The blog is back at CoasterCircuits.com. I’ll see you there!
Little Flags Scream Big Things Coming
After the first weekend of October, the path stretching between Minebuster’s entrance and the smoking area near the Splashworks entrance has been closed to guests. This weekend, we actually saw signs of something to come.
The majority of the fencing that bordered the grassy area where Skyrider once stood has been taken down with yellow tape now bordering it. Utility flags noting buried electrical mark certain spots in the grass.
What makes it even more interesting is that the flags cross Vortex and onto the hill on the other side.
There are a few stakes as well, including on Skyrider’s land.
Over on the path that runs next to Timberwolf Falls is this stake with an additional painted marking on the ground.
There are stakes leading from a shed immediately next to Timberwolf Falls out to the path.
So, with all that laid out, let’s get into some speculation which will probably sound either really cool or really dumb in hindsight when we know what’s happening.
I’m assuming these are signs for a 2019 rollercoaster with construction to begin probably immediately after the season ends. The purpose for these kinds of markers are to note where to avoid digging so you don’t damage existing infrastructure. If that’s the case, the placement of all of these markers would mean construction would be happening around them, which says something about the large scale of this project considering the flags are all around Vortex and Timberwolf Falls. I expect the entire area basically around Vortex will be wall-ed off when we return in 2018.
When it was announced that Skyrider was being removed, they kept saying something to the effect of its area being a great place in the center of the park between Splashworks and Wonder Mountain. That’s always been a big tip-off that the next thing to come in that area will be big and will cross Vortex. Dare I say it may also interact with the Mountain somehow? Either way, it looks like whatever they were hinting at is finally coming.
Winterfest is Coming in 2018!
In an article with information from Cedar Fair’s current CEO, Matt Ouimet, he confirmed that Canada’s Wonderland will be getting Winterfest in 2018!
Extending the park season
Another Ouimet initiative: WinterFest, the holiday-themed festival, with rides and entertainment, which debuted last year at California’s Great America. This year, WinterFest will expand to three more parks, including Kings Island near Cincinnati.
And next year, look for it at Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario.
I am so excited to see how this works out and what rides would be open. I would expect them to bring in many external vendors and entertainment which would continue to add on to how well they can put their special events together.
With total confidence that they’ll pull off an amazing Winterfest, I have one single concern looking at the other parks. The current program at other parks says to me that they expect you for just one visit. There’s no season Winterfest pass (and we both know I’d want to be there every weekend, no matter how repetitive it is). Add that onto the fact that each Winterfest day only lasts about 5 hours and it becomes a bit concerning. As I saw with Haunt, that limited time can be troublesome if you want to catch all of the shows and some rides. I know there are logistics to take care of but a man can wish.
Looking at the future of Canada’s Wonderland and really that area of Vaughan is so exciting to think about. Transit options are being upgraded for people coming to the park with the subway extension from Toronto coming up to Vaughan with the terminal a short bus ride away from Wonderland. This opens later this year. There’s the hospital being built across the street from the park which is slated to open in 2020. Then we have Wonderland doing things like Winterfest in 2018, a coaster in 2019, and a hotel at some point (did we forget about that already?).
I got to the park right as it opened for the day. The morning had random periods of rain but no big downpours, thankfully.
My first stop was Leviathan. Not much a wait this morning, unlike past recent visits where it would be a 20 minute wait right off the bat.
Passing through Medieval Faire to get to Leviathan, I saw they put up a couple of tents for a soup station during Halloween Haunt. I always thought soup would be great to have when the night gets cold but I always guessed that sort of thing would end up in Backlot Cafe.
Bistro 81 also has a Haunt menu which looks similar, if not the same, as last year. I don’t see why that poutine can’t be on the meal plan during the season… I haven’t had a Wonderland poutine in a while.
This fence popped up next to Minebuster. It wasn’t there last weekend.
The path is closed between Minebuster and the smoking area outside of Splashworks. I’m guessing it’s for 2018 work in Splashworks or 2019 work in Skyrider’s old land. I’d love for it to be the latter.
Over next to Soaring Timbers where Lumberjack will be next year, it looks like some trees are getting the axe.
I’m still trying to imagine what the area will look like next season. With the way the grassy area has formed, I’m guessing it’ll end up being a small dead-end plaza like Drop Tower.
