Open Wide the World


Our 5 Favorite Things at Worlds of Fun WinterFest + 5 Tips for Your Trip

Kansas City's Worlds of Fun theme park presents a new family holiday tradition: WinterFest!

For five wonder-filled weeks, Worlds of Fun is transformed from theme park to magical winter wonderland. Millions of lights; dozens of shows, rides and attractions; sweet treats galore; nightly snowfall; and even an elf with a pair of reindeer. This is one holiday event not to miss! 

We visited in early December to kick off our Christmas season. (Our visit was sponsored by Visit Kansas City and Worlds of Fun; all opinions are our own.)

Our 5 Favorites

The Lights

Millions of holiday lights in all shapes, sizes and colors, adorn Worlds of Fun during WinterFest. -from Open Wide the World

Shining icicles embellish The Grand Carousel. Oversized bulbs decorate Charlie Brown Christmas Town. Glowing red lanterns adorn the Orient Lantern Fest. And millions of twinkling lights glimmer in trees throughout the park!

WinterFest sparkles and shimmers at every turn, adding a purely magical element to the joyful Christmas spirit of WinterFest!

Photo Opps & Christmas Props

Oversized gingerbread cookies and enormous lollipops are among the many adorable photo opps found at Worlds of Fun WinterFest. -from Open Wide the World

OhMyChristmasGoodness! WinterFest has some of the cutest decorations we have seen anywhere. (And we go to a lot of Christmas events.)

Giant word art, huge lollipops, oversized lightbulbs, and whimsical gingerbread people. Camera addicts could spend the whole night just taking pics!

The Cast

Holiday characters come to life at Worlds of Fun WinterFest. -from Open Wide the World

Truly the heart of WinterFest!

The cast and characters greet, dazzle, and entertain on the plazas and in the shows. They truly bring the spirit of Christmas to life. Not to mention looking enchanting in photos!

Bottomless Hot Chocolate

Bottomless hot chocolate is a definite highlight of WinterFest at Worlds of Fun! -from Open Wide the World

Purchase a mug, then enjoy bottomless hot chocolate all night. 'Nuf said!

Peanuts Characters

It's just not Christmas without the Peanuts gang! Schroeder and his toy piano at WinterFest at Worlds of Fun -from Open Wide the World

The Charlie Brown Christmas tv special has become part our collective conscience as Americans (and Canadians, too, eh?). For many of us, Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without a cartoon boy and his toy piano. 

Seeing Schroeder perform "live"  in the Charlie Brown Christmas Spectacular (on stage in Scandi Elf Village) was an unexpected treat that brought the magic of childhood Christmases flooding back.

And with that, let the season begin!

Will you be heading to Worlds of Fun WinterFest this season? Check out our:

5 Tips for Your Trip

Getting there - Beware!

It is worth knowing in advance that Google maps will not get you to the entrance of Worlds of Fun. In fact, even the Google map embedded into Worlds of Fun's own website won't get you to the entrance. Instead, Google's directions lead to an "exit only" sign at the Worlds of Fun Village (the cabin, cottage, RV area).

To actually get to the park, head north on what looks like an entrance ramp to Interstate Bypass 435. I promise, there is an entrance to the park on your right on the "ramp;" you won't end up on 435.

What color are you wearing?

WinterFest is chock full of fun and festive photo opps. So for procrastinators like us, WinterFest is a perfect place to take the family's Christmas card photo.

If you think you'd like to (or need to!) take your Christmas photo here, just give a thought to what you want to be wearing in your photo when you get dressed for a night in the park.

Early bird gets the light!

Part Two of the photo concept: arrive early for the best photos.

As the evening skies get darker, more and more floodlights will come on around the park. If you've ever tried to take night photos or photos under floodlights, you know the combination of the two will be a big challenge. So get to the park as early as you can and take your family photo right away before you lose the light.

Cookie Caution

I will say upfront that the sugar cookies from Mrs. Claus' Kitchen are some of my favorite Christmas cookies. Ever! (Sorry, Grandma.) Perfect texture, perfect thickness, perfect sweetness!

Even so, a word of caution: don't over-hype the cookie frosting experience to your children (or to yourself) beforehand.

It may turn out that you arrive at Mrs. Claus' Kitchen to find a line out the door and along the entire front of the building. In that case, you could wait 30+ minutes (like we did) before receiving cookies to frost.

And with that many frosters ahead of you, you may not get a table in Mrs. Claus' adorable Kitchen, but instead find yourself frosting cookies outdoors (like we did), possibly without the tubes of decorator's icing found on all the tables inside The Kitchen. (The tubes are hit or miss on the outdoor tables.)

Too, with this many cookie frosters, the sweet and super-photogenic Mrs. Claus may only have time to exchange two sentences with your table before needing to move on.

Fortunately, for our family with a 9-year old who gets to frost cookies with her own grandmother every Christmas, none of these caveats diminished the experience; Mag didn't mind sitting outdoors, not having icing tubes, or barely seeing Mrs. Claus.

And we certainly all enjoyed the cookies! But I am very glad we had not over-hyped the cookie frosting/Mrs.Claus experience beforehand, or we may have had a disappointed child on our hands.


Worlds of Fun has some great rides. But it also has a great WinterFest! In the span of the 5-hour event, no one can do it all. 

So get a feel from your family/group beforehand and come to a consensus about your priorities. A few rides but mostly Christmas stuff? Mostly rides but catching the tree lighting? 

Whatever the case, prepare the family in advance that there is more park than there is time... and that's a good thing!

Bonus Tip

Start planning for next year's trip! Worlds of Fun's WinterFest is so much fun, you'll want to make it an annual event! We hope to!

Pin this post for your WinterFest trip planning!

5 Favs plus 5 tips from WinterFest at Worlds of Fun -from Open Wide the World

Have you been to WinterFest?

What was your highlight? Tell us about it in the comments!

Want more WinterFest?

Check out what other Midwest travelers are saying:

Megan from Olio in Iowa 

Linsey from Lille Punkin'

Kim from Oh My! Omaha

Amanda from Traveling Mom

Sage from Everyday Wanderer

Julie from Family Fun in Omaha 

Lisa & Tim from The Walking Tourists

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