Monday, December 31, 2018

2019: A New Year of Anniversaries!

Usually, New Year's Eve is a non-entity for Worlds of Fun fans, in the forty-five years of the park’s existence, the park has been as quiet as a field mouse on December 31, until this year.  Of course this year the park is doing some decidedly different.  It’s open!  It will enter into 2019 not dark and somber, but full of life, lights, fireworks, and people (hopefully).  This made me think that this made for a perfect time for a blog.  But I couldn’t figure out what type of blog, until I realized that this New Years Eve brought in the new year, 2019.  And with 2019, came a whole host of anniversaries for the park.  If CP Food Blog won’t mind me borrowing their idea, I do believe that this last day of 2018 makes for a perfect introduction to the multitude of park anniversaries for the upcoming year.  This is one of the few years that there will be an EXISTING attraction celebrating an anniversary for almost every five-year mark from 1974 going forward.

The Inspirational Article:

Five Years 2014- Current 


Believe it or not… Steelhawk is officially five years old in 2019.  If that makes you feel old… well, I am only just getting started.  Steelhawk was manufactured by Mondial of the Netherlands and opened on July 2, 2014.  It was then and still is now at 301’ feet tall the tallest attraction in the park, and offers an exhilarating, and sometimes quite cold and windy experience high above the park.  As most know its history I won’t repeat too much of it here except to remind everyone that Steelhawk was originally known as Windseeker prior to it’s move from Knott’s Berry Farm to Worlds of Fun.  Fascinating enough Steelhawk also stands where the original main Americana gate was located and the entrance walkway to Steelhawk once served as the entrance walkway into the park.

Steelhawk Blogs:
03/28/2014: Worlds of Fun Off-Season Tour (Steelhawk Construction)

Ten Years 2009 - Current 


It’s amazing to me that Prowler is now ten years old.  It doesn’t feel like that long ago.  It too didn’t open on opening day, this big cat preferred May instead (Prowler opened May 2, 2009).  It is famous locally for its great night rides and perfectly timed on ride photo flash.  It also, like all good Worlds of Fun coasters, is famous nationally for being voted the best new attraction for 2009.  So much so that once again like all good Worlds of Fun coasters, was at least partially cloned at Kings Island (Mystic Timbers).  Makes one wonder why King’s Island likes to clone Worlds of Fun coasters as this is its second go around doing that?  (Vortex is a near clone of Orient Express). I think with Kings Island photocopying Worlds of Fun so much that turn around is fair play, what do you think?

Prowler like its semi-clone Mystic Timbers was a creation of Great Coasters International or as it is usually referred to as GCI.  GCI had been known since its inception for its fabulous twister coasters, or coasters that as the name implies cross over themselves countless times.  Thunderhead for example at Dollywood has a total of 32 crossovers.  Prowler was quite different with a total of only four, creating an odd sort of GCI creation more in line with a traditional Out and Back coaster (Mamba is a great example of an Out and Back).  The funny part of all of this is that on a dark night it's almost impossible to tell where the coaster is headed, and a friend of ours who rode the coaster for the first time on a dark night during the American Coaster Enthusiasts 2009 Convention stated upon exiting that he "really didn't like those twister coasters".  Suffice it to say... Prowler wasn't and isn't a twister, but it was so dark he couldn't even tell.  The sign of a great coaster.

Prowler Construction Blogs:

Fifteen Years 2004 - Current 

Spinning Dragons

There are a lot of coasters having anniversaries this year… mostly due to the fact that over a period of a decade the park added five different coasters (and removed two).  Spinning Dragons was the first coaster opening that I actually rode on its opening day, which once again wasn’t Worlds of Fun’s opening day, it was April 17th instead.  Spinning Dragons was a replacement filling the void at the park for the family-style coaster, and is still quite popular since it is the only coaster other than Cosmic Coaster (a rocket with feet), that allows guests under 48” to ride.  Guests can ride Spinning Dragons at 43” as long as they are accompanied by a responsible person...  As most also know Spinning Dragons was a twin birth by the folks at Gerstlauer Amusement Rides of Germany with its twin opening a few months earlier at the then Camp Snoopy at Mall of America (today Nickelodeon Universe)

