Knotts Berry Farm End of Summer Fun and Haunt by the Ton

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks, Knott's Berry Farm, Southern California Parks

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Published on August 15, 2014 at 2:00 am with 6 Comments

Down on the farm there’s plenty a-happenin’. Knott’s is planning a big Labor Day celebration on the last day of August including fireworks!  You also still have a chance to catch the Snoopy Unleashed show and Boomtown before they close.  We also take some time to enjoy the Citizens of Calico Ghost Town, and take a ride on the Calico Railroad.  Plus, we’ll share the rundown on Halloween Haunt 2014 with new information from this weekends ScareLA convention.  All of this along with a few refurbishments and some good news.

Labor Day

Sunday, August 31st, Knott’s is celebrating Labor Day with a bang. There will be live entertainment throughout the day on August 31st and a fireworks spectacular that night. An outdoor barbecue stand in Calico Square will be serving grilled dishes.

 Last Chance to See Ice Show and Boom Town

The last day to catch Snoopy…Unleashed! in the Charles. M. Schulz Theatre (no shows on Wednesday) and Boom Town in Calico Square (No shows on Mondays & Tuesdays) will be August 24th. Both are worth a watch and if you haven’t seen them. Get over to the farm and check them out.

Citizens of Ghost Town

One of the more charming aspects of Knotts Berry Farm is the intimate feel that permeates the park.  One of the fun little touches that has remained throughout the years are the bandits on the Calico Railroad.  You really haven’t lived until you have been startled by a gun touting bandit while cruising along in a steam powered train in a theme park (much better than being startled by a gunslinger on the subway).

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Stick em’ up!

After pointing my camera at the bandits, one said to the other, “Wait!  Don’t start anything with him.  You have a gun, but he has a Canon!” referring to my camera.  They went along to the next group.

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This is something that I have grown up with and it’s always fun to banter with the bad guys that try to steal your money on the train.  I love that Knott’s maintains this bit of nostalgia and keeps the personal feel going.

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In between rides around the park, the train bandits interact with the crowd in Calico Square.

 

Knott’s has even made sure to expand the “population” of Ghost Town over the summer, featuring gunfights, sherifs and wandering townsfolk.

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These people along Ghost Town’s Main Street are magnetic in they way they draw people into the area.  So much fun.  A Disney touch without the Disney price.

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Not part of the Citizens of Ghost Town entertainment, but a part of the area just the same, is our favorite jeweler, Marie.

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Moved from the front of Ghost Town into a fancy new indoor shop, she is always there with a huge smile and a laugh or two.  Just as much part of Ghost Town as the characters outside, she is someone you need to go visit and buy from.  At the very least stop by and say hi.  She’s amazing.

Berry Patch Surviving

When Knott’s planted the boysenberry patch under Silver Bullet during the Berry Bloom event last spring, we were elated.  As if a defibrillator was taken to the heart of the park, the vines took hold and began producing fruit.  We were hoping that this was going to be a permanent feature, not just a Berry Bloom bit of good will.  We are happy to report that the vines are still growing, and thriving in the heart of the park.  Thank you Knott’s!

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Halloween Haunt

Knott’s has finally announced all of the info for this year’s Halloween Haunt.  They are attempting a few things that have not been done at a theme park haunt before and we applaud them for trying to keep the event fresh.  Below is the full list of mazes, scare zones, shows and more.

Returning Mazes

Trick-or-Treat

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Not at all frightening, but wickedly beautiful and spooky, Brooke Adair Walters’ Trick or Treat returns for its third year. Step forward and ring the witch’s doorbell. You can come away with a treat, but is it worth it? They promise a reworked finale in the Witch’s dining room and new scares along the way.  Still one of our favorites.

Black Magic

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The veil between the living and the dead is severed when Houdini’s ghost materializes during a séance and ushers a host of demonic illusions to play tricks on anyone who intrudes on his theatre. Our favorite maze from last year is back for round two. Daniel Miller elaborated that a new scene would be created for this maze.  We can only assume the teleportation scene is gone and that this new scare will pick up the slack there.

Forevermore

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One of the longest mazes ever created for Knott’s Scary Farm, Forevermore, returns for a second year. The “Forevermore Killer” works his way through one haunting tale after another, reenacting Edgar Allen Poe stories through a series of brutal murders.

One of our biggest concerns about this maze last year was the missing element of terror.  We were walking through crime scenes, and seeing the aftermath of a monster we never came in contact with.  This year Walters explained “There will be more ‘live’ kills throughout the maze.”  You will be in immediate danger from the second you walk in. Now we are excited.  The clever nods to Poe are a very erudite way of going about a scare.  But now, those who don’t get the references will still be terrified.  Let’s hope this puts the fear into this lovely creation.

