Knotts Berry Farm is currently hard at work on two major projects. What will likely get the most media attention is an expansion to the Boardwalk area of the park with three new family rides: The Pacific Scrambler, Coast Glider, and the 52 foot tall Coast Rider family coaster.  But we think our readers will be most excited by the multi-million dollar refurbishment of one of the crown jewels of the park, the Timber Mountain Log Ride.  By May 30th Knott’s will have spent a considerable amount of money on widening their appeal to families instead of the normal coaster crowd they have been going after since their purchase by Cedar Fair.

Knott’s invited us to the park to take a first hand look at the progress of all the construction as well as a bit of one on one time with the creative folks behind these projects.

Entering the Wilderness Dance Hall, we were greeted with concepts by creative powerhouse, and MiceChat contributor, Garner Holt Productions, for interior scenes of the Log Ride.

Included were some awesome signage and art for the refurbished attraction.

Also on display were some of the new animatronics that will populate the updated attraction.  Some 40 animated human figures and 11 animated animal critters will be seen along the flume route.  An impressive collection of characters which significantly expands upon the original version of the attraction.

Three of the 11 animals for the attraction
Bill Butler of Garner Holt stands next to one of 40 animatronics for the ride.


The big problem that Knott’s creative team faced was finding the right balance between updating and maintaining this classic.  Original ride designer, Bud Hurlbut, wanted to create a lively, immersive environment as indicated by this sketch:

But the resources simply weren’t available. . . until now. 

Inside the actual ride, work is being conducted at a frenzied pace as crews try to meet the May 30th opening date.

Bill Butler of Garner Holt surveys the scene.
Scene six, the new campground scene.
Heading into the long tunnel that leads to the lift hill for the final drop
The entire flume has been resealed.
The waterfall element in this scene will be restored!
On the way out, we spotted the track layout for the ride. COOL!
Geek out on this folks.

Meanwhile, in the back of the park, the three attractions being added to the Boardwalk are still under construction. Snoopy was there to greet us and show us around.

Shown here is a schematic over view of the area. Dark blue is the Coast Rider, Surfside Glider in yellow and Pacific Scrambler in Blue.

Out at the construction site, Snoopy was there to show us around.

In the foreground are the two cement foundations for the Pacific Scrambler and Surfside Glider.

The pillars for the bridge of the old Perilous Plunge attraction have been shaved down and are being repurposed for walkways over the water.

And now a closer look at the Coast Rider coaster…

Concept art for the signage and cars

Below we share a our trip into the construction site with Snoopy.

Overall we are truly excited to see knott’s take a different path and build and enhance attractions that will pull in a family crowd again and begin to balance out the mix of attractions in the park. If the Log Ride refurbishment goes as well as we think it will, there are plans to move on to the Calico Mine Train with a major refurbishment next. And if that also goes well. . . we could be looking at a brand new dark ride in the not too distant future.

I’m really looking forward to seeing everything finished up by May 25th. Will you come out to support the Timber Mountain Log Ride and take a whirl on the new Boardwalk attractions?

  • Werner Weiss

    Absolutely wonderful coverage of Knott’s Berry Farm!

    I’m looking forward to the reinvigorated Timber Mountain Log Ride. I need to figure out when I can take another trip to Southern California after it reopens.

  • eicarr

    The log ride refresh looks so cool!!! I was dissapointed visiting that cold cenent parking garage transformers ride at universal last year. This type of hokey fun is more my speed. Spending a day at knotts on my next DL trip.

  • Kohrsfilms

    Everything looks like it’s coming along great! I’m very much looking forward to riding the log ride later this year after the refurb is complete. And the possibility of a new dark ride at Knotts is very exciting.

  • lynxwiler

    Of course I’m biased, but Whoohoo! I’m excited about the Log Ride rehab!

  • Zeathos51

    With Garner Holt adding some new animatronics, it’s like half of a new dark ride. I never knew there was going to be that much of an improvement. I’m looking forward to it. Thanks for the Knotts coverage.

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    I can’t wait to see the finished log ride. It looks amazing with all these refurb!

  • I’m absolutely thrilled to see Knott’s not only enhance a classic attraction, but embrace the family market again. This is a big step in the right direction for the park. I hope they have a huge summer and immediately put the Mine Train into a similar refurbishment/enhancement.