Twenty Five Years - 1994 -Current 

Sea Dragon

I was 16 in summer 1994 and Worlds of Fun was not only my first job, but Sea Dragon was also the brand new ride that year.  I not only operated it but I also characteristically, for me that is, called operations office freaking out that guests were going to fly out of the swinging ship.  Give a 16-year-old a break as for those that ride it there is a lot of airtime in those last rows!  Sea Dragon was one of Hunt Midwest’s last additions to the park, and in many ways “replaced” the Victrix which had been removed after the 1992 season.  Sea Dragon was also one of Chance Rides last “Sea Dragon” themed swing ship rides.  After that year Chance switched to the Pharoah’s Fury theme on their swinging ships. Chance Rides today is still in business and still manufacturing the Pharoah’s Fury swinging ship in nearby Wichita, Ks.

Thirty Years 1989 - Current 

Timber Wolf

Timber Wolf… there are some that will say that the Timber Wolf of today bears no resemblance to the Timber Wolf of 1989.  But we're not going to argue that point as wooden coasters by their very nature are temperamental beings.  I always like to say that my real interest in Worlds of Fun started with Timber Wolf, it was at that point that I started to watch for the commercials every spring, and those that were around during that marketing campaign know exactly what I am talking about.  The most amazing thing to me though right now about Timber Wolf is that we are discussing not its 20th, not its 25th but its 30th anniversary.  The big THREE-OH.  Timber Wolf is now not only officially “over the hill” but It has as of 2019 made it six years longer than any other Worlds of Fun coaster in the history of the park.  With its new turn (which replaced the old 560 degree helix), I think it’s gotten a new lease on life, and I think it will see several more 5-year anniversary marks before it runs off into the wilderness.

Timber Wolf Blogs
03/10/2010: With a Wolf Howl
04/01/2014: 25 Years of Running Wild with Timber Wolf
05/31/2018: The New and Improved Timber Wolf: A Review

Thirty-Five Years - 1984 - Current 

Fury of the Nile

Timber Wolf might be the ride I remember because of its commercials but the fact is I didn’t even ride it until 2004.  On the other hand, the ride that I remember riding every time I went to Worlds of Fun when I was a kid and a teenager is also still there and that’s Fury of the Nile.  I still remember the hot sun, the line snaking all the way down that long queue line, and by the time you made it “almost” there, to that bridge that covers the turntable… the turntable was running so fast in those years it would cause that bridge to vibrate.  Everything was amazingly memorable about that ride, the geysers which seemed to be everywhere, the rapids and the long, seemingly never-ending dark tunnel at the end.  Nile was also of true Worlds of Fun lineage, in that it was the largest river rapids ride in the world at the time, built by Intamin AG of Switzerland.  Nile also introduced new technology to the world of rapids rides including the first ever turntable loading station, and water storage that was built into the ride itself (under the lift), not necessitating what I like to refer to as an “ugly lake” that many rapids rides have to this day.  Nile has so many great stories its hard to pick just one,  but I always personally loved how in the years preceding the now massive event that is Halloween Haunt, Nile was always dyed “red” (more like a dirty pink) and called Fury of the “bloody” Nile.  I can’t even remember when they stopped doing that, but you know I kind of miss those small touches.

Forty Years - 1979 - Current 


It has been said that the German’s really known how to engineer their rides, (among other things), and like Spinning Dragons, Zulu is German made, by Huss Manufacturing (pronounced WHOSE).  Zulu is what is known as an Enterprise, and Huss was the second company to produce a ride by that name, Anton Schwartzkopf (also of Germany) produced the first version, and the two rides were incredibly similar.  Zulu is properly named, it was in 1979 and still is today one incredibly intense ride, and for that reason, it is the only ride in this list that I have not, and will not ride.  I’ve heard too many stories about trails leading around the ride and to the bathroom nearby, and I am not talking about trails of breadcrumbs either.  There has been a great deal of worry about Zulu over recent years due to rehabs throughout the operating season, and also the simple fact that Cedar Point, Worlds of Fun’s monstrous sister park in Ohio just removed their Huss Enterprise after the 2018 season (Witches Wheel).  For today though, and into 2019 Zulu is still with us, and hopefully will continue to be with us for many years to come.  I still won’t ride it though.

