The Top 5 Must-Dos at Kings Island’s Winterfest

Like all of you, my need for a theme park fix doesn’t just go away when the cold weather rolls in. That’s why I love the fact Kings Island stays alive a little longer the last few years with their Winterfest event! It’s been a new family tradition to spend an (hopefully warmer) evening at the park each December enjoying some end-of-the-year rides and taking a stroll around the holiday cheer filled park!

While the entire park may not be open, there is still plenty to make yourself busy! Here are our Top 5 Must-Do’s at Kings Island’s Winterfest:

1. The Shows

On a typical day at the park (if you are like me) you may skip the shows and ride as many things as you can, but take time to plan in a show or two during Winterfest. There are so many different productions to choose from and all happen multiple times during the evening so you can make sure to catch one! From smaller midway sing-a-longs and interactive reindeer to larger performances for all ages, Kings Island has something for everyone! The Tinker’s Toy Factory inside the Kings Island Theater was a favorite with the kids!

2. Mystic Timbers Night Rides

My favorite thing about Winterfest are the night rides on Mystic Timbers! During the summer it can sometimes be harder to catch that last ride of the night on the underrated GCI woodie, but all of the rides on Mystic Timbers are night rides in December! There’s something about flying through the night with the crisp air that hits different and makes this coaster even better! The view from the lift hill of the rest of the park is incredible, so make sure to turn around as you climb to the top!

Tip: If you are planning to get some thrills in during your visit, head over to Rivertown at rope-drop and catch a couple of laps because the line will get longer later in the evening.

3. Christmas Treats and Park Eats

As if you needed even more food options to choose from while at a theme park, Kings Island makes it even more difficult with their vast array of culinary treats to navigate! Each eatery around the park gets an overlay with a holiday theme and serves up summer staples and winter favorites. My personal go-to at the park are the loaded BBQ nachos at the Miami River Brewhouse (Blitzen’s Brewhouse during Winterfest). We also got a giant pretzel with beer cheese dip and cheese empanadas to share—all were excellent!

Around every turn you can find more eats to try, including cinnamon breads, blue hot chocolate, local holiday ales, Christmas cookies, and more!

4. Simply Enjoying the Lights

You may feel like you need to rush around the park to fit everything in one night, but remember to take a seat on bench and just enjoy the atmosphere. It’s not everyday you can visit your home park and see it decked out in lights, snow falling, and guests skating around inside the fountain along International Street.

The iconic Eiffel Tower is also lit from head-to-toe as a giant Christmas tree that changes colors all evening long (there is even a special tree lighting ceremony each night at 5:30).

One of the best views is standing down by the Antique Autos looking up the midway!

5. The Parade

If you are visiting Winterfest with kids, the parade is the perfect way to cap of your night! It’s not too long that you will be wresting them to sit still and not too short that it’s not worth finding a spot to wait on it to begin. The floats are beautifully designed and brightly lit. There are even moments along the route that they stop and interact with the kids in the crowd. I highly recommend finding a spot along International street on the shops side—there is just enough room between the parade line and the buildings that you can have a spot all to yourselves without too much crowding around you (plus your kids will get an up-close, front-row view).

If you have not visited Kings Island during Winterfest make sure to squeeze in a trip before the new year or plan on making the trip in 2024! If you have checked out the park during the holiday, what’s your favorite part of Winterfest?