end of an amazing day.  

Special thanks to the staff at KI for putting on this outstanding event.  The energy of the performers and the amount of labor to pull off the parade is impressive and just shows how much the employees care about making sure each and every guest has, as my daughter screamed last night, the "BEST DAY EVER"!!!!

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Went yesterday with a co worker.  He has not been to KI in 25 years, so he was like a kid in a candy store.

He's also a theatre person and wow, was he impressed with the event!  He was explaining to me the technical aspects as well as the time commitment they performers have to put into this event....wow!

I loved the Spain float.  I loved that during the show and parade, performers make eye contact and smiled.  Wonderful showmanship.

I loved the ode to Cirque and the drummers were great.  King Carl was really into the drum show.

The parade seemed shorter this year and I do miss the decentralized country shows.  However, the Germans on stilts doing the Chicken Dance at my request was a great touch!

Thank you, Kings Island for a wonderful day, event and lifting of spirits.  If my gold pass just covered one day of this and one day of winterfest, it would more than have paid for itself with the value I received.

 

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3 hours ago, robintodd said:

I miss the Elephant float too (maybe because of the drumsticks they decided not to have it because of just coming off of COVID) however there is the possibility that it is at another Carnivale. 

Oddly, the elephant float was the only float complete in the parade tent right up until they started loading in all the other ones. Maybe technical issues? But the costumes weren't in the parade, so it seems like a planned decision. 

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Imo I think a country that should be added in the future is Israel. Idk why, but when I went to Israel in 2019, I fell in love with the food there ie falafels, shawarmas (gyros), pita bread + humus, etc.) I definitely agree they should add Mexico over near hanks. However, keep India and China in their respective locations. As for the drum float, I think I saw a video that it is at Carowinds for theirs. I haven't seen the parade up close in person, but I have seen videos and have seen it from the tower and it definitely looks like a hit. I think the big balloons are very cool. I do hope in the future they use more of the stages for entertainment other than just on the bandstand. I think International showplace would be a great place for a show. Maybe in the future bring back weekend concerts during Carnivale, but maybe bring in bigger name artists and do them in Timberwolf. I definitely think they should bring back the small stages that were used in 2019 and 2020 (Fall Fest). Definitely a great event and I hope it returns for many seasons to come. Not really counting on it for next year since I have a feeling Carnivale will be replaced for a 50th anniversary celebration event similar to Cedar Point. I honestly think Canada's Wonderland and Cedar Point should hold Carnivale in the future as well as they didn't do it in 2019. 

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Watched (and participated in) the parade tonight and it was awesome. From where I stood (on the corner of Coney Mall in front of those games at the intersection of Coney and Area 72), the audio seemed a little softer, but I had a great time. After it passed by, the guy at the end appreciated my enthusiasm so much, he let me join in and follow them 'till the end. During the parade run, I saw a ton of people I knew and that was so much fun. On an unrelated note, tonight was more of a "party" night than a ride night, so instead of riding rides, I saw Busker Jam before the parade and participated in the Area 72 dance party afterwards. It was a fun night!!! :D

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Finally made it to get the Carnivale experience last night. @electricsun and I purchase a tasting card and it was a fun experience going around and trying the different foods.

The stage was hopping the whole time and kids were having such a great time. The parade was awesome and I do like the later start to enjoy the lights on the floats that others have mentioned. 

We treated the evening like a date night and not a park trip. It was a really fun experience between the food, entertainment, and the atmosphere. We loved the whole Grand Carnivale experience start to finish.

We definitely recommend the season pass holder tasting card. Some tents had really long lines and the line spread right across the whole midway blocking it. I was confused as to why someone wasn't directing people to line up away from the midway or setting up switchbacks, especially at the China and Italy tent.

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It would really help the lines if they sold the tasting cards at a separate location(s) like the information booth or a new separate dedicated booth and just focus on serving food at each of the locations instead to trying to do both (sell the tasting cards and order food).   On Saturday, we were third in line when France opened, and each transaction of purchasing a tasting card and then ordering food of those in front was taking about 5-6 minutes each - so took us 15 minutes to pick up our season pass tasting cards (we purchased in advance) and order food.  Over to Spain and the wait took us about 16 minutes and we were forth in line.   Germany was the worst where we waited 25 minutes to even order food.  Several people behind us left the line saying they only have four items so how can it take that long? However, by 7:30 when most people already had purchased their cards, lines seem to move a bit faster.

The cards were a very heavy plastic, very difficult to punch, and found a location that wouldn’t even punch or mark off for each item ordered.  Another station just used an ink pen and made X instead of a punch.  Since the computer system keeps track of tastes used, the punches are really for our benefit, so maybe the ink pen or stickers would be much easier than the punch of the thick plastic.

Also agree they need rope queues to help (like those at the blue ice cream this year) direct the booth line out of major traffic areas.   There were definitely bottlenecks of the masses in China, Italy, and Germany on Saturday.