The fog machine in the Trick or Treat area by Soaring Timbers was still on during the day and guests were having a lot of fun with it. It was cool to see when the fog would keep up long enough to float over onto the Soaring Timbers platform. I wish they’d put fog machines for some of the flat rides like how some of the canivals have it.
Soaring Timbers was actually running decently. It’s nowhere near what it once was but it doesn’t feel like it slows down as much. There was a Skyjack parked behind the ride again so maybe they’ve been doing some work on it during the week.
When I took a seat, I noticed its former self peeking through its new paint.
In past years, it felt like they become a bit careless with the way the park looks during the daytime with ugly Haunt props everywhere that only look good in the dark. I think they’ve done a stellar job this year. These displays are so nice to see as a daytime visitor.
I’m mostly just glad they stopped putting Skeleton Key shipping containers in the middle of plazas.
They didn’t have to do this but they did and it looks fantastic.
Perhaps the only questionable thing is this cable management by Sledgehammer. The cables lead to the scare zone in front of the ride. Last weekend, they had the cable on the ground going across the entrance path, covered by one of those plastic ramp things. I guess it became too much of a tripping hazard, especially with the fog, so they decided to throw the cable over the arch. The black tape looks weird but it looks like they tried to evenly space it out so it sort of blends in.
I rode Behemoth about a dozen times over the day. My favorite seat is on the second car as, for reasons I don’t get, I find the airtime is better than right up front.
I’ve been impressed by the crew here over the course of the season so, after hearing some fun speiling today, I put it in writing at Guest Services. They already earned Crew of the Year but it doesn’t hurt to show appreciation myself.
I do have picks for worst ride crew but I’ll keep that to myself. 😉
5pm seemed to roll around way too fast. Leviathan is always last to its nap before Haunt.
For lunch, I went with my favorite Backlot Cafe meal: Curried beef on rice. Delicious as always!
For dinner, I had the nuggets and fries from Chicken Shack. Lately, I’ve noticed the nuggets are more “spongey” when you bite them… I’m not sure if it’s the way they’re cooking it or if they’ve changed suppliers or something. Upon a closer look, it looks like a tiny piece of chicken breast put inside of a ball of that Flakes of Chicken stuff you get in a can, which I think is disgusting. I may start getting the chicken tenders instead since I think those are more chicken breast than anything. The higher price of them tips off that they’re probably better quality.
In case I didn’t say it enough in my Haunt trip report, I don’t like horror things. I was too afraid to do the mazes, especially being there by myself, but I tried to go through all of the scare zones without wearing my No Boo lanyard. I ended up enjoying it.
The Scare Zones
Here’s all of the scare zones with images I have from the evening and the park’s description of each:
A wrecked ship was discovered recently after going missing in the Caribbean Sea decades ago. The entire crew was found dead. Rough waters are to blame for this grisly discovery. It has been said the fear were still on the faces of these pirates, as their decrepit bodies showed signs of distress and struggle, arms outreached, fighting to take their last breaths. If you dare to hop aboard this demolished ship, the evil souls of these pirates will return to punish all those who deserted them on the rough ocean.
The carnival has come to town, promising a show like you have never experienced before. Mayhem takes over everything and everyone, as the freak show’s wicked clowns scour the streets beckoning you to join the carnival. The spectacle is hard to stomach, with a terrifying and grim performance as the main attraction. Beware, if you make eye contact, you just might fall for this act. Maniacal laughter rings through the air and all you can do is hope the joke isn’t on you.
The villagers who once peacefully inhabited the forest are long since dead. They’ve been haunting the forest for years, searching for new souls to add to their ghoulish ranks. They now live among the pines, terrorizing any mortal who dares to enter these woods.
Beware the monsters lurking in the night. They feast on humans and search for souls who dare to enter their haunting grounds. Watch your back, because there is always a reason to be scared of the dark.
Once upon a time there was a peaceful village surrounding a grand castle. That is, until it was infected with a virus so horrible it ripped the town apart. The plague has since destroyed townspeople and left them rotting in the streets. Plague doctors now stalk the living, trying to stop the disease from spreading but it may be too late.
Trick or Treat
“Trick or Treat”, the happy refrain heard across the country on Halloween night usually causes front doors to open and children’s laughter. For this little town however, it’s met with deadbolts and chains. Every October night the residents lock themselves indoors when the sun sets as monsters from an evil curse come out to dance and play in the streets. They may look like trick-or-treating children, but these creepy kids are not out for candy. Anyone caught outside quickly learns just how mean tricks can be. Trick or Treat, Move your feet, Or you’re gonna be dead meat.
