Wonderland 2017 Live Entertainment Round-Up and My Top 3 Picks!

Confession Time

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!

The Line-Up

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.

Live Shows

  • 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

Special Events

  • Celebration Canada
    • West Coaster Lumberjack Show
    • Freestyle Ski Aerials
    • Earth Rangers
  • KidZfest
  • Taste of Greece
  • Taste of Italy
  • Food Truck Festival
  • Oktoberfest

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!

Reflection

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!

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Celebration Canada 150 Recap!

Wonderland did it big for Canada’s 150th!

The month of July was filled with so much Canadian-themed entertainment, you couldn’t help but clap your hands for the performers and athletes, tap your feet to the sound of live bands, and stuff your face with delicious Canadian food! With Celebration Canada 150 “over”, let’s take a look back at some of the FUN.

Canadian Eats

Every week, new food items were available in Celebration Plaza. It included delicious famous foods from across the country, such as lobster rolls (pictured), bison burgers, peameal bacon sandwiches, and poutines.

A meal wouldn’t be complete without some dessert! Look at how cute this house made apple pie is!

Live Music & Local Bands

Live bands were filling Celebration Plaza with wonderful music. Some familiar local bands were invited out, including the Rolling Stronz (pictured) and Stacey Renee (both made appearances during this year’s Brew & BBQ and other previous events).

The Great Canadian Fiddle show was, well, great!

This talented band went spreading around their music, occasionally spotted on International Street, in front of Wonderland Theater, and, of course, in Celebration Plaza.

Freestyle Ski Aerials

Athletes on skis, kayaks, and mini sleds sped down a 30′ ramp set up on Arthur’s Baye and performed tricks and flips for the audience.

Earth Rangers

OK, so this picture might seem more American than anything but the Earth Rangers were a hit with guests in Celebration Plaza!

Cirque Canadien

Cirque Canadien is my favourite show at the park this season. The combination of awesome acrobatics with the silly humour of the raccoons makes it a super fun show. Lucky for us, the show runs until Labour Day.

And that’s a wrap! Well, not really.

Even though July and half of the season is past us, there’s still plenty to look forward to with the rest of the season ahead.

Celebrating Canada Continues on!

As with Cirque Canadien, other shows like Starlight Northern Reflections and the Flying Frontenacs Dive Show (pictured) also run until Labour Day.

International Showplace is still rockin’!

There’s still new shows happening at International Showplace like Parkour Freestyle (runs until Aug 15) and the Chinese Acrobatic Show (Aug 17 – Sep 4).

Get ready to eat!

Don’t forget the food festivals! We’ve got Taste of Greece (Aug 19/20) and Taste of Italy (Aug 26/27), along with the Food Truck Festival (Sep 2/3) and Oktoberfest (Sep 16-24).

Look up at the fireworks!

After the Victoria Day fireworks show got cancelled due to poor weather conditions, they have scheduled a make-up performance for this long Civic Holiday weekend on Sunday, August 6. Can’t make it then? There’s another fireworks presentation for Labour Day on Sunday, September 3. They both begin at 10pm, weather permitting.

July 23, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

I arrived at the park just after opening. The weather was overcast with one or two short periods of drizzle during the day.

I never really noticed the show guides available at the front gate this season until today. A couple new things I took note of: Taste of Italy and Greece events will be at Arthur’s Baye instead of Action Zone where they’ve been in the past. The other thing is that Oktoberfest will be on two September weekends (16/17, 23/24) instead of just one.

The Freestyle Ski Aerials show seems more like a “filler” show than anything else, which is not necessarily a bad thing. It felt like it was over very quickly, but it’s a fun little event to stop for a bit and watch.

The Great Canadian Fiddle Show fills Celebration Plaza with great music!

Here is the menu for the Celebration Plaza food stalls for the rest of the month. I haven’t purchased any meals in Celebration Plaza so far since I’ve got the meal plan.

Riptide is back up and running. I rode it for the first time in years today since it was running a dry cycle. I don’t know why I don’t ride it more often. I thought it was pretty fun.

