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  1. #1

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    Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    The park is decked out in its Christmas finery. Inside and out, itís Christmas, Christmas, Christmas! The Toys for Tots campaign is in full swing beside the front gate. Buy or bring a toy to Knottís and receive a free admission in return. Knottís has plenty of boxed toys ready for purchase to be gifted to Toys for Tots.






    Just outside the Chicken Dinner Restaurant, the ten-year-old roadside chicken has flown away. As part of Knottís recent cleanup efforts, the chicken had to go. Yet I hold my breath and cross my fingers in the hope that the much tackier spinning plastic hot dog goes as well.




    Before we go inside the park to see whatís decked out for the holidays, let me post something Iíve been meaning to get off my chest for a very long time: Knottís chocolate chip cookies are incredible! No theme park in the nation has chocolate chip cookies as good as Knottís! And they only cost $1.50 per cookie! Yes, I will drive all the way to Knottís to buy a chocolate chip cookie (with my annual pass discount, too), then drive home. I just want those cookies!


    Itís a damn fine bakery!


    Inside the park, Ghost Town always looks good against red poinsettias.






    The Calico Saloon received new decking to replace the worn-down wood at its entrance. Although I prefer the hollow, clunking sound of walking on wooden floorboards, I can see the reasoning behind the change to a longer-lasting, wood-formed concrete.


    Sorry to say it as I know a few folks who will disagree with me on this. Some, just some, of Ghost Townís dťcor is just a little too shiny/plastic-y for me. Iíd be happy to see these go elsewhere in the park, but itís just too glittery for Ghost Town.


    If you know what corner of Ghost Town to peek in, you might come across the parkís famously aloof Calico Kitties.


    The Mine Ride recently lost a piece of its historic faÁade, the original entrance ticket booth. It tears me apart that itís gone for good yet I hate to admit that Iím not going to miss it as much as I thought I would.

    As SoCal residents know, Knottís has a 20-year history of removing pieces of the parkís heart and soul ó the little details that make a theme park themed ó and replacing those wonderful aspects with either something lackluster or nothing at all. We all have our personal lists of what we miss from Knottís past, but the losses would not appear so great if that which was lost had been replaced with something outstanding.

    The missing ticket booth at the entrance to the historic Mine Ride attraction is not going to be replaced with a new structure, but it will finally receive a themed logo sign with the attractionís name. Itís not the same as a building but it makes me happy to know the Mine Ride will finally get more than the ďEntranceĒ arrow treatment. Also, the landscaping and rockwork details around the now-gone ticket booth are pretty cool!

    I canít believe I can say it, but I understand why the ticket booth had to go. I know youíll say Iím crazy, but I can totally see why it went.


    While under wraps, the Mine Ride is getting some TLC on its upper tracks and waterfall rockwork.




    Itís Christmastime on the Boardwalk!






    Feliz Navidad from Fiesta Village!


    Panchoís Taco is a new addition to the Fiesta Village menu. The tacos are more traditional than fast-food oriented and are really darn good!


    Iím still basking in this fantastic paint job in Fiesta Village. I was thrilled to see Knottís brought back the floral trimmings too.


    The old arcade has moved out. Donít know whatís coming but I would not be sad to see those pathetic video games gone for good. Another store perhaps?




    Even Fiesta Village, Knottís Berry Farmís second themed land, has managed to retain some inspiring details over the years. Hereís the hand carved doors to the Arcade, the wrought-iron door handles, and an oh-so-quaint-yet-unenforceable warning sticker.


    Over in Camp Snoopy, the bounce house is missing its famous pooch.


    And the Hungry Bear and his vacuum hive is still broken:


    Christmas swag at Camp Snoopy!


    Looks better at night:


    Back in Ghost Town, Santaís sleigh has landed very appropriately in the Toy Barn! Yes, the little boy on Santaís lap was picking his nose. Hilarious!


    Shop from the trees!











    An animated, musical, light-up nativity housed in a vintage-style television set? Somebody will buy it, surely.


    Santa on a red motorcycle? Love it!

  2. #2

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Thank you for the report and great photos! Sorry to hear verification the mine ride ticket building truly is gone, but thanks for the update all the same. Losing the charming/quirky touches is a shame, but I am thankful for one that the Western Trails museum and many peek ins are still present in Ghost Town.

    Now, if only they'd work up a new dark ride for the former roaring 20's area...

  3. #3

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    I completely agree! Knott's needs a dark ride — top of the list!