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1 hour ago, Winterfestguy said:

It would really help the lines if they sold the tasting cards at a separate location(s) like the information booth or a new separate dedicated booth and just focus on serving food at each of the locations instead to trying to do both (sell the tasting cards and order food).   On Saturday, we were third in line when France opened, and each transaction of purchasing a tasting card and then ordering food of those in front was taking about 5-6 minutes each - so took us 15 minutes to pick up our season pass tasting cards (we purchased in advance) and order food.  Over to Spain and the wait took us about 16 minutes and we were forth in line.   Germany was the worst where we waited 25 minutes to even order food.  Several people behind us left the line saying they only have four items so how can it take that long? However, by 7:30 when most people already had purchased their cards, lines seem to move a bit faster.

The cards were a very heavy plastic, very difficult to punch, and found a location that wouldn’t even punch or mark off for each item ordered.  Another station just used an ink pen and made X instead of a punch.  Since the computer system keeps track of tastes used, the punches are really for our benefit, so maybe the ink pen or stickers would be much easier than the punch of the thick plastic.

Also agree they need rope queues to help (like those at the blue ice cream this year) direct the booth line out of major traffic areas.   There were definitely bottlenecks of the masses in China, Italy, and Germany on Saturday.

I would suggest tasting cards at other locations (like the information boot) but I think you need to have them at the tents themselves in order to create the impulse buy.  Someone may only have 1 more taste left and see 2 things they want to try and instead of buying one extra taste at 7.99 just get a 6 or 9 pack for the discount.  You're always going to have register transactions because of the availability to have one-off buys for drinks and tastes.  

On marking the cards I think another primary reason for the punches is if the systems go "down".  If for some reason the scanner stopped working they could just punch the lanyard.  I think they need custom punchers as opposed to the office ones they had (they do sell them for heavier stock paper) or the ink pen would work.  Stickers may not be viable since they could be removed.

One idea for the pen may be a different color for each country?  Might be neat to see how many of each country you ended up with.

I agree on the ropes as well.  Also signs for "Order" and "Pickup" so everyone knows that the lines are different.  I'm sure the amount of response they had this year surprised them again.  The culinary crew does a fantastic job and I'm confident changes will be made in years to come as this seems to be an incredibly successful event.

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I do have to admit that the lines at the booths have been a deterrent. I’m wondering if it’s partially because of staffing issues. We did 3 or 4 on opening night and waited a long time, especially at the beginning of the event. We came during the week and had no problem doing a tasting. But then on Saturday (which, in their defense, I understand was the business day of the year) we fully intended to use our cards but the lines were at least 30 deep for the majority of the night. It was no big deal for us, but not everyone has that luxury. 
 

With that being said, I do enjoy the tasting card concept. I hope they do the event-long ones for Tricks and Treats, because I’d do it again. They did a tasting card for Winterfest Jr at some of the parks last year. Maybe we will see that this year. 

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13 hours ago, FUN&ONLY! said:

Was this past Saturday the busiest day of the year?

I'd say so, haven't seen the park that crowded yet this season. I've definitely never seen that many people watching the parade!

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We split our visit between Friday night for Carnivale dance party, Parade then Area 72 dance party. 12yo gave away her glow bracelets cause it's more fun when everyone glows lol

Then Saturday did the Scavenger Hunt, Opening Ceremony, Carnivale games: won a stuffed box of rice, stuffed crayon, and the loathed basketball. (Only time I'd let her get one since we weren't riding) Got to France about 5:45, took 20 minutes for us to order. Partially held up by a large group still debating what to get. The other part was purchasing drinks while getting our card I pre-purchase and ordering. The register itself seemed to drag a bit, poor guy just standing there waiting for it to calculate like it's on dial up. 

We had planned on using all 9 between the 3 of us, but husband wasn't feeling well by 8ish so only used 4. Wish we could have done more before leaving. 

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On 7/25/2021 at 10:58 PM, BoddaH1994 said:

I do have to admit that the lines at the booths have been a deterrent. I’m wondering if it’s partially because of staffing issues. We did 3 or 4 on opening night and waited a long time, especially at the beginning of the event. We came during the week and had no problem doing a tasting. But then on Saturday (which, in their defense, I understand was the business day of the year) we fully intended to use our cards but the lines were at least 30 deep for the majority of the night. It was no big deal for us, but not everyone has that luxury. 
 

With that being said, I do enjoy the tasting card concept. I hope they do the event-long ones for Tricks and Treats, because I’d do it again. They did a tasting card for Winterfest Jr at some of the parks last year. Maybe we will see that this year. 

The booths (overall) seem to be staffed, there’s just so much you can do with some of the more “labor intensive” preps they are doing in “pop up” kitchens. Short of doubling up entire prep areas, I’m not sure what they could do to expedite. I could see maybe in future years splitting the sweet/ beverage and savory into two tents in some of the more popular areas. 

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