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The Knott's Berry Farm (KBF) Discussion Thread

P. 639: Montezooma's Revenge major renovations announced!

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^Funny story (well, maybe not funny at the time, but very memorable)!

 

The year after the Edge accident at Great America in Illinois, Six Flags took over the park. I worked for Six Flags St. Louis at the time, and one of the perks employees got was bus trips to other Six Flags parks. That summer we had already had a trip to Six Flags over Texas and Astroworld, and the third was to Great America.

 

The second day we were there, they were testing the Edge and allowing people on for the first time since the accident, and our group-being employees was the first allowed to ride. I was probably more frightened about getting on that ride after the accident that had happened than any time I have ever been apprehensive about any ride, and on the elevator lift up and the few seconds before the car moved into drop position, as I kept imagining what it would be like if the car slipped and plummeted back down the lift.....needless to say that never happened, but just the thought of it was horrifying!

 

In re Demon Drop coming to Knott's.....all I can say is, I don't get it.

 

Don't get me wrong-I love Knott's and enjoy most of the rides there (although lately the only rides I seem to ride a lot there are Supreme Scream and Silver Bullet) but these seems like a really pointless addition. I think the ride should go to one of their other parks that does not already have a decent drop ride, and they should put a modern flat ride in the Screaming Swing location.

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I just went to Knott's on Wednesday and I have to say that for years I have made excuses for the way Cedar Fair has run the park, but I can't do it anymore.

 

The one credit I didn't have was Pony Express - but guess what, it didn't open at 10:00 a.m. with the rest of the park. Neither did the Boardwalk area. When I left, Perilous Plunge and Bigfoot Rapids had not opened for the day. Xcellerator was also down, of course.

 

The second screw-up of the day was the Burger King discount promo; the promo only applies at night when Haunt is in full swing, so we paid $52.00 per person to experience Haunt overlays on the log ride and mine ride which were *covered up* with black cloths. What is wrong with that picture? Everyone wants to go at night when the fun really begins, so lets offer a $20 discount then but not in the daytime when no one wants to go (the park was dead, no pun intended.)

 

Pony Express was fun, not thrilling, it would be a good family coaster if it lasted longer than 22 seconds. Thankfully, the ride ops let me ride a second time. The launch surprised me, it had a bit of kick for a kiddie coaster, but the ride is just too short. As it is, the ride is a misfire.

 

As I was waiting for Silver Bullet - sorry, haters, IMO it is a fun ride - I realized how the park had shrunk from when I was a kid growing up. We always knew it was small in size but now it is intensified by the giant rides that are visible from every point in the park. I like SB, but the ride destroyed Knott's. It dominates the entrance, Ghost Town, and even Fiesta Village; was it worth it? I vote no.

 

So I get home on Thursday to read about the relocation of the 25 year old Demon Drop. While fanboys and girls will love the thrill of riding a first gen drop ride, I don't think the rest of the public will get it. Magic Mountain removed theirs because the ride was aging and it wasn't popular anymore. I don't understand CF's decision to transport this ride cross-country to one of their 'world class' parks. To me it is kind of an insult: a hand-me-down they had trouble selling will get shoehorned, with no theming, not even renamed to something remotely fitting (Mineshaft?) into one of the few areas left of the park left with a resemblance of charm.

 

No more excuses, with this decision CF will finally destroy the Knott's we once knew and for a park that trades on nostalgia, that is a dire mistake.

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The second screw-up of the day was the Burger King discount promo; the promo only applies at night when Haunt is in full swing, so we paid $52.00 per person to experience Haunt overlays on the log ride and mine ride which were *covered up* with black cloths. What is wrong with that picture? Everyone wants to go at night when the fun really begins, so lets offer a $20 discount then but not in the daytime when no one wants to go (the park was dead, no pun intended.)

 

I'm not sure you can fault the park for this one. The coupons are clearly labeled as being for Haunt only. You could have easily purchased tickets on KBF's website for $30.

 

During the month of October, parks with hard ticket halloween events are far more concerned with driving attendance to the night time event. There's far more money to be made. If you were to visit USH or DCA, they would be equally as dead. It's the "off season" here too.

 

Covering the overlays is how it has ALWAYS been done, even back when the Knott family still owned the park.

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^Unless I'm mistaken, its the one when a car fell down the elevator shaft and crushed the car that had just entered the shaft at the bottom. Intamin then added anti-rollbacks to the elevator and changed the program so that only one car was in the elevator shaft at a time.

 

Sorry to throw this into the Knott's thread, but yes, you are mistaken about The Edge accident. The mis-information about this ride is amusement park legend. Great America in Illinois was my home park and I followed this story very closely when it happened.