Check out my Haunt video on YouTube!
Just so you know
I haven’t visited Halloween Haunt since 2006 when it was still FearFest. I just don’t like horror things. But being a Wonderland fan, I couldn’t keep that gap growing any bigger so I took them up on their opening night deal for season pass holders. Tickets were just $9.99. I also got a No Boo Necklace which tells the monsters not to scare with you.
My plan was to catch some night rides and check out all of the shows. I had no intention of doing any of the mazes.
The Night Begins
I had a full 10am-5pm daytime visit before waiting outside until 7pm for the gates of Haunt to open. By the time we were let inside, the fog machines were already going. I immediately went to pick up my No Boo Necklace from the CW Store at the front gate.
I wasn’t sure where to go first so I ended up following everyone to Zombies 4D which is a rethemed Wonder Mountain’s Guardian.
I haven’t ridden WMGuardian since May last year so I was interested to see how the ride was doing. I want to like it. I think the coaster and trains are cool but I feel like it’s lacking with the physical theming and game. Whenever they decide to do a retheme, I’m hopeful it’ll feel more complete.
Again, I haven’t been to Haunt in many years, but the scare zone boundaries seemed more strict and smaller. When I moved from Wonder Mountain’s Guardian into Action Zone, it seemed like any other night at the park with the bubbly FunTV sounds louder than the park audio.
Anyways, once I got here, I was happy to see Sledgehammer open since it was down all day. They set up a fog machine right next to the entrance for the scare zone in front of the ride. Just throwing it out there but I think it would be neat to have extended nights in the summer with fog machines, lights, and techno music.
I didn’t do too many rides since the night seemed to go by very quickly. The rides I did get were great though and the lines weren’t too bad.
I loved the Mountain projections. It was a lightning scene with random spooky scenes in between. It would be cool for it to be an actual scheduled show like Starlight Northern Reflections.
For most of the night, I tried to keep my No Boo Necklace off just to see how things would go. A lot of the time, the monsters were focused on getting the big scares on other groups. I was stared at and followed a few times, and yelled at just once. In future years, I’ll stick with the No Boo anyway, just for the comfort of having it for times when I just want to move between rides in peace.
On With the Shows
My first show of the night was Devil’s Circus which was new this year. This turned out to be my favorite. Great acts and I loved the fire effects on the set.
Shoutout to the guy with the phone who kept moving in front of me with his phone in the air. (Whenever I record things, which is a lot, I try to keep my camera at eye-level or lower unless I’m at the very back.)
I saw a short bit of this show on my way to Sinner’s Lounge. It wasn’t interesting enough to stop me.
Being so used to silly raccoon shenanigans in Wonderland Theatre, I was a bit caught off guard by the themes in this show but I know I shouldn’t be. Pole dancing, drunk guy, shirtless dude, and bar fights. It’s a good show with humorous bits in it too. I liked it.
It was a good night, even though I skipped out on the main draw of the event which are the mazes. That said, I’d only go to Haunt if they do this cheap ticket promotion again, but that’s just me.
Thanks for reading!
After a long day at Canada’s Wonderland the day before (Trip report ETA: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), I decided to put a pause on the back-to-back Wonderland trips and head downtown for a mind-clearing walk, which is what I tend to do in the off-season.
I wanted to check out the TTC streetcars that were now using pantographs instead of the pole. I also wanted to see Word on the Street, which is a festival for literacy with presentations by authors and lots of opportunities to pick up some books.
After quickly becoming uncomfortable at Word on the Street by realizing I probably should read more, I decided to take a ferry over to Centre Island. There was a line at the ticket booths so I pulled up the online ticket service, bought my ticket, and bypassed the regular line into the terminal, all within a minute. Technology!
The ferry at the time wasn’t too crowded so I was able to get a nice spot at the back of the ferry which gives a great view of the city as you float away.
The birds were greeting me upon arrival.
The whole laid-back vibe on the Islands is just so pleasant that I wish I had come here more often in the summer.
With the flooding that did a number on the Islands just before the summer, some parts look a bit off. The appropriately named Duck Pond at Centreville was still bustling with wildlife, though some of the small docks were damaged and inaccessible.
I was happy to see their new skyride open as it was under construction when I walked through Centreville last year. I wasn’t really following but, upon some light research, it appears that the old one was replaced after a child fell while boarding the old one and broke some bones.
