Friday, December 09, 2011

Walking In A Dutch Winter Wonderland

In December, Dutch Wonderland transforms itself into Dutch Winter Wonderland. Not only is the park decorated with lights and other such Christmasy stuff but there's a few new attractions as well. The Christmas time park is open for the next two weekends and then also the week after Christmas. At $12.99, it really is a good bargain for a Christmas attraction! The admission price is fair just to get in and see the park's main attraction: The Royal Light Show. The Light Show is a display of thousands of Christmas lights blinking and twinkling to the rhythm of seasonal music. The show just about literally envelopes the audience. When seated in the viewing area, the lights dance not only in front of you but on every side of you including behind and above. It's a great spectacle and nothing like the neighbor down the street who has a couple of lighted trees synced to Manheim Steamroller. This is good stuff! As if that wasn't enough... kids LOVED the new Polar Playground attraction. A semi-outdoor pizza joint in the park has been turned into a wonderland inside a wonderland. The walls depict Arctic scenes of penguin life while hundreds are soft foam "ice cubes" are waiting for kids to play with, build and use their imagination. Elias and Tanner easily killed 45 minutes having a blast inside this seasonal setup. They loved it. We ended up going back to it two more times through out the night. The park did a real nice job of transforming an existing space into something completely different.

Santa's Reindeer-In-Training are also on display in the area usually reserved for pony rides. I guess it has been a while since we've been to an attraction with real live reindeer because my boys flipped when they were standing face to face with Santa's real reindeer. We even got to see a little reindeer scuffle!

Entertainment options during the Christmas season include the live show "Jingle Bell Rock." This is a simple 10 minute show with two very talented dancers knocking out a few Christmas tunes and a few bad jokes. Unlike other shows at DW, this one appeared to be lip-synced however the dancing was a couple of levels above the summer shows. Either way, I can never seem to make it to the Radio City Music Hall Spectacular so this will have to do for me for now.

In the large Mill Stream Eatery in the back of the park, they have set up a Train Display and Gingerbread Houses. You can vote on your favorite Gingerbread House, which were all designed by local kids and organizations. This Smurf Village was one of the more elaborate displays and got a vote from all three of us! The Mill Stream is also open for business as usual adding Baked Potatoes with Chili and Cheese on top! Didn't try one, but if I make it back this season I just might have one!

Another neat little touch were there little houses set up in nooks and crannies of the park, each depicting a little Christmas scene inside. Nothing too elaborate, but it reminded me of the kind of things shopping centers used to do at the holidays when I was a kid.

Duke and The Princess were both decked out in their gayest apparel. Neither of my boys will go anywhere near the Princess if I've got a camera on hand, but Elias did cooperate for a snapshot with Santa Duke. In addition to all the Christmas fun, the park also has a dozen or so of their rides open. There's a list of the available rides on the park's website, but we were very happy to find a lot more that weren't on the list open for business. The kids were delighted to take another spin on the Turtle Whirl, and we took unplanned voyages on the Astroliner and the VR Voyager. Again, a nice little bonus touch DW!

Of course, this trip didn't cost us a dime (except for some Kettle Corn and a round of Shooting Gallery) as DW includes the Halloween time and Christmas event with their season passes. We're hoping to hit up the park one last time before our passes expire on December 30. Even if you're not a season pass holder, Dutch Winter Wonderland is a top notch Christmas attraction worth every penny.

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