This is, as the Knott's folk say, is the "first theme park" ever. Way back in the Depression days, the Knott family opened up a restaurant to complement their boysenberry stand. Later on, Walter Knott moved an entire themed hotel and started a Ghost Town that proved to be the park's prime attraction. Fast forward a few decades, to 1998, when Cedar Fair L.P., the parent company to the famed Cedar Point, bought Knott's Berry Farm from the Knott family. The impact was immediate, with Cedar Fair almost immediately installing two world-class thrill rides: Ghostrider, the longest and tallest wooden roller coaster in the west, and Supreme Scream, an S&S reverse space shot ride that stood over 250 feet tall.
Despite the radical changes in the park's skyline over the years, the atmosphere of Knott's has remained relatively the same. The entrance of the park faces Grand Avenue, a small street that branches off from Beach Boulevard. Parking nowadays is located on the south end of the property, bordered by Grand Avenue, Western Avenue, and Crescent. There is no tram that takes guests to the entrance, but that little drawback should not ruin a fun day at the park.
Unlike its close neighbor Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm is a park that can usually be fully explored before dusk. Guests entering the front plaza will notice Camp Snoopy to their right and Ghost Town and Indian Trails ahead of them. Further off, a little bit tucked away, is the entrance to the California Marketplace, a separate, quaint shopping area that requires a hand stamp for Knott's patrons entering the Marketplace who wish to return to the park. For regular shoppers, though, there is no fee required.
Thrill seekers should immediately race off to try the new Xcelerator. This Intamin "rocket coaster" features a hydraulic launch that catapults riders from 0 to 82 miles per hour in a mere 2.3 seconds! Located on the northwest corner of the Knott's Resort property, Xcelerator will require eager thrill riders to run through either Camp Snoopy or Indian Trails, trek through Fiesta Village, and sprint past Supreme Scream into The Boardwalk area.
The site on which Knott's newest coaster stands is nicely landscaped with vibrant flowers and lush palm trees. The coaster is themed to the 1950s, with its art deco glass station and an "Angels Diner" across the path. Guests can expect to wait up to two or three hours on peak days, since this is a major attraction, but if they arrive early, they may be able to walk through the line, right into the station! The launch itself is amazing. Guests board sleek 50s convertibles. After securing themselves with seatbelts and a lap bar, they wait for the lights to go red, yellow, yellow, then GREEN! With a mechanical scream, the pulley underneath the train yanks riders forward, speedily up a sort of top hat that doesn't invert. It's sort of a vertical, twisting camel back inversion. Coming back down, the train rockets into the first overbanked turn, slanted over 90 degrees off the horizontal. A quick dip, and then the train barrels into the second overbanked turn that cuts seemingly precariously close the support structure, providing a fantastic "head hunter" effect before smoothly slowing down on the magnetic brakes. Xcelerator is one short but intense twenty four seconds of thrills.
If the line is still short, guests can ride Xcelerator again. Or they can choose to retrace their steps a bit and ride Supreme Scream. This S&S Tower ride slowly lifts sixteen riders (per tower) up over 250 feet into the air, providing great views of the surrounding area. In fact, on a clear day, it's even possible, if one is sitting in the right seat, to catch a gaze at the Pacific Ocean! However, those views won't last long as riders, upon reaching the top and waiting, are then BLASTED down. What amounts to a bungee cord catches them before they crash into the ground, though, hoisting them back up a little less than halfway up the tower before slowly setting back down to Earth.
Boomerang is another roller coaster in the same area. While regarded in low fashion by most coaster fanatics, this Vekoma clone is still worth a ride. The train will slowly back up a lift hill before being released to barrel through the station ("Stand back, stand clear," the ride ops say) and up a boomerang, a twice-inverting element that takes riders up a half loop, into a half corkscrew, then repeats the experience in reverse order, and zipping them out the opposite way they came. After the boomerang comes a vertical loop before the train crests up a second lift hill. Another pulley pulls the train up before releasing it backwards. Riders then experience the same thing in reverse! For the best thrills, the back seat is the best, since that is where the drop is most accentuated.
A very unique attraction on The Boardwalk is Hammerhead, a Zamperla concoction that spins riders in all sorts of directions. A main arm swings the carriage in a circle through the air, like a ferris wheel. However, the carriage can also flip backwards or forwards, adding an extra dimension of disorienting inversion. It's a very fun experience and definitely not one to miss if the line is short.
If it is a hot morning (or any time it is hot, for that matter), guests are guaranteed a splashing good cool down on Perilous Plunge. Be forewarned, however. Loading has become annoyingly slow and tedious ever since they outfitted the 25 passenger boats with four-point harnesses and seat belts in addition to a lap bar. These safety changes were made after a woman tragically fell OFF the ride to her death because she was too overweight to safely be restrained by the existing lap bar. These days, the ride operators will check each passenger extremely carefully, strapping them in more securely than fighter pilots. Of course, on this ride, the guests will need it!
