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The Knott's Berry Farm (KBF) Discussion Thread

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

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Eric, those are fair-minded observations. Personally I was most fond of the park's Roaring 20s era. Theme has suffered park-wide, its not just the encroachment of steel beasts in Ghost Town. But you know where my kids want to go first? Silver Bullet, then Sierra Sidewinder, Ghostrider and Xcellerator.

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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.

 

 

I just found it boring--definitely one of the least of the B&M inverts I've ridden. But your mileage may vary.

 

PAL, I echo your comments regarding the old Roaring 20s section. This part of the park was unique, but now it's generic.

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I have very little B&M Invert riding experience... a grand total of 2! But I just find Silver Bullet fun. It's one of those rides that you don't have to worry about at all really, it's got one of the more unique B&M layouts out there, and one of the best elements on any B&M. If the maximum height was lifted up say...15 feet, it'd probably be a much higher ranking ride.

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Silver Bullet has always been an ok coaster. I would have liked to see it be a little bit more intense, but it has some fun moments. My biggest complaint with it is that it is so completely out of place. It just doesn't fit into the park, and really stands out. I think that a different color scheme would have even helped make the ride fit in better.

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I am going to agree with everyone here and say Silver Bullet was/is the declining moment of knotts. This can be proven when you watch the wild west stuntshow and there is a B&M support in the show. Also, did anyone else know silver bullet has a backstory? This made me more mad then anything, becuase ced fair is trying to play that they are like the knotts family. The backstory is something like demons have taken over calico and the silver bullet is the only way to destroy them. HELL NO!! Cedar Fair has nothing to do with Calico, unless you count its deconstruction of Calico. Then to properly give a ride a story line you usually add some theming(or at least a color scheme) to fit the story, knotts did neither. Cedar Fair has taken out kingdom of the dinosaurs(one of knotts only dark rides besides the mine ride) and if they want to expand will take out the mone or the log flume. And the problem with southern california is that they have to expand, as they are competing with Six Flags and even Disney to a certain degree. The last shot knotts had of any charm ended with pony express in the white water wilderness area. The summer before pony express opened I said to myself "knotts may not be what it once was, but this area is still nice." Next time I'm at knotts is haunt during pony expresses opening year, the charm of white water wilderness is now officially gone, thus killing the last of the parks charm. Now, demon drop will kill the last ounce of charm from ghost town, because unless they theme it to like an oil derric(this is cedar fair) they will fail. The only hope I see for knotts is if they are noticing six flags is getting more well themed attractions like terminator or the dark knight and make a comeback. Do I see this happening? No, Do I hope this Happens? Yes. Cedar Fair has destroyed a charming place that I remember as a very young child where we would actually walk around the park and look at everything, now knotts is the ultimate example of a credit run park.

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Funny thing, when I went to Knott's in 2004 (one of my first "real" visits to the park), I saw a lot of signs for "Silver Bullet" and thought it was just going to be a new show. I guess I somehow ignored all the construction and random red track/silver supports everywhere.

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I meant to put after the helix whoops . But yeah, I really liked that effect, I thought it worked well with the ride. I also remember there being a lot more show lighting in the queue and a soundtrack playing, neither of those are there anymore. Sad to see how some of the stuff in this park has degraded.

---Brent

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^ I haven't ridden that many flumes, but Knott's is one of my favorites. Cheesy "animatronics" and all. It was one of Arrow's first flumes having opened in 1969.

 

Personally, if they had to put Pony Express where they did, I wish it would have made a spiral over the rapids and maybe had a tunnel there.

 

Eric

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Haha, they didn't HAVE to put Pony Express there. But that's a matter of opinion.

 

KBF's theming was always below Disney's and you kind of expected it. You allowed for certain parts of the outside coming in or sloppy presentation in cases (like the end of bigfoot rapids). However, its obvious that there is no presentation anymore - or very light at best.

 

I don't agree that a coaster kingdom was the only option to bring Knotts into the 21st century. Throughout the park's existence, the Knott family and their designers were able to incorporate the thrills of the decade without destroying the atmosphere of their beloved park. They didn't force the park to grow exponentially every season and they balanced attractions with shows (as cheesy as they may have been) and other rotational offerings. They knew the constraints of their small plot of land and they finessed it well.

 

But what happened...