    Looks great Norm. Thank you for the hard hat tour.

  • MrTour

    Cool update! I may be wrong, but I remember, following the dark drop on the Log Ride, waterfalls and a lot of colored lights. This was years past. I hope the dark room following the drop is repurposed into something other than it was in recent years.

    • Norman Gidney

      You are right! It used to be a massive cavern with a nice lighting package and waterfalls. Recently it was simply left dar. They have new plans for this area, but I was sworn to secrecy. It will be nice, trust me.

      • MrTour

        That’s great to hear! So glad it will once again be an “A” ticket attraction!

      • SpectroMan

        I didn’t know there was ever a lighting package in this area! How long has it been dark? I feel like it’s been dark since at least 1990…other than when they cut a hole letting light in after that collapse several years ago. Now I’m really intrigued!

      • jcruise86

        Mr.Tour, did you mean “E”? 🙂

      • MrTour

        Nope. Knott’s had a different lettering system for their tickets than Disneyland. Knott’s had A-D (no E ticket), and the A ticket was the premier attraction.

    • glowman

      You are absolutely right about lighting effects in the “Cave Room”. Actually it’s the ride’s reservoir. Until 1983 when Bud Hurbut sold his rides to Knott’s, we had underwater lights in the Cave Room that cast moving colors all over the room. The large waterfall was lit as well as a small one on the right side as you leave the room. I am so happy that Garner Holt is working on the refurbishment as I so admire his work. I think Bud Hurlbut would be pleased too.

  • Gregg Condon

    What a great update. Can’t wait to check out what’s new at Knott’s very soon!!

  • jcruise86

    As I write this Disneyland’s update today has three comments, all negative,
    and Knott’s update has 10 positive ones.

    We fell in love with Knott’s during one of our two years where we saved money by not getting Disneyland APs. Turns out there lots of other really cool stuff in California. (See Soarin’ to help plan your Disneyless year or two.) In the next couple of years many other Southern Californians/refugees from Disney’s prices will also come to love Knott’s prices and what an excellent value it is.

    • jcruise86

      To atone for the redundancy of my last sentence, here again are my moldy Knott’s tips from a new closed thread:

    • TheHopper

      I agree, my annual passes for Disneyland expired this week and as we evaluated the renewal decided it is just too much money. I love Disneyland! It has been one of the best years ever for DCA but in that same breath because it is so good it has been a mad house every time we have gone in. I have mixed emotions about this…on one hand I love all the things Disney has done to make this place awesome, we went 38 times this last year. On the other hand with how great it has become the crowds were always out of control we only stayed a few hours and rode a couple rides each time we went. Not sure what Disney can do about this…they want this problem right…in fact the only way around this problem is raising their prices to get people like us out.

      That being said, I’m so excited that Knott’s has stepped up to the plate to be a new place for us to try as a family. Also going to check out Seaworld, San Diego Zoo and some of the museums nearby. I’m hoping the prices stay manageable as we look for a new favorite activity!

  • Sparky

    Since the Log Ride, Calico Mine and train are about the only thing at Knott’s for me to do other than eating, shopping or watching shows once in awhile, I’m excited about the Log Ride upgrade and look very much forward to GHP getting hold of the Calico Mine. I hope a dark ride happens in my lifetime! The new Boardwalk additions, sadly, add no value to the park for me. Thanks for the great report!

    • jcruise86

      I was going to again list many of the things I love about Knott’s to SPARK your interest,
      but you’re just a click away:

      Yup, it’s the same thread I plugged above. Now featuring a new comment from the great Regions Beyond!

      • jcruise86

        (It’s the Knott’s one about 5 post above–above The Hopper, Not the one 3 posts up directly above yours–that’s about S. Cal.) Yeah, I’m proud of these threads. I’m counting on my participation in them to count as a few points in my favor in an afterlife–hopefully one Walt Disney’s been improving on. 🙂

  • Jim1013

    I LOVE what they’ve done to the log ride and the level of detail even in the signage, truly great news for this beloved little park. Disney has infinite resources and no small park has the budget to build a themed attraction like Carsland, hence the new family amusement rides, which will look awesome at night with the deluxe lighting packages and reflections on the water and Coast Rider looks better than Goofy’s Sky School, at least its a permanent installation and not portable. Great job, Team Knotts!

