Mmm, I haven't been to Knott's in a years, so I can't really have any strong opinion...but the Knott's I remember visiting in the 90s was...stronger on the thrills than DCA, technically weaker on the theming in some ways, and about equal in terms of level of charm. It felt older for obvious reasons. Better or worse? Bah...hard to say. I suppose I'd rather visit DCA, but I basically don't visit either. Parkhoppers or APs aren't currently worth it for me, and a return trip to Knott's would be kinda nice, but it's far from the top of my to-do list.
Knotts is a hard park to gauge. 10-15 years ago it had a nice charm with the level of theming. Sure, it wasn't Disney quality, but they really sold the California theme well. The Ghost Town was fun to explore, nice story to Bigfoot Rapids, Roarin' 20's Section was decently done with a fun darkride hidden away. I remember admiring a sculpture in the Fiesta Villiage area of a giant Tribesman wearing some mask and holding a skull in each hand. For a 12 yr boy, that was cool.
On the other hand, Knotts 10-15 years ago had very little to do. Now Knotts has put the shoe on the other foot. There are more things to do, but much less charm and theme.
As for DCA, I think Knotts is superior in the direction of its theming, not quality. Knotts was a charming little park inspired by California but without seeming silly and redundant. DCA seems much too modern and presentational. However, while DCA may be lacking in the story dept, it does have the Disney Dollar behind it making the theming well done for the most part and the attractions superior. GRR is a better ride, but Bigfoot and the Timber Mt Log Ride still get a much more emotional response from me, as cheesy as they are. The level of effort put forth with the Log Ride and Calico Mine Train exceeds the creativity of anything found at DCA (well, I'll give DCA ToT). Fun ride systems, interesting track layouts, storytelling, show scenes, AAs. Cheaper, sure, but still you can tell this wasn't thrown together over a weekend.
That's tough. My biggest issue with Knott's is that the park has really sold out to the thrill crowd, and the park doesn't seem to know what it is any more. Theme or thrills? Which is it? Both have a fairly strong presence (although Knott's has clearly become a thrill park, and constantly moves in that direction), which leads to a really terrible clash. At least DCA has a more unified identity, albeit a very weak one.
But yeah, the Knott's of Yesterland was a really great place and would have beat DCA any day of the week.
For the most part, DCA is a freebie that came with my AP. But with the Pixar Play Parade and Midway Mania it's become a higher priority. Knott's, on the other hand (based on my most recent visit, about two years ago), is more fulfilling overall, but only interesting enough to be a "once in a long while" place. Only recently I've been starting to want to go again.
A few "For's" for Knott's: Better stores that aren't so shoehorned into the park/company theme like the way Disney stores/merch is; has been personally significant in the past and some of that carries on still; good value
Against: Overbearing Cedar Fair park management; occasional inappropriate conduct by some staff
Some related DCA For's:
Great Disney park management and good old-fashioned Disney show (to an extent); some things have lately become high priority (PPP and TSMM)
Against: boring stores; not really justifiable without an AP or admission that includes parkhopping by default
We went to Knotts about 4 years ago. I had been many times in the 70's. Knotts just felt grimy, and the employees seemed depressed. Even though DCA severely missed the mark in it's debut, it still has that clean and secure Disney feel about it. Although, Knotts has the rides, I reluctantly vote for DCA.
DCA. Knotts has so little space to expand or add attractions that it just feels maze -like, and the new stuff they do have doesnt mesh well with the old areas. Look at the area that used to be the Roaring 20's. Its been so painted over and rethemed its sad. And the craft vendors in Ghost Town make it feel like a swap meet. Uh- uh ,no way. Id take DCA any day
Knott's doesn't have one single unique ride, while DCA at least has a few. D Knott's does have a lot more fun rides than does DCA - and more quality shows as well - the Native American show is magical, haunting and unique. DCA's Hyperion theater has lively and unique shows. All in all, I'd say that currently the two parks are tied. Following the DCA makeover, Knott's will not hold a candle to it.
To Boldly Go Where No MiceChatter Has Gone Before!
DCA by far.....I haven't been to Knott's Berry Farm since the 20th Century (gosh saying it like that makes it seems so long ago ) Ok, I haven't been since, oh, I guess it was Knott's Scary Farm Halloween Haunt in 1998.....I am not one for the 'darkness' that Halloween can offer.....so I avoid it..and prefer the lightheartedness of what it can be - like Disneyland's offering of "Halloween Time". But I don't like Knott's......not anymore, at least......and I think DCA is a far better offering.....
It has more potential to improve over Knott's. DCA's owned by a company who will throw $1 Billion to fix it. Cedar Fair just seems bent on fitting any sort of coaster into the tiniest spot and run it into the ground in terms of theming and quality.
Tough choice. As other's have said, 10 or so years ago, this would easily be Knotts with its charm and relatively decent theming and good mix of rides. The one Native American show they had was extremely impressive in the way of effects, even if the storyline of it wasn't perfect. There were certain little details to the park that were just awesome.
But Cedar Fair has no idea what they are doing with this park, and has stripped almost all of the theme away for disappointing roller coasters. If I had time to visit multiple parks in LA, Knotts would no longer be one of them
On the flip side, DCA never had a charm, nor does it have much in the way of rides. I have purposely avoided it ever since my first visit, and have no intention on returning. I can't name one ride or attraction in the park that I actually would like to go on again, other than maybe Muppets 3D.
I guess by default, I'll pick Knotts because I wouldn't mind riding a couple rides there.
Can I vote for Magic Mountain or Universal? I'd pick either of them over DCA any day of the week.