We were lucky enough to be invited to opening night of Kings Dominion’s newest event, Grand Carnivale, and I’m here to report that it is a feast for the senses! Now through Sunday, July 7, park guests will be treated to this brand-new immersive event that celebrates international cultures and is sure to wow every member of your family.
The fun kicks off nightly at five o’clock, as the King of Carnivale welcomes everyone near the Eiffel Tower on International Street. As you make your way around International Street, you will experience five different lavishly decorated areas representing the countries of Italy, France, Germany, China, and India. Each country has vibrant music and authentic cultural performers on its dedicated stage, along with ambassadors and street performers, arts and crafts activities for kids, and authentic fare. From coloring masks to post cards you can send right from the park, Kings Dominion made sure to include everyone in the family. For the older kids, the Grand Carnivale Adventure Club Challenge is a fun way they can earn stamps and badges as they complete quests in each country. The Grand Carnivale Passport, free and available at the front gates, will help you navigate the experience and keep track of where you’ve been.
Our family really enjoyed seeing all of the decorations and watching the performances at each country and on the Grand Carnivale Main Stage, and it provided a launch pad for great family conversations about different customs and cultures (we even came home and made crêpes the next day!).
At eight o’clock, the Spectacle of Color interactive light parade, complete with nine dazzling floats, authentic music, and mesmerizing street performers, kicks off the festive evening activities. The parade makes its way from Twisted Timbers to the Eiffel Tower, through Candy Apple Grove, up through Planet Snoopy, and ends with a finale around the Eiffel Tower with hundreds of performers. Hosted by the King of Carnivale, this procession features a gigantic elephant, Bollywood performers, a Jules Verne airship, and more, promising to enchant and delight all. Be at the ready – this is your opportunity to catch all the beads your heart desires (without any of the New Orleans “requirements” – LOL!)! To close each evening, Carnivale Street Party has everyone literally dancing in the streets and is filled with shimmering lights, high-energy live entertainment, an interactive dance party, delicious food and drinks from around the globe, and even a few surprises. The whole area looks so festive with all of the lights and decorations after dark, so make plans to stay to take it all in.
I may have saved the best part for last – the food! The Grand Carnivale fare is delicious, and dare I say, the best food value in the entire park. For $30, you can get a tasting card, good for six tastings of your choice, and most of them are large enough to split. All four of us loved the Mama’s Meatballs in Italy, two huge meatballs, simmered in marinara and served on garlic toast with shaved parmesan. My hubby and I agreed that India’s Tandoor chicken tacos were our favorite, tender spiced chicken over lightly grilled naan, with cilantro, radish, and yogurt sauce. And the desserts – YUM! I could have used all six of my tastings at the Finale booth, because how was I supposed to choose between delectable options like profiteroles, cannoli, Chinese donuts, and apple strudel (the struggle was real!)?!
Kings Dominion Grand Carnivale runs through July 7. Tickets – including your $30 tasting card – can be purchased onsite or at kingsdominion.com.
Grand Carnivale has been a huge hit with guests since its opening on June 15.
- New Immersive summertime event every day June 15 through July 7 starting at 5:00 p.m.
- All-new parade featuring nine floats and nearly 100 performers
- An immersive nighttime street party complete with street performers, live music and more
- Culinary creations from around the world, only available during Grand Carnivale
- An exclusive firework show caps off the evening just before the park closes