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Tips for Visiting Canada’s Wonderland Theme Park

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While Canada may not be as well known for its theme parks or roller coasters as its U.S. neighbor, there is one place that certainly satisfies amusement park lovers above the 49th parallel: Canada’s Wonderland. Located north of Toronto, this beloved park has been in operation since 1981. Every year it gets bigger as it adds new rides, restaurants, attractions and shows. With over 200 attractions and 77 rides, surely everyone in the family will find something fun to enjoy. Check out these nine tips to make the most of a visit to Canada's Wonderland.

9 Essential Canada's Wonderland Tips

1. Buy tickets online.

A front gate day ticket price for adults isn't cheap, but if you buy tickets from Wonderland's online store, your cost drops quite a bit. If you’re a Costco member, it’s even cheaper to purchase your tickets via Costco.ca. Kids under age 3 are free and don’t require an admission ticket.

To breeze past the lines, consider the Fast Lane or Fast Lane Plus passes for an extra charge. The Fast Lane Plus pass grants you unlimited rides on Leviathan, Behemoth and Lumberjack coasters during your visit.

Season Passes are the way to go if you live nearby and plan to visit regularly. Do purchase a season pass that includes the daily parking fee – it really adds up.

Lumberjack is the newest thrill ride at Canada's Wonderland

Lumberjack is the newest thrill ride at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

2. Make a ride plan.

Map out your ride strategy before you arrive. Get to the park early and make a run (if you can) for the most popular ride on your list. Lines tend to be longest for the most thrilling or newest rides. (Or purchase Fast Lane and skip the lines altogether.)

Roller coaster fans rejoice! From one of the world’s biggest and tallest coasters, Leviathan, to the Mighty Canadian Minebuster, Canada’s Wonderland has some of the most exciting rides in North America. While I can’t vouch personally, my teenage sons attest to the “total awesomeness” of the Leviathan and the other major coasters at the park. New in 2018 is Lumberjack, a thrill ride that takes guests soaring to heights of 75 feet on two swinging axe pendulums, propelling them into a looping 360 degree experience. With a long list of other tilting and terrifying rides, thrill seekers will be more than satisfied.

Would you dare take a ride on Leviathon at Canada's Wonderland, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada?

Would you dare take a ride on Leviathon, the tallest and fastest roller coaster in Canada? (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

If you’re like me and not so into roller coasters, there are many fun family rides to choose from. Check out the Antique Carousel, Speed City Raceway, Spinovator (my favorite), and the wet, wild White Water Canyon. Wonder Mountain’s Guardian is a 4-D immersive ride that mimics the Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey ride in Orlando. As a true Harry Potter fan, Guardian’s long line and experience left me cold, but my kids loved it. New to the park, Flying Canoes is an interactive family ride that allows riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes.

Flying Canoes is new to the Canada's Wonderland for 2018

Flying Canoes is new to the amusement park for 2018 (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

3. Take young kids to Planet Snoopy and KidZville.

Canada’s Wonderland has two special zones built just for young children – Planet Snoopy and KidZville. While all ages are welcome to enjoy these areas, the rides and attractions are perfectly sized for youngsters and their families. Children can fly in Snoopy vs. Red Baron, act as conductor of their own antique train, or brave the not-too-scary Ghoster Coaster. Keep an eye out for Snoopy and other Peanuts characters wandering through this section of the park. The plethora of activities will keep kids busy and happy all day long, and ensure a quiet ride home.

Kids fly in Snoopy vs. Red Baron in Planet Snoopy

Kids fly in Snoopy vs. Red Baron in Planet Snoopy (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

4. Dig the dinosaurs.

For an additional nominal fee, you can visit Dinosaurs Alive, a 7-acre park home to more than 40 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs that roar and move. The Jurassic environment features many recognizable dinosaur species in entertaining and educational exhibits. Kids will really “dig” the interactive archaeological site. Any dino-loving child or adult would have a blast in this part of Canada's Wonderland. Download their dinosaur activity book with all sorts of fun things to do before, during and after your visit.

Kids and adults alike dig the dinos at Dinosaurs Alive at Canada's Wonderland

Kids and adults alike dig the dinos at Dinosaurs Alive (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

5. Pack your swimsuits.

Canada’s Wonderland boasts an impressive, 20-acre Splash Works Water Park that’s included in your park admission. You can store your swimsuits and towels in a park locker until you’re ready to hit the Black Hole and other water slides, lazy river, and one of Canada's largest wave pools. Check out the Typhoon waterslide, with its spinning funnels and thrilling turns, as well as the Splash Station children's water play area. You'll find plenty of options here to stay cool during the humid heat of a Toronto summer.

In 2018, Splash Island’s children’s pool is expanding to double in size and will feature new interactive spray features. This year Splash Works is open this year weekends starting May 26 and daily from June 15 to September 3.

Waterslides at Splash Works Water Park at Canada's Wonderland

Cool off at Splash Works Water Park (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

6. Picnic outside the park or splurge on meals and treats.

If you’re on a budget or want to splurge on just a few sweet treats, there is a picnic pavilion outside the front gates. You’re not allowed to bring outside food into Canada's Wonderland, but many park attendees pack a cooler, leave it in their car until lunch time, then exit for a picnic lunch break. You just need to have your hand stamped before you exit the park to gain re-entry. If you don't want the hassle of packing your own picnic, don't fret. Canada's Wonderland offers many restaurants to choose from — like Subway, Starbucks, Manchu Wok, Pizza Pizza, and Coasters Burgers.