The Gunslinger’s Grave

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Another sophomore maze, the innovative Gunslinger’s Grave, comes back for a second helping. Return to the Old West and walk in the bloody footsteps of a betrayed and left for dead gunslinger on his path of retribution against a corrupt township. You may have visited Knott’s historic Ghost Town, but it’s not until you’ve followed the blood lusting gunslinger that you know the real dangers that lurk in the old west. Krueger explained that the ending will be re-worked  depicting an all out gunfight that guests must pass through.  This along with a new finale and Skeleton Key room give us reason to be excited.

Dominion of the Damned

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Resurrected for a second year, the reworked vampire maze Dominion of the Damned is back. The Blood Queen’s reign has ended, but the seductive vampires continue to lure unsuspecting guests into this gothic lair of terror. Truly a beautifully haunting walkthrough, they are promising a new finale.

Pinocchio Unstrung

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Another Daniel Miller masterpiece, the twisted wooden puppet, Pinocchio Unstrung, returns for a third year. Now under the creative direction of Gus Kreuger, he assured the crowd that the maze will be “gorier and more disgusting”.  The sound design in this maze with the creaky wood, the rusty saws, all of it works so well. We are eager to see what Gus brings to the table here.  Another new element to this maze will be a Skeleton Key room.

DEPARTING MAZES

Farewell Delerium, Mirror Mirror, Uncle Willie’s Slaughterhouse, and Endgames.

HAUNTED RIDES

The bad news: Due to its complex and expensive recent refurbishment, the Timber Mountain Log Ride will not be haunted again this year.

The Good news: Despite having enjoyed a breathtaking renovation, the Calico Mine Ride will be lightly themed . . . but without live monsters in the ride, and will return as the wonderfully spooky The Witch’s Keep.

The Witch’s Keep

Many years ago, The Green Witch uncovered a wicked source of power in the depths of the Calico Mine, and now she’s hell-bent on using this mysterious energy to capture and corrupt all who dare enter! With newly enhanced show scenes, lighting, and special effects, this not-too-scary mine train adventure is perfect Halloween fun.

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We won’t get into the debate of whether or not they should theme the log ride. There is no debate. They should! Both the Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride were the two DO NOT MISS attractions at haunt back in the day. These were the ones that people rushed to get in line for first.

Management is rightfully concerned about going into these newly refurbished crown jewels of the park to spook them up for Halloween. They’ve recently made multi-million dollar investments in both rides. We agree that they must be treated with care.

But the question is; Why can’t they do something like Witch’s Keep for the Log Ride? In fact, Why can’t they hire Garner Holt Productions to design and install a yearly overlay for each attraction ala Haunted Mansion Holiday at Disneyland? It’s worth a try, no?

NEW MAZES

Of course we are all really anxious to hear about the new stuff that is on the way . . .

Voodoo (new for 2014):

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Trudge cautiously through the cursed swamps of the Deep South, where creatures search the murky bogs for their next bloody sacrifice and demons curse the innocent with Voodoo hexes. This maze, however, offers guests a choice.  They get to choose their path from a number of foreboding passageways.  Going against the grain, Brooke Walters explains, “We took everything we thought about mazes and voodoo and threw it out the window.  This is a gritty, nasty experience through the swamps.  When you go in there, it’s not these tiny plywood hallways.  We created big open spaces.  You’re going to be crossing bridges and choosing your path.”

The Tooth Fairy (new for 2014):

Daniel Miller brings another innocent children’s story and twists it to terrifying effect in this brand new maze.

The joy of hiding a lost tooth under the pillow becomes a nightmare of pain and blood in this new maze that will leave teeth chattering. This twisted tooth fairy steals more than just baby teeth as he drags his victims out their bedroom window and into a world of deranged dentistry. Unbelievable special effects include a blackout room through which guests must feel their way out, a disorienting x-ray strobe light room, and a final encounter with the massive tooth fairy, himself. Say aahhh.

Daniel Miller has an impressive track record for maze design.  His mazes cross a mental barrier and invade your psyche. Delirium was the nightmarish landscape of a mind gone mad.  Asylum was another assault on the mind as the insane were in control.  We asked Miller why he often visited childhood fears and stories, the monster under the bed in Delirium, Pinocchio Unstrung, and now the Tooth Fairy.  ”There is something fundamental about those fears we have during childhood.” Miller explains, “It’s something primal, something everyone can relate to and be afraid of.”

