Welcome back to Knotts Berry Farm!  We last left them in the soupy fog of Halloween.  But now, the park is transforming from scary to merry as they prepare the park for their annual Christmas celebrations.  What’s more, Knott’s recently announced big changes coming to the park next summer. It’s amazing news folks,  let’s get right to it.

Calico Mine Train Refurbishment coming for 2014


Yesterday, Knott’s Berry Farm announced another major restoration of a classic ride.  The Calico Mine Train will close early January of 2014 and undergo an extensive upgrade that will last until early summer.  Garner Holt, the company behind the brilliant Timber Mountain Log Ride refurbishment in 2013 will be returning to lead the charge of another Knott’s classic.


“It is our company’s top priority to preserve and enhance the original story of a working gold mine deep in the heart of the Old West” said Garner Holt, GHP’s founder and president.  “The Calico Mine Ride will be filled with lifelike sounds and motion, while maintaining the uniquely authentic feel of the attraction as designed by Knott’s and industry legend Bud Hurlbut.”  The renovation of the iconic attraction includes the addition of over 50 new state-of-the-art animatronic figures, all new audio and theme lighting system, and special effects.  Does this mean a fully redone dynamite room? We sure hope so!

We took a ride on the Mine Train yesterday to check out its condition.  Despite the ravages of time, it is still an enjoyable ride.

Leftover bird from Haunt? LOL.


The scope of this attraction, when it was first constructed, was unlike anything seen before.  Water features spilling over the facade, trellises precariously stretched over tall precipices, this was a massive attraction for its day.




The centerpiece of the ride is the glory hole scene.  This is a vast, 5 story scene stretching floor to ceiling, filled with animated figures.  Just imagine what Garner Holt will do with this huge space.






According to a Knott’s Berry Farm representative, while the interior of the attraction will be receiving attention, they intend to keep every bit of the charm.  In fact, no major changes will be made to the history-making “hidden” queue. It will feature the same intimate feel as before.

It is wonderful news that the two crown jewels of the park, the Timber Mountain Log Ride, and now the Calico Mine Train, are being made BETTER than new.  These two attractions were what helped Knott’s Berry Farm become a world-class theme park back in the day.  Under the leadership of Raffi Kaprelyan and Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair has rediscovered Knott’s heritage and is lovingly restoring the very heart of their park.

Camp Snoopy


In other news, Knott’s announced the refurbishment of an entire land!  Camp Snoopy, opened in 1983, will receive a full refurbishment.  This will include enhancing the High Sierra’s theme throughout and really bringing the place back to its former glory.

No real details have emerged just yet aside from a more enveloping theme, and new rides.  That being said, we do have a few things we are hoping for.

  • Full resurfacing with leveled walkways.
  • More wandering paths through nature.
  • A new dark ride.
  • Leave Huff and Puff alone!
  • Build the originally intended mountain to hide the Sierra Sidewinder track.
  • New Food offerings.
  • New Snoopy Club house.


Knott’s Merry Farm

Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, November 28th, Knott’s Berry Farm is transformed into Knott’s Merry Farm.


The decorations are already being placed now and all is coming together.  This year they have planned a wonderful assortment of family fun.

It’s Christmas, Snoopy! Featuring a cast of 11 professional skaters and performed in the 2,100-seat Charles M. Schulz Theatre, the show is a feast for the eyes with dazzling sets and colorful costumes as Santa Snoopy and the PEANUTS Gang take to the ice in search of the true meaning of Christmas!


New for 2013, the Wilderness Dance Hall in Ghost Town will be home to Santa’s Christmas Cabin for the holiday season. Here, the young and the young at heart can share their wish lists with jolly ol’ St. Nick and take home a picture of the occasion. You can also indulge in holiday delights like Santa’s homemade cookies, sundae bar, decadent hot chocolate topped with hand carved chocolate shavings, winter wine and craft beer tastings, and more.

Also new for 2013, the Ghost Town and Calico Railroad celebrate Christmas on Engine 41.  Climb aboard a vintage railcar and meet an ever-changing group of Ghost Town residents eager to share their Christmas plans with you.


