Reopening Date for the Historic Calico Mine Ride Announced by Knotts

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Features, Knott's Berry Farm

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Published on May 01, 2014 at 11:50 am with 106 Comments

Knott’s has just announced Saturday June 14th as the reopening of the completely refurbished Calico Mine Train and revitalized Camp Snoopy.  This is great news and will mark the return of two iconic and important areas of Knott’s Berry Farm. The park continues to focus on its heritage and what has made it a beloved destination for locals and international visitors alike.


Please scroll down to the bottom of the article to see who won.




Here is the press release, along with some commentary by us.

BUENA PARK, CA (May 2014) Knott’s Berry Farm is proud to announce that the Calico Mine Ride will reopen on June 14, 2014. The top-to-bottom refurbishment began in early January and includes dozens of new richly-detailed animatronic figures, state-of-the art lighting, audio, and all-new special effects.  When the classic railroad adventure reopens in June, passengers will embark on the most immersive mining journeys the “Calico Mining Company” has ever offered.

The basis of the iconic attraction was a simple handshake agreement between Knott’s founder, Walter Knott, and theme park pioneer Bud Hurlbut in 1959. From that handshake emerged a first-of-its-kind “dark ride” with elaborate show scenes and full-sized human figures.

Keep in mind that this attraction was built a full 7 years before Pirates of the Caribbean.

The attraction was an instant hit with guests at its original November 22, 1960 opening, and earned back Hurlbut’s initial $1 million investment in less than two years.  The groundbreaking attraction had a special place in Walter Knott’s heart, who worked in actual mines around the turn of the century in the Calico mining region of San Bernardino County before calling Buena Park home.  Hurlbut worked tirelessly to incorporate authentic touches into the attraction.   For the real stories of men who worked in the frequently dangerous mining world, he befriended actual miners and visited dozens of mining sites around California to observe the workmen, their tools and environment.



Knott’s Berry Farm’s Design Team, in partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Inc., has elevated Hurlbut’s 1960 design while preserving the original mining experience. Nearly fifty animatronic humans and dozens more animals populate the updated adventure, with more than 120 characters spread through classic and re-imagined scenes.  New denizens of the mountain include an old miner just inside the first tunnel who will welcome guests into the Calico Mine and warn them of dangers that lie along the rails ahead. Despite the massive mining operation depicted inside the Calico Mine, since the attraction first opened, no character has ever actually found gold in the mountain. As part of the renovation, beginning June 14, one lucky miner will be seen striking it rich with gold in-hand!

Garner Holt and Knott’s are infusing the historically accurate attraction with more storyline.  This is another step in the right direction in our opinion.

New excitement is also coming to the “chain lift”, where trains will pass by a nervous miner carrying a canary in a cage for safety into the unknown diggings ahead. The animatronic canary is just one of many new animals coming to the attraction.  Other wildlife will include a donkey, vultures, a playful dog, countless bats, and blind fish in the eerie Lake Room.


All told the attraction, when finished, should boast around 120 major figures.

The attraction’s rustic wooden loading platform has been refreshed and now includes a “peek-in” similar to those found throughout Ghost Town, offering guests windows into the rich mining history of the 1850s on their way toward boarding the mine train car. A new guest and employee elevator has been installed to improve access to the attraction, especially for guests seeking ADA accommodations.

Guests will soon embark on the eight minute journey aboard fully refurbished, hand painted mining cars featuring new speakers and a digital amplification system, pulled by beautifully-detailed locomotives. Garner Holt Productions, Inc. installed a cutting-edge RFID playback system in the ride vehicles to play the all-new on-ride narration and audio effects through the crystal-clear digital system.

Did you catch that?  The spiel will no longer be delivered by the driver of the train, but rather a crystal clear digital prerecorded narration.  This will deliver a more consistent experience for all riders and, as long as the narration is done right, it is an interesting step.  There are those that will miss the live delivery, but to us, this attraction has never been about the host driving the train.  It’s about the experience of going into the mines. A narration you can actually hear and understand will be a step in the right direction. Keep reading below for information on the multiple versions of the script you might hear.

