Part 2: Knott's Berry Farm
After recharging our batteries and getting used to the Pacific Time Zone, we made the quick trip over to Knott's Berry Farm for another day of fun. Our first stop of the day was the recently re-opened Calico Mine Ride. I'm a huge fan of quirky, old school rides and this one most definitely fit the bill. Knott's did a fantastic job with the renovations as everything looked great. The glory hole room was actually really impressive as were some of the animatronics. I also appreciated that the ride has different narrators so there's always a little bit of variation each time you ride.
Speaking of old made new, our next stop was the Timber Mountain Log Ride since it was right there. Much like the Calico Mine Ride, this was recently redone by the park. I can honestly say that this is now probably one of my favourite flumes. You don't get overly wet and there's only one drop, but the atmosphere and theming of the ride are great. Better than that, it's just really fun. I still think I like the flume at Knoebels a bit more, but it's real close.
With those done, we made our way over to the reason we were even at the park, Xcelerator. Holy. Crap. What a ride. It absolutely exceeded all my already high expectations. The launch was by far the best I've come across and provided a nice forceful kick. Coming up over the top hat, there was definitely some airtime to be found and the ride kept a lot of its speed through the two overbanked turns. This is what Dragster really should have been. The only criticism I can come up with is that it was too short. But, since it was the prototype and therefore expensive as balls, I can give it a pass. Still though...wow. It probably found its way into my top 10-15 or so overall.
Up next was something that unlike Xcelerator, I was not looking forward to: Boomerang. At this point, I've lost track of how many I've been on. They're all the same, painful and aggravating. But, I'm not all negativity. Here to help us out is Swedish supergroup Abba, singing about what I presume are Vekoma Boomerangs. Take it away!
Right across from Boomerang you'll find our next stop, the park's wild mouse coaster, Coast Rider. The ride is a mirrored version of the large park model Mack wild mouse rides (e.g., The Fly, Ricochet, etc). I've never been a big fan of wild mouse rides, but this one was decent enough. The brakes weren't on too hard, so you got some fun laterals going through the hairpins.
After getting a quick but non-snappy ride on the park's flyers (seriously...I've been spoiled by Knoebels), we found our way over to Pony Express. I remember hearing the announcement for this ride and then it just kind of disappeared from any conversation. To be honest, I can see why the ride has faded into obscurity. It doesn't really offer too much in the way of thrills and I've never been a fan of the Zamperla motocoaster trains. But...this is a good ride for younger kids who are starting to ride roller coasters or for those who don't want the intensity of either Montezooma's or Xcelerator.
We continued on and made a stop at the ride I was looking forward to the least today: Ghostrider. While Xcelerator found its way into my top 10, Ghostrider found its way into my bottom 10. In fact, were it not for Hades 360, this would be dead last...and even then it's close. I HATED this ride. There was no good part about it. It was overly rough, incredibly painful and jerky as all hell. I never wanted to see a brake run as badly as I did on this ride.
After that "experience", we grabbed lunch at Mrs. Knott's for some fried chicken. The food was great, but holy insanely large portions! The only time I've seen that much food on a plate in front of me was at Lambert's Cafe last year. Needless to say, I didn't eat all of it. I don't even think I got through half.
After lunch, we made our way over to the "steel clusterf*ck" portion of the park. Seriously, the area is a giant mess with rides overlapping and twisting through one another. Our first stop was the park's Mack spinner, Sierra Sidewinder. Like Pony Express, after this ride was announced, it fell completely off everyone's radar, so I had no idea what to expect. It was...ok. We didn't really get too much in the way of spinning, which seemed to be standard watching the ride go through a couple cycles. If it had been a bit spinnier, it would have been a good ride instead of "meh".
Continuing on, we came to the best surprise of the trip, Montezooma's Revenge. I had never been on a Schwartzkopf shuttle loop before and I was hugely impressed by this one. The launch packed a surprisingly good punch and the loop was full of awesome Schwartzkopf forces. We ended up riding this over and over again, which was a big (although pleasant) surprise. It's a real shame these are so far and few between these days. It was a real winner.
Up next was Jaguar! (the punctuation coaster). I know it's a family coaster, but oh man, was this a boring ride. It just kind of meanders through the course and doesn't really do anything special, interesting or fun. The ride also seems to love long pointless straightaways. Though, that may be due to its excessively long train more than anything else.
Our final credit (because we're not whores enough for the kiddie) was Silver Bullet. Silver Bullet is a ride of two halves. The first half is boring and is everything bad about modern B&M rides. The second half was a lot of fun and provided some surprising forces and thrills. That last helix was fantastic and so is the weird double wing-over thing it does before getting there. Basically, once you hit the zero-G roll, its a fun ride. Before that? Meh.
With all our credits in hand, we hit up the S&S towers, the observation tower and re-rode Montezooma's, Silver Bullet and Xcelerator until the park closed. All in all, I really enjoyed Knott's. I had come in thinking it would be a typical "chain" park like Cedar Point (not that there's anything wrong with that), but was pleased with the theming and the attention paid to the park's long history. If I ever make it back out to California, Knott's is definitely on my must visit iist.
But, enough of my rambling, here are some photos!
Arriving at Knott's!
I think this sums up Knott's well...old park charm, but with a hint of corporate.
It's a house. Made of bottles. So, that's accurate then.
New and improved!
Loved this ride. It was a blast from the past.
Also new and improved, this was a great log flume.
You may get wet!
Yeah. They got wet.
LOVED this ride.
Even with it being rather short, it's still a top 10 overall ride.
I think I'd put it *slightly* ahead of Storm Runner.
But both of those are waaaaaaay better than Dragster or Kingda Ka
And now for something decidedly less awesome
Ouch ouch ouch
This coaster's name is a pun. I'm not sure how to feel about that.
Something about wild mouse rides just don't excite me. I dunno.
Maybe it's one of those "been on one, been on all of them" type things
Ride your pony, ride your pony
Ride your pony come on, come on
Surprisingly, there was an acceptable amount of wetness on this ride. We didn't get drenched!
Great. Now I miss Silver Dollar City.
OH GOD MY SPINE
Pretty sure one of my kidneys shot out during this ride
Sort of spinny, but not really
Now that said, it was pretty fun
I also like the crazy UFO-esque train design
Only who can prevent forest fires? You have selected you, referring to me. That is incorrect. The correct answer is you.
Well here was a pleasant surprise!
They sure don't build loops like that anymore...
It was surprisingly far up the spike too...wasn't expecting it
Unnecessarily long train is unnecessarily long.
I see why this is used for GKTW at Knott's. You can probably easily do 8 hours on this ride.
Lame first drop
But this part kicked a lot of ass
It does have a really vibrant paint scheme, I will give it that.
This is part of the "fun half" of the ride
Really Knott's? You have a bunch of coasters at your own park you can put on your shirts, but you still go and choose Big One? *sigh*
Observation tower fun!
It really is a giant mess down there
The S&S tower was pretty typical. Nothing really too exciting.
Hurray for Xcelerator
With a train...and dirty window.
Here's some more Xcelerator because why not
It seriously needs a new paint job though
We rode the train and got held up by bandits!
Up next: Six Flags Magic Mountain!