Christmas Crafts Village, Ghost Town is transformed into a shopping wonderland filled with dozens of local artists and artisans selling their unique wares including a chainsaw sculptor and glass blower. Entrance to the Knott’s Christmas Crafts Village is free Monday through Thursday and is included daily with theme park.

Knott’s is setting up the craft village now.
Christmas is also being applied to Ghost Town’s many structures.



The Glass Blower will be returning this year.

The nightly tree lighting ceremony will also be featuring a Babes in Toyland-like theme.



Knott’s Offers Free Admission to Veterans,
Retired, and Active Military

Once again, Knott’s keeps up the tradition of honoring the men and women who serve our country by offering them Free Admission. This includes one guest and a further discount of $22 per ticket for up to 6 additional people in their group.

This offer is good through January 5th.

Go to Knott’s for Thanksgiving November 28, 2013 9AM – 6PM

Knott’sThanksgiving themed menu offers  home-cooked dishes for you and family to enjoy. The buffet includes items from Knott’s pantry and salad kitchen; three hand-carving stations with slow-roasted beef, turkey and ham; holiday classics including Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken, country apple stuffing; a South of the Border station with cheese enchiladas and tamales; pasta station; dessert station and much, much more. Thanksgiving Holiday Buffet prices are $39.99 for Adults, $26.99 for Seniors (62+) and $17.99 for Children (3 -11). Call (714) 220-5055 for reservations.

Reservations are strongly suggested as they will sell out.


Oh-kay that about wraps things up from Knott’s Berry Farm.  Now, who’s excited about the news from the Farm?

  • indianajack

    This is great news, and a solid signal of Knott’s heading in the right direction. I look forward to visiting next summer for a day or even two when I’m in SoCal. I echo the sentiment to leave Huff and Puff alone in Camp Snoopy! The rest of the carny rides can go as far as I’m concerned. Bring back the nature theme, and take some inspiration from Legoland for interactive and themed Peanuts attractions.

    I really wish Knott’s (and others) would not give military discounts. Separating our society into military and non-military classes smacks of authoritarian and militaristic cultures like the Soviet Union, etc. All guests should be treated equally, that’s what the country is supposed to be about. The old U.S. military tradition of being citizen-soldiers like George Marshall not only frowns, but holds in disdain this type of phony corporate patriotism and explicit bifurcation of the populace.

    • Disneymike

      What’s so bad about giving military discounts? They are protecting YOUR freedom you know.
      And many of them have sacrificed their lives for that freedom.

    • kcirrick

      Wow! While we’re at it, let’s not give discounts to law enforcement or firemen. No discounts for belonging to AAA. No student discounts. No family pack so people don’t get discounts for having large families. No more group discount packages either. No discounts because you happen to live in Southern California. No more free admission for donating to Toys for Tots. You shouldn’t get a discount because you bought your ticket at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store. No discount for drinking a soda and bringing in the empty can. No discounts for donating canned food to the Orange County Food Bank and no discounts for being old. And so on and so on… All guests should be treated equally.

      Uhhh… What’s the problem with giving those who have volunteered to serve their country a perk? Knotts isn’t forced to give the discount. It’s both a thank you to our military and a good business decision as it brings more consumers to the park.

      When I served, members of the military were spit on by the public and hassled by police just for walking down the street. I am extremely thankful that Knotts and so many others now recognize the sacrifices members of our military make to keep our country free.

      • Disneymike

        Thank you for your reply and thank you for your service.

  • Malin

    I’m returning to Anaheim next year on Holiday. To be honest I was planning to skip Knott’s Berry Farm. But not after this announcement. With nothing news worthy scheduled to open at any of the So Cal Parks next year with exception of Despicable Me at Universal. Knott’s really has a good opportunity to make an impression. And show to the locals and visitors that the Cedar Fair Company under Dick Kinzel is gone.

  • MrTour

    While it is always nice to see things upgraded and enhanced, Knott’s really needs something new next year. Knott’s is still suffering from the absence of Knott’s Bear-y Tales and Haunted Shack, and now Windseeker. Replacing these seems like a better option before focusing improvements.