 

The Edge accident occurred back in 1984 at Great America in Gurnee. The ride stopped while one car was 1/2 to 2/3 the way up the shaft. The original ride programming had the car in the shaft starting its ascent as soon as the car at the top was released for its decent. It was a cool effect because as you were going up the shaft you got to see the other car flying down the track in front of you, giving you some sense of what you were about to experience.

 

The official story is that the ride control system detected the car that had just descended was going too fast, causing a shutdown. The other car, in the mean time, was already on its way up the shaft. When ride ops restarted the ride, something broke causing the car in the shaft to fall. It was raining at the time, and the reports were that the anti-rollbacks were wet and were deemed too small to be able stop the car completely.

 

The car that fell did not crush another car and nobody was killed. The three teens in the car that fell were taken to a local hospital for minor abdominal injuries/pain and were released two or three days later. That was it. One of the teens had a black eye which the only visible evidence that anything had happened to them.

 

Based on the accident, all free falls were reprogrammed so that the car in the shaft does not start its ascent until the previous car has completed its descent. This allows the rcs time to assess what was going on with the previous run and if a shutdown were necessary, the next car would be sitting at the bottom of the shaft instead of being up in the tower. The number of anti-rollbacks in the tower was doubled and were made larger. If you've been on Demon Drop or any other 1st gen free fall, they have all operated this way since 1985.

 

Great America was sold to Six Flags in 1984 and The Edge was sold the year after the accident. It went from Great America to Rocky Point and finally to Geauga Lake, where it was ultimately scrapped at the end of 2005.

 

From what I've read over the years, the Gurnee freefall ride was always plagued with operational and mechanical problems until the very end of its life. The maintenance team at Geauga Lake apparently did a lot of work to straighten out things with the ride and it ran well for its last few years. Too bad, really.

 

I for one am happy to see Cedar Fair keeping Demon Drop around. Kind of like Montezuma's. It's old, but worth it.

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No more excuses, with this decision CF will finally destroy the Knott's we once knew and for a park that trades on nostalgia, that is a dire mistake.

 

Wow, this post is great if you imagine cheesy, melodramatic soap opera music playing in the background, and an organ vamp or two for punctuation.

 

If you've followed this park enough to decide that Cedar Fair has been ruining it, how could you have been so uninformed about how the Haunt operates, or that Xcelerator was down, or that the park attractions open at different times? Actually, I'm not sure that any of those issues were introduced by Cedar Fair.

 

I must say that I always find their website frustrating this time of year... it always takes me a couple minutes to find the daytime, non-haunt website.

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^

 

Speaking of The Edge, Great America here in California had an Edge, too. (I rode it once in 1984 just before Marriott sold the park.) And an interesting thing---while SFMM's Freefall was a teal color (at the time), the one up north was a reddish orange color. We used to joke that California's freefalls were the same colors as Gumby and Pokey.

 

Anyway, we know what happened to Illinois' Edge---whatever became of California's Edge?

 

Eric

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Thanks for the Edge info. The car getting crushed seemed unlikely. Damaged, sure but not crushed- no way. I remember riding The Edge at CGA prior to the program change and you are correct. It was really cool going up the lift having another car scream down it right in front of you. I thought I remembered one of the lift chains broke causing this but after thinking about it more your explanation makes 100% sense. I worked the CGA Edge in '89 with the new program, they also ran only 3 cars most of the time.

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If you've followed this park enough to decide that Cedar Fair has been ruining it, how could you have been so uninformed about how the Haunt operates, or that Xcelerator was down, or that the park attractions open at different times? Actually, I'm not sure that any of those issues were introduced by Cedar Fair.

 

Xcellerator wasn't around when the Knott family controlled the park...so...yeah. Ceder Fair did indirectly create that issue.

 

Jim - more power to you buddy. I went during the day before Haunt to check out the park and to get a few creds. I found a good special online though - you found the Haunt special, if you went on their normal site they had a special going on: 29.99 general admission if you pick up a coupon at Smart and Final. Technically it's for the weekend, but I was informed that they could apply it for the week as well. If you do decide to go again, just tell the person at the ticket booth that the site had conflicting information and they'll throw you a bone. Never EVER go to Knotts on full general admission.

 

I had a remarkably similar experience that you did - I just felt like the park was dead. And not because people weren't there...but what once was an awesome little gem in the middle of Buena Park has turned into a pathetic experiment in global management and unrealistic competitive goals. Where to begin...well how about the front - what used to be Knott's weenie (the water tower with the dancing figures) was covered up by a cheap boardwalk basketball game stall. Sierra Sidewinder was a great addition, although it did remove some of the charm of Camp Snoopy. But as it is, it's a good ride with some amazing forces (for being billed as a family ride). Silver Bullet...silver bullet. I gotta tell you, I liked it better as a lake. When I'm on the ride I have a lot of fun just like any coaster...but this ride - it just doesn't have any lasting impression on me. The drop is terribly weak, the inversions are formulaic and it's destroyed the scale of the park. If this coaster was something as spectacular as Batman at SFMM, I don't think I'd hate it as much. But it's not and I do.