  • scarymouse

    Awesome Norm, I can’t wait to check out the ole log ride, its always been a favorite and to get the love it deserves is great.I agree and they should move the project over to the mine ride next. I am very happy of their progress so far and can’t wait to check it out in October.

  • Haven

    Good job to Knott’s and Cedar Fair on their recent upgrades and additions. I am very happy for our historical Timber Mountain Log Ride to see a whole new era of service! The new boardwalk area looks colorful, fun and inviting too. The Coast Rider does look like the identical coaster model to Legoland’s Technic Coaster however which is surprising seeing that that park is only a hour south of Knott’s. Still a great ride though.

  • SpectroMan

    Truly amazing work on the Log Ride – I just hope GHP has been retained to keep the figures maintained and cleaned as the years pass. Some of the original figures, moving or not, were so filthy you could barely make out their expressions. They’re charming in their own way, but…it would be nice to see some longevity this time.

    All this plus the mission dioramas getting restored = best time EVER to have a Knott’s pass!

  • Gullywhumper

    This is so encouraging, the log ride will look great! I hope that the Mine Train gets its refurb soon, followed by a new dark ride! I’m getting another Knott’s pass, since I’ll be downgrading my Disneyland pass in July.

  • redrocker

    I cant geek out of the log ride stuff cause i used to work it and ive been all over that ride and mountain…places i really should never go into or on top of lol but the concept drawings got me curious if they are bringing the falling barrels back to log ride and removing them from mine ride? they originally were in the log ride. I hope the animation is disney quality. i always thought both log ride and mine ride needed that. and man i wish one of them would totally look like my old supervisor and original log ride operator Jim Mayfield. We always said they need to make one that looks like him so he can be in that ride forever 🙂

    • TRONAlex

      The company that is making the AA’s for Knott’s {Garner Holt} does Disney attractions as well.
      So the Quality should be Disney, or better.

  • LoveStallion

    Great news on the log ride. Indifference on the cookie cutter boardwalk stuff.

  • manifest

    The Log Ride looks amazing. Look at what 5 million dollars can get you when you have a solid theme to work with!!! Knotts finally has its heart back.

    I am going to send this link to everybody that I know. Thank you micechat and thank you Knotts…

  • MrTour

    I was just as Knott’s yesterday. First off, I am not sure if they are done painting the Log Ride mountain, but right now it looks very flat. It does not have the same “parched” details in hues that its sister attraction, the Mine Train, has next door. Hopefully this is just temporary.

    I couldn’t help but noticed in the bright sun yesterday how barren the park feels in places. It lacks the large shade trees that it once had. Charles Circle seems like a bleak parking lot that stretches in all directions. Trees add charm, ambiance, and theming; just a simple solution to add more charm back to the park. If Knott’s is reading this, please let the magnolias around the Charleston fountain grow! Please add some planters with raised mounds covered in iceplant and mini date palms to break up the the flatness of the area. AND PLEASE removed the Swingin’ Swing and replace it with a REAL themed attraction…such as the Haunted Shack. Please?

  • Captain Pitchfork

    Doesn’t the rollercoaster closely resemble Goofy’s Flight School?? Not complaining cause the kids love that ride but it looks the same.

  • TRONAlex

    I can’t wait to see the newly rehabbed Log Ride and can’t wait for the Mine Train to get the same treatment as well as the return of The Kingdom of the Dinosaurs.
    Now if they can get rid of Excelerator and bring back the Soap Box Racers.
    That would be awesome…As well as the turn of the century autopia with the
    old Model T cars.
    Oh before I forget, can they bring back the Birdcage Theater, but show the shows on the weekend???

  • JulieMouse

    The Log Ride was one of my very favorite rides as a little girl. This is so exciting to see! Now, I need to start putting that pass that I purchased in December to use! Great job, Knotts!! Thanks for showing us all the behind the scenes information, Norm!!!

  • weeble

    woohoo!!! i could not be happier that Knott’s is getting the attention and refurbishment that it so needed.