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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 69 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 Tips for Visiting Canada's Wonderland Theme Park near Toronto

Peanuts characters wander through Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

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 and Behemoth 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 $20 daily parking fee – it really adds up.

Do you dare ride Leviathon at Canada's Wonderland?

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

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 the Fast Pass 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. With a long list of other tilting, terrifying rides, thrill seekers will be more than satisfied.

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. One of the newer rides is Wonder Mountain’s Guardian, 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.

Kidzville at Canada's Wonderland

Toddlers and young kids rule in Kidzville and Planet Snoopy (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

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’s Flying Ace, act as conductor of their own antique train, or brave the not-to-scary Ghoster Coaster. Keep your 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.

Taxi Jam is a roller coaster just for youngsters at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

Taxi Jam is a mellow roller coaster just for young children at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

Dig the dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs Alive is 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 archealogical 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 will dig the dinosaurs at Dinos Alive at Canada's Wonderland

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

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. New in summer 2015, 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.

Splash Works water park at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Graig Abel/Abelimages, Canada's Wonderland)

Splash Works water park at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Graig Abel/Abelimages, Canada's Wonderland)

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.

Splurge-worthy treats at Canada's Wonderland

Splurge-worthy treats at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

Prepare to walk, and walk, and walk.

Canada's Wonderland isn’t as big as Disneyland or Universal Studios, but it’s still big enough to make young and old feet sore from walking. Be sure everyone in the family sports comfortable 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 Wonder Mountain

Be prepared to walk A LOT at Canada's Wonderland (Photo credit: Claudia Laroye)

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.

Towering above the Canada's Wonderland, the WindSeeker swings riders at a 45-degree angle at up to 31 miles per hour

Towering above the Canada's Wonderland, the WindSeeker swings riders at a 45-degree angle at up to 31 miles per hour (Photo credit: Canada's Wonderland)

Know when to go.

Canada’s Wonderland is open seasonally, so take that into consideration when planning your visit. The theme park opens for the year on Sunday, May 3, 2015. Operating Hours are daily until Labor Day, then on weekends until Halloween.

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

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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.

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