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Knott's needs two dark rides: one for the Peanuts gang and Snoopy (with Halloween and Christmas overlays), and one for the Boardwalk area, either being Dinosaurs, Beary Tales or something new. They need these much more than any coaster they may be considering.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    It's the little (and not-so-little) touches at Knott's that I've grown to appreciate over the years. On the one hand, they completely refurbished the Laundry and Assay offices in Ghost Town, but then they play pop music in Ghost Town and put in a fake wood sidewalk made out of concrete? Management sometimes seems to be really schizophrenic and penny-wise-but-pound-foolish.

    And if the giant chicken is gone permanently, I throw my hands up in despair.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    The stamped concrete faux wood sidewalks are probabaly a result of an liability issue, as well as a maintenance one. Seaport Village in San Diego used to have a wooden boardwalk, but the injury claims got to the point that the insurance co. and the Port District mandated that it be replaced with the current stamped concrete.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    I could live with the faux wood sidewalks, but the pop music in Ghost Town belies an utter clueless on the part of management.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Thanks for the great report Eric, but boy was it filled with bad news. I was there on the 18th and noticed everything you mentioned, but assumed a new Mine Train shack would replace the missing one, sort of like how some of the Peek-Ins were recently rebuilt. What a shame. What is the official reason? Better clearance to the ride entrance?
    And I agree - some of the newer "materials" used as replacements throughout the park do not have the same authenticity as the originals and yes it does show, but obviously there's no turning back now. Montezooma was also supposed to be open from rehab by the 18th and wasn't, and Sky Cabin IS now open, but too bad it wasn't during the Toys for Tots rush.

    I look forward to going back to the park on a NON-$20 day when one can actually appreciate all that the Park has to offer us geeks!

    P.S. AGREED - best theme park bakery around. Then again, I haven't made it to Dollywood yet
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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan View Post
    P.S. AGREED - best theme park bakery around. Then again, I haven't made it to Dollywood yet
    Ha! Funny, and I hope you do make it to Dollywood. I enjoyed that park so much more than I expected and its food was excellent! The cookies were huge and the monkey bread fresh and warm. I stayed away from the 3+pound slices from Dollywood's famed 25-pound apple pie though. That just seemed like too much. Glad to have Knott's Bakery relatively close.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    One More Trip for 2011:

    I went back to Knott's a few days after the above photos were taken and I spotted even more changes about the park. In a nutshell, here's what I found:

    There are landscaping changes taking places in every nook and cranny. Out in front of the park, beside the Emporium, a new greenscape is shaping up.




    Two-hour parking spots are turning into green zones in front of the Knott's Employment Center.


    At Charleston Circle, one can see the old and new gardens side by side. The shabby bushes of old stand next to the colorful, new, and densely planted flower garden.


    A concrete pad beside the stagecoach path is going green as well.


    Over in Fiesta Village, check out the new greenery! I can't recall the last time I was able to see this Olmec head through the overgrowth, but there he is again.


    Fresh-planted Gerbers are giving off a bright burst of red nearby.


    While we're in Fiesta Village, let's not ignore the new, wrought-iron light posts replacing the 1980s standards that didn't fit the theme.


    The old arcade is once again an arcade. I was hoping to ditch those machines for a shop of any sort, but oh well. Those arcade games do bring in the bucks.


    When I worked there in the early '90s, the bulbs in the arcade's chandelier were almost completely burned out.


    Back to the landscaping, Cordy's Corner recently lost a palm tree which had been kinda-sorta blocking a store entrance since it was planted in the mid-1970s. No more palm tree. Here's a before photo taken in June, 2011.


    And just how crowded was Knott's in the days leading up to Christmas? Wow, was it hopping with people! Snoopy's Ice Show was wonderful, but I had never seen that auditorium so packed! Glad to see it!




    To mark the end of the season, a shot of the poinsettias brightening one of Walter Knott's original waterfall and rock features. This one is located in the garden room of the Chicken Dinner Restaurant. Don't take it for granted — it's a beauty.
    Last edited by lynxwiler; 12-27-2011 at 12:36 AM.

  11. #11

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    This is great! Perhaps that clearing of the arcade was just to install new carpet?
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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    I think the arcade lost its carpet for linoleum instead. I'll have to dig up those old photos and check out the difference.

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    Quote Originally Posted by SpectroMan View Post
    P.S. AGREED - best theme park bakery around. Then again, I haven't made it to Dollywood yet
    Never Been there But Knoebels is suppose to have the best food, I guess they have won the golden ticket for Food offerings for something like 12 yrs in a row

  14. #14

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    Re: Trip Report! December 16th at Knottís Merry Farm!

    nice trip report. happy late christmas.

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