 

What I believe was the case is that CF saw a cash cow in the center of world tourism and didn't bother to understand or care how Knotts had remained a Southern California staple even with such impossible competition a city over. Instead, they decided to tap into Six Flag's weakness, location, and exploited the situation with a collection of flashy additions over the course of a decade (with the guise of being a family park). Profit and the threat of intense competition drove their game-plan. It's completely evident that the park isn't being run by an artistic director...it's being run by profiteers. I cannot be certain how effective this strategy has been. After all, Disney has turned up the heat on international tourist dollars with the development of the DLR - something Knotts didn't have to compete with so heavily just 10 years ago. As much as I know though, Knotts always sat in a delicate balance between local influence and tapping into the tourism that Disneyland brought. It was something else for tourists to do. A real OLD theme park - not fake old.

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^ Another thing that changed was people. At one time, most people were amused by the relatively simple things that the Knott family did, and were quite satisfied with what the park had to offer. A good example is the mission models that lined the path leading toward the underpass near the stagecoach station. Back in the day, I stopped to look at them and noticed others doing the same, even if I'd seen them before. It wasn't long before people rushed past them like they weren't even there. Perhaps they'd already seen them, but even so, more and more people didn't even stop.

 

How many people stop to watch the Covered Wagon Show (if that's even still playing)? Sad Eye Joe in Jail? Do many people get their pictures taken in the Pitchur Gallery? And on it goes...

 

It's the same idea behind the huge portions of food that people eat. A little just isn't enough anymore.

 

Eric

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Who said it HAD to be a B&M invert? Who said it HAD to be a Zamperla moto-bike coaster? Who said it HAD to be an Intamin rocket coaster?

 

Well done coaster layouts don't have to sprawl across the entire park or pierce the sky. I would have been ok with losing the lake...I know it's a huge real estate chomper...but what they did was just annihilate the delicate scale of the park with a coaster they had to know could not fit.

 

They could have completely rethought the back area of the park to include one or two more coaster designs - that area had already been crumbling (even with the Knott family in charge). They just had to be smarter in the way they reconfigured what was already there. Keeping the boomerang, adding Perilous Plunge and Xcellerator...bad BAD use of space. The walkways on the "Boardwalk" (where is the waterfront?) are enormous. That back area was the place for Cedar Fair to go wild with - it's completely scrappable land - and a hell of a lot of it. I could have seen a beautiful invert back there...easily - away from the historic section of the park. As for a rocket coaster...I honestly do not see the draw in a 28 second ride where you have to wait on the brake run for another 2 minutes (if you're lucky) to allow the other train to load. Just an ugly gimmicky ride. Top Thrill Dragster? Yeah, there's a draw to that one...Xcellerator? Mm...it's a miss for me.

 

You're right, the attitude of the average parkgoer did change in the 90's - and the shift is still continuing today. But Cedar Fair didn't even bother trying to piece the puzzle together - keeping up with what is current, and what is already there.

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I think Knott's got sucked into the coaster wars via Cedar Fair, and that is what has really done the most damage to the park's character. Instead of looking to Disney, which hasn't relied on just coasters to keep their parks popular, they applied the Cedar Point model to Knotts.

 

Coasters are by far the most cost effective, highly marketable rides that can be built. Cedar Fair, much like Six Flags, will never be in a position to spend 40 to 100 million+ on a new attraction like Disney, so that leaves them pretty much with coasters as their big E-tickets cap expenses. In this sense, I understand why Knott's went this direction.

 

What Knott's could do however is to blend their installs a bit more into the pre-existing scenery. Pony Express's tunnel for example. Instead of just zero-themed plywood, it's actually pretty cheap to faux finish the tunnel in rock. At least that way, a stone looking arch over BFR would look better.

 

Silver Bullet has the charm of an industrial shed. But, they can hide the footers a bit better (put a partial roof over the wagon camp at least), buy some plants, repaint the coaster the colors of a Silver Bullet, and wood panel the station so at least it would pull SB back into the west a tad better. The current red/orange theme is southwestern, so they could go that direction like Disney's BTMR.

 

I agree that the Boardwalk is the area with the most potential. If they tossed those crappy carny games out that sit in the center, and remove PP (maybe give it to another CF park), there is quite a bit of space left over for another large scale install.

 

I imagine they will stick with Xcel for the time being. Just hope they can fix the ride and make it absolutely fail safe so customers are not in danger when a cable breaks. Must be way to keep the cables from whipping around in the rare event of failure. If there is no way to guarantee customer safety though, then Knott's should remove Xcel.

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I'm not local to Knott's but have been there a few times over the years, most recently in April/May with my family. I thought the park was great. A decent mix of flat rides and coasters, and still a decent amount of theming to give the park some "feel." My daughter couldn't get enough of Montezuma's Revenge -- a 20 year old Schwartzkopf shuttle!