“The spiel is based on the original 1960 script, and will have all-new points of interest and stories in the voices of three all-new character narrators so that each trip through the Mine will be unique,” explains Garner Holt, founder and president of the San Bernardino based Garner Holt Productions, Inc.  “The updated script includes references to a number of real historic mining practices and personalities. The on-board audio narrator will also interact with animatronics and special effects in some scenes.”



The twisting, turning tunnels and expansive caverns were completely repainted, including a brilliant new color scheme in the spectacular “Heaven Room.”  Here, guests will thrill to the glorious sight of the thousands of spectacular stalagmite and stalactites accompanied by the original musical score, which has been digitally re-recorded. Original special effects have been lovingly re-created, like real steam in the Bubbling Pots scene with its surprising steam geyser and tipping barrels and other effects in the Explosion Room finale.

Beginning June 14, 2014, Knott’s Berry Farm invites guests to embark on new mining adventures through the twisting tunnels and unforgettable scenes of the beautifully resorted Calico Mine Ride.  Also celebrating its grand reopening on June 14 is a fresh Camp Snoopy, featuring three new rides and exciting surprises around every corner of the high sierra playground for kids and families.

We are very excited to get back into the mines and experience this attraction like new again.

Want to go to a preview of the reimagined Mine Ride?

To celebrate the reopening of this historic attraction, Knott’s is inviting 50 lucky MiceChat readers to be  part of their media event on Thursday, June 12th!  Follow the simple rules below to enter. Winners will be chosen at random from a pool of eligible entries. Winners will receive 2 tickets.

How do you enter?

Simply tell us your favorite thing about Knott’s, your favorite Knott’s experience, or even your favorite Knott’s memory in the comments below.  Begin your post with “I want to go to Knott’s because…”  Winners will be randomly selected from the qualified entries and notified via this article one week from today.

Good luck!



CONGRATULATIONS!  Here is our list of the lucky winners in the Re-Imagined Calico Mine Train Media Day Event on Thursday, June 12th.  Each winner is allowed to bring ONE GUEST with them to enjoy the preview of the new Calico Mine Ride and a full day of fun at Knott’s Berry Farm.

The Rocketeer
Edward Allen

Winners have received an email detailing what to expect next and how to redeem their prize.  If you see your username on the list, but did not receive an email, please contact us at [email protected] for further instructions.  If, for any reason, a winner is not able to attend, another winner will be selected.


Are you looking forward to a better than new version of the Calico Mine Ride?

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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  • The Rocketeer

    I want to go to Knott’s because of all my childhood memories that came from that park. From the Haunted Shack, Kingdom Of The Dinosaurs to the Wacky Soap Box Racers. But now there are so many new memories to be made, especially with the rebirth of the Log Ride, Mine Train and Camp Snoopy!

  • mratigan

    I want to go to Knott’s because I want to see the new Calico Mine Ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride and Camp Snoopy. I love that Knott’s is making Disney quality dark rides!!!

  • DannyB

    I want to go to Knott’s, BUT it’s my son’s middle school graduation ceremony that morning … so unless this is an afternoon or evening thing, count me out. But IF it is, in fact, an afternoon or evening thing, then… “I want to go to Knott’s because of the history of the theme park and the current direction the park is headed, with its focus on theme & quality. I really do expect the announcement of a new dark ride in the near future! I love the log ride, Calico Mine Train, Krazy Kirk & the Hillbillies, and the food at Ghost Town Grill. And if June 12 doesn’t work for me, I’ll be there June 14 with my season pass.” :)

    -Danny (Halloween Haunt Ghost Town Street character, ’93)

  • boyumz

    I want to go to Knotts because I haven’t been there in years!! We used to make an annual trip from NorCal to take the kids to Halloween Haunt……every year for 10 years! They loved it, and so did I. Good memories……..