Zulu Blogs:
04/12/2017: It's A Flat World After All?

Forty-Five Years - 1974 - Current 

Red Baron and Forum

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the park turned forty-five years old in 2018, so it would only be proper that the next year, 2019 we would celebrate the forty-fifth anniversary of the first new attractions added to the park in its second season.  That would include the Red Baron children’s ride and the Forum Amphitheater.  Forum, or as it was re-named in 1999 the Heart of America Theater, is sadly probably on its last few seasons.  It had an amazing run, if not one of the most amazing runs of any attraction at the park, hosting hundreds if not thousands of concerts, from its first on June 16th, 1974, the Harper Valley PTA, to its last major concert in 1997.  I still remember coming to the park as a child with my mom who wanted to see Lee Greenwood and waiting camped out in front of the Forum Amphitheater for good seats.  During the 1980s and even into the ’90s the Forum was the bread and butter of park attendance.  It was sad then to wait in line for the Bloodshed attraction at Haunt this year and see the faded paint reminding those long ago concertgoers not to sit on the concrete walkways.  Let us not be sad though, let us instead remember the memories from it, and recall those while the Forum still exists for 2019.

The other attraction celebrating it’s 45th anniversary this year is a rather small one, but though it be small it be mighty and that’s the Red Baron.  Yes, that little airplane ride in Planet Snoopy is one of the park’s oldest operating attractions, opening in 1974 in the Scandinavian section of the park, and moving to its current location in 1978 with the addition of the Aerodrome.  Details and even its paint job and name have changed over the years but Red Baron itself really hasn’t.  A thought I like to think about is that kids that first rode it when it opened in the 1970s are now old enough to not only have children of their own but now even grandchildren, making this one ride that quite possibly can be said to have been ridden by three different generations.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Hiding in Plain Sight

Henrietta in 1973 (from the 1974 Photobook).

About a week ago I posted a photo of Henrietta in the snow back when the park was still under construction in early 1973. That photo started a discussion on what happened to Henrietta, and started the wheels turning for a blog specifically about her.  As most know Worlds of Fun was home to three full-size ships when it first opened in 1973, Cotton Blossom from MGM’s 1951 “Show Boat”, Victrix from MGM’s 1953 “All the Brothers were Valiant” and last but not least, Henrietta.  Unlike the other two, Henrietta was not an actual model purchased from MGM, it was, however, based on the actual Henrietta from the 1956 version of “Around the World in 80 Days”.  In fact, it's easy to tell when one watches’ the scenes from the movie that the ship at Worlds of Fun was only very loosely based on the actual ship from the movie itself, with only a few identifying elements being copied such as the side paddlewheel and smokestack, along with, of course, the name.

Screenshot from "Around the World in 80 Days"

When the park opened in 1973, until the Americana main gate closed for good at the end of the 1998 season, millions of guests would start and end their day at Worlds of Fun by crossing the gangplank of Henrietta.  It, along with the entire Americana gate complex was almost an afterthought to the guests running for the Zinger, or Screamroller or Orient Express which were, rightfully, the stars of the show.  Very few thought to take pictures of Henrietta or the Main Gate, that was until we all realized it was going away for good, and like so many things in life one ever knows what one is losing until it's gone forever.  With the removal of the gate in 1998 and the addition of the pay extra Grand Prix Raceway Go Karts, Henrietta was the last of the ships to go, following Victrix’s removal in 1993 and Cotton Blossom in 1995.  Or was it?

Construction of Henrietta, you can see the concrete keel in the approximate center of the photo.
Henrietta as she appeared in the late 80's/early 90's, photo by Jeff Merritt.

Henrietta, because it was only half wood, and the rest concrete wasn’t so easy to get rid of, and when the park opened back up in 1999 it was obvious that the park decided not to simply remove the ship and bulldoze over the site as if it had never existed in the first place, but simply only removed anything that looked like a ship choosing to leave the basic structure intact.  The pointed bow deck, the stern (rear) nameplate, the rigging, the sidewheeler, and the smokestack were all gone.  Yet the old counter and covered awning remained.  Instead of being used as Guests Relations, or Par-A-Scope photo, it became the ticket booth for the Grand Prix Raceway.  I remember visiting the interior when I worked at the park in 2008 and was sent from Patriot to Grand Prix, seeing the old miniature wooden boxes and pegs on the wall that still existed from when it was used for souvenir photos, reminding me of the once grand past of what had become simply an ordinary wooden box.  

