We recently went on a 4 day trip in November 2021 from Vancouver to Edmonton to visit the West Edmonton Mall. I wanted to share our experience and our itinerary with you since I couldn't find much online about visits to the mall during the Covid-19 pandemic. Things are looking a little different these days so hopefully this will help you can plan a memorable, safe trip for your family to West Edmonton Mall.
FLIGHT We booked a morning flight from YVR and it was only 1.5 hrs which was great if you have small children. We also booked an evening return flight to make the most of our 4 day trip. You are required to have vaccination passports for the airport and all the attractions and the West Edmonton Mall. We were able to check our kids car seats for free and the process was very simple. I would recommend a stroller as well if your children are under 5 as renting one at the mall is $8 for a double.
WHAT TO BRING We opted for just carry on items and brought Winter Jackets, swimsuits and a sparing amount of clothing. I would recommend runners and not boots. The only place we really needed out bulky winter jackets was the zoo otherwise a sweatshirt would have sufficed everywhere else which is indoors or in the car. I even ended up carrying the sweatshirts around because my kids refused to tie them around their wastes. Anything you really need you can buy at the mall. We made many trips to London Drugs for little miscellaneous items.
AIRPORT PARKING We parked in the economy lot at YVR and took the sea island skytrain for free into the airport. The parking ended up being $115 for 4 days. Some nearby hotels might have a cheaper sleep and park offer or you can uber to and from the airport.
CAR RENTAL Landing in Edmonton we prebooked a rental car through rentalcars.com for the 4 days it was $152.50 for a small SUV style. We brought car seats but you could rent them for $13 a day.
HOTEL I believe that there are two hotels on site (one is a themed hotel) I would suggest this if you have kids under 3 who need to nap mid day. We opted to stayed at the Hyatt Place Edmonton West which was paid through with travel points but I believe this time of year (November), a room is around $100 a night with free breakfast. It's on the strip all the hotels are on (100th Ave) and about a 5 minute drive or a 30 minute walk to the mall with small children. They had a free breakfast every morning that consisted of a hot option as well as continental that you could eat in or take back to your room. The hotel had a pool and hot tub with no reservation required. We went to the pool every night after we returned from the mall.
ATTRACTION PASSES West Edmonton mall has a 2 day all access pass ($119) or a 7 day pass ($220 or $720 for a family of 4). We went with the 2 day pass. Many of the hotels have discounted passes as well so that is always worth checking out.
DAY 1 -Wednesday Our first day there we landed around 11am, went for lunch, checked in to the hotel at 2pm, and went to scope out the mall. We had to rent a double stroller in front of Galaxyland for our kids (3 yrs and 6 yrs) because walking the mall with young kids was comparable to walking the Vegas strip (it feels like you're walking forever without getting anywhere). There was a lot to see, do and eat just wandering around the mall.
We let the kids pick put some Lego men at the lego store as an activity and souvenir for the trip. It was $12.99 and kept them occupied for at least half and hour picking out the different parts for 3 custom lego men. We did pay to go into the little aquarium under the pirate ship which our kids liked but this was included in our pass the next day so I would recommend holding off and squeezing it into your paid attraction pass. Masks are required everywhere for over 2 yrs old except while swimming in the waterpark. We went to the restaurant strip in the mall for dinner called Bourbon Street and ate at the Old Spaghetti Factory. We then headed back to the hotel to go in the pool.
DAY 2 -Thursday We got up had our free hotel breakfast in the restaurant area and headed for the mall. We bought our 2 day attraction passes ($119 pp) from customer service which included all attractions besides a few premium ones like the go cart track, zipline and surfing in the waterpark. One mistake we made was that we didn't know that the major attractions don't open on Mon-Thurs until 12pm and close at 5pm (now 6pm). Fridays-Sunday the hours are longer (12pm-7pm). Make sure you check before you take excited kids too early to do anything. We ended up going for a quick ice skate in the middle of the mall to pass the time. The skate rentals were free with our wrist bands our novice skaters really enjoyed it.
