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Weekend Update

Weekend Update: A visit to Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm

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by , 01-30-2009 at 10:51 PM

As I put together this week's edition of the Weekend Update, the MiceChat Special Events Crew is busy preparing for the MiceChat 4th Anniversary Party. We're expecting as many as three hundred MiceChatters to converge on the Disneyland Resort this weekend to celebrate four years of this wonderful place we call MiceChat. If you haven't heard about this annual extravaganza yet, you can read more about it HERE.

Since so many of our contributors are getting ready for the big party this week, we are devoting the column to the work of darkfairycthulu. He brings us a very detailed look at the Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm and follows that up with some more images from his great vintage postcard collection.

Never fear, we have lots more in store for you in the coming weeks including the return of TDLFAN, Ian Parkinson is going to take us to New Zealand, MickeyMaxx has more from his German Holiday, plus many more surprises.

Before we turn things over to darkfairycthulu though, we have some fresh images of Walt Disney World from Denise nbodyhome Preskitt.

Walt Disney World
Orlando, Florida

View from Japan:

World Showcase:

Belle during the Celebrate a Dream Come True parade:

Construction of the Stitch's Supersonic Celebration stage:

Destruction of the Galaxy Theater:

The Contemporary Resort Bay Lake Tower:

The new Outer Rim:

The Bay Lake Tower from the monorail platform:

Visit Denise's website to view more photos from Walt Disney World.

Ghost Town at Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, California

Ghost Town is the oldest part of the Knott's amusement park, and includes most of the buildings Walter brought to the property in the 1940s and 1950s.

This themed area includes attractions such as the narrow gauge Ghost Town & Calico Railway (using much historic equipment from Colorado narrow-gauge lines including C-19 engines 340 and 41 from the Rio Grande & Southern). The Butterfield Stagecoach ride includes 3 original Butterfield coaches, 1 Halloday coach, 1 Overland Southern coach and the Knotts Berry Farm coach that was built for the farm in 1954. Also there is a Pan-for-Gold attraction, the Calico Mine Ride dark ride, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Calico Saloon Show and The Wild West Stunt Show.

More recently, the much-acclaimed GhostRider wooden roller coaster has been added. In late 2004 Knott's opened the longest inverted roller coaster on the West Coast, Silver Bullet along with Screamin' Swing: the world's first air-powered swing.

Ghost Town itself has a place in history aside from the buildings brought here. The Bird Cage Theatre melodrama theater (currently only used during the Christmas season) has launched many acting careers, including that of Steve Martin. The Calico stage is a venue that has hosted acts ranging from elementary school singers & dancers to the melon smashing Gallagher.

The Ghost Town section is based upon the real ghost town of Calico, California near Barstow, and other ghost towns in the Western United States. Walter Knott purchased the Calico ghost town in 1951 and restored it. In 1966 he donated the town to San Bernardino County, which made it a regional park.

First stop was the geode/rock store.

Mark Twain disapproves of you.

The Ghost Town streets had far more "peek-in" windows still in place than I expected, all of which had the lovely "Westworld/mannequins are going to come to life and kill me" vibe going on.

The ever popular "leg of the fleeing lady of the night" display.

A morgue and rooms to rent?!? Count me in!

The undertaker's office interior had a pretty good Pepper's Ghost display vignette I wasn't expecting.

From this....

to this...

Look out Zeke! There's a roller coaster sneakin' up on ya!

Antique fortune telling device, the Grandma model...let's see what she had to say...

"You will have given all your money to a giant cartoon mouse"

Want to go in and take a look around the Western museum? I know I do.

The calls are coming from inside the house!

Great display of old postcards and Knott's paper goods.

For when the nights got boring on the frontier.

I don't want to talk about this one.

Walter's collection of buttons and pins.

And out we go again, to the streets of Ghost Town, headed for the old Calico Mine...

A show going on inside the old Saloon...

Thankfully, Knott's has on display not one, but two vintage hearses! Score!

And one even has a dead guy who sits up and stares at the tourists, with the hungry, blank stare of the restless undead!

Overall, it was good to see the park and Ghost Town looked good, was well kept up and more detailed than I get the sense of at Haunt. That being said...I never really ventured into the other areas of the park, and felt no urge to do so...and certainly the red roller coaster pylons plopped randomly behind the cemetary and around the edges of ghost town don't look good or fit in at all. I am glad I went, and am glad Ghost Town is still around, but don't feel the urge to pay to go in non-Haunt any time soon.

Here's this week's installment of vintage postcard images collected by darkfairycthulu:

'Rainbow Caverns: The Rainbow Ridge mine train tunnels deep into the beautiful Rainbow Caverns where surging waterfalls and multi-colored stalactites and stalagmites are viewed in breathtaking splendor."

The Rainbow Caverns Mine Train began operating in Disneyland’s new Living Desert in 1956. The Living Desert also served as the enhanced home of the Stagecoaches, the Conestoga Wagons, and the Pack Mules which all had premiered in Disneyland’s inaugural year, 1955.