Henrietta in 1998, the last season before it was "removed"

Starting with the 1999 season the Scandinavian gate went from being a back gate to the ONLY gate.  Due to its design, it lacked any "opening act" show factor that both the old Americana Gate, and new Scandinavia gate today evoke.  This created a new trend for Worlds of Fun fans, who started taking their guests to Americana and passing over the still existing entrance/exit bridges to “properly” enter the park.  I remember quite vividly showing a visiting friend from Florida the outline of where the sidewheel paddlewheel once was, which was still visible at the time (it is no longer so).

Henrietta during the 1999 Season, you can easily see the ship's concrete bow, the white structure above is also re-used from the Henrietta.

Even now when I pass by what I refer to as "what is left of Henrietta" (for lack of better description) I can't help but remember my personal memories associated with her and there are several.  Crossing it every week to enter the park as a guest after I got off work there in 1994, while I waited for my mom to pick me up. In 1998, I met Jeff, who would later become my husband for the very first time in front of the Henrietta.  My dad would even come out a few times and on one occasion would point out that when he worked at the park in 1973 (on Cotton Blossom’s Paddlewheel Cafe), he remembered that guests would not exit over Henrietta like they would for years afterward, but instead down walkways that were off to the side.   The walkways themselves are of course long gone, but the light pole, poised at an angle next to Grandma’s Funnel Cakes, still stands as a reminder of how even only one year into park operation, Worlds of Fun was in a constant state of change.

The original "box" structure has been demolished in this photo from early 2014, with Steelhawk under construction in the background.

2014 saw the addition of Steelhawk, to replace the Grand Prix Raceway.  Though its movement from Knott's Berry Farm generated some questions, its addition to Worlds of Fun was almost flawless, especially popular since it replaced the decidedly unpopular Grand Prix Raceway.  The addition of Steelhawk also saw further changes to the remnants of Henrietta.  The original box-like structure was bulldozed and replaced by a Coca-Cola Freestyle structure.  The metal guard rails that were added with Grand Prix were, thankfully, removed and left the two bridges in their semi-original style, with the dock-style pylons still intact.  The park attempted to cover the old concrete boat keel with soil and stone, and added a rather adorable themed creek bed.  But even well-intentioned though it was, Henrietta’s keel seems almost relentless in its ability to still be visible even today.  

An attempt to cover up the boat-shaped keel.  

As we have seen, Worlds of Fun for twenty years did almost everything in their power to make Henrietta vanish.  A proposition that was probably more successful than not simply because most park visitors on their walk to Steelhawk will never realize they are crossing the bow of a ship, or the old park gate.  It's ironic then, that after twenty years of seemingly wishing to forget, the park is now not only recognizing that Henrietta did exist but creating a restaurant in tribute to it and the two other large landmarks that used to call the park home, Cotton Blossom and Victrix.  Boathouse Grill will open with the 2019 season near the original locations of the Cotton Blossom and Henrietta, a fantastic tribute to not only the ships themselves but the memories they helped create.  

Henrietta served as the host for the 1974 Grand Opening Ceremonies.  You can see one of the original bridges in the foreground, which still exists and looks pretty much about the same to this day.

More Information on the park's three iconic ships can be found here:

Henrietta/Main Americana Gate:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Winterfest 2018 Preview

Photo by Matthew August Myers

Updated as of November 25th with Show Times and Old West Carriage Company Pricing.  Thanks to Robby Lowe for providing show times.

Last year was Worlds of Fun's first foray into the Winterfest/post-October event, and in my opinion, they had a home run hit.  (My First Annual Review can be found here) So it is no surprise that Winterfest will be returning for the 2018 season in just a few weeks when the park re-opens on November 23rd.  Prior to the 2017 Winterfest, no one had any clue what to expect.  With that in mind, and with one season behind us I thought it would be useful to do a Winterfest Preview.  Before I go further if anyone should notice any errors, or omissions (and I am sure there will be) please feel free to contact me immediately as always my goal is to provide the most accurate information possible.