With my ride on Riptide, I realized I had ridden all five Mondial Rides at the park. (Since I’ve skipped Riptide for years, I can’t say that very often.) Here’s my ranking as of today:

  1. Shockwave (Top Scan)
  2. Psyclone (Revolution)
  3. Riptide (Splashover)
  4. Windseeker (Windseeker)
  5. Soaring Timbers (Inferno)

It’s a bit unsettling that earlier this season I had Soaring Timbers over Shockwave. Maybe I was just excited about a new Mondial at the park.

Sledgehammer seemed to be having one of those days.

It felt like a short visit (even though it was about six hours) but it was fun. Thanks for reading!

Trip Meals

I had the curried beef from Backlot Cafe. It still remains my favorite meal at the park because it’s been consistently good. Today’s serving was easily the best with a generous serving of curry and a slight peppery kick to it because it shared a pan with the spicy potato curry.

I didn’t stay long enough for dinner.

Trip Video

July 16, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

I arrived at the park about 15 minutes before opening. There was Behemoth ERT so I headed there first and got a couple of rides in.

Sledgehammer is a lot of fun and I’m glad others still enjoy it as well!

I made my way over to Soaring Timbers. It was a walk-on when I got to it. I was surprised to see them loading every other row, bringing the capacity down to just under half. I’m not sure what the reason is but I don’t like it, especially since it’s still running that boring cycle.

I find myself hopping over to Shockwave after Soaring Timbers. It’s running very well.

Over at Arthur’s Baye, they set up the ramp for the Freestyle Ski Aerials show for Celebration Canada 150. Today was its debut but I never caught the show.

I guess the best place to view the landing is from the Marketplace Buffet patio at the back, if it’s open for non-eating guests.

The Earth Rangers were nearby with animals on display.

I took a ride on Thunder Run. I love the view from the queue, although the trees block it for most of it. I remember these used to become famous gum trees.

Thunder Run is such a nostalgia trip for me as it’s one of those rides that I stuck with growing up with the park. Although there are changes in the station and the VR thing, the inside of the mountain is more or less the same. Somehow, the string lights at the end of the ride are the most memorable thing from the 90’s.

I hadn’t ridden Time Warp in over a decade and I was thinking about giving it another try so I finally did it today. Boy, was that a mistake.

From beginning to end, the car was vibrating and knocking my head harder than any other ride at the park… and its neighbor is an SLC! I wore my glasses on it and, by the end of it, the nosepads were bent out of shape and my head, nose, shoulders, and back were aching. For more than half of the ride, I was holding my face because of how loose it had knocked my glasses. It’s the worst experience I’ve had on a ride in recent memory, because the last memory was the last time I rode this piece of garbage.

I seriously don’t understand how a ride like this could have lasted so long. It’s not even just the ride experience. You’ve got a super bored op doing nothing but confirming with the load attendant that the next car is ready. Then you’ve got the lone exhausted load attendant walking back and forth all day, closing the cages. I hope this ride is on its way out sooner than later.

After the ride on Time Warp that got me actually angry because it exists, I went straight to Leviathan which had a line just a little longer than the staircase. It went down as I got in line but it started loading riders again about fives minutes later. I got a seat in the back row which gives such an excellent ejection as you leave the lift.

There’s a security camera in the station. I’m not sure if it’s new, but the sign for it is definitely new. It hangs above the exits gates and says that the area is being monitored. I’m curious about the reasoning.

A few more notes with no pictures:

  • Backlot Cafe no longer has bison burgers and the veggie burger now has the upgrade fee on the meal plan.
  • Bistro 81 is no longer on the meal plan.
  • Vortex won a capacity contest with the Bat crew at Kings Island. I didn’t spot any other of those signs at the rides I rode today.

Thanks for reading!

Lunch/Dinner

For lunch, I was taking too long to decide so I ended up with my favorite chicken nuggets and fries from Chicken Shack. Great as always.

For dinner, I had the meat lasagne from Backlot Cafe. It was a bit of a let down with it being burnt all around and super salty, but it somehow was not the worst meal I’ve had at the park before.

