Knott’s Soak City opened for the 2014 season yesterday, Saturday, May 17th. Reflecting the local theme, water rides and attractions at Knott’s Soak City pay tribute Southern California surfing heritage with names like Malibu Run and Laguna Storm Watch Tower. It’s a nice enough water park, and surprisingly popular among the locals as opening day was far busier than anticipated.
MiceChat was invited to come play in the park and see what this water wonderland offers folks looking for a soaking good time. We wanted to hear from the target audience to see what they had to say about Soak City, so we invited a typical family to dive in and let us record their thoughts.
To begin with let’s see what Soak City is offering for 2014.
NEW FOR 2014 Season Passholders can start their day off with a complimentary yoga class every Friday and Saturday morning from 8:45-9:45am (June 27- August 9)
NEW FOR 2014 Knott’s Soak City, Gold and Platinum Season Passholders can enter the water park an hour and half before it opens to the general public with exclusive early entry starting at 8:30 a.m.
Yoga? Well, it’s something. Certainly an interesting option for some folks. Early entry? Now we are talking. As you can see, the water park returns again this year without offering a new attraction or experience. But they are adding value by offering more time in the park for the valued season pass holders.
The Kubath family (Mom, dad, 9 year old, 12 year old, and 7 month old) were new to the park and immediately headed for a grassy lawn to stake out a home base for the day. Deck chairs and lounges go very quickly on busy days. But you’ll still find deck and lawn space to lay out your towel.
The first stop the family made was at the nicely themed Gremmie Lagoon. While the area wasn’t exactly designed for a 7 month old, she enjoyed the colors and the activity.
However, once the cold water hit her, it was game over. No matter, the two older kids had fun splashing and cavorting in the water play area.
The two older kids decided to commandeer the group and lead us all over to Harbor Waterworks. This is a massive interactive play area that is awash with water guns, cannons, and the looming buckets of water that occasionally drench the entire structure.
There are also two separate water slides that stem from the Waterworks. Both the older kids really enjoyed this area and it was a little difficult to pull them away.
Of course, once the family locked eyes on the tower in the distance that featured 7 separate watersides, they were off and running. Old Man Falls was first. Those are the yellow and red slides. They opted for red first.
“WOW” was the word little Josh used, as he staggered to his feet in the landing area. They headed straight back up the tower and tried the yellow slide. ”That one was better. It felt like you went a lot faster!” Said Josh. ”Yeah it was like you didn’t know where you were going.” offered the Victoria.
They next hit the tube slides, Malibu Run. After getting a raft from the exit pool, the two headed up the stairs again.
After a 20 minute wait the two slid down, skittering across the water in the splashdown pool. ”That was okay” they both agreed. ”But can we go on that toilet bowl ride?”
The Pacific Spin draws guests in with its iconic bowl shape and proximity to the front of the park. This thrilling multi-person raft ride includes a 132-foot long tunnel that drops its riders 75 feet into a six-story funnel.
Our advice here is to get to this ride early. Guests initially queue up to collect a raft to ride the attraction from disembarking guests. That is only one part of the wait. Once a raft is in hand riders have to pull their raft up the tower to the top of the slide. All told the wait for the slide was a glacial 50 minutes from beginning to end.
Was it worth it? ”Totally worth it. That was awesome!” claimed one. Well, there you go.
Things were getting pretty heated so the family decided to head back to their towels and umbrellas near Gremmie Lagoon for a nap. The older boy and girl decided to bolt off to visit the wave pool and lazy river. But was this a place they would return to?
“Absolutely!” Mom said. “A season pass to this park and to Knott’s is just 6 payments of $17. I can bring the kids here all summer. Or we can go to Knott’s in the morning and then head over to Soak City to cool down when the weather heats up.” Dad chimed in, “It’s also a nice place to just sit back and relax. We can lay out the blanket on the lawn here, put the umbrella up, and play with the baby while the kids run around.”
Any complaints? “The food is a little expensive” Offered Dad. And, looking at the food prices at Longboards, we can see his point.
$14.99 for a hot dog and fries is a little high. Thinking about the same items across the way, you get a far better value by stopping into the Ghost Town Grill and enjoying table service to boot! Knott’s does offer a dinning plan that is actuality a far better value than showing up to the park and buying things day of.
Guests now have the opportunity to purchase an All Day Dining Plan. The Plan can be purchased online while guests plan their fun-filled day at soakcityoc.com, or it can be purchased in-park on the day of their visit for just $29.99+tax and applicable fees. Every 90 minutes guests can dine again and enjoy a wide variety of entrées at Soak City’s Long Board Grill.
But if that isn’t exactly what you are looking for, you can still save money by going for the Single Meal Deals. Available exclusively online for just $13.99+tax and applicable fees, offer the convenience of pre-purchased vouchers redeemable for a variety of combo meals at the lowest available price. Upon arrival at Knott’s Soak City, guests can redeem their Single Meal Deal vouchers for various appetizing meals at Long Board’s Grill that include an entrée, a side and a 20 oz. fountain drink. That price was a little more appetizing to the family and sounded far more reasonable to us as well.
Another thing that the park could use is shade. There are large areas of nothing but concrete expanse. There are few places to simply sit and people watch, or wait for the kids to ride one of the slides.Getting a break from the oppressive sun can be a challenge here. If you intend to visit, keep this in mind. Bring a TON of sunscreen and, if you can, bring a large umbrella to stake into the ground in the lawn areas. More planters, benches, and winding paths could really have a positive impact on this sun drenched water world.
Overall, Knott’s Soak City is fun for the whole family. Compared to the refurbishments and polishing up of Knott’s Berry Farm across the street Soak City could use a little paint and some freshening up. The professionalism is there, but the park just needs some trees, flower gardens and paint.
But what did the family think at the end of they day?
Are you a Soak City regular?