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  1. #1

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    How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Knotts today is not what it used to be, sadly. Weve know this for quite some time but its nice to see the park touching up on some family entertainment these days. We all miss the Knotts that used to be. In alot of ways it was magical, not magical like Disneyland of course but magical in other ways none the less. For those of us who grew up in the 70's/80's, Disneyland and Knotts were great places to go to, very fun and very memorable.

    Heres a great roster of attractions "the Farm" had back in the late 70's/early 80's:

    Ghost Town:
    Wagon Camp Theater
    Pan for Gold
    Bird Cage Theater
    Mott’s Miniatures
    Calico Saloon
    School House
    Western Trails Museum
    Silver Dollar Saloon
    Haunted Shack
    Hunters Paradise Shooting Gallery
    Calico Mine Ride
    Stage Coach
    Timber Mountain Log Ride
    Calico Railroad
    Boot Hill and Ghost Town Peek-ins

    Roaring 20’s & Airfield:
    Knott’s Bear-y Tales
    Corkscrew
    Red Baron
    Good Times Theater
    Sky Jump
    Sky Cabin
    Propeller Spin
    Whirlwind
    Gasoline Alley
    Motorcycle Chase
    Wheeler Dealer Bumper Cars
    Loop Trainer
    Buffalo Nickel Penny Arcade
    Starlight Pavilion

    Fiesta Village:
    Montezuma’s Revenge
    Tijuana Taxi
    Mexican Whip
    Fiesta Wheel
    Dentzel Carousel
    Animal Farm
    Happy Sombrero
    Church of Reflections
    El Cinema Grande

    Outside the Park:

    San Fransico Cable Cars
    Independence Hall
    Cordelia K Steamboat
    Miniature Train Ride
    Merry-Go-Round
    Row Boat Ride
    Jungle Island

    and of course........Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restaraunt, thats an attraction in itself, mmmmmm. Also, the Berry Stand and the Funnel Cakes OMG!!!

    Disneyland had a great roster of attractions around this time as well, a spectacular roster but don't sell Knotts short, its attractions were iconic and classic as well.

    Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Train were Knotts' versions of Pirates and Mansion.

    Bear-y Tales was their it's a Small World

    Sky Jump/ Sky cabin = Storybook/Casey Jr.

    Corkscrew = Space Mountain

    Calico Railroad = Disneyland Railroad

    Ghost Town = Frontierland/Main Street

    Happy Sombrero = Mad Tea Party

    Gasoline Alley/ Motorcycle Chase = Autopia/Submarines

    Dentzel Carousel = King Arthur Carousel

    Independence Hall = Lincoln

    Reflections Lake = Rivers of America

    Knotts was a great experience, one that was entirely different than Disney but just as magical (at least to me)

    How did you feel towards Knotts back in the day compared to a day at disneyland?


    Here is an AWESOME map from 1978:

    Last edited by DL_CRAZE; 06-17-2014 at 09:32 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Knott's definitely had more thrill rides and was as exciting as Disneyland in a different way. Same with the original Magic Mountain (pre-Six Flags). There wasn't as big a difference in my mind then between them all. They were all fun and I'd rather be at any of them than anywhere else.

    And one thing to remember is that they were all participating in the coaster wars in the 70s, even Disneyland in its own highly-themed way:
    1975 - Knott's Corkscrew (first modern coaster with inversions)
    1976 - Magic Mountain Revolution (first modern vertical loop coaster)
    1977 - Disneyland Space Mountain (completely enclosed, which was new to us, at least)
    1978 - Knott's Montezooma's Revenge
    1978 - Magic Mountain Colossus ("The Largest, Longest, Highest, Fastest Roller Coaster in the World")
    1979 - Disneyland Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

  3. #3

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    In the late 70s/early 80s I owned an airplane and flew a TON of people to both parks. The general consensus seemed to be that 2 days at DL and one day at Knotts was a pretty well-rounded vacation.

    After the early 80s, my next visit to Knotts was in 2006 or 07. It was me, my daughter (13 or so) and 3 of her friends. We didn't even stay the whole day. Half the rides were closed, the park looked dirty and unkempt, it simply wasn't what it used to be.

    Figuring we just hit a bad day, we went back the next year and it was pretty much the same.

    We haven't been back since.

  4. #4

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Missing the best thing Knott's once had. I miss the devil that used to turn a crank that made a volcano near the exit erupt. Best animation piece of any theme park. He needs to return!!!!!

  5. #5

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    i miss that dinosaur ride

  6. #6

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    @micromind

    Your experience is similar to my experience. My family would drive down nearly every year and go to Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm in the late 70's and 80's. I loved them both. My then girlfriend (now wife) and I started flying down to Disneyland every year in 2004 because we both LOVE it and she and her family also used to drive down to Disneyland every year. But she had never been to Knott's.

    In 2006 I said we should add Knott's to our trip because it's a "great park, you'll love it". So we went, and I was so disappointed its hard to put into words. She couldn't understand how I could have talked about it in the same breath as Disneyland. All I could say was "It used to be different". As we were leaving we both agreed there was no reason to go back, and we haven't.

    I'm glad Knott's is now moving in the right direction, but I still don't feel compelled to visit yet.

  7. #7

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    While in the 70s and 80s the two parks were much closer in quality, the berm has always been a difference maker for Disney.

    Something about walking around, standing in queues and seeing banal Orange county streets and other businesses that really detracts from the idea of a "theme" park.