The boat actually begins its journey more like a car. It rolls up the lift hill and through the turnaround over a track, not over water. The drop, however, is sheer insanity. Perilous Plunge towers well over one hundred feet in the air, the drop is banked at an incredible 75 degrees!!! The drop is so sharp that the water rushing down actually leaves the flume for a few moments before hitting it again as it levels out. Guests waiting far enough back in line might actually think it's raining under that area, since the water comes down in buckets. As the boat tilts forward, riders are thrust out of their seats, and everyone's stomachs will be up near his or her throat as the boat goes over the edge, making a huge plunge and creating a 45-foot wave! There is no doubt that riders WILL be SOAKED on this attraction, and if that isn't enough, exiting guests can stand on a bridge over the track to await a wall of water slamming into them when the next boat splashes down.
If another wet ride is what visitors are looking for, they can either head down to Calico Square and board the Coca-Cola Log Ride (formerly the Timber Mountain Log Ride) or head across The Boardwalk, passing Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, the Charles M. Schulz Theatre, Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars, and Wilderness Scrambler, on their way to Big Foot Rapids. This was the longest man-made rapids attraction when it opened, and it still provides a good drenching when waterfalls are turned on. The wait can be around thirty minutes to two hours, depending on how many guests are in the park. Of course, on cold days, it is not advised that visitors go on any extremely wet attractions.
Guests who opt to remain in the Calico Square / Ghost Town area can, as mentioned before, go on the Log Ride or take a nice, relaxing train trip on the Calico Railroad, a full-sized actual steam train that was brought over by Walter Knott. For children, there's the Calico Mine ride, which takes riders into deep caverns and vast mine shafts.
Ghost Town doesn't really feature much aside from the various recreated shops and some exquisite theming and scenery. However, there is Ghostrider, a Custom Coasters woodie that packs a hard, rough, airtime-filled punch! Located on the other far side (the southeastern corner of the park, this coaster borders the California Marketplace and actually traverses over Grand Avenue four times. Guests might actually wait two to three hours on very busy days, but it is well worth the ride! As with almost all wooden coasters, the back seat provides the best thrills. After dropping out of the station, making a winding U-turn, and heading up a clickety-clack lift hill, the train plunges down over one hundred feet, twisting to the left before it levels out at the bottom, screaming by the camera for the on-ride photos. A nice camel back hill takes riders to the dipping turnaround and then for more bunny hops before rising up and turning left, then right over the lift hill. After a brief moment through trim brakes that don't really affect the ride, it's a sudden drop and some crazy airtime! Back across Grand Avenue, through some more hills, around the turnaround, and then more hill, the train gallops like a horse gone mad. The finale is a nice, tight helix before the train returns over the brakes to the station. For those who like their woodies rough, it doesn't get better than this.
By now, it is probably mid-afternoon--late afternoon at most. Visitors can head on over to Fiesta Village and ride Montezooma's Revenge, a standard Anton Schwarzkopf shuttle loop coaster, or Jaguar, a steel kiddie coaster that sprawls over Fiesta Village and around Reflection Lake. There is also a wide array of nice flat rides to sample, such as the Tampico Tumbler, Dragon Swing, and Gran Slammer.
That pretty much does it for the day. Children will love the wide selection of small rides at Camp Snoopy. There's even a petting zoo and a miniature coaster, the Twister, for the little tykes. At night, there is water, fireworks, and laser show at Reflection Lake called Edison Electric Nights. It's worth a look if guests have nothing to do. Unfortunately, aside from the Boardwalk area, Knott's really lacks the magic and vitality that Disneyland possesses during the night time. Then again, most of its attractions can be experienced during the day.
~ FACT SHEET ~
Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, California
Take the 91 FWY, exit Beach Blvd.
and go south, passing La Palma.
Keep on the right lanes.
$30.00 for Children (3-11 YRS)
$40.00 for Adults
$30.00 for Seniors (60 YRS+)
FREE for Children 2 YRS & under
$8.00 for Parking (Autos)
$12.00 for Parking (Buses/RVs)
3. Supreme Scream*
4. Perilous Plunge*
6. Montezooma's Revenge*
8. Big Foot Rapids
10. Coca-Cola Log Ride
11. Calico Mine Ride
12. Gran Slammer
* Indicates "Can't Miss" Attraction
This theme park actually has much to offer for the whole family. There are thrill rides for the teenagers and fit adults, a Camp Snoopy for the younger children, and a collection of gentler, more peaceful attractions for the rest of the family.
Excluding money to buy tickets, guests should bring at least $20 for food as well as about another $20 for games and/or souvenirs. As far as theme parks go, Knott's is relatively good on the wallet.
Photographs property of Roller Coaster Central
These photos may not be used without the expressed permission from Roller Coaster Central.
Layout & Site Copyright 2002 Roller Coaster Central
Site first created on June 8, 2000 :: Ver 2.0 Implemented August 23, 2002