Trip Report: Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, CA
March 14, 2001
"It's Knott just a farm anymore"
-adapted from parks tagline
Welcome to Day 5, the final day of Eric and Dave's California Coaster Tour. You know you are a tired coaster enthusiast when:
1) Your hotel is less than 3 short blocks from the park, and you arrive an hour after opening.
2) You start the day by taking a nice slow liesurely walking tour of the park.
So we pulled onto Grand Ave, or whatever it's called and past the shopping area, and were directed to the small lot onBeach Blvd. We wentered lot, paid the $7, got a parking ticket, and procceded to enter,a FULL parking lot, I mean not one empty space, they had cut the line after we entered, but I guess they didn't count on that space that was coned off. We didn't risk moving the cone, and said "Come on Knott's has GOT to have aa bigger parking lot than this" So a bit agitated we pulled out of Knott's and drove down past the Raddison, pulled in and explained our parking problems, and were directed to a much larger parking lot alongside Ghostrider. One that actually had parking spaces available in it.
A short walk later we were passing the gift shops and food outlets on our way to the ticket booths. $40 later and I was in the park. As I mentioned above we took a slow video tour of the park, first passing through Camp Snoopy. Now is this the original Camp Snoopy? Noted Knott's has a fairly huge collection of childrens rides, including the oh-so-cute its adorable miniature Eli Scrambler. I do question placing the Eli Ferris Wheel in the kiddie area.
We then made our way around to La Fiesta, where true to the singns out front, and the email I got from Guest Relations, Montezuma's Revenge was closed today. So I still have never done a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop. However the family coaster, Jaguar, next to it was open. Jaquar must have the longest queue line for a family coaster, as it winds through the Aztec pyramids. Once up on top, you get to ride this Zierer family coaster. Not a bad layout, it sorta goes all over, and even goes through the loop on Montezuma. (Not upside down, it goes through the middle of the loop). The lapbar situation s a bit odd, as it has a single locking position, yet it is split into two bars, with no seat divider. So if you are riding solo remmeber to lower the other half. No divder means that if you ride single you can ride in the middle.
Jaguar - Coaster #176
After the Jaguar, we walked across the midway to the Tampico Tumbler. I had never seen a Tumbler in person before, and it is a very bizzare looking ride. Almost like several miniature two car ferris wheels,on the arms of a spin ride. Tumbler also allows NO LOOSE ARTICLES, that includes glasses,purses, stufed animals,bags, cameras. This required us to split up and ride seperately on different cycles in order to have a loose article pass-off. Once seated, the reseated as every pair of cars must be carefully balanced, we were off on a zany, bizzare ride. It does have several hints of airtime, almost like a Flying Coaster type airtime. While an awfuly fun ride, its loose articles problems, balancing problems, and height requirement make it clear why we just don't see too many of these around.
We then headed to the Boardwalk, and onto Supreme Scream. An S&S Turbo Drop. Fair enough I Got Space Shotted last night, Turbo Dropped today. I though prefer the Space Shot. Also Knott's was only operating one tower.
Then we looked at the multi million dollar steel lawn ornament. Gee another park that takes theming a bit too far by building a huge fake rollercoaster just for themeing. The ride though is also being disassembled, the trains are all sitting behind the line for the Headspin (Scrambler), and so we got apretty good look at them. Even got the TOGO logo on film. We then walked over by Perilous Plunge to learn things are not well over at the Plunge.
Not only is the ride drained, but the lagood around it as well, in addition no boats could be seen on the course, and the splash-down area at the bottom of the big drop was being hovered over by an army of about a dozen ride mechanics. We're talking power tools and spools of electrical cable being deployed here. Something tells me the Boardwalk may inherit another lawn ornament. It just seems like they have had more than their fair share of problems with that ride.
While Eric videod Plunge I went and got my credit counter punched on Boomerang. Yawn, what's next. This Boomerang is still running its Arrow train, and I got the front seat with no wait, if that tells you anything. While waiting for the train to return I got into the following conversation with the ride-op running co-dispatch.
Me: Why is Windjammer closed today?
Ride-Op: They have to remove it to make room for our new ride?
Me: Really! What type of ride.
Ride-Op: It's gonna be a new rollercoaster, 300 FEET tall.
Me: Sort of like what Cedar Point got this year?
Ride-Op: Exactly like that.
So there you have it, the rumour for this trip.
Oh the ride? It was a normal Boomerang experience but I do believe it was a lot rougher than my rides on other Boomerangs that have been converted to the new Vekoma trains. Morey's still ranks as the smoothest I have been on. That's Boomerang number NINE for me (counting the Invertigo).
And hear we hear the click of a coaster count-ometer registering the credit, let's move on now.
Boomerang - Coaster # 177
We had to stop and take a look at the radio controlled racecars, while lots of parks have the radio control cars, I don't thik I've seen any ofthers that actually have a set course for you to drive through. Sort of like a seprentine course from the advanced levels. This was wirth a $1.00's worth of looking.
