I’m inclined to straight up just say no, in answer to my own question (and title). However, logic prevails. I believe in always giving everything a fair try, and I’ve now given Winter Wonderland three tries in my lifetime; and I cannot help but feel the same disappointment every time.
It’s a commercialised version of a German Christmas market; essentially this is what the concept of Winter Wonderland originates from. The allure of Christmas markets have long been popular, the idea of sauntering along on a bitter cold night with spicy mulled wine and a loved one in tow is a romanticised idea. It’s cute, I get it.
Winter Wonderland has capitalised on this idea to its maximum potential. ‘Imported authentic German sausages’, an entire Bavarian village (complete with frightening giant man that looks like an extra from Disney’s Pinocchio), a giant funfair, and various stalls with magnificent winter treats like churros and hot chocolate. And of course there’s the alcohol, beer and mulled wine galore.
There are also more family orientated activities available at Winter Wonderland, but many of these must be pre booked. And I dread to think what they cost. You’d need a mortgage for a small family.
I’m not a sceptic, I’m not even anti capitalism. There are many capitalistic concepts that I am a fan of, and consumer culture is everywhere. I don’t want to be a complete grinch, but this place leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Perhaps it’s the fact the food and drinks are extortionately over priced? (I paid £12 for a bratwurst and chips). Or the appropriating of German culture? The cheesy music in the tents? The crowds of people pushing past?
Don’t get me wrong it’s not an awful place. On the third and last visit, I was unfortunate enough to have consistent downpour of rain, so this probably did not help sway my opinion at all.
But after paying £12 for a mediocre sausage and chips, not having anywhere to sit down and eat whilst drunk people jump up and down screaming Christmas songs – just isn’t my idea of fun. I am in danger here of sounding frightfully old and sensible, but I feel this event is overrated. I think everyone should go once for the experience, but just be prepared. You’ll need cash, as many of the stalls do not accept card. You’ll need an umbrella, with a dash of unlimited patience and an abundance of money. Enjoy.