 

I understand people being ticked about Demon Drop being the "new" attraction, but I've not read anywhere here what people would expect CF or Knott's to do in it's place. Everyone's complaining about Silver Bullet -- so would you all prefer it not be there? What if they built a lesser B&M (Medusa at CGA comes to mind) -- then would we be complaining that they didn't go far enough? People are complaining about Pony Express being lame. What attractions could Knott's/CF bring to the table to keep people excited and lining up to come to the park? At the end of the day, it's about getting people in the park to spend money and major thrill rides, like it or not, are the way it gets done.

 

There does not seem to be a lot of real-estate to work with, and as someone pointed out, the park must evolve to keep guests coming through the turnstiles. Coasters are the obvious choice. Yes, Disney hasn't done it with coasters, but Disney is such a different animal that I don't think you can fairly compare them to a Six Flags/Cedar Fair operation. Disney could paint a monorail a different color and boost attendance.

 

I'm probably in the minority of people who are really happy to see CF keeping Demon Drop going and I will definitely make plans to go back to Knott's next year to ride it. It has some historical significance to me in that it's only of three of these types of rides left on the planet. It's a small footprint and gives a ride experience 2nd gen drop rides can't give. Yeah, it's noisy, mechanically finicky -- but the thrill factor is high IMHO.

 

At some point all park operators are going to have figure out some other way to get guests in the door. The coaster wars of the 90s and early 2000 that brought us hyper and giga-coasters, launch coasters, etc. have to be about over. Building a bigger mouse trap won't do and most places just don't have the space to keep building bigger and bigger and bigger rides.

 

Using B&M inverteds as an example -- it's to the point where one B&M inverted isn't too much different than the next one. That was my first thought when I rode Silver Bullet. It was a "nice" B&M, but I can't say I was thrilled by it.

 

Back to Knott's -- I think the park is in fine shape overall. I've seen my home park (Great America in Illinois) destroyed from a theme standpoint over the years. The park looks likes something out of RCT3 these days. At some point you just have to accept that change is going to happen and the parks are going to do whatever they think they need to do to keep the money coming in.

 

Sorry to ramble all over the place. Here's to Demon Drop at KBF in 2010. May she give us many more years of "the longest 2 and a half seconds in the world."

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^ I honestly like Top Gun/Flight Deck more than Batman--The Ride. That's one ride that I hope is relocated if Cedar Fair ever closes CGA.

 

"Montezuma's Revenge -- a 20 year old Schwartzkopf shuttle!" (RandyV)

 

Just for the record, Montezooma's Revenge opened in 1978, so it's really a 31-year-old Schwarzkopf shuttle---and the only such ride in the U.S. still in its original location. I agree, it does still pack quite a punch, and I always ride it at least once on each visit.

 

Eric

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Flight Deck @ CGA, very short but intense.

 

Medusa @ SFDK, glass smooth, wonderful 7 inversion ride

 

Batman: The Ride @ SFMM, intense insanity!

 

All B&M inverts and I would be extremely happy if any one of these came to my park, even Silver Bullet. Yeah I guess it's nice a 1st gen freefall is being saved, if that's what you like then great. This move doesn't add up but what would really be screwy is if they put Demon Drop in at CGA.

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Ugh -- I obviously wasn't thinking in my earlier post. When I referred to "a lesser B&M" when talking about Silver Bullet -- I meant say Vortex at CGA, not Medusa. Medusa is a freakin' great coaster at SFDK. Also, I wasn't referring specifically to B&M inverts, just B&M's in general. I don't think Vortex at CGA is all that great, and is arguably one of the roughest and most boring B&M's I've ever been on.

 

My point was this: what if Vortex had been built at Knott's instead of Silver Bullet? Instead of talking about the SB dominating the area of the park & the skyline, would we be talking about what a lousy coaster it is and how much better they could have done? All hypothetically, of course.

 

And as someone else pointed out, apparently I can't do math either. Montezuma's Revenge at Knott's is 31 years old, not 20. That's what happens when you get old. If a 31 year old coaster like Montezua's can still provide a great ride after all this time, why can't a 26 year old 1st gen free fall do the same? Shouldn't we be talking about how crappy Montezuma's is and why Knott's isn't ripping that out to replace it with something new? Or does Montezuma's get a pass because it's been there so long?

 

My original question still stands and is yet to be answered: what should Knott's/CF be doing to keep guests coming back year after year while maintaining the atmosphere and feel that everyone wants? If they can't build new rides/coasters without wrecking the view or atmosphere, or if people aren't happy with them bringing in other rides from other parks (ala Demon Drop) -- then what are they supposed to do? New variety shows certainly won't cut it.

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