By Hunter Barrett
If riding the popular Mystic Timbers and Flight of Fear roller coasters in below freezing weather, eating holiday treats, ice skating and gazing at thousands of Christmas lights is your idea of fun, then Kings Island is your perfect destination this winter. The Kings Island amusement park, located in Mason, Ohio, is holding its second annual Winterfest event this year.
The park freezes the water fountains that greet guests as they enter the park and turns the pool into an ice skating rink. The iconic Eiffel Tower at the front of the park also gets a festive fling as lights are stranded from the very top to the ground, to make it appear as a Christmas tree.
The main gate is decorated to look like a house with wreaths, lights and snow. At the very top of the house, Santa’s sleigh sits motionless with reindeer attached to the front. A very large Christmas tree is placed in front of the main gate, the tree lights up with thousands of different colored LED lights.
There are many photo ops throughout the park, some of which have photographers located at them. If you want to take home a picture that was taken by the photographers, they run about $23.
There is no shortage of food in the park, with at least three holiday themed restaurants in each section of the park. Do not come to the park with little money though, a single hot chocolate runs about $5. If you want blue hot chocolate, a nod to the park’s blue ice cream, it costs $8. Souvenir Winterfest mugs can be purchased for $14, with $1 refills the rest of the season.
There are only two big roller coasters open, Mystic Timbers and Flight of Fear. Mystic Timbers is a wooden roller coaster that reaches 109 feet tall. Flight of Fear is a steel launched roller coaster that is indoors. Flight of Fear flips riders upside down 4 times and goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in just a few seconds. There are only two roller coasters open because some of the bigger steel coasters, such as Banshee and Diamondback cannot operate in cold weather, according to the park.
There are some other rides open, such as Shake, Rattle and Roll, the train and the majority of the children’s rides.
Parking is $25 for every car. A single ticket to Winterfest will cost guests $30. However, guests can buy a gold pass to Kings Island for the 2019 season and get into Winterfest for the remainder of the 2018 season for free. Gold Passes will give guests free parking, early access to certain rides, discounts on food and merchandise and unlimited visits for the remainder of the 2018 season and all of the 2019 season. Gold passes are $102 or 8 payments of $10.50, according to Kings Island’s website.
Winterfest opened on Nov. 23 and will close on Dec. 31/ Jan. 1 at 1 a.m. Winterfest is normally open 5-10 every weekend, with the last day of operation (Dec. 31) being open 5 p.m. – 1 a.m.