July 1 & 3 Trip Report (Canada Day Long Weekend)

Trip Notes

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy Canada Day! The weather was not exactly perfect but still tolerable. It definitely kept the crowds away as I was fully anticipating it to be the busiest day of the season. I felt like the park has already been busier this season than it was on Canada Day.

The new Celebration Plaza breathed new life into that area of Medieval Faire. There’s a temporary stage, patio seating, and street performers scattered around throughout the day.

This band was there throughout the day. They were also on International Street at times too.

There’s these little stalls for Taste of Quebec and Taste of Ontario this week. Each week, the menu items change themes for other parts of the country. (I’m personally looking forward to the lobster mac and cheese!)

I didn’t see a single purchase from these stalls while I was around. It might have been because the staff looked incredibly bored…

Elsewhere in Medieval Faire, a new virtual reality experience takes over the old laser tag game. While I personally have zero interest in this, it was still good to see people participating.

This Haunt-themed stall popped up near Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. Late in the day, I saw they were redecorating it though I’m not sure what it ended up serving.

As usual, paths and certain rides were closing early due to the fireworks show. The weather was concerning some people but it did end up happening, unlike Victoria Day weekend. That fireworks show has been rescheduled for the Civic Holiday in August.

I caught the Ultimate Thrills Circus. I wanted to see the ball of death or whatever it’s called (the one where people on motorbikes drive inside a sphere). They didn’t have that this year but there were a couple of other motorbike stunts. It’s a good show but I don’t have much interest in watching it again.

This was something I couldn’t stop laughing at for most of the day. For Canada Day, staff are allowed to decorate themselves and certain parts of their rides (usually entrance signs and ride fencing). The guys at Psyclone ended up with this. It got worse as the day went on with the rain making it rapidly fall apart. Eventually they took it down… to reveal the tape or whatever they used left a blue imprint of the sign. I’ve always wondered why they never bothered slapping on a coat of paint on the container since they’ve been so good at upkeeping building paint everywhere else around the park.

Shockwave was down as they did some work on the arm motor. It was back up by Monday, running the same fun cycle.

Soaring Timbers, on the other hand, continues to disappoint me and the riders getting off. I’m starting to think that they have it running like that to have a ride for people who don’t want something as intense as Shockwave. Maybe I’m just making excuses for it.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Compared to Saturday, the weather on Monday was gorgeous. The park was noticeably busier.

This little Mountie is stationed at his post on Arthur’s Baye.

I finally caught the Cirque Canadien show. To be honest, I never watched any of the Cirque shows the park has had in recent years so I was excited to check it out. It was such a fun show and something I hope everyone gets a chance to see when they’re at the park.

I’ve saved so much money being on the meal plan this year that I’m browsing through shops more and tempted to start buying things. I keep going to the park saying I’d treat myself to dessert but I still haven’t yet this season. The fudge at the Sweet Shoppe on International Street is so tempting.

Right before I left the park, I bought one of these t-shirts for $14.99. (It’s even less with the season pass discount!) It’s an exclusive shirt to Wonderland with the CW logo on the back. It’s a good price considering other shirts at the park are almost twice that price. I may or may not be considering buying another in a different color…

Trip Eats

On Saturday, my lunch was my first meal from the new La Cantina on International Street. I went for the three tacos. I’m so bad at customizing food on the spot so my tacos had weird combinations. In the end, the ingredients were all good so it was all delicious. My only issue was that it wasn’t very filling for me but, again, the quality is up at the top.

For dinner, I had my favorite chicken nuggets and fries. They were clearly left out for a while and the fries were the bottom of the basket fries. However, this meal still managed to be good, and this is still better than any meal I’ve had out of Coasters.

On Monday, I had the chicken mac and cheese from Alpen Cheesery. I wanted the jalapeno sausage but all they had was chicken. That was my second choice anyway so it was cool. I opted for some nacho cheese on top. I also asked for some sprinkled parmesan cheese, but the associate was struggling with the cheese all clumped up in the container that I told him to forget it.

I was shocked by the weight of this when it was handed to me. I’m happy to report that my stomach survived this one. (My stomach didn’t agree when I first tried a meal from Alpen Cheesery a few visits ago.) I still intend on trying the jalapeno sausage version soon!