  8. #8

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Those were fun times at Knott's. I still preferred Disneyland but Knott's had that "Old West" kind of feel to it. Ghost Town was like an expanded Frontierland that had a certain charm and authenticity to it. The classic but now closed attractions, like The Haunted Shack, Beary Tales and its successor, Legend of the Dinosaurs were so much fun to ride.

    During the 80's, they started adding more coasters, but still kept many of the classic rides, so there was a healthy balance in the park.

    Also, there were a lot of delicious food choices in that park - and less expensive than Disneyland.

    Glad that they are striving to go back to more of the classic Knott's Berry Farm kind of feel and presentation. No doubt that
    Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet, who most of you will remember as "Cast Member Matt" (former president of Disneyland), has a lot to do with the new direction that Knott's is going in the past few years.

  9. #9

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Knotts food is cheaper than Disneyland now? I was there last year and I remember thinking how much more expensive all of the food was.

  10. #10

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Oh, they raised their food prices? I haven't been to Knott's for several years. Back in the 80's you used to get fairly big portions for less that DL.

  11. #11

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    I was a regular visitor to both parks during the years I was growing up in OC. I remember the switchover from ticket books to gate at DL and also remember the days before Jungle Island went away and still have hazy memories of Montezooma's opening.

    That out of the way...

    I don't remember ever even thinking there was a comparison. Knott's was possibly my preferred park when I was younger, but that's almost entirely on a TSI/Jungle Island comparions. TSI was like a visit to the grown up's "kid museum" - touch but OGODGETOFFTHATROCKSTOPHANGINGOFFTHATTREEGETAWAYFRO MTHATWATER have a magic day. Jungle Island felt... danged near Lord of the Flies. You could actually get lost in it if you tried.

    The parks themselves... oddly, I remember the Soap Box Derby racers as the first time I consciously thought "hey, they're trying to make a Disney ride!". KoD was still Beary Tales, and since my entire theme park experience to that point was essentially KBF and DL with very rare visits to MM I thought EVERY park had dark rides, but DL had more.

    It's hard to make a direct comparison from the memories. The more I dig, the more I realize I never even thought of them on the same level. I really enjoyed (and still do) many KBF elements and don't share QUITE as dark a view as the OP seems to, but it was always Knott's, that local SoCal park you had to hang out in when you just couldn't deal with Disneyland any more.
    Credibility is to be sought for. Credulity is not. Sadly the latter is our normal human state.

  12. #12

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrueLifeAdventurer View Post
    No doubt that Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet, who most of you will remember as "Cast Member Matt" (former president of Disneyland), has a lot to do with the new direction that Knott's is going in the past few years.
    This fact alone is enough to convince me to try Knotts again.

  13. #13

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Quote Originally Posted by micromind View Post
    In the late 70s/early 80s I owned an airplane and flew a TON of people to both parks. The general consensus seemed to be that 2 days at DL and one day at Knotts was a pretty well-rounded vacation.

    After the early 80s, my next visit to Knotts was in 2006 or 07. It was me, my daughter (13 or so) and 3 of her friends. We didn't even stay the whole day. Half the rides were closed, the park looked dirty and unkempt, it simply wasn't what it used to be.

    Figuring we just hit a bad day, we went back the next year and it was pretty much the same.

    We haven't been back since.
    I hope you decide to give it another shot. Knott's has really stepped up their game the last few years, and they continue to do so with Ouimet at the helm. I bought a Season Pass this year for the first time in probably 6 years or so and it's been a blast. I can't wait to see what other great things come out of Knott's soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tshaman View Post
    Missing the best thing Knott's once had. I miss the devil that used to turn a crank that made a volcano near the exit erupt. Best animation piece of any theme park. He needs to return!!!!!
    It's funny you mention that. There is a Facebook page called Knott's Preserved that is run by Eric Lynxwiler, who wrote a book by the same name and who is also actually a member here as well. There is a whole photo album there dedicated to the volcano and that devil. I think one of the photos actually shows the devil in his last known location in the 90's. Pretty neat.

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?...2427821&type=3

  14. #14

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    Growing up in Northern California back then, the choice between Disney/Knotts was really more about time for us than trying to decide which was better. Like many families, we would drive down Friday night, spend Saturday at Disney, and drive back on Sunday. Occasionally we would meet local family members at Knotts on Saturday evening or if we were really lucky have an extra day to spend at Knotts.

    It never really felt competitive at that point. I think that changed when the parks changed to a "Pay One Price" model. If I remember correctly Knotts was extremely cheap to enter (and was free to enter in the early days). We never had to choose one or the other. We could go on a few rides and save our ride tickets until the next trip.

  15. #15

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    Re: How did a day at Knotts in the 1970's/1980's compare to a day at Disneyland?

    In the 70's and early very early 80's as a teenager my aunt would always take me to an amusement park for my birthday. I had a choice between Disneyland and Knott's. Always went to Knott's. There was whole lot more rides for a teenager.

    As a teenager sees it, Fantasyland and most of Disneyland is geared for little kids and is pretty boring except for a few E ticket rides. As a teenager, who cares about the Steam Train, Monorail, people mover, Mark Twain, Enchanted Tiki room and most of main street except for the arcade as an example.

    As an adult who now appreciates Disneyland and its history its a lot more fun going to Disneyland now but I still like Knott's just as much...
    Last edited by OCCOBRA; 06-19-2014 at 05:04 PM.

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