Manchu Wok at Canada's Wonderland

Dine on Asian fare at Manchu Wok (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

7. Prepare to walk, and walk, and walk.

Canada's Wonderland isn’t as big as Disneyland or Universal Orlando, but it’s still big enough to make young and old feet sore from walking. Be sure everyone in the family sports comfortable travel shoes. If visiting with a baby or young child, bring or rent a stroller. Canada's Wonderland offers single or double stroller rentals for a fee.

Canada's Wonderland entrance

A Canadian welcome at the theme park's entrance (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

8. Download the free Canada's Wonderland mobile app.

Easily navigate Canada's Wonderland on your mobile device with its free, GPS-enabled CW Mobile App. You can view maps, rides, attractions, show times, and height requirements on this handy app before and during your visit.

Peanuts characters at Canada's Wonderland

Meet Peanuts characters at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

9. Know when to go.

Canada’s Wonderland is open seasonally, so take that into consideration when planning your visit. The theme park opened for the year on April 29. Operating Hours are daily until Labor Day, then on weekends until Halloween.

Tips for visiting Canada's Wonderland in Toronto

Save these Canada's Wonderland tips

Be sure to save these nine Canada's Wonderland tips as a reference for your visit by pinning either the graphic above or the image at the top of this post!

For additional tips on Canada's Wonderland, read reviews of the theme park on TripAdvisor. If you like theme parks, then you'll love our Theme Parks Directory! Headed to Canada's capital? Check out our picks for the 5 best Toronto attractions for families!

Do you love theme parks and roller coasters? Have you visited Canada's Wonderland with your family? Share your comments below!

A Note from Travel Mamas: We did not receive any compensation or discounted Canada's Wonderland tickets related to this story.

About Claudia Laroye, The Curious Travel Mama

Claudia Laroye lives in Vancouver, Canada, with her husband and two sons (ages 17 and 19). She started travelling at a very young age, and has never stopped. She’s had the fortune of visiting more than 20 countries on four continents, and has also lived abroad in Sweden. Claudia is passionate about family travel and about educating children through the travel experience. She is the author of the thetravellingmom.ca, and contributes to many online and print media publications. Connect with Claudia on Twitter as @travelling_mom.

Comments

  1. That coaster looks absolutely terrifying! For my husband, that would be a good thing.

  2. Holy cow. I would not ride that roller coaster. Nope, no way.

  3. Thanks for sharing… I was trying to find out if they rent towels, but we’ll pack our own and use a locker.

    Headed there now!

  4. Ellen Lanin says:

    We moved away from St. Clair, MI in 1978. One of our favorite destinations was Toronto. Now it would be even better with this Wonderland. Toronto is terrific.

    • Claudia says:

      Thanks for your comment Ellen. Toronto has really grown on me over the years, even though I lived there several times in my early adulthood! And you’re right, Wonderland is a great spot.

  5. I’ve never heard of this park. It is definitely going on the list! The waterslides look so fun! The roller coaster needs a five-point harness. Holy cow!! That is terrifying!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Agreed! I don’t think you could get me to ride that thing. My daughter and husband would love it, though!

  6. Wow! This looks like a fun place to visit! My kids love going to theme parks. Thanks for sharing your tips!

  7. This theme park looks so fun! My kids would definitely love this place!

  8. Ann Snook-Moreau says:

    I lived in Toronto for 2 years and Ottawa for 3 and still haven’t made it to this park! I really want to, though, because I love roller coasters!

  9. This reminds me of a theme park we have here in the states. It looks like a lot of fun!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      It kind of reminds me of Valleyfair in Minnesota – which also has Peanuts-themed rides. 🙂

  10. We are in the States so I’ve never heard of this place. My kids would love it! Maybe we’ll get to Canada one day to check it out.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      If you’re ever in Toronto, Canada’s Wonderland would make a great addition to your vacation!

  11. Rose Ann Sales says:

    Such an awesome and a highly recommended theme park for me. Those rides are so terrifying that any ages will totally like it.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Well, maybe not ALL ages…the Peanuts rides are a better choice for wee ones! But, yes, there is definitely something for all ages at Canada’s Wonderland!

  12. Ruth I. says:

    Wow. This place is a must visit. The rides look awesome and fun! My sister lives in Canada and I’ll tell her about this.

  13. Gemille Sleweon says:

    I love rollercoasters! I’m always the one that wants to get on the tallest and fastest ones at amusement parks. I was looking to making a trip to Toronto in August.

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Ooh…Toronto in August is lovely. I hope you’ll consider adding Canada’s Wonderland to your itinerary!

  14. I had no idea this place even existed. We are honestly way more of peanuts fans than disney in our family so it would be cool.

  15. We are planning a road trip to Canada this summer so thanks for the tips. I bet my kids will love Canada’s Wonderland Theme Park!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Scarlet – Fabulous! I hope your family has a wonderful time at Canada’s Wonderland this summer!

  16. Heather says:

    I love roller coasters, so I’d definitely want to ride them all. That Leviathan looks incredible! How tall is the drop?

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