For those of my generation, if you grew up in Canada, you knew what Canada’s Wonderland was. Even if you have never been, you knew the commercials that showcased people having a blast riding roller coasters and eating cotton candy.
My first trip to the amusement park was over 25 years ago. I remember it because it was the first summer for the white water rafting ride and we waited over three hours to get on it. I think this is where I first learned that lines sucked.
Anyways, since moving back to Toronto, I knew the time would come that we would return, but this time as parents.
That time was this past weekend and thanks to the kind people at Canada’s Wonderland, we got to feel a bit like VIPs.
Via some other blogger friends I contacted the park to let them know we were coming and mentioned I would love to do a review.
Amazingly, they wrote back right away letting us know a package would be waiting for us with some free passes and food bracelets.
We were going to go anyways but this made the day even better.
So Saturday morning, we packed up the car and hit the road to try to get there right for opening at 10 am.
Based on what we saw when we got there, so did everyone else. The park looked just like it did in my memory. The fake mountain, the roller coasters and the gigantic parking lot.
We parked and got ready to have a good time. It was hot, like really hot for 10 am. Sunscreen was a must.
I picked up our package, we headed in and after a quick check of bags, we had made it.
Just to paint the picture, it was myself, my wife, our four-year old and 21 month old. We were also there with my brother-in-law and his lady friend.
To the park!
Well, after a second application of sunscreen. Like I said, it was hot.
My first reaction to seeing the park was classic parent brain. It was already crowded and loud. I will say the longer we stayed the better it got. But it was hard to get going with the people, heat, noise and growing impatience of the eager kids.
Due to the age of our kids, we were not going on the BAT. We headed right on over to Planet Snoopy and the kiddie section of the park.
First stop was the train and then the plan was the swan boats.
These two rides were perfect for our little guys. They had a lot of fun and were real troopers with the long line ups.
After a sweaty swan ride, we were all hungry and tired. We needed a break. It was then that we found my favourite part of the whole day.
The International Marketplace.
It was indoors, there were no lines and it was air-conditioned. Throw in the word buffet and I was ready to stay there all day.
Even if we did not have the free bracelets, this place was worth it.
We all got to eat what we wanted. Harrison had plain taco shells, pizza and ice cream. Who cares right? It was his day.
The food was what you would expect from a buffet. The mac and cheese was actually the best part. So cheesy.
We drank, we ate, we cooled off and we refueled for more fun.
Another nice surprise was after lunch, we went back to Planet Snoopy and it was pretty empty. That really charged us up for fun.
Harrison went on bumper cars, Charlie rode some tea pots and we all had smiles on our face.
We took turns going on rides with the kids. I went on a spinning helicopter and Katie went on a race car.
The joy in the kid’s faces made the day.
My sour view of the busy park had faded and I was having fun.
Isn’t it funny how you start to have the most fun just before it is time to leave?
It was at this point after 2 pm and for our two nap friendly kids, we were entering potential cranky time.
The boys got some treats from the gift shop and we were on our way back to the car. That was quite the long walk with a kid on your shoulders.
We found the car, we found our way out of the parking lot and we made it home in one piece (tired and sweaty), but one piece.
What a fun day. The last time I was at Canada’s Wonderland I was a kid. Now I am taking my kids there.
I don’t think we will become season pass holders any time soon, but it was fun for a day in July. We will go back. We will try out new things. We will continue to watch our kids have a blast.
Again, thank to Canada’s Wonderland for making us feel like VIPs, it was a nice bonus.
Here are my final pointers for parents bringing their little kids:
- Pack a solid bag of drinks, snacks and diapers (if you need them).
- Don’t forget sunscreen.
- Take cash. At least $20 for parking as it goes faster.
- Go early, yes it is busy but you get to park close.
- Consider premium parking.
- Take advantage of the stroller only lines.
- Have a map at all times.
- Don’t be that parent, holding up lines and ride to take 34 photos with your new DSLR.
- Learn where the bathrooms are.
- Pay the money and do the buffet.
- Stroll past the mountain a lot, the mist is refreshing.
- Plan on being there at least five hours. Those lines don’t go away.
For more information on the park, what rides are there and any other detail you want, go to their official website.
Feel free to mention Like A Dad. You won’t get a discount but you might get a hug.
More photos for you to enjoy.