Trapped: Lock and Key (new for 2014):

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Trapped returns this year with more rooms, more intricate puzzles and a shocking finale more extreme than any experience ever presented at Knott’s Scary Farm. Gus Krueger and co-maze designer Jeff Tucker have rolled up their sleeves and crafted an experience that you will, “Beg to be over, but never want to end”.  Krueger continued, “I want you to hate me for what I put you through in that maze.”

You become part of the terror and are forced to face your darkest fears, confront your inner terrors and descend into the madness of a maze with no way out. Trapped is not for the squeamish as the challenges are darker and more terrifying than any that have come before. (Additional fee and reservation required.)

SCARE ZONES

Scare Zones have been slightly reduced this year. The infected have taken over Camp Snoopy so there is no more Necropolis. We are left with the original Ghost Town scare zone, and a new high-energy dance party scare zone and those horrid clowns of CarnEVIL in the boardwalk.

Ghost Town Streets

Ghost Town Streets is the original and still most terrifying scare zone (the one that started it all). Bands of half-human, half-animal monsters prowl the streets and inhabit the fog, and beware the notoriously startling sliders, who lunge from in every fog-filled corner of the land. Just beyond the streets of Ghost Town lies the mysterious outcropping known as Gypsy Camp, where fortune tellers prognosticate future terrors,
and ravenous werewolves howl in the light of the moon.

Fiesta De Los Muertos

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Fiesta De Los Muertos fuses dance music, colorful costumes, and larger than life stilt walkers in a dance party scare zone with even more characters than last year. It’s the ultimate late night celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

CarnEVIL

Around the corner from Fiesta Village is the Boardwalk, where each night of Knott’s Scary Farm, clowns crave your undying attention in the CarnEVIL scare zone. This zone will be rave-like this year, which should add a high energy vibe to this corner of the Haunt.

Gypsy Camp

The passageway by Ghostrider, which leads to the back stage mazes, will once again be the Gypsy Camp. Lots of clever costumed characters roam this alley. If you escape, you’ll be rewarded with even more fun in the mazes beyond the usual realm of the park.

New Haunted Experience

Special Ops: Infected

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Hunt Zombies in an All-Out War. This ambitious new attraction is the first of its kind in North America and will challenge guests to exterminate the infestation of zombies who threaten mankind’s existence. Armed with specially designed laser guns, brave groups of Knott’s Scary Farm guests will embark on missions, led by their Squad Leader – a loud mouthed, take-no-prisoners commander charged with turning guests into soldiers. Groups must work together to fend off zombies and complete various missions before time runs out. If zombies drag their bodies too close, the un-infected’s guns temporarily deactivate, compromising the safety of the entire team. Soldiers with the deadliest aim will be celebrated with a tally of the number of zombies killed on a display board for other survivors to see each night in base camp.

Special Ops: Infected seamlessly integrates interactive gaming technology with an immersive mountainous landscape, delivering a breakthrough interactive haunted experience that is as terrifying as it is challenging. Missions will take guests through a variety of wilderness terrains, including the unpredictable barrel bridges across the rushing river, through the dark caverns, and through mysterious backwoods. Six acres of the beloved theme park is now home to mutinous, scream-inducing zombies, and the time has come for a harrowing Special Ops survival mission.

During the recent ScareLA convention in Los Angeles, Knott’s shared the layout for the new interactive attraction.

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The experience will take advantage of the terrain of Camp Snoopy in two separate routes.

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We have also confirmed that the Sierra Sidewinder coaster will, in fact, remain open for Haunt.

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THE SHOWS

This year, the shows have been paired down significantly to focus on the two main performances (Elvira and the Hanging).

Elvira’s Big Top: Ring-Mistress of the Park

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Back by overwhelming demand for 2014 is Elvira – the legendary Mistress of the Dark. Elvira will headline her all new show, Elvira’s Big Top, in the 1,800 seat Charles M. Schultz Theatre. Elvira will titillate crowds twice nightly for the entire run of Knott’s Scary Farm. In her new show, Elvira becomes the Ring-Mistress of the Park as she hosts a circus carnival of macabre freaks and sinister side show acts. The show also features explosive dance performances by The Academy of Villains, who return to the stage in 2014 fresh off their appearance on Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance?