All attractions that are red or green are clickable for more information and if offered, to make reservations.

First, there are a few important "need to know" details when it comes to Winterfest:

1)  Gold and Platinum Season Passes for the 2018 season INCLUDE Winterfest, and some pre-purchased for the 2019 season do as well. (if not all of them).  All other Winterfest tickets, as well as Winterfest activities can be purchased on the official site here.  The park is offering a substantial discount if tickets are purchased online rather than at the gate.

2) Not every ride will be in operation but SOME will.  Similar to 2017, there will be 26 rides in operation during Winterfest (Nordic Chaser is added to the list), most of them are in Planet Snoopy, and some will not operate if it is too cold.  There is a list of the operational rides found here, I also list them below in coordination with their area of the park.

3) Unlike the regular season, Rides are not the primary highlight to Winterfest and do take a back seat to the great live entertainment, lights and other attractions found throughout the park.

4) Also unlike the regular season, hours will be limited for Winterfest, with the park being open from 4 p.m. -10 p.m. on the Friday after Thanksgiving (November 23) and all Saturdays, and 5 p.m. -10 p.m. all other days.  The exception being New Year's Eve when the park will be open from 5 p.m. to Midnight.  A park operating schedule can be found here.

Now that we have the basics covered, we can look at the actual park and experience and how it may not only differ from regular season but also how it may differ from even the 2017 version of Winterfest.  To make this as uncomplicated as possible I am going to divide this guide into six sections, one of each of the themed lands in the park, however the "Winterfest section names" will also be included to hopefully make things less confusing.

Photo by Zac Brzuchalski

Scandinavia (Intl. Plaza/Scandi Elf Village/Candy Cane Lane)

Scandinavia is where most guests enter the park and includes the main park gate, it is divided into International Plaza, Scandi Elf Village and Candy Cane Lane.

The most significant change here is that while Ice Skating was located at Festhaus Picnic Pavilion in 2017 it is no longer at this location for 2018 and has been relocated to Americana at the Ripcord Lake.

Photo by Matthew August Myers

Rides open during Winterfest:
Fjord Fjarlene, The Grand Carousel, Nordic Chaser and Scrambler (weather permitting)

There are three shows located throughout Scandinavia.  The first two are located near the park's centerpiece 70' foot Christmas Tree in International Plaza and include:

Photo by Matthew August Myers

 Tree Lighting Ceremony at 5:30
 Cool Yule Christmas a spectacular show featuring pop Christmas favorites.  Show Times are 6:00. 7:00. 8:00 and 9:00

The third show in Scandinavia is at Tivoli Music Hall as is titled:

 Charlie Brown's Christmas Spectacular, the Christmas Spectacular at Tivoli is truly the flagship show for Winterfest and shouldn't be missed. Show Times are: 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30

Kids can meet Santa Claus at St Nick's Pics at Tivoli East (next to Tivoli), photos with Santa are an additional cost.  North Pole Post Office is also an option for kids wanting to write and mail a letter to St. Nick at the North Pole too and is located next to Viking Voyager's entrance (Christmas House/The Lift)

Photo by Seth Moss

Shopping includes all shops normally at the park but with different names and in most cases, completely different merchandise.  Frosty's Furnishings, which is normally known as Plaza Gifts is located at International Plaza, and features Christmas gifts, collectibles and apparel.

There are several options for gastric delights throughout the park.  Chickie and Pete's will be accepting the dining plan.

1) Dasher's Diner (Pizzo Pizza) will be once again serving Monkey Bread
2) Sugar's Cake Factory (Norma's Funnel Cakes) will be serving funnel cakes, coffee and hot chocolate
3) Tivoli Music Hall Snacks

4) Chickie and Pete's will be open at it's normal location in Scandinavia and will be accepting the dining plan.

Africa (Africa Season of Lights)

Once guests past Scrambler and Candy Cane Lane they pass under the train bridge and enter Africa.  A major change for 2018 includes the movement of the Coca Cola Polar Bear Plaza from Patriot's Plaza area to the Mamba Plaza area, and includes the operation of Coasters Diner.