    Unless they remove Montezooma’s Revenge, what more can they really do in Camp Snoopy?

  • StevenW

    The Mine Train has “charm”? I didn’t think so.

    I hope they add more to the train ride in Camp Snoopy. It is a pretty boring ride with nothing to look at.

    • DisneyIPresume

      You do know that none other than Walt Disney himself partially contributed to the design of this ride, do you not?

      • StevenW

        Does it change the fact that it has no charm? And the original Rainbow Caverns Mine Train and the upgraded Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland at Disneyland are gone for good.

    • Disneymike

      Wow, why do you even go to Knott’s?

    • The Mine Train is a So Cal classic and oozes charm. It’s a historic attraction which taught Walt about hidden queues and how to theme the show building of large attractions. The Log Ride and Mine Train at Knott’s were deep inspiration for Disney and many other theme park operators. In fact, in the early days of Disneyland, Knott’s regularly outperformed Walt’s park.

      The attraction is family friendly, completely immersive in it’s theme, groundbreaking for its time and still a lot of fun even by today’s standards.

      When Garner Holt is done adding dozens of state of the art animatronics, special effects and enhanced storytelling, the attraction will be a bigger draw than ever.

      I’m VERY proud of Knott’s. They are doing the right thing by focusing on family attractions and restoring the heart of the park.

      Don’t let the haters get you down Knott’s, you are doing the right thing.

  • Wendygirl

    I was very excited to read this news when it came out yesterday! I too feel that Knott’s under Matt and Raffi is heading in the right direction. I had a very nice and detailed conversation with Raffi at the Grand Opening celebration for the Log Ride (and that was a nice touch, letting the AP’s in early that morning for that opening and the opening of the other new rides). I was complimenting him on the changes I had seen and he was of course deprecating and kind in saying it was a team effort and not just him. He then went on to tell me that next would be Calico Mine Train for a refurbishment which excited me so much. He also told me of other plans for the future but of course it all takes time and a budget 🙂 He explained why some rides will never be able to come back (Haunted Shack – the safety requirements that would be required now days for that attraction are not possible to meet). He even walked me over to where the artisan was restoring one of the Missions and we talked about that! What a nice man.

    I also wanted to put out there that again this Holiday Season you will find the Ghost Town Miners (former DCA Miner 49ers) playing at Knotts across from Spurs Patio Restaurant. Thanksgiving week (Thursday through Sunday), weekends in December, and Christmas break (December 26 through January 5). They usually play in the evening because a lot of guys have to finish their gigs at Disneyland and then come over 🙂

  • Jeff Heimbuch

    I can’t wait for the updated version. I fell in love with the original when I moved here, and Im excited to see what Garner Holt will do!

  • redrocker

    i hope they get the pot room scene (the first scene on the mine ride) back to its wonder hot self. I worked on the ride and as much as driving into the pot room on a hot summer day with the steam going on at least you felt in the environment. When they shut down the boilers and went with misters in there all illusion was lost.Also get those dripping stalactites working again in the caverns scene. its been over 20 years since those things worked well. they can do wonders with an awesome explosion room. theres an old black and white show called “a man builds a mountain” filmed about the building of the mine ride and theres a scene in the explosion room with dirt falling and the rocks swinging made it seem like it was all collapsing. can you imagine if they can get the tv magic to come true. at the very least bring back the swinging rocks. and for god sake a better PA system in the trains!!!!!!

  • Tanthus

    What I always found interesting about the calico mine train is that it is a Gravity fed train. The train uses a breakman in the front of the car and a single lift hill near the second third of the ride. Which makes this technically a traditional scenic railway.

  • Werner Weiss

    Having thoroughly enjoyed the “better than ever” Timber Mountain Log Ride in September, I am very pleased and excited that the same creative team has now turned its attention to the venerable Calico Mine Train. Bravo!

    Let’s hope the next big project at Knott’s is to put a dark ride back into the defunct Knott’s Bear-y Tales / Kingdom of the Dinosaurs space. Knott’s Bear-y Tales (designed by Disney Legend Rolly Crump) was highly inventive and a lot of fun; it’s a shame it was ever removed.