For dinner, I went back to La Cantina and got a chicken casadilla. At first, I was worried it wouldn’t be filling but it was actually the perfect size. I really like the chicken at La Cantina over the beef. The beef is still good if that’s your thing though.

Trip Video

June 24, 2017 Trip Report

Trip Notes

To me, today was the true start of the summer season at Wonderland. There was the first special event with Brew & BBQ, as well as several live entertainment shows starting for the season. With all of that, I decided to do a full open-to-close day at the park which I rarely do.

There are two new Canada 150 signs on either side of the floral flag that make for a great photo spot.

I don’t know how to feel about Soaring Timbers anymore. Every week, it’s something different. After it’s nice comeback last weekend, it’s back to the non-flipping version of itself again.

Loading is still silly sometimes. On one occasion, no one told each pre-load lane to follow one another so as soon as the attendant gestured to the first lane to come in, ALL of the lanes rushed each other onto the platform. There were people standing around confused once we were on the platform as people were mixing up their assigned rows.

After Soaring Timbers, I headed into Action Zone for some rides.

Action Zone is where Brew and BBQ was happening. It’s a lot more lax when it comes to the set up, at least compared to what I saw at the Food Truck Festival last year. There aren’t any barriers and it’s easier to get in and out of the area. It does get a bit tight when the lines for food build up though.

I like that every food item is the same price so you don’t have to go through the options first and then budget for what you want. I got the 8 tokens and beer mug and an additional 5 tokens. While waiting in line for tokens, there are staff checking ID and giving wristbands to those who are going to drink.

The line for tokens was one of those that kept blocking the path. It might have worked better if the token booth was outside of the actual event area, maybe closer to Kingswood or something.

I don’t normally drink since I’m not really a fan of beer, but I decided to go for it anyway. My first drink was the Head Stock from Nickel Brook Brewing.

My second drink was the Original Ironwood Hard Cider. This was my favorite for the day.

My last drink for the day was the Canuck from Great Lakes Brewing.

I’m still not a fan of beer after this but it was a good feeling to get into the spirit of the event!

The dive shows are back for the season with the Victoria Falls High Dive Show at WonderMountain and the Flying Frontenacs at Arthur’s Baye. I really enjoyed the theme of the Flying Frontenacs show, with improvements to the set and their Mountie costumes.

After mostly just hovering around all day, the sun was setting so lights around the park started coming on!

Soaring Timbers looks so strange at night. It definitely shows its carny side with the abundance of multi-colored LEDs. The flood lights on the base of the ride are very bright so it’s a little painful to look at at certain angles.

As I headed out from Medieval Faire to International Street to get a spot for Starlight, I noticed the fountains going off and on a couple times and doing this.

Before the show, it’s set up with a Canada flag set. In previous years, it would have a Starlight Spectacular logo.

The show was great and I’m glad I stayed for it. A few thoughts:

  • It’s obvious that they’ve stuck to the formula that everyone likes, with hints from the original 2011 show that people seemed to like the most… The similar soundtrack. The “scary” lightning scene. The mountain crumbling and building itself up. And then the blatant recycling of the finale. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with this. I just thought it was a bit humorous being able to see the similarities.
  • I think there’s supposed to be another laser on the other side of the mountain that didn’t go on during the show. I also spotted some fog machines (similar to what’s used during Halloween Haunt) along the Royal Fountains but they weren’t used tonight.
  • All of the elements of the show worked really well together. I thought the new fountains were awkwardly shoe-horned into the show last year but they definitely fit in with the new show.

If I were to rank the different versions of the show, I’d call it a tie with the original 2011 version. I hope to get catch the show again soon!

Lunch/Diner

At Brew and BBQ, I got the ribs and wings which came with mashed potatoes and coleslaw. The corn and potatoes were great. The coleslaw was a bit wet for my liking. The size of the ribs and wings was big, which made it a good value considering this was equivalent to $7 in tokens. They weren’t the best ribs I’ve had before, but they definitely weren’t the worst.

Later in the day, I decided to get the veggie burger again from Backlot Cafe.

