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
[email protected]
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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  • jcruise86

    I want to go to Knott’s to ride the mine train, the log ride, the stage coach, bumper cars that go faster than the ones at Disney’s California Adventure, the train that gets held up by train robbers, Jaguar–my daughter’s first big coaster, and Xcelerator–my favorite big coaster at Knotts. I want to see the Mystery Lodge, and I want to eat Boysenberry pie!

  • Pan

    I want to go to Knott’s because of my pure nostalgia I have for the park. Summer camp, chicken dinner, and there until the park closes. I’ll always remember it…

  • numberfour

    I want to go to Knott’s because I want to take my son there for the first time. I want to experience the joy on his face that I had the first time I went to Knott’s. I want to watch him light up and meet all the characters (even though Peppermint Paddy totally was flirting with my husband last time we went lol).

  • Genopeid

    I want to go to Knotts! I haven’t been there for years, the fried chicken, Boysenberry jam, syrup, jelly =) I want to share with my kiddos memories from my childhood and Snoopy of course, just like I do with Disney. I am also super excited for the new rides! Go knotts!

  • 1wupwup

    I want to go to Knott’s because of fond memories going with my parents and grandmother. Knott’s is in the midst of a renaissance that celebrates a simpler time in American culture. Thank you!

  • Juni

    I want to go to Knott’s because some of my most cherished childhood memories are from going to Knott’s with my mom and going back there always takes me right back to that place in my mind.

  • BigCountry

    I want to go to Knott’s because I love how they are now putting emphasis on the park’s history as opposed to cheap / easy thrill rides. I miss the soap box racers. I miss Kingdom of the Dinosaurs. I miss the 1st loop roller coaster I road with my mom… Boomerang in grade school. I haven’t been to Knott’s Berry Farm in a long time on account that I figured all classics will go by the wayside soon enough but the fact that they’re putting much attention into refurbishing these classics – my fervor is renewed for this park and I eagerly wish to go. Also, last year I went to The actual Calico Ghost Town, and was shocked to learn of Walter Knott’s involvement with that historic site and it’s preservation! #bottlehouse

  • my03yellowv

    I want to go to Knott’s because I love their Chicken Dinner, the stage coach, and their museum.

  • maharba13

    I want to go to Knott’s because my favorite memory from my days at Alta Loma Jr. High School is attending Knott’s during a CJSF Evening Knott’s trip with three of my best friends back in ’04. We rode Xcelerator 5 times back to back and I won a stuffed froggy at the Boardwalk that I still have ten years later. Thanks for the memory, Knott’s!

  • SFVLady

    Knott’s has a special meaning to me. I went there as a young child with my grandparents and wish they were still here to enjoy all the changes. They loved Knott’s–a familiarity to them coming from Kansas. The schoolhouse was from Beloit, KS–a town 17 miles away. I used to play on the swings — in the days before roller coasters. It was FUN! Also, my grandfather was a blacksmith in a small town in Kansas. Knott’s was like home. I would love to enjoy being a part of the Opening of The Calico Mine Ride.

  • SpyderJav13

    I want to go to Knott’s because I have always loved going to Knott’s. Some of my fondest memories growing up were racing on “The Soapbox Racers”, sitting in awe as dinosaurs roared at me, and being inspired by the magic in “The Mystery Lodge”. I want to go to Knott’s because it felt authentic. It wasn’t just some tourist trap that was only interested in money, it was a means to be transported to a different place and time. Every trip to Knott’s was filled with a glimpse of what this nation was like and how one man’s hard work flourished into a place that is dear to every Southern Californian’s heart. Knott’s is responsible for so many fond child hood memories, I would love to take a look at what future memories I can make there and what adventures my future kids have to look forward too! Plus, I can’t say no to a Boysenberry Funnel-cake, it’s dang near impossible.

  • Chernabog

    I want to go to Knott’s because I need more boysenberry punch!

  • jjiminez07

    “I want to go to Knott’s because it was the 1st trip my wife and i took before getting married. And we can’t wait to going back with our 5 year old son Aiden

  • jenmurray

    I want to go to Knott’s because my husband Casey has never been! When we came for Mice Chat Anniversary we got into town from NorCal after the park closed. :( So he only got to experience the shops outside. I also haven’t been in over 12 years! :) I LOVE that Snoopy is their mascot. Curious to see how different it is from my past memory of it. Then we can stay and see you guys on Sunday meet at Disneyland! ;)

  • Conconhead

    I want to go to Knott’s because…

    When we were little, we would go to Knott’s several times a year. Mostly for Christmas because my mother loved Ghost Town and the Victorian styles. We’d go see Santa at the glorious barn, watch a show at the Bird Cage, and take a family photo in the photo-gallery all dressed up in old style. *My mom’s a Civil War re-enactor now, btw…*

    I used to think that Sad Eye Joe was real. I was SO convinced there was a man stuck there.