    • That’s the rumor as we understand it. If budgets come through, we could next see a dark-ride in the old KotD building.

      • Asterix

        Yes!!!!! Just the possibility of this made my day!

  • Sparky

    I’m thrilled to hear of the official confirmation of the hoped for plans to revitalize the venerable Calico Mine and excitedly look forward to its completion. I’m also happy to hear of the “unexpected bonus” of some TLC being lavished on Camp Snoopy and the restoration of it to be more like its former early days glory. Whenever I watch my old Super 8 movies from when Camp Snoopy was new, it saddens me to be reminded how it has been corrupted and degraded over the years from the beautiful area it originally was. Now, I really hope we’ll hear good news of a delightful and charming new dark ride to come to the park in the not-so-distant future!

    • Sparky

      I noticed that the Christmas Parade hasn’t been mentioned in the holiday offerings announcements. Is it not returning this year? Very sad if that’s the case. It was vastly improved last year with a more varied soundtrack and other enhancements. I will miss its quaint old fashioned charm.

    • Algernon

      I would love to see Knott’s Beary Tales return!

  • Big D

    Great news! Personally I’d vote for them to redisgn the train itself. I’m not a fan of being packed in to the cars and sitting sideways, trying to look behind me to see whatever it is that’s on the side my back is to. I really wish they’d just go with forward-facing bench seats and sit two or three per row, something like a typical dark ride at DL.

    • manifest

      I dunno…I think they should just spend the entire budget on plussing the ride itself. Money better spent.

  • mcow1

    Loved what Garner Holt did with the Log Ride. Vastly improved while, at the same time, keeping it’s original charm. I sure hope he can do the same with the Mine Train, one of my favorite rides anywhere. But, yeah, let’s get a dark ride in the old KotD building.

  • Juni

    I didn’t see any mention of them doing “A Christmas Carol” at the BirdCage Theater. I saw it last year and it was fabulous. My fingers are definitely crossed that it is going to be gracing us with its presence this holiday season.

  • socalkdg

    “A Christmas Carol” at the BirdCage Theater is confirmed on Knott’s web page. Just picked up passes for next year, with one visit this year, so will be there in December.

  • JJ61

    Great to see Knott’s invest in the care and upgrade of a Southern California classic. Not surprising with Matt Ouimet at the helm. This give new breath to the argument that attractions for the whole family have a place in today’s amusement parks. Not everything needs to be a thrill ride. In fact, it is these classics that endure.

  • janvincent_1313

    It makes me very happy to see that some effort and money is being invested into Knott’s. I’m excited to see the changes.

  • scarymouse

    Awesome ! I love that they are putting in the effort and money in preserving the past. Garner Holt will no doubt do a great job and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.And a new dark ride in the works, even better. I really like the way Knott’s is moving…

  • JulieMouse

    I’m so pleased to see Knott’s putting in even more effort into making their park better and better! I’ve enjoyed having a pass this year and plan on renewing next year, it’s a nice (and much less expensive) addition (or alternative for many people I know) to Disneyland! I have many happy memories from my childhood at this park as well as Disneyland and it’s nice to have both offering quality attractions and entertainment again! I’ll definitely be planning a group outing for all my friends with Knott’s passes while the holiday offerings are available!

    Thanks for the great update!

  • jcruise86

    I wish Matt Ouimet had been made head of all Disney’s theme parks after he improved Disneyland for its 50th anniversary. Instead we have Meg Crofton & Thomas Staggs.
    And a shop at WDW with unique movie memorabilia replaced with a MyMagic+ center.

    But I’m glad Matt will keep making the affordable Knott’s even better!

  • manifest

    So stoked. The Calico Mine Ride is one of the greatest attractions in theme park history, and given how amazing of a job Garner Holt did with the Log Ride, this is a slam dunk for Knotts.

    I love how the underdog is killing it right now. Knotts has been on such a roll lately. I can honestly say I’ve been more excited about what’s going on at Knotts than I’ve been with anything that Disney has done in the past 20 years with the obvious exception of the DCA revamp.

    I will continue to support Knotts with my wallet. Ouimet for President.

    • lynxwiler

      Here, here! I second that.

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