We went to the Galaxyland amusement park at noon right for opening. All the attractions require vaccine proof for anyone over 12 every time you enter the attraction as well as if you want to sit in the mall food court. Many of the rides have height restrictions but there was enough to do for our 3 year old who was just shy of some of the requirements including a play park. We took a late lunch break in the mall food court and headed back in to Galaxyland until 5pm. Once Galaxyland closed at 5pm, we headed for the glow in the dark mini golf and mirror maze (which were still open) they are in the same hallway as Galaxyland and then back to the pool for a quick swim.
DAY 3- Friday We slept in a bit today and had breakfast to go in our room. We packed our bags for the waterpark and headed there for about 11:30 am. We had to rent towels for $3 and a locker which was $15 which you could access all day easily with a wristband. Life jackets and swim diapers are free. It is cashless so you need debit or credit to get food and masks must be worn in the food lineups. Concession had chicken strips and hot dogs, popcorn and other snacks. They also had a bar for adults. There was a giant wave pool that you could rent a tube for (we did not), a baby pool with mini slides (recommended for 4 and under) a giant splash park with beginner waterslides for kids, 3 hot tubs, and about 4 slides that my kids could go on. The rest had a height requirement of 48". It was definitely enough for my kids to have a whole day of fun sliding. My husband and I took turns taking both kids so we could go on any adult slides we wanted to do. We didn't do any other attractions this day. If the kids were a bit older we may have gone to Ed's bowling which is open late to make the most of our 2 day pass. We ended our day at the mall back at the Bourbon street Boston Pizza for happy hour before heading back to our hotel for some more swimming in the pool at our children's request.
DAY 4- Saturday Our flight was booked for 7:15pm so we could have an entire extra day for our trip. This is so easy to do with such a short flight. We still had the kids in bed by 10pm. We got our last breakfast and check out of our hotel and put all our bags in our rental vehicle. If you don't rent a vehicle the hotel can keep your bags or the mall has lockers to rent if you have small bags. Instead of the mall we opted to go to the Edmonton Zoo for our last day. We also had some friends in town to visit before our flight. You could easily do the Edmonton Zoo and as well as some more mall attractions in a full day but since the pass was for 2 days another pass would be required (they do not offer 3 day passes). You need a vaccine passport as well as masks for all the indoor places at the Zoo. Most of the animals are indoors at this time of year. You have to prebook a time slot and the tickets are very inexpensive. $10.95 for adults and $7.75 for 2-12 year olds. This was really the only point in our trip we needed the winter jackets we brought. Dress warmly because a lot of the walk was outdoors even gloves and toques would have been nice for the kids.
From the zoo we went back to our friends house for a few hours and then headed for the airport to check in and return our car rental at about 5:15pm for a 7:15 flight back to Vancouver.
WAS IT BUSY?
The mall was not busy on weekdays during the day and only slightly busier at night. It started to pick up Friday but I don't love crowds and didn't find it crowded at all.
WAS PARKING AT THE MALL HARD TO FIND?
We parked at the same entrance everyday near London Drugs with zero issues
WHAT DID YOU MISS THAT YOU WOULD HAVE LIKED TO DO?
There was one mini golf we didn't do, we didn't do any arcade games (there are 3 arcades including the one in Galaxyland), we also didn't do the bowling. If we hadn't gone to the zoo on our 3rd day I would have done these things.
WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WAITING UNTIL YOUR KIDS ARE OLDER SO YOU CAN EXPERIENCE MORE RIDES AND SLIDES?
Personally I think there was more than enough to do for our almost 4 and 6 year old. I wouldn't wait to go. I would just stay at a hotel at the mall if you have younger toddlers or babies.
WOULD IT BE FUN TO CELEBRATE A BIRTHDAY PARTY THERE?
I think this would be a great family birthday trip. The waterpark has cabanas that you could rent to have your own little birthday spot and here are some decorations you could easily pack in your suitcase to decorate a little bit for the special birthday girl or boy.
Thanks for reading and check out our online party boutique for tons of child friendly party details!