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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Kings Dominion Winterfest

Kings Dominion Winterfest

Posted: 12/31/18 at 2:04:57 PM
Views: 1209

Date of visit: 12/29/2018

I've been reading some "Trip Reports" and whatnot after finding this website a bit ago and have found them very entertaining. So, when I got an opportunity to go to the Winterfest event at Kings Dominion, I figured I'd write something on the "Discussion Forum," primarily for myself, and if someone reads it, that's just a bonus.

I'd been to Kings Dominion twice before- 2015 and summer 2018 to ride Twisted Timbers, which sadly was closed during the Winterfest. I went with my dad, and we purchased tickets online; the $45 combination included admission, parking, a meal, and souvenir mug. Pulling up to the park shortly before 4, the Eiffel Tower was dominant as always, although the lights that made it into a tree wouldn't be lit until 5:30. Inside, the International Street fountain was an ice skating rink, and all the buildings and trees were covered in white lights. KD actually "themes" their Christmas lights to various sections- "Old Virginia Christmas", "Winterfest Way," etc. This was very impressive; it seems to be a theme that Cedar Fair parks put on very professional and well-thought out Christmas lights. I especially appreciated this because Kennywood, my "home park's" Christmas event has a very homespun feel to it. It's very nice too but has a whole different feel than Kings Dominion. Another difference from Kennywood is that some roller coasters are actually open!

One of these was Dominator, the B&M Floorless coaster that came from Geauga Lake. It's what crowd-pleasing coasters should be- fast, smooth, and fun. I got two rides, but it further reaffirmed my preference of the unpredictability of wood. The area around the ride was themed to Cocoa-Cola, and there was an inflatable snowman on the path between here and Planet Snoopy. Also, there's nothing like entering an amusement park and coming straight to a roaring coaster with interjecting screams of riders.

This was before the heavy crowds descended -it was a Saturday, after all- so Dad and I made our way back towards Rebel Yell/Racer 75- whatever! There was only a 2-train wait for the front, so I got a front-seat view- a first for me on this one! On Rebel Yell, when you crest the lift hill, it is 100% worth it to be in the front, as the ride is spread out beautifully before you in perfect symmetry. The ride was unexpectedly smooth and very enjoyable. I still prefer Grizzly, though! As a side note, only 1 side was operational (there should be a rule if you have RACER in your name...) but 2 trains were running. This proved to be enough, even later in the night, surprisingly.

Delirium is the parks small pendulum ride, and I decided to take a ride, as I had never before. (Actually, the first time I visited in 2015 was a day after Shockwave closed; I've still never been on a Stand-Up.) It was nice, but short and underwhelming when compared to Kennywood's Black Widow. From there, we made our way to the "Grand Bandstand" at the head of International Street near the Eiffel Tower for the lighting ceremony. There was some fanfare with dancers and such, and then the Eiffel Tower became a Christmas tree. What an icon! My dad compared it to Spaceship Earth- something that you can just never seem to look at enough. It was especially cool to walk inside the tower, which was a whole different perspective. It ran through various sequences throughout the evening, switching every 10 seconds or so. Very cool!

We then walked over to the Action Theater, which was showing "Sleigh Ride in 3D" I wanted to see this basically for the sole reason of expecting of it to be bad; I warned Dad accordingly. Also, I had never seen this theater open before, so I figured it would be cool to check out. After waiting for about 25 minutes, we entered the theater, which had bench seating- most likely to squeeze as many people as possible in. The film itself was ridiculously cheesy and just plain weird, and it had many moments where there obviously was supposed to be other effects, (water, etc.) but there was nothing beyond the 3D. After it was all over, the audience was silent. Either from amazement or disappointment- I guess! ;) As a bonus, my dad's 3D glasses had a lens completely missing, which he didn't realize until after the fact. Oh... so that's why Santa had four eyes! The area around the theater was decorated with former ride vehicles from park kiddie rides.

We got dinner at the "Classic Christmas Kitchen," which is the BBQ place next to that tunnel of foliage (which had some cool, dripping "icicles" for Christmas.) We had to wait about a half hour for food, but it paid off, as it was all very good. We then walked over to the Blue Ridge Tollway, which for Winterfest was doing the "12 Days of Christmas" After waiting in the half-hour-plus queue, we got to take the trip through the woods past various lighted displays presenting the classic song. I always enjoy the ride, partly because the Turnpike was my absolute favorite at Kennywood until it closed- when I was 5. The operators were pushing the attraction to the max, even unloading people before the station, so kudos to them. In the line, I glanced over at the operations clipboard, which listed the hourly throughput- a whopping 380! These rides are wonderful, but they definitely have low capacity.