Rides open for Winterfest
Prowler (weather permitting)

Sounds of the Nativity returns to Africa once again in 2018, and is located near Zulu.  Sounds of the Nativity features a small cast of singers performing traditional Christmas carols, as well as a nativity and live animals like those that would have been found at the original nativity.  Show Times are: 5:30 - 9:30 pm

Photo of the "Floral Wreath" by Matthew August Myers.

The Polar Party Crew will be at the Coca Cola Plaza by Coasters Diner for games and fun,  along with additional Coca Cola retro style decoration.

Shopping options include Stocking Stuffers (Moroccan Merchant) a discount store for clearance merchandise.  The popular option to fill a stocking for a set price will be returning from 2017. Dino Store will also be open.

Photo by Seth Moss

There are two new dining options in Africa for Winterfest both of which are included on the dining plan.
1) Season's Eatings (Gorilla Grill), Which as mentioned will be accepting the dining plan and will feature sweet potato waffle fries with gruyere cheese sauce, as well as macaroni and cheese and chicken tenders.

2) Coasters Rockin' Winterfest Cafe (Coasters Diner), which is also accepting the dining plan and will feature its normal menu.  It is also one of only three eateries in the park that is indoors.

Photo by Seth Moss

Europa (Winterfest Way)

Photo By Seth Moss

Europa, or as it is shown on the map, Winterfest Way, will feature several changes from 2017 Winterfest.  Mrs. Claus Kitchen Cookie Decorating has moved out of Europa to Americana this year, in addition many vendors from Artisan Alley have been moved from Americana to Europa.  (or it has expanded).   It appears Le Taxi Tour will continues it's amazing 12 Days of Christmas Lights Overlay.

Rides open for Winterfest
Falcon's Flight, Autobahn, Flying Dutchman and Le Taxi Tour (weather permitting).

Tinker's Toy Factory returns to the Moulin Rouge this year. Tinker's is a wonderful show that uses live music to tell the adorable story of one of Santa's elves who needs help finding his Christmas Spirit!  Show Times are: 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, 9:30

Le Taxi Tour will be continuing it's enormously popular 12 Days of Christmas light overlay, which will almost assuradly cause it to have extremely long lines.

Shopping Options include the new for 2018, Tinker's Toy Box (Deja Vu) this was the previous location of Mrs. Claus Cookie Decorating, and will feature toys and build your own stuffed animals (personally, I want that sheep that is on the official site, that's cute!).  Also, several booths for Artisan Alley will be located throughout Europa.

Photo by Seth Moss

There are two options available for dining in Europa, Dancer's will be accepting the dining plan.

1) Dancer's Snack Shack (Paisano's), will will be accepting the dining plan and will feature homemade biscuits served with either chicken and or gravy.  They will also serve a kale salad.

2) Moulin Rouge Snacks

Photo by Brad Green


Due to the sheer size and number of activities in Americana I am following Worlds of Fun's lead, and dividing it up into the Old West Christmas and Tinsel Town.

Americana: Old West Christmas

The Old West section of Americana includes the portion of Americana that evokes a western theme and runs from the Worlds of Fun Railroad/Depot to Timber Wolf.  The Old West section includes one new major activity, the Old West Carriage Company that will offer horse drawn carriage rides up and down Heart of America Blvd (Forum Road), at an extra cost.

Rides Open for Winterfest in Americana/Old West
Worlds of Fun Railroad, Mustang Runner, Cyclone Sams (weather permitting, however Cyclone Sam's is an indoor attraction)

Christmas Bluegrass (Old Sound) will be also returning to Winterfest for 2018, at the Country Junction Amphitheater.  Tucked out of the way next to the Railroad Depot, it offers a quiet, laid back show featuring popular Christmas carols played on fiddles, banjos, mandolins, guitar and even a double bass.  A great show for those that love bluegrass. Show Times are: 5:00, 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00

Photo By Seth Moss

New for 2018 Winterfest is the Old West Carriage Company that will offer horse drawn carriage rides up and down Heart of America Blvd. The carriage ride runs from near Cyclone Sadies Antique Photos and ends near Coasters in Africa.  I am unsure if it is round trip or one way at this point.  There is a $6 per person additional fee for this attraction.

Ornament Keepsakes (located in the Airbrush Artist booth), will offer personalized ornaments for sale.

There are three different dining options in the Old West section of Americana, Vixen's Fixins is the only one on the dining plan.

1)Vixen's Fixins (Vittle Griddle), located around the corner from Front Street, and across from the train station, this is an outdoor eatery, that will be accepting the dining plan.  It will offer pot roast sandwiches and sweet potato fries.

2) Festive Feast (Battlecreek BBQ), one of only three eateries that is offers indoor seating, Festive Feast is appropriately named offering a holiday dinner featuring glazed ham, pot roast, and garlic-roasted chicken, along with festive sides and speciality deserts.  Festive Feast is NOT on the dining plan. 

3) Cheery Concoctions (Blue Bronco Bar), located adjacent to Festive Feast/Battlecreek BBQ, Cheery Concoctions is not really an eatery, but certainly is home to gastric delights of the liquid variety.  Cheery Concoctions serves hot chocolate, egg nog and hot buttered rum just to name a few. Say it with me... mmmmm hooottt buttteeerrrreed Rum.

Photo by Zac Brzuchalski

Americana: Tinsel Town

Located from Timber Wolf and including Front Street, Patriot Plaza and Ripcord area, Tinsel Town has the most entertainment value per square foot of almost any other section of the park.  It is home to three shows, Ice Skating, cookie decorating, three shops, and six dining locations.

Photo by Matthew August Myers

Photo by Seth Moss

Holly Jolly Trolley is our first Tinsel Town show, and is a creative take on late 19th century musical-styling, complete with San Francisco-esque trolley, and the cast dressed to the nines in top hats and petticoats. As its a moving show (the trolley roams around Americana), it can sometimes be hard to catch, but usually stops around Tinsel Town Treasures and Planet Snoopy. Show Times are: 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30

Photo by Zac Brzuchalski

Jingle Jazz and Mistletones are both located around the main Americana fountain area, and alternate show times, (in 2018 one was on the hour and the other on the half hour) Both feature ladies groups singing with out instrumental accompaniment (A Capella) with Jingle Jazz featuring more classic carols, and Mistletones featuring more mid-century favorites such as "Frosty the Snowman" and "Santa Claus is Coming to Town".

Show Times for Jingle Jazz are: 5:00, 6:00, 7:00 8:00 and 9:00
Show Times for Mistletones are: 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30

Photo By Brad Green

Some of the two biggest changes coming to Winterfest 2018 fall into this category.  First, the ice skating rink is moving from its original location in Scandinavia to Ripcord lake for 2018, and will be named "Snowflake Lake", like the previous years this will require an additional fee, $15 for one, or $12.50 each for four of more.  Reservations can be made early, and require a specific time slot.  Ice skate rental and skater assistance devices are included in the fee.

photo by: David Jongquist

The second big change coming to Americana is the addition of Jack Frost Igloo Village, which will be located it appears near Patriot Landing.  Each separate Igloo will be rentable private enclosed "igloo" with a maximum capacity of 8 guests.  The reservation fee of $299.99 covers four guests, and includes food & beverage delivery, an event host, souvenir mugs for hot chocolate, reserved show seating, a cookie decorating session in Mrs. Claus Kitchen and a complimentary ice skating or carriage ride session.  Each reservation includes the cost for up to 4 guests, with each additional guest being $29.99 each.  Price does not include admission to the park.

Mrs Claus Kitchen Cookie Decorating has been re-located from Europa to Americana in 2018, to the previous location of Snoopy Arcade, right across from Timber Wolf's entrance.  Most likely it's been moved to this location to offer a larger space.  Mrs. Claus allows guests of all ages to decorate their own over-sized cookies, and take them home.  Like 2017, Mrs Claus Kitchen requires an additional fee of $14.99 but includes four larger cookies and frosting, enough for an entire family to decorate.

Americana Tinsel Town has more shopping than anywhere else in the park. Artisan Alley which for 2018 is being split into two areas of the park, Europa as previously mentioned and the original area, near Timber Wolf, where guests can shop local artisans for both seasonal decorations, and crafts.

