Hard Hat Tour of Knotts Berry Farm Log Ride Refurbishment and New Boardwalk Rides

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks, Knott's Berry Farm

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Published on April 19, 2013 at 3:35 am with 36 Comments

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?

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • 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.