Canada's Wonderland

Growing up in Northern Ontario, summer was never complete without a trip to Canada’s Wonderland so I’m thrilled that I can now share this tradition with my children!

Planet Snoopy is our first stop, after popping into the height-check station to get the kids suited up in their ride bracelets. Wasting no time, we go on as many rides as we can taking advantage of the slightly cooler morning temperatures. My 5 year old’s favourite ride is the Boo Blasters while the 8 year old loves the Ghoster Coaster. After a whirlwind morning of non-stop rides, the whole crew is ready for food!

Canada's Wonderland - Planet Snoopy

Amusement park meals are often hit or miss, but there are many great options at Canada’s Wonderland. When I was younger we’d go outside the park grounds and spread our picnic on a grassy hill overlooking the parking lot, but they have since built a picnic pavilion outside of the gate for families to enjoy.  Fast food kiosks abound but we chose to dine at the Marketplace International Buffet in the Medieval Fair where we were not disappointed. The menu had something for everyone, from pizza to pasta, even a taco bar; plus you’re able to sit down, eat, and soak in a few moments of precious air conditioning.

Sufficiently stuffed, we decided it was the perfect time to take advantage of the other attractions the park has to offer. Conveniently located across the street from the International Buffet sits the Wonderland Theatre where we were able to digest our meals while being entertained by comedic clowns and very talented acrobats in Dimensions: A Cirque Experience.

Canada's Wonderland - Theatre
It happened to be the hottest day of the summer so we were more than happy to spend a few hours at the Splashworks Waterpark . We didn’t stray too far from the wave pool, but we did enjoy a relaxing stroll down the lazy river and a few kids-only waterslides.

Trying to get out of the cool confines of the Waterpark before it closes is be easier said than done. We pried our pruney children out of the pool and headed to Kidsville. Our daughter was finally tall enough to go on “Silver Streak”, the largest rollercoaster in the kids’ park (she is the daredevil of the family) Our son wasn’t tall enough unfortunately and settled for the Taxi Jam, which he proceeded to ride over and over again.

Canada's Wonderland - Kidsville
Kidsville closes an hour before the rest of the park, and was a perfect chance to track down a few more rides that the kids were tall enough to enjoy. Thunder Run – the roller coaster that runs through the inside of the mountain, was favoured by everyone.

If you make it through to the end of the day, you’re in for a treat. At closing time, Canada’s Wonderland puts on a gorgeous light show set to music – Starlight Spectacular: Illumination of Water. The only way our family enjoys this grande finale, a tradition I highly recommend, is with funnel cake. While the park “officially” closes at 10:00 pm, they will keep pumping out those funnel cakes until everyone leaves the park satisfied! How’s that for service!

After years of making the late night drive home (I grew up 4 hours north of Toronto), we now opt to stay overnight in a hotel close by. This year, we had the pleasure of staying at the Westin Bristol Place, less than 20 minutes away, next to Toronto’s Pearson Airport. Snuggling into a bed soon after leaving the park is much preferable to a long drive.

Westin hotel near Canada's Wonderland

Make the most of your visit to Canada’s Wonderland with these tips!

  1.  Purchase your tickets online, ahead of time. By purchasing your tickets online, 3 days or more in advance of your visit, you will save a whopping $20 per ticket. On top of that, you can also pay for your parking online (saving yourself $3 at the gate).
  2. Go midweek and don’t be scared away by a bad weather forecast. A short-lived thunderstorm may be your best friend, sending everyone home and leaving you pleasingly short ride line-ups. Going midweek also saves you from competing with the weekend season pass crowd.
  3. Take advantage of their Picnic Pavilion outside the gate and pack yourself a picnic lunch (remember to leave it in the car until lunch time). Try to eat either early or late, and guarantee yourself an empty picnic table.
  4. New this year, Canada’s Wonderland offers Cabana Rentals along the edge of the Wave Pool. The cost is $110 for up to 6 people to enjoy, offering you that mid-afternoon “recharge”. After 4:00 pm, any available Cabana’s can be rented for $60.
  5. Consider upgrading to their 2-day park pass (at a cost of $15 more).This will give you the chance to spend an entire day at the water park, leaving an entire day to explore the amusement park.

Canada's Wonderland - Park Map
Summer isn’t complete without a visit to Canada’s largest amusement park which is open daily from May to September. There’s still time to visit for the 2015 season!