Photo by Matthew August Myers

At Front Street Shops, Mistletoe (Front Street Emporium) will continue to feature both vintage Christmas merchandise, as well as hometown favorites such as a limited edition hot air balloon ornament (modeled after the iconic Worlds of Fun balloon), as well as Pickwick candles, and other handblown ornaments.  Peppermint Patties Christmas Candy (Peppermint Patties),  will feature its normal selection of hand-made fudge, and taffy, but also Hammond candy canes, Russell Stovers Chocolates, and gingerbread-themed ornaments.  Last, and new for 2018 is Tinsel Town Treasures (Guest Services office), will feature retro holiday decor, from the age of tinsel trees and black and white television sets.

Photo by Seth Moss

Photo by Seth Moss

The Americana Tinsel Town dining options are almost identical to their normal park operations menus with slight variations in flavors and menu offerings.  Prancer's Pizza (Pizza Pier) and Subway are on the dining plan.

1) Prancer's Pizza (Pizza Pier) - Dining Plan accepted

2) Festive Funnel Cakes (Grandma's Funnel Cakes)

3) Comet's Cookies and Cream (Double Dip)

4) Caribou Coffee & Cinnabon will both be open at their normal locations in Front Street Shops

5) Subway will be open at it's normal location and will be accepting the dining plan.

Planet Snoopy (Charlie Brown Christmas Town)

Rides open for Winterfest
Beagle Brigade Airfield, Camp Bus, Charlie Brown's Wind-up, Cosmic Coaster, Linus Beetle Bumps, Lucy's Tugboat, Peanut's 500, Peanut's Playhouse, Peanut's Road Rally, Peanut's Turntyke, Sally's Swing Set, Snoopy vs. Red Baron, Snoopy Junction, Snoopy's Space Buggies, Woodstock Gliders, and Woodstock's Whirlybirds.  (all are weather permitting)

Photo by Seth Moss

Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree Lot offers a maze of trees, pines, spruces and firs followed by a photo opportunity with Charlie Brown, Linus and the Charlie Brown's famous Christmas Tree that just needs a "little love".  Sally's Christmas Crafts adjacent to Peanut's Holiday Gifts (Snoopy Boutique), offers an opportunity for children 12 and under to create their own Christmas Tree ornament.   Families can meet Sally afterwards.

Photo by Seth Moss

Peanut's Holiday Gifts (Snoopy Boutique), located in Planet Snoopy features its normal selection of Peanut's merchandise but also a collection of Hallmark ornaments and collectibles.

The Orient (Orient Lantern Fest)

Rides open for Winterfest
Bamboozler and Spinning Dragons will both be open for Winterfest (weather permitting)

Rickshaw Rudy's Pop Culture Christmas: (Rickshaw Richards) One of our favorite shops from 2017 will be back and offer merchandise from such pop culture Christmas hits as "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" and the infamous leg lamp from  "A Christmas Story".

Panda Express will be open for Winterfest, it will be accepting the dining plan.

Yes, there are only a few hours for all the fun but... wait there's MORE!

With so many activities scattered through the park its impossible to do everything in one night... for that reason Worlds of Fun has added yet another attraction, or probably more like two dozen or so more attractions in the guise of themed characters that roam the park and are available for photos.  These include (and it's a long list that has grown in 2018) Jack Frost, Snowflake and Tinsel, Holly, Jolly and Lolly, Belsnickels (I had to look that one up), Mr. & Mrs Tannenbaum, General Napoleon, Captain Macaron and Cookie Caramel (mmmmm....), and yes even for the scrooges among attendees.... the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future!  An entire list of characters can be found here.

Photo by Zac Brzuchalski

You could say we saved the best for last... One of our favorites, and one of the biggest hits of Winterfest can be found throughout the park and that is the over 4-5 million (either way Clark Griswold would be proud), twinkling lights.  While traversing the park be sure to check out the Orient's Lantern Fest, Africa Lights, Candy Cane Lane and Tinsel Town's 300-foot Steelhawk Tree, and the thousands of other twinkling light displays throughout the park.  It is truly the most amazing light display anywhere in Kansas City.