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  1. #1

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    Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    After experiencing the joy and pain of seeing the park for the first time in a long time last January, I decided it was time to erase the past and start considering the new Knott's Berry Farm to be "the" Knott's Berry Farm. I REALLY miss the old park, but I realized it's gone and never coming back and I have to accept it. So I'm trying to go as much as possible to numb the pain since holding on to the past is just too tough and I've finally learned to just accept what I can't change.

    One of the great things was driving down the I-15 my kid cousin wanted to get the big-rig trucks to honk their horns, and I didn't know they still did that for kids. We actually got TWO of them to honk, and another 2 who you could tell were going to but couldn't. It was so cool! It's such a tiny little thing, but for some reason it's just really exciting. I've spent so much time in traffic on the freeway I forgot just how fun it could be!

    We got in with that $20 Pepsi discount, which was great but then I ended up spending WAY more than I wanted to inside the park. We got there at around 11:00 and it was HOT...I mean it was already 95 degrees and we had to wait in line for about 20 long minutes to get tickets. Bigfoot Rapids was down (of all days) so the dripping water tower was the first "attraction" we visited and got soaked. The water was freezing and it felt so good.

    I remember as a kid, Montzuma's Revenge was the only thing you could see from the ticket booths and it terrified me to no end every time I saw it. I literally had terrifying nightmares about it. Me and that ride go back a long way, but yesterday, after 29 years of living in terror of it, I rode it...twice! It was definitely scary for a 1978-era ride for the first few seconds, and I questioned my sanity for a few seconds, but after the launch subsides it's a lot of fun. I kind of hurt my neck and got really dizzy and nauseated, but it was worth it. I absolutely love the announcement of the train coming through the station, then it whizzes by at an incredible speed. For some reason that's the best part.

    There are still rides there that I am terrified of (Supreme Scream, X-cellerator, Perilous Plunge), but I wasn't scared of them as a kid (since they didn't even exist) so they aren't nearly as much of a challenge for me. Besides that, I don't need to go 100 MPH or drop 500 feet to be entertained. There's just nothing wrong with the smaller thrill rides, not to mention I'm getting older now and have to pay a much steeper price physically when I ride certain rides.

    Also, I am so burnt out on Boysenberry...I had a boysenberry ICEE, boysenberry punch and boysenberry pie. I figured when in Knott's Berry Farm, you must do as Walt Knott did and partake in everything boysenberry, but apparently there is a limit for the amount that you can stand.

    I had to try the "Sit Down!" trick on the Log Ride for this trip. It's just as surreal as the goat trick at Disneyland, and it's absolutely hilarious! I tried putting my hands up and waving them around, and sure enough, to my surprise, it actually worked and the ride told us to "Sit down!". We even managed to set it off back to back and it was like, "sit down-sit down" without any pauses. It's very mindless fun and doesn't sound like much, but don't knock it until you try it. After you discover it, you'll ride the ride just to hear the old dude yell "Sit down!", lol. It's moments like these that make life worth living, I'm not even kidding either. I'm still cracking up from it!

    As I mentioned before, it was 95 degrees throughout most of the day, including at night, and the lines were terribly uncomfortable. To make matters worse, the park is filled with teenagers. I don't want to sound racist or anything, but this is a fact in that some of the Mexicans (which there were a LOT of in the park) were so pushy that they were literally pushing me down the stairs of the Log Ride when everything was stopped. I don't mean pushing like shoving, I mean they were literally leaning on me the entire time! And many other times these people got so close that we were touching. Now, I'm sure that's fine in other countries, but here we have a thing called "personal space", especially when it's 95 degrees outside and there are hundreds of people in a confined space. It was so annoying to move any distance and be right in someone's face. And Jaguar was so hot inside the queue, it smelled like an old musty gym or as someone in line put it, "it smelled like feet". It was absolutely putrid, and well over 100 degrees inside the loading area.

    Dealing with teenagers, especially 13-year old girls, is probably the biggest obstacle of this park now. Some of these girls decided to scream as loud and high as they could inside the exits, which makes it many times louder than outside. A lot of teenagers are well behaved and stuff, but there are a few that are so annoying you just want to turn around and pop them right in the beak. I don't mind older teenagers, but almost all of them here were in the 13-15 range, the most awkward and annoying age to be. But the problems were few and spread pretty thin over the course of the day, it's just another issue of the park going to rollercoasters.

    Now that Knott's has succeed in putting a rollercoater in every nook and cranny of the park, no matter where you go you *always* hear loud roars and people screaming. There's just no "quiet" part of the park left, which is a huge change from 20 years ago when the entire park was silent. It's not a big problem, but it'd be nice if there was just one tiny little area to sit down and relax without all the noise.