 

Now onto a good ride - Ghostrider. I knew it was going to be rough, so I opted for the front seat. I cannot get enough of this coaster - even at its jerkiest, it's one of those terrifyingly fun experiences. The layout and the pacing of the ride is something I've always loved about it and it did not disappoint on this trip. It's lost a few points because of the seemingly non-existent maintenance budget...but compared to any other coaster at Knotts, Ghostrider trumps them all. Just the way I feel about it. And while the park did lose a few shops...Ghostrider fits - it isn't shoehorned and it doesn't destroy what is already there. If I remember correctly, this was an attraction approved by the Knott family before the purchase of the park was made by CF.

 

Other areas of the park weren't open yet, so I decided to do the mine ride. No..wait...black widow caverns? Gag. I did not think Ceder Fair could do worse...but they did. The entire story of the ride seems to be shelved as you sit in darkness (I guess lights were too expensive to replace?) and silence (Maybe they couldn't afford ink to print out the script?) Add to that, no water was running and the so-called black widow caverns were nothing more than pipe-cleaners and glitter. Couldn't even afford ONE animatronic. I know the overlay is just for the season...but I'm starting to wonder if the ride is being scaled back overall.

 

Next was Pony Express...sigh. I don't know what group of idiots approved this thing. It is my understanding that this is a "family ride". But isn't the height requirement something like 48 inches? The ride is definitely geared towards smaller kids, but too bad they can't ride it. This could have been a good ride - but they didn't plan for this thing at all. What they did was destroy the last piece of escapism in the park, Big Foot Rapids and the surrounding area. It looks extremely small and barren now. Just like Silver Bullet, I liked Pony Express better as an insect house and a haunted shack.

 

Then off to Jaguar. I remember the season the coaster opened opposite "Indiana Jones" at Disneyland. The advertisements made it look SO awesome and Knotts did well that season with lines for the ride in the hour(s) region. After all it did have mist and fireball effects. Jaguar has definitely seen better days but for a small coaster, it does its fair share of packing a punch. Now that the trees have really grown in on the backstretch, the s-bends are quite thrilling. After that (and clubbing a kid with the big heavy exit gate...oops) I went to Montezooma's to get a fix of old Knotts. That ride still does it for me...moreso than Xcellerator ever could. Glad to see Knotts still takes care of their shuttle.

 

After that I did a quick run to Supreme Scream (probably one of the best decisions CF made) and checked out dead Xcellerator, and watched Perilous Plunge creak into action. And by that time, I started to get a bit sick (wasn't keeping up on my water and the day was surprisingly muggy) so I went in search of a vending machine....found one...and...

 

4 FREAKING dollars for a bottle of water?! We have vending machines at school (Cal Poly Pomona)...and they don't require that you pay 4 dollars to get a drink that would normally cost you a buck. Way to show your colors Ceder Fair...there is absolutely no reason for such an outrageous upcharge. That is pure greed. So after being outraged by the vending machines, I went to look for an eatery to get a cup of water...none were open. Great. So I went to the Boardwalk Buffet...or whatever it's called and checked out the spread...$17 dollars for ribs....SEVENTEEN dollars. Good lord. $9 dollars for Tyson frozen chicken strips...I said...that's it - I'm done.

 

I did end up giving into the vending machine to grab a flavor of life water I couldn't really see (decided to go on color) and briefly thought about doing another run on Ghostrider. Headed through Camp Snoopy, shocked that I could see through to the Crystal Gallery across Beach Blvd...They tore down the Playhouse and didn't bother to fill the hole they created. And there's another Ceder Fair scar in the best themed area of the park. What did they replace it with? An unthemed rockin-tug attraction. I guess continuity is just something Ceder Fair doesn't give a sh*t about. It's a shame really...you can easily point out everything that this out of touch company has done.

 

At that point, I had done all that I wanted to do (or could do) and headed home. That was at 12:30pm (I got there at 10:30am).

 

Maybe the younger generation doesn't care much because of the thrills they've added. But believe me...there was something special about a trip to Knotts when I was a kid. It was complete escapism...back to an older and simpler time, captured in a park that was about the adventure of the old west. You could just walk around and get lost and enjoy your time there without feeling like you have to get on every ride. It wasn't Disneyland...it wasn't fake. It was a nice little snapshot of the old west and of old Southern California. They still have the gun shows and the ghost town and the calico mine ride...but Knotts Berry Farm is so far gone - you can't escape anymore. It's nothing more than an amusement park built on the deteriorating bones of a great theme park.

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Anyway, we know what happened to Illinois' Edge---whatever became of California's Edge?

