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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  • Cogsworth

    I want to go to Knott’s because…the Calico Mine Ride has been my favorite since I was a kid, and I can’t wait to see the awesome update!

  • matterhornmaniac

    I want to go to Knotts because of all the enhancements they’re making to the park, When I was a kid, the park had a different vibe to it that it began to lose in the early 2000s. But its starting to move in a better direction, and i want to be a part of it. Although there will probably never be anything like the haunted shack, soapbox racers, beary tales playhouse, dolphin show, whirlpool, etc again, it excites me to see that some of the charm in those old attractions can soon be found in their new attractions.

  • kronos

    I want to go to Knott’s because I haven’t been in many years! Growing up, Knott’s was my family’s favorite place to eat (Chicken Dinner Restaurant) but the quality and service declined so much we stopped going frequently. I would love to see the new and improved Knott’s Berry Farm and experience the Park like never before. We can’t wait for next year’s Boysenberry Festival, as it looked amazing this year! Keep up the good work, Knott’s Berry Farm.

  • Carmelle

    I want to go to Knott’s because…they have made some amazing changes over the last few years & I am excited to experience all of their changes! Thank you!

  • Zeathos51

    I want to go to Knott’s because it is my favorite park to call home. I enjoy Disneyland all the same, but Knotts is more personal to me. I remember going to the Thankgiving Dinner at the Dance Hall with my entire family. During that time, we couldn’t purchase a full park ticket, but to be there with my uncle, aunt and grandmother in ghosttown alone gave me fond memeries that would last forever. In addition to that, the free christmas crafts fair and veterans month made it easier to visit the park annualy and the marketplace monthy. This is why Knotts Berry Farm will always be my favorite park and a tradition in my family to visit every year.

  • ShawnTFM

    I would like to go to Knott’s because I am a huge fan of all that they do and am most excited about the re-opening of CMR. We’ve gone to Halloween Haunt on Halloween night for nearly 20 straight years and have loved watching all the improvements in the park.

  • fairestj

    I would like to go to Knott’s because it holds happy memories with my father. when it wasn’t a Disneyland trip he would take my siblings and I to Knotts! we would be so excited at the park riding the family rides as soap box racers, the log ride, bigfoot rapids! with that one we would guess in line which one of us would get soaked! as in that time they had the two water falls going. even though we were a little scared of kingdom of the dinosaurs we would get on and then actually want to go on again after getting off.. the big train as we called it we would love because of the bandits! we would excitedly watch and wave as my dad went on the scary rides! for lunch we would head out and our parents would have us wait at a table where there was a ice cream shop while they went to buy chicken to go and we would have our lunch! I remember the laser show during fourth of july .. and our favorite ride as kids the calico mine!! I would love to take my dad on a trip since he hasn’t been there since we were kids. and create more happy memories!

  • RemainSeatedPlz87

    The chicken dinner and riding huff n puff as a child.

  • Amandasrad

    I want to go to Knott’s because the last time I went was before my mom passed.

  • mclvrsince95

    I want to go to Knott’s because my family and I have made so many memories there over the past 32 years, and I cannot wait to add more! I remember how excited I was in 1994 when Mystery Lodge opened up! I had never experienced anything like it and I was so anxious to see the it after seeing the commercials on TV. It did not disappoint! My family and I were absolutely in awe of the show and still enjoy it to this day! They even gave pogs (if anyone can remember what those were) to us kids during that time, which made my visit even more exciting!

  • [email protected]

    Hey Norman, did you announce winners yet ?

    • Norman Gidney

      The winners will be announced tomorrow morning. Promise.

      • [email protected]

        Okey Dokey.

  • dcaguy

    This contest was a little misleading. I thought 50 people would win and bring a guest. The list only has 25 winners. I understand 25 winners plus one guest each is 50 but you should have stated that. I am sure most others thought the same.

  • [email protected]

    WOOT WOOT !!! Thanks Norman and Micechat !!!!! I never win these contest (till now)

  • coaster_lover22

    Ahhhhh! I won I’m so happy!!