Hammerhead was still testing, so we went down the path noticed the Charles Shuzltz theatre, and the closed Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. A bit later we saw all the KoD cars racked behind the Wheeler Dealer Bumper cars. Is knott's moving to rid itself of another dark ride? We then rode the Wheeler Dealer, nothing remarkable except they only have two different color cars, I prefer more variety. They do have lapbars however, the best thing to happen to bumper cars.
We then walked past the unused West Entrance, and speculated wether it is intended for employees, or massive crwod day overflow. After taking some looks at the Rapids ride, we opted not to ride it, and noted that the Mystery Lodge was open in spite of what Guest Relations emailed me. We failed to do the Mystery Lodge and headed into the ghost town area. A lot of cute storefronts, a "Boot Hill", some animal exhibits, and stuff like a well with a grille on it and a warning "Warning: Baby Rattlers" When you bent down and looked in, it wasa bunch of plastic baby rattles. We ventured further and rode the Calico Mine Ride. Which does not count as a coaster. Calico Mine Ride is a historically signifigant attempt at a dark ride in 1960. They load you on a train and take you on a train ride through the Calico Mine. Lots of special effects, and a humours spiel to go with. It's an interesting attraction.
We then looked over at the Log Ride, was declined the line. Lines? Yeah Knott's seemes to be a bit too crowded for a school day. And shouldn't these kids be in SCHOOL! We then ventured over towards Ghostrider to discover a half hour line. The ride op greeter further enlightened up that they were only running one train, and a big school group just got in line, so we may want to hang back a few minutes.
We hung back looing in the arcade and gift shop, then came back to the ride to find a 15 minute wait. 15 minutes later and we were sitting in the front. The train dispatched, and ok's its a nice ride and all but nothing to write home about. (Just wait till my next ride)
Ghostrider! - Coaster # 178
We unloaded, got some Boysenberry Punch, then I got back in line, back to 30 minutes. 30 minutes later I was in the mid to rear of the train. Ok, its getting better. I can appreciate some nice airtime now.
After Ghostrider ride 2, we were getting hungry, so we headed to Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner restaurant, to find the expected long line. Being dead tired, (I almost had to keep moving just to stay awake in that Ghostrider queue), the line was something we didn't have patience for. We headed back into the park and ate at the Ghost Town Grill. No fired chicken, but they serve a pretty decent menu, table service, at very reasonable prices. I am now totally hooked on boysenberry punch, after those 4 free refills.
After dinner, we looked in the Musueum and saw some interesting items and automations. We then got outside just in time to see the Gunfight through Ghost Town, and I mean through as they have everybody follow them through Ghost Town. We headed back to the Log Ride, and this time it was a near walk on. And we near Walked right on. (maybe 5-10 minutes, nothing major) The placemant at the Ghost Town Grill mentioned this was like a 1969 era logride. (I wish I'd kept that placemat it was a pretty good history of the parl) Man, I tell you it rides like Splash Mountain with several indoor themed sections, an indoor drop in the dark, and the final life inside "SIT DOWN!" followed by the drop exiting the mountian. Pretty nift stuff. Great log ride.
We then headed over to find Hammerhead open, and took a ride. Another total walk-on, hey maybe things are looking up. Hammerhead is a Zamperla Rotoshake, and is a demented little flat ride. It's the latest ride to see how many ways we can twist you upside down, and it has nice touches like the fountain underthe loading platform you get to look at aas you pass through the station upisde down, to the evil ending where the ride tub appears to be alliging itself with the loading gates, as if the ride were over, then does one final roll-over in the station.
We then cut through the center of the park and saw the Carousel and the Church of Reflection and the lake with the drawbridge and all, then cut back through Camp Snoopy to see the petting zoo, and the Timberline Twister. Timberline Twister looked like a fairly interesting kiddie coaster. As I reached the top of the steps to the loading area, I noticed a maximum height requirement. 69 inches, I'm 72. Denied.
Oh, well the time was like 5:40, the park closed at 6:00. Time to head overto Ghostrider, about a 45 minute wait, and we don't care, we are riding in the back seat (It was like a 30 minute wait, 45 was to get in the back seat)
WOW, its a whole different ride back here, Dip, wow, block brake, nice air of the block brake, some more fast and phurious dips, then the DROP, I think, is the one where I was thinking "HELP, Someobdy Pull me back down into my seat" Wowsers, what a way to end a trip. And I do mean end, as the park was closed when we returned to the station, had been since before we even go on the ride the final time. I like the orange tracer lights on the coastera lot. Got down to midway to find the Ghostrider souvinir store closed for the night, and there was a shirt in my size I really liked to. Oh well, II guess Cedar Fair just lost my souvinir dollars. Forgotto mention that Ghostrider has a pretty funny pre-ride safety spiel. And luckily the "Ride Op Devil", was not checking lapbars on Ghostrider, so I could have 2 clicks in back seat.
We then stopped in Virginia's expecting Knott's souvinirs, and found a lot of other crap, even Disney souvineirs, but no Knott's stuff. We then lazily made our way back to our car, and then back to the airport.
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