In 1960, the Mine Train attraction was upgraded to become the Mine Train through Nature’s Wonderland. The Conestoga Wagons and the Stagecoaches disappeared during this expansion, but the Pack Mules were allowed to stay.

"Samoa Cookhouse: 4 Minutes from Eureka, California. The Samoa Cookhouse, the last surviving cookhouse in the West, continues the tradition of serving lots of good food-Lumber camp style. The museum and dining rooms feature early culinary items in addition to historical mementos from the early years of the lumber and logging industries. Three private rooms are available for large or small gatherings."

Samoa Cookhouse, the last surviving lumberjack camp style cookhouse in the West, has been serving heaping meals since 1893. Located near Eureka, California, there's no doubt that locals and visitors know about this family-friendly restaurant, which serves up to 15,000 meals on a busy day such as Mother's Day.

"The Flooded Mine at Silver Dollar City, Missouri: An entertainment feature of this famed attraction in the Ozarks. Visitors ride through the flooded shafts in ore barges."

Silver Dollar City, Branson, Missouri, is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the country. Travel back in time to the simplicity of 1880s America, and enjoy the best in Branson entertainment plus a host of festivals and events.

No, it's not the result of a Central Florida tornado: it's Norman Johnson's Upside-Down House, a gimick to drive traffic to Sunrise Golf Village. There similar, but right side up, houses were for sale ("from $11,500 FHA - VA -CONV.").

This is one way to get people to walk through your model home. That's a real car upside-down in the carport, real standard size furniture was hung from the "floor" inside.

Now, there's only one question: when demolished, would you say they tore it down -- or tore it up?

Walk-through Heart

Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World

And that brings us to the end of another week. Our photographers have just enough time to reload their cameras before we see you all again next weekend. Thank you to all of our wonderful readers, and as always, a huge thank you to our amazing team of global photographers, spies, and gossips:

Jack Hollywood 1939 Wixom
Denise nbodyhome Preskitt
sir clinksalot
Abominable Snowman
A very special thank you to darkfairycthulu for helping us with the Weekend Update this week.
Your Editor - Rixter

It is readers like you who make MiceChat such a special place.

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Updated 01-31-2009 at 08:30 AM by Weekend Update



  1. ChrisFL's Avatar
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    That first picture is from Japan at Epcot, Not China
  2. sir clinksalot's Avatar
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    Great update as usual.
  3. Kritter's Avatar
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    always a great update!

  4. RenMan's Avatar
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    Nice update!

    BTW, the before and after photos of the pepper's ghost effect from Knott's both point to the same image. I'm thinking the before photo is supposed to be a different one.
  5. Weekend Update's Avatar
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    That first picture is from Japan at Epcot, Not China
    BTW, the before and after photos of the pepper's ghost effect from Knott's both point to the same image. I'm thinking the before photo is supposed to be a different one.
    Good catches. Got 'em fixed. Thanks.
  6. nbodyhome's Avatar
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    The first photos are mine, I probably wrote China (I was typing everything quickly and can be an idiot sometimes!)
  7. clockworkmonkey's Avatar
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    I miss the view of the WDW Haunted Mansion seen in this postcard. With the awning and all the overgrown foliage, it's hard to get a good view or photo of the front of the mansion anymore. I wish they'd cut a lot of it back so we could still get pictures like this one.
  8. aussiedave's Avatar
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    another great update!
  9. Mark Dewd's Avatar
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    1. I visited the upside-down house in Florida when I was a kid. It was very weird. It stood by itself in an upcoming residential area. When you first saw it, it was like "WTF?!"

    2. I loved Wolfie's Deli in Miami Beach. It was on the corner of Collins Ave. and Lincoln Road. We used to eat there every almost every Sunday night. It was ALWAYS packed with long lines to get in. (The photos are funny because, in the photos, the place is empty. Woflie's was never empty in its heydey.)

    Thanks for these great photos and memories!
  10. One_Rev's Avatar
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    Now that's the Knott's of my youth. I loved that place, don't go there much anymore, heck I don't go there at all anymore. Maybe I should go back and visit Ghost town but then I would have to pass all the other add on crap they have there. I miss the train too.

    Lakeside, but not for long.
  11. newrush's Avatar
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    Wow, I really miss KNott's. Do they still have the "Little Devil" outside with the Volcano?
  12. RegionsBeyond's Avatar
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    Sadly, the volcano and devil have been gone for some time, my family always reminisces about this as well when we go as we did on this trip, or for Haunt. The area where it was is now basically just a fence on the outside of the park, near a roller coaster pylon area if I remember right (possibly for Ghost Rider)
  13. Lore's Avatar
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    Poor Knotts. I miss the Haunted Shack and clean skylines. The only additions worth checking out in the past 30 years have been Ghost Rider, for those who like to liquify their internal organs, and the very spooky Spirit Lodge.