It’s such a large piece of steel machinery that looks out of place, yet impressive at the same time.
It wasn’t too crowded but there was still a nice amount of people to make the place feel alive enough.
The Toronto Island Mine Coaster, which I still have not ridden, is a cute little coaster. It’s still fairly new as it opened in 2014.
One of my favorite parts of Centreville is the farm. Unfortunately, it remained closed for the season after the flooding.
I’m no photographer but the Islands would bring out the photographer in anyone with a camera here. It’s definitely a great place to experiment with angles.
After a little while of touring around Centreville, I decided to continue my walk elsewhere.
There were lots of people lining the beaches and out in the water. It was perfect weather for that.
After walking to Hanlan’s and back, it was time to go.
I should do this more often.
Every season before 2017, I really didn’t pay any attention to the live shows.
This season, I made it a mission to stop getting stuck in one area of the park or at one ride. (Last year, I probably spent at least 50% of the season on Skyhawk.) I tried really hard to go see all of the special events and live shows. Admittedly, I’m ashamed of myself for not paying more attention because it’s made my visits so much more special!
This year had a mix of seasonal live shows, special “contracted” shows in International Showplace, and special events. Here’s the complete list, in order as listed in the show and event guide.
- Cirque Canadien
- Starlight Northern Reflections
- Flying Frontenacs Stunt & Dive Show
- Charlie Brown’s Happy Campers
- Peanutes Party in the Plaza
- Snoopy’s Symphony of Water
- Victoria Falls High Divers
International Showplace Special Events
- Ultimate Thrills Circus
- Parkour Freestyle
- Chinese Acrobatic Show
- Celebration Canada
- West Coaster Lumberjack Show
- Freestyle Ski Aerials
- Earth Rangers
- Taste of Greece
- Taste of Italy
- Food Truck Festival
I’m happy to say I’ve seen everything on this list, though, depending on my interest, ranges from multiple viewings to a single incomplete viewing.
My Top 3!
#3: Flying Frontenacs Stunt & Dive Show
Flying Frontenacs was the latest stunt and dive show to perform on Arthur’s Baye.
While the routines change slightly between seasons, this year’s renewal of the show made it feel like something completely new. The Arthur’s Baye structure was given a new red color scheme, along with a great wooden finish on the boxes that the performers do their trampoline stunts on. The performers wore Mountie costumes which blended well with the overall set. The former dive shows here used to be something I’d walk past or forget about but everything about Flying Frontenacs is so pleasant that it makes it a show I actually plan to show up for.
#2: Starlight Northern Reflections
Starlight Northern Reflections is the newest version of the former Starlight Spectacular show. The show returned with a Canadian theme, highlighting different sights and landmarks across the country. In addition to the recently added fountains and spotlights, new lasers were added on top of Wonder Mountain.
I found that the show was very well put together. Every element of the show played its part well, none of which seemed out of place or “shoe-horned” in as I felt with certain parts of previous shows. The only recycled part was some of the mountain projections toward the end of the show but they still worked in the spotlights, fountains, and lasers to make it feel completely new. I’m looking forward to seeing what else they can do!
#1: Cirque Canadien
Cirque Canadien is the newest cirque-style show to perform at Wonderland Theatre.
As with other shows this year, the Canadian theme to this cirque show made it unique. Put up against similar shows at other Cedar Fair parks, some of which follow near identical scripts at times, I really think Cirque Canadien is the most well put together. The amazing athleticism by the performers coupled with their funny antics made it a perfect show to me. I can’t wait to see it again next season!
Subscribe to the CoasterCircuits channel on YouTube as a full-length Cirque Canadien video is in the works!
There are a few of points I want to make about this year’s entertainment overall at the park.
It feels like entertainment is at the forefront of Wonderland’s attention and the rides are the ones that are just kinda there. In past years, I would have said that the other way around. The quality of the shows and special events seem better than ever.
One thing I noticed while watching all of these shows is that none of the shows take themselves too seriously. There’s not so much mystery or over-dramatics (aside from maybe the Vic Falls High Divers introduction) as there is a feel-good awe.
There’s still more, folks!
Thanks for reading! The summer’s gone and it feels like the season is coming to an end, but there’s still more events happening like Oktoberfest, Halloween Haunt, and Camp Spooky. Stay tuned for coverage on the rest of the season’s fun!