I’m not too disappointed but it wasn’t as good as the first one I had. For some reason, it was dressed with lettuce, onions, pickles, and a mayo sauce, instead of garden greens and tomatoes. Quality is never really an issue at Backlot but sometimes consistency is.

The potato wedges were better though!

Trip Video

June 18, 2017 Trip Report

CW Notes

The weather forecast was calling for high temperatures and thunderstorms later in the day so I was a bit pessimistic about how the day would go. Spoiler alert: It was awesome.

I missed the 760 Wonderland bus so it took me slightly longer to get to the park this morning. As I arrived, Snoopy was orchestrating the Royal Fountains.

Leviathan never had more than a staircase wait all day so I got more rides on it than I usually do. It’s a great ride and I’m finding myself graying out at the bottom of the first drop when I sit in the back row.

There are a lot more of these Canada 150 signs all around Medieval Faire.

The Arthur’s Baye structure (does it actually have a name?) looks great! It’s probably the best look it’s had ever had as the boxes that the performers jump in/out/on top of has a texture that works well with the scene.

When I made my way over to Soaring Timbers, they were doing some work on it. It’s such bad luck that it’s missed every Early Ride Time slot its been scheduled for since the season’s started.

I continued my usual routine into Action Zone. The Weird Gondola on Sledgehammer that I talked about in my last trip report was ready for riders when it opened for the day. After seeing it going down a few times, I saw they later took that gondola out of service, including disabling its rotation. I didn’t see the ride go down after that so I wonder what effect it actually has on it…

After having lunch, I took my walk around through the back of the park.

White Water Canyon is set in such a nice area. I don’t know why people want to run a coaster through it.

The Chippery got an updated sign for its new name.

The other graphics around the stall are the same. I quite like the funky weird faces.

As I was walking out of Planet Snoopy toward Shockwave, I noticed Soaring Timbers was running. I rushed over to discover that it had opened up!

I’m happy to report it’s running great again. I don’t think it’s quite how it was but it’s still very satisfying. It can vary between cycles. Gondolas are flipping again. If they don’t, they at least have some crazy side-to-side action. There was one fun cycle I was on where our gondola hung upside down for what seemed like the entire arm rotation downward. I ended up marathoning on it for about an hour and a half. Unlike every other visit, overheard reviews of the ride seemed to be more positive. I think they’ve got the ride in a good spot.

I left Soaring Timbers just because I thought it was about to rain so I wanted to hover around somewhere else where there would be quick escape to shelter. The rain never did come so I ended up back at Behemoth, which was still a walk-on.

I’ll save you from another rant about drink plan cups.

I tried the Purple Splash again and it turns out there is a regular version. It’s still not as sweet as I would have expected a soft drink to be but it’s alright. It’s not my favorite drink out of the Freestyle machines though… That would be lemon Fuze iced tea.

The Funpix station near WonderMountain looks like it’s ready to go.

Stand here to take your selfie… but then you’re not taking the picture so is it really a selfie?

Lunch/Diner

Since I’m a cheapo and not quite ready to start trying the extra charge upgrade meals on the season meal plan, I went for the Black Bean Veggie Burger from Backlot Cafe, the only burger there that doesn’t have the upgrade fee. I was a bit unsure about whether I would like it or not, so I’m very happy to say that this may be another go-to meal because it is awesome!

The patty itself is made up of black beans, corn, and some other stuff I can’t remember. It had a very nice seasoning which went well with the greens, tomato, and the sauce they have on it. It seriously rivals the traditional beef burger at the park (even the very good one I had at Thrill Burger recently) as it’s tasty but doesn’t feel as “heavy” going down since it’s all veggie.

This was also my opportunity to try the new spiral potato wedges at Backlot, which replaces the typical fries everywhere else around the park. They were hot and fresh. It’s not really a complaint but it could have used some more salt, which is surprising since oversalting is usually the problem.

Before I left, I picked up two pizza slices and fries from the International Street Pizza Pizza. Silly me tried balancing everything while getting out my season pass so I ended up spilling the fries everywhere. I managed to salvage about half. Anyways, the slices and fries were well cooked and, I gotta say, it’s a lot of food for one person… That’s definitely NOT a complaint!

Soaring Timbers Video