We were just in time for "Charlie Brown's Christmas Spectacular" at the Kings Dominion Theater. It was a campy, old-school theme park show that could be enjoyed by everybody. I liked that it reminded me of things I've seen on the Internet of Knott's Berry Farm. After that, we took a back seat night-ride on Racer 75. This was the highlight for me! (apart from maybe the Singing Mushrooms, but wait a minute for that.) Coasters, especially wooden ones, do feel faster at night! It also added to the effect that the part of the park that Rebel Yell parallels was closed (and completely dark as a result). You couldn't see a thing. The ride op was chatting it up with guests, and one question he asked was, "What's the oldest ride in the park?" It's the carousel, but someone shouted out, "Hurler!" The op then said, "Hurler's gone," followed by a shrieking "What!" from the guest. The op replied, "I'm not kidding; there's no more Hurler!" Some people just take awhile to get news, I guess. :)

One of the best parts of Kings Dominion, in my opinion, is the Singing Mushrooms. It's so weird, so different, and so 1970's theme park. I wasn't sure if they would, but for Christmas, they were programmed to sing Christmas carols. (and also wore Santa hats) -awesome! Candy Apple Grove around them was decorated in a synchronized light display that "danced" to music. The trees were decorated in a unique way; the lights weren't wrapped around them, but rather were applied vertically to the side. Overall, KD made could use of spot-lights to "flesh out" the tops of trees not covered in lights, something Kennywood doesn't do. It was almost the end of the night, so after a lap through Planet Snoopy, which had over sized Christmas lights hanging from the trees, I was just able to make it into the queue for the park's Flying Scooters, Flying Eagles. I'm no expert "snapper," but I figure I can't expect to be a pro at 14. Anyway, I was able to get it going a decent amount, with at least one good "snap."

I loved Kings Dominion Winterfest! Crowds were very heavy throughout the night, but I was still able to do a good amount of stuff. Next year, however, they need to open Boo Blasters! (Darkrides rule!) Overall, it was a very well-done event that feels like they've been doing for many years and not just 1! Plus, who can't complains when you get to ride a wooden coaster in winter... ooh! I know.. "Woodies in Winter," Eh? :)

(If you read this whole thing you deserve some kind of award!)

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* This post was modified at 12/28/19 3:15:45 PM *

Re: Kings Dominion Winterfest by SirWillow SirWillow Profile at 12/31/18 10:06:00 PM
great TR. Thanks so much for sharing.

One of these days I'm going to get out there.

Re: Kings Dominion Winterfest by CenturyFlyer CenturyFlyer Profile at 1/2/19 6:38:14 PM
SirWillow said:

great TR. Thanks so much for sharing.

One of these days I'm going to get out there.

Thanks for the nice words. It's really a great park.

Re: Kings Dominion Winterfest by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 1/11/19 11:57:40 AM
Oh a nice long TR! Thanks for contributing :)


OK I've read it, now for some comments!


- I agree on the coaster roar/screams as you come up to the park. I love the placement of Dominator, and I love the colors too.

- there's an ice skating rink during winterfest? how awesome is that!

- mushrooms? I don't recall seeing these mushrooms you mentioned. Will have to check them out next time lol

- Man, I felt like I was walking along side you during your visit. thanks for the descriptions and thanks for the pic at the end! Sounds like you had an awesome time.

Happy New Year!

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Kings Dominion Winterfest by CenturyFlyer CenturyFlyer Profile at 1/11/19 3:57:59 PM
Thanks for reading and for giving a new guy some attention! Glad you liked it!

I agree on the coaster roar/screams as you come up to the park. I love the placement of Dominator, and I love the colors too.

Yeah, it's just a "parking lot coaster" so to speak, but the way it's landscaped makes it really fit in as a nice opening statement for the park.

mushrooms? I don't recall seeing these mushrooms you mentioned. Will have to check them out next time lol

The Singing Mushrooms were added for the park's 40th anniversary in 2015. They are a second version of an earlier version that was in a similar area. Here's a pic!

* This post was modified at 1/11/19 4:00:34 PM *

Re: Kings Dominion Winterfest by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 1/14/19 1:49:57 PM
Oh that would be why I didn't see them then!

I was there in...2011? I believe. Thanks for the pic. :)

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv