In August of 2015, the TP&T team hopped on a plane and flew out for an incredible adventure in California. The visit included visiting several of Southern California’s incredible list of theme parks and learning about the history of the Walt Disney Company. In our visit, we went to The Jim Henson Company, Walt Disney Studios, Imagineering, various Hollywood attractions, and the Disneyland resort as part of the Adventures by Disney Backstage Magic tour. After the five day tour, we continued our journey as we visited Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios, and Six Flags Magic Mountain before returning home. In this article and several other articles full of photos, we invite you to join us in TP&T’s California Adventure! So sit back, relax, and get ready to journey into the Wonderful World of the entertainment industry!
For those of you first reading this series, welcome! I strongly recommend reading some of the previous articles. Links are below!
Part 1 – Hollywood – We visit several Hollywood destinations as our Backstage Magic tour begins! Enjoy photos and information from Disney Studios and our fantastic visit to Imagineering. You can find the article here!
Part 2 – An Evening in Disneyland – In this trip report, we journeyed through endless traffic on the Los Angeles highways and wound up at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland! This article will take you within the gates of the original theme park as we spend a very exciting evening in the park. You can find the article here!
Part 3 – A Day in the Happiest Place on Earth – With this photo update, you follow us into the original theme park as we venture through a park filled with hidden finds and awesome attractions. Oh yeah, we also went into the Dream Suite (and I have pics)! You can read the trip report here!
Part 4 – Disney California Adventure -We walk up to Disneyland, and for some reason choose to walk through the gate on the right. All of a sudden, we’re in Disney California Adventure. Here’s the link!
BONUS – I’ve got a Fantasmic! video up on the YouTube Channel! You can view the video here!
In the previous four sections of our California trip series, we ventured throughout Disney history, but now it is time to journey through the rest of Southern California’s theme parks, the first of which came from humble origins and emerged as a premier thrill destination…
That’s right, it’s Knott’s Berry Farm! Knott’s was created in 1920 by a family of the same name. By 1934, the family began building attractions at their farm in order to bring more visitors to buy their berries. It started with simple things such as a chicken restaurant and a small ghost town, and turned into the thrilling park we see today. One more fun fact, the boysenberry was invented by the Knott family!
One of the first sights upon entry to Knott’s is Ghostrider. Driving under the park’s wooden coaster is a fun thing to do!
After passing by a number of different gift shops and restaurants, which were very well placed in-between the parking lot and the park entrance, forcing guests to walk buy and be tempted to enter and exit, we finally went through the gates of the park!
Like some of its Cedar Fair counterparts, Knott’s has a massive B&M flying over its entrance (although not in as prevalent of a manner).
Our first stop in Knott’s was Ghost Town! We decided we should make our way through to get the worst ride out of our way.
Ghost Town was literally a ghost town when we visited. The hot weather and possibly the first week of school for California kept the crowds away.
The nerves were high as we walked up to one of the most hated roller coasters in the United States.
In the Ghostrider queue, and I believe a few other queues at Knott’s, there was one of the best safety videos I’ve ever seen at a theme park. Wild western characters demonstrated how to properly seat yourself on the ride.
Upon ascending the lift hill of Ghostrider, I once again began to question my choice to ride.
And once the ride got going, my nerves only increased. Ghostrider was definitely an extremely rough coaster, but nevertheless it was a kind of “fun” rough. I was expecting the roughness, but not in the way Ghostrider provided it. My bones were literally vibrating as we travelled through the course.
At the end of Ghostrider, I was truly terrified in a way that I rarely am on rides. It’s visible in my on-ride picture, which we did purchase but I am not going to show here. All I’m going to say is that it was a good one!
In the distance from Ghostrider, we could see two more members of the tall Knott’s skyline!
To get back on the topic of Ghostrider, the ride will likely be great with next year’s Great Coasters International renovation. The new millennium flyer trains should do wonders for the ride!
Another notable memory was the beauty of some of Ghost Town’s plants!
Our next stop in our visit to Knott’s was Silver Bullet!
Silver bullet was a fantastic B&M invert! It was smooth and it even had some elements I don’t think are particularly common on B&M inverts.
All of the inversions were fun, but what was probably my favorite part was the overbanked turn early in the ride!
And the ride also had a simple, but nice logo, which is now on a shirt that I own!
The station gave us a nice view of the surrounding sections of the park! This view must look a lot different without the Screamin’ Swing!
I have to say, Silver Bullet was probably my favorite ride of the day at Knott’s. I love a classic B&M invert!
And I’m so so sorry Ghostrider, but I did not like you very much!
I bet this view will look even better with the new stage that will debut in the Screamin’ Swing’s place next year! It will be highly themed based on the concept art!
Also, from the Silver Bullet station, I got a glimpse at a ride experience that I had never encountered in my theme park adventures, the Pony Express! It was not time for this yet though!
A little morning B&M always brightens your day!
This was going to be our next stop of the day, especially since it was already in the nineties outside!
Knott’s has a lot of interlocking roller coasters!
Jaguar is literally everywhere in the park!
I see Montezooma’s Revenge hiding in the back of this picture!
The Tower of Power… I mean… “Supreme Scream.”
Like most other parks, Knott’s has a beautifully decorated chairswing attraction! Although we did not ride at Knott’s, these are always fun to do!
We passed this incredible looking Intamin on our way over to the log flume!
After riding, all I have to say is wow! That was a fantastic log flume!
The theming in Timber Mountain was extraordinary, Knott’s did a fantastic job with the recent refurbishment of the attraction.
Here’s one of the ride’s animatronics!
Although I loved Timber Mountain, I have a shameful confession to make about the visit to Knott’s. We did not do the Calico Mine Ride. Feel free to send us hate emails for this despicable crime.
Well, we may not have done Calico Mine Ride, but we did head over to this wild ride next!
Xcelerator was Knott’s Berry Farm’s 2002 addition. It was Intamin’s first ever hydraulic launch coaster. This installation launches riders to speeds of 82 mph. Essentially, this was the experiment for two even faster coasters which came in the years after the debut of Xcelerator, Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka.
From the highest point of Xcelerator, there is a great view of the surrounding area!
Essentially, Xcelerator is a good ride, but it’s way too short. That’s the best way of describing it and its counterparts of Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka.
The launch and top hat are very fun parts of the ride.
But unfortunately afterwards the ride is a mediocre series of turns which end very shortly. It’s fun overall, but it’s not the best coaster in the park. That honor goes to Silver Bullet.
I say this way too frequently, but I LOVE the look of track close-ups!
The Knott’s Skytower loomed above!
Wait, what’s holding up the roller coaster???
Okay, this is one of my few complaints about the day, and it’s going to sound terrible, but FastLane on Xcelerator was awful. We went through the Fastlane entrance, but it was behind the end of the actual line, so essentially the FastLane did nothing. It was not a big deal, but it was a bit disappointing.
Another complaint was the lack of shade in Xcelerator’s queue. It was way too hot not to have shade there.
By the time we got off of Xcelerator, it was time for lunch. We then walked down the Knott’s Boardwalk in search of an air conditioned restaurant.
The recently redone land looked very good!
This was the only eyesore though. Although this was not operating, I avoid these while I’m at the parks. I’ve heard terrible things about them (I’ve never rode one though).
The park was still empty, but inside at Johnny Rocket’s, it was packed! All I have to say about the restaurant is that it was a fantastic break from the hot weather! It offered some great discounts for Cedar Fair passholders too!
After Johnny Rocket’s, it was time to get back on the rides!
The first of which was the now closed Knott’s Screamin’ Swing!
Although they are fun, the Screamin’ Swings have one flaw, the rides are too short. If they were another thirty seconds longer the attractions would greatly improve. It was not really worth the extra fee on the Knott’s version.
After the swing, it was time for the latest innovative attraction to come to the park, Voyage to the Iron Reef! Iron Reef was a fantastic attraction. It was well themed, the 3D was amazing, and it was simply fun! After riding, I really want a Triotech dark ride to come out to my home park of Kings Dominion!
Our next stop was Pony Express!
Although there are some who disagree, I found Pony Express to be one of the most fun coasters at the park. It was something I had never experienced, and I found it to be quite an enjoyable attraction.
My only complaint about Pony Express is the ride’s length, I wish it was a longer ride. Luckily, larger models of the motorbike/steeplechase coaster are popping up in other locations such as the soon to open Shanghai Disneyland!
Although we did not ride, Knott’s appeared to have a nice river rapids attraction!
Shortly after Pony Express, some members of our group sought relief from the hot weather of Knott’s, so they went to see the Snoopy Ice Skating Show. I was told it was not very good.
I decided I would go and ride the remaining Knott’s coasters while they saw the show. The first of which was Sierra Sidewinder, which unfortunately was not operating when I arrived, so I decided to save it for later in the day.
Making my way around the loop of the park, I stopped at Jaguar next. Jaguar was a very good family coaster that gives you a nice view of the park. It’s not tall or anything, but it’s a rather fun attraction.
After Jaguar, it was time for Montezooma’s Revenge. Montezooma’s Revenge was another fun ride. With almost no wait, you got a fun and relatively intense experience. You pull a lot of G’s in portions of the attraction.
Next up was Ricochet!
Honestly, I mainly rode Ricochet for the credit. It was nothing special, but still a decent ride. You can find similar wild mouse attractions at most theme parks.
Boomerang was unfortunately the next stop…
Although it may have a nice paint scheme, Boomerang is not very good. I gave it a chance because there are some very nice versions of the popular clone at parks such as Carowinds and Hersheypark, but with the older restraints like at Knott’s this attraction is just not worth it.
I like how the Knott’s skytower has the “K” on top. It differentiates this one from other installations of the common attraction.
It may be nice looking, but don’t ride Boomerang.
After meeting up once again with the group, we made our way over to Sierra Sidewinder to give it once last chance. Luckily, the Mack Spinner was open!
Although there are some terrible spinners out there, this one was fantastic! The banked turns are what made all the difference in my opinion. It was definitely a nice way to finish our visit to Knott’s.
We may have missed some essential offerings of Knott’s, which included exploring Ghost Town more and the Calico Mine Ride, but I still found our visit to be quite enjoyable and exciting. The park has several fantastic coasters, some nice theming, and continuously improves with its parent company Cedar Fair investing heavily in the park. In the past few years alone the park has received a fantastic dark ride, a completely revamped and fantastic boardwalk section, and now is working to improve it’s historic ghost town. The already fantastic park has a bright future in store, and next time I am in California, it will be a must-do theme park.
After our day at Knott’s, it was time for the worst part of the entire trip… driving on Los Angeles’s freeways to our next stop in Universal City. It took over an hour, but we finally reached the Sheraton next to the park, but to hear more about that you’ll have to see the next installment of TP&T’s California Adventure, where we will visit Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain!
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