In honor of Elvira’s return to Knott’s Scary Farm, the Ride Warriors merchandise shop will temporarily become Elvira’s Boo-tique, where fans can purchase stylish apparel and sinfully fun products featuring and inspired by the Legendary Mistress of the Dark. Each night, a limited number of guests who spend at least $50 at Elvira’s Boo-tique during Knott’s Scary Farm will get a chance to meet Elvira between performances of Elvira’s Big Top and collect her signature on one of the purchased items. Knott’s Scary Farm is the only place Elvira can be seen this Halloween season, and Elvira’s Boo-tique offers fans a once in a lifetime meet and greet opportunity!

The Hanging® – Everything is Gruesome!

The classic Knott’s show that theme parks everywhere have tried to copy will be back and badder than ever before. Which cultural icons will be killed this year? Which would you like to see skewered by Knott’s clever band of merry murderers?

TICKETS

Join us, if you dare, in the fog-shrouded streets of Ghost Town for the 8th annual MiceChat Knott’s Scary Farm Halloween Haunt 2014. Leave the real world behind and enter a dream-land of spooky fun with fellow MiceChat readers. But don’t delay in ordering your event ticket. We placed tickets on sale last week and less than half remain, with just a few Trapped tickets left.  Hurry, hurry, hurry  . . .

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There are two ticket types:

MiceChat Knott’s Haunt event ticket (Basic) - $119.99*

  • Admission into Knott’s Scary Farm
  • Backstage tour of a new maze before the event
  • All you can eat Private Pre-scare Boofet dinner
  • Special insider presentation during dinner.
  • Early entry into Haunt
  • Front of the line access to all mazes (excluding the up-charge Trapped maze)
  • Skeleton Key access to select mazes
  • Priority Seating for Elvira Ring-Mistress of the Park

MiceChat Knott’s Haunt event ticket with TRAPPED VIP Maze - $129.99*

  • All of the above PLUS ADMISSION INTO TRAPPED: The New Experiment – special upcharge maze (Purchasing this ticket will gain you admission into the Trapped maze with the MiceChat group. By purchasing this ticket you will be randomly assigned a return time during event check-in at the beginning of the night. If you miss the reservation time you will forfeit your ticket.)

* Plus tax and PayPal processing fees

That’s right. You could buy your own ticket and wander around, aimlessly from line to line, starving to death from hunger, without a single person to hang out with. OR, you could pay one simple price and get an entire night of food, entertainment, friends, frights, and fun and exclusive insider opportunities!

 

Speaking of Haunt, there is already some progress that can be seen from inside the park on a few of the mazes.

Black Magic

Behind Xcelorator, Daniel Miller’s dark and magical maze is being reassembled. It’s one of his very best works.  We can’t wait for another trip into the theatre.

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Gunslinger’s Grave

Here we see progress on Gunslingers Grave.  We assume that the Grand Sierra Railroad attraction that winds around this space will be closing soon due to Haunt construction.

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La Revolucion

The spinning ride, La Revolucion, is down for maintenance right now.

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 Grizzly Lodge

We are also happy to report that umbrellas have appeared on the outdoor decks of the Grizzly Lodge eatery in Camp Snoopy.  Small steps, yes.  But important ones.
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With that we close out our visit to Knott’s Berry Farm.  Please check back with us next week as we circle back over to Universal Hollywood to check on progress happening there on a number of projects.  See you soon . . . In The Parks!

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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6 Comments

Comments for Knotts Berry Farm End of Summer Fun and Haunt by the Ton are now closed.

  1. Excellent update, Norm! I can’t wait for the MiceChat Haunt Night.

  2. Excellent! Our family also loves Knott’s!

    Train robber 1 yelled at my daughter, 6, “Give me your money!”
    Daughter: “I don’t have any money.”
    Train robber 1: “She said she ain’t got no money!”
    Train robber 2: “If they had money they’d be at Disneyland!”

    There’s a thread of Knott’s tips in the Knott’s section, but I’ll just mention that in the summer in the saloon show there are two funny can-can dancers who join the show. You can reward Knott’s for this by buying a ridiculously overpriced beer before the show.

    • LOL!! Awesome!

  3. Looking at that berry patch reminds me of a question: What ever happened to the original Knott’s berry stand? It used to be on display next to the Lake of the Reflections, on the side near the church. I can’t believe they would have destroyed it, considering that it’s at the heart of Knott’s history. Is it still on display anywhere in the park?

    • Not that I know of. The Church of Reflections was moved across the street near the picnic area.

  4. [...] Knotts Berry Farm End of Summer Fun and Haunt by the Ton Down on the farm there's plenty a-happenin'. Knott's is planning a big Labor Day celebration on the last day of August including fireworks! You also still have a chance to catch the Snoopy Unleashed show and Boomtown before they close. We also take … Read more on MiceChat [...]