  • koalaears

    I want to go to Knott’s because I have fond memories of going there as a child, but haven’t been in years since.

  • BluSprklsMakMeHppy

    I want to go to Knott’s because I miss having Mrs. Knotts Chicken Dinner with Boysenberry punch. I would love to see my favorite ride reopened as well. The Calico Mine Ride was a favorite of mine when I was young. It would be awesome to take my girls on it.

  • DDote77

    I want to go to Knott’s because I have so many great memories there, but spent all of our money on Disney passes… being able to visit Knott’s with my family would be a great change – and an educational one too, since the kids are learning about California history and the gold rush. :-)

  • 6boys2girls

    I want to go to Knotts because it is the best bang for your buck in the whole area! Many family trips have had Knotts as the highlight! As a child, I remember getting dressd up in matching hand made tee shirts (they were an awful bargain fabric that looked HIDEOUS!) and sitting for a photo op on the laps of the statues on the bench in the old west town. Great family memories! I am ready to make more with my OWN kids and grandkids!

  • dlandia

    I want to go to Knott’s because so I can experience the new Mine Ride and Log Ride! After that I’ll take a ride on Silver Bullet, Pony Express, and Bigfoot Rapids! I’ll definitely check out the new Camp Snoopy and Boardwalk area. I haven’t been in years. Not to mention to see the Hillbillies at their new venue! I grew up watching them and have missed their presence at the Golden Horseshoe. Oh, and the food! Funnel cakes with ice cream, Mrs. Knott’s fried chicken, and everything boysenberry! Can I go already?!

  • sheriduh

    I want to go to Knott’s because my children love it there. My son is very excited to see the new Calico Mine Ride. It is his favorite! My daughter loves visiting with Snoopy, and has been waiting for the new rides at Camp Snoopy. We are so excited to visit again once the new attractions are open.

  • shawnman

    I WANT TO GO TO KNOTT’S BECAUSE: I haven’t been in over 15 years! I would love to go back and take my kids. I honestly don’t remember very much about the park. I know I rode a stagecoach. I know I saw a saloon style show. I know I had a great time, would love to go again as a adult this time!

  • cruise

    I want to go to Knott’s because I still remember begging my dad to let me ride Kingdom of the Dinosaurs one last time before we left. I haven’t been to Knott’s during the day (though I visit the Haunt every year) in 7 or 8 year, so I’m eager to check it out!

  • rfaljean

    I want to go to Knott’s because… the biscuits with boysenberry jam are to die for! … Knott’s was the first theme park at which I rode a ride by myself when I was a kid… the Mystery Lodge made me cry tears of joy…the Calico graveyard still freaks me out to this day… Because Knott’s is now home to Krazy Kirk and The HIllBillies… and I <3 me some HillBillies.

  • NermieMouse

    I want to go to Knott’s because I’d love to see the newly refurbished Calico Mine ride and when my boys were little Camp Snoopy was an absolute must so it would be terrific to re-live some good times. Along with the Mystery Lodge, Funnel Cakes, and Mrs. Knott’s Chicken — I’ve always loved Knott’s Berry Farm’s old time charm. It’s been years since we’ve been so this would be a wonderful opportunity ✨

  • Calicojoe

    I would like to go to the Opening of The Calico Mine ride in part that I have lived down the street from knotts for 58 years. I used to see Walter knott stroll the grounds and I would wave to him. A fast walker, sure of his step.
    I knew Bud Hurlbut. His parents lived on my street for years back in the 1960′s. His parents moved to the next street, bud lived a few doors down. I used to wave to him as he entered our housing tract when I would see him on occasion.
    I have not ridden the Mine Ride in years. It would be a nostalgic to say the least.
    It would be interesting to see what they have done to the ride…Cant wait to see it