Again, sorry to throw Great America stuff in a KBF thread, but on another forum we were having a discussion about this. All anyone remembers is that the ride was in the boneyard and was carted off in pieces one day. I have to believe they sold off the parts to CF or some other 1st gen operator.

 

Randy

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Anyway, we know what happened to Illinois' Edge---whatever became of California's Edge?

Again, sorry to throw Great America stuff in a KBF thread, but on another forum we were having a discussion about this. All anyone remembers is that the ride was in the boneyard and was carted off in pieces one day. I have to believe they sold off the parts to CF or some other 1st gen operator.

 

 

I think I remember reading that CGA's Edge was sold to Beto Carrero World, but I'm not 100% sure.

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^^I can't quite understand the reasoning of "family invert" you use. It's just a tame ride. Take for example a Batman clone. or Top Gun, heck even Raptor for the sake of the arguement. Each of the three previously mentioned rides are WAAAY more forceful than Silver Bullet...but here's the zinger....Bullet has the same rider requirements! If it was families Knott's had in mind with Silver Bullet, they wouldn't have bought a B&M. It would have been a Vekoma Jr. SLC. Knott's just wanted a tame coaster...and that's what they got.

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^^Let me guess...Hmmmm...you do not like Knott's. I think you overdid the bashing just, well, A LOT! I think the mine ride is a great attraction with MANY animatronics. Silver Bullet is a great family invert that is not too forceful and very flowing. I do agree that Pony Express is a horrible addition to the park. It totally destroys the wilderness feel of Bigfoot Rapids. I think Xcelerator is WAY more forceful than Montezooma's Revenge. I don't feel anything on Monte anymore. I have also learned to bring my own water & such because of the overpricing throughout the park. I disagree that Knott's is deteriorating though. I still think the atmosphere is great.

 

It's different for a person who experienced the old Knotts and grew up with the park when it was owned by the Knott family. Someone in your position who only knows the park as a Cedar Fair acquisition will not be able to see the reasoning behind my loss of respect for the park. As it stands, Knotts still has some theme left - moreso than a Scandia or any other smaller amusement park. But realize that what you see in the park...the charm that is left of it all was thanks to the Knott family and their innate connection to the city and the population of the area. Cedar Fair has done what it knows how to do...add a ride in an empty spot for a season, advertise the hell out of it and repeat for the next season. That's fine and dandy for a park that has room to grow (like the parent park) but Knotts has/had limited real estate and doing seasonal additions instead of a long-term family-oriented marketing plan meant the destruction of what made Knotts what it was. Cedar Fair didn't understand the market and thought it was just a direct extension of the CF seasonal plan. Southern California doesn't snow. And the park doesn't shut down.

 

What will they do now? I don't know...they don't have room unless something else from my childhood gets the ax. Maybe the bumper cars and the kingdom building will get ripped out to put in another unsatisfying gimmik thrill ride. They'll just keep tearing stuff down in order to keep up with a quota and to continue on with their incompatible business model.

 

Before the addition of Silver Bullet, there was still hope for Knotts to be able to pull out of this vicious circle of growth. At this point though, unless Cedar Fair has a miraculous revelation, the park will continue to deteriorate and the old rides that we grew up with will be replaced by soul-less profit grabbers. Once the Calico Mine Ride starts to become too expensive because of a short-term fix-it-when-it-breaks maintenance program, it will disappear. There is just no love for these landmark attractions. The mine ride was looking pretty bad when I rode it...Not at all what I remember from the good-ole-days.

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Silver Bullet...silver bullet. I gotta tell you, I liked it better as a lake. When I'm on the ride I have a lot of fun just like any coaster...but this ride - it just doesn't have any lasting impression on me. The drop is terribly weak, the inversions are formulaic and it's destroyed the scale of the park. If this coaster was something as spectacular as Batman at SFMM, I don't think I'd hate it as much. But it's not and I do.

 

 

I agree completely. Silver Bullet, a mediocre invert, at best, just looks so out of place at Knott's (Ghostrider makes sense there, anyway).

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I'm not really sure why everyone pisses on Silver Bullet. It's no Batman--The Ride, but there are a few spots where it does pack a punch. Personally, I like it and find it to be quite satisfying.

 

As for what Chuck said, I also agree that Silver Bullet is somewhat out of place, and feel that the area's feel was changed for the worse. In agreement with n7's point of view, however, I also grew up with Knott's and as I've said numerous times here, enjoyed the park more back in the '70s when the variety of attractions went beyond roller coasters.

 

In the end, though, Knott's has to keep adding attractions that today's guests want---and that is coasters---in order to keep itself open. I don't know the exact reason the Knott family sold the park, but I'm pretty sure that there wouldn't be a Knott's Berry Farm today had Cedar Fair not stepped in. The park just wasn't keeping up with its competition, and people's taste in thrills was changing.

 

Eric

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