    In my quest to ride a lot of rides last time, I missed a few old friends. I completely forgot about Sad Eye Joe, the peek-in scenes and the other parts of Ghost Town. I remedied that yesterday and saw places I knew well as a kid but hadn't seen for decades. It was so neat being able to pinpoint locations where I did arts and crafts for Christmas or played with my friends who I haven't seen in many years. For me this is sacred ground. It's such a small and insignificant area of the park now, but it's where so many of my fondest memories are. I visited the shops I once knew and talked to Sad Eye Joe (I think it's the same old man talking!) and reconnected with memories that had faded over the years. I even found the old barrel bridge in Camp Snoopy and the place with the waterfalls. For some reason, I always had fond memories of this area and although it's incredibly tiny, it was still a religious experience standing in that area once more after so many years had passed and so many things have happened.

    The last stop down memory lane was at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restaurant and I don't know what happened. I went there MANY times as a kid, sometimes every Sunday, but I didn't recognize one single thing about this restaurant. It looks completely different, or I just don't remember it that well. I remember a huge open dining room with a vaulted ceiling and decorations everywhere, but all I saw there was a small hallway with tiny rooms connected everywhere through it. Did they change this place or is there a whole other section that I just completely missed? It had some really good food and the waiters and waitresses outfits were really cool, old fashioned and bringing a sense of 1930's to the place.

    Knott's seems to carry more emotional impact for me than Disneyland because I've never gone more than 4 years without a Disneyland trip, whereas with Knott's I used to go there all the time as a kid and then stopped cold for 20 years. I see Disneyland through the eyes of an adult, whereas I can still see Knott's through the eyes of a kid. Knott's is *definitely* not even in the same realm as Disneyland...there were plainly visible backstage areas, rotted wooden areas, gum everywhere in lines, and hot uncomfortable queue areas. But it offers a tremendous value with its discounts and low prices. Disneyland is just too expensive for me and I live too far away (80+ miles) to warrant an annual pass. Disney definitely lost my money yesterday because I would've gladly gone there instead of Knott's if the price was reasonable.

    Overall I had a great time at Knott's and wouldn't mind going back there again. It lacks the old charm and grace of the old park, but there's no bringing it back now and I am relegated to having to find new sources of fun in the park. I'm torn between liking the new park and cherishing my TONS of memories of the old park...but when it comes down to it, the new park is here and you can readily visit it, whereas my memories are in my head and can never be experienced in real life again. It's a painful choice to have to make, but a clear one nonetheless. It's just a matter of letting go and appreciating the times we all had when the old Knott's was around.

    Sorry about not having any pictures, I never really do take pictures because I'm always so busy going from ride to ride.

  2. #2

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    Re: Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    pics?? where are the pics?? nice report, but pics please

  3. #3

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    Re: Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    I've had 2 trips to Knotts, one with a bad experience, the other a good one... I'm shocked at how much it has changed, saddened by the loss of things like the Berry Stand and the Camp Snoopy suspension bridge, and happy that in a few spots, the old Knott's is still there.
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  4. #4

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    Re: Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    Quote Originally Posted by Athlonacon View Post
    The last stop down memory lane was at Mrs. Knott's Chicken Restaurant and I don't know what happened. I went there MANY times as a kid, sometimes every Sunday, but I didn't recognize one single thing about this restaurant. It looks completely different, or I just don't remember it that well. I remember a huge open dining room with a vaulted ceiling and decorations everywhere, but all I saw there was a small hallway with tiny rooms connected everywhere through it. Did they change this place or is there a whole other section that I just completely missed?
    There are multiple dining rooms, which goes to show how many times they had to expand in the first couple decades of the restaurant. I think the original dining room is the one that, from the street, would be to the left of the entrance, with old-fashioned high-backed booths next to the windows. There's another one or two (or three? can't remember) small dining rooms on that side of the hallway. But it's the two larger dining rooms on the side of the restaurant closest to Virginia's Gift Shop that, with their higher capacity, you're more likely to have been in before. While I don't have any actual proof, I've always figured that the really big back rear dining room, with its stone floor and waterfall, was originally an outdoor patio which was enclosed and added to the restaurant when it had to expand one last time. That's probably what you're remembering. It's still there, at the end of the hall. That's where the restrooms are.

    A year or two ago, someone here scoffed when I said that Knott's has changed more since the 1970s and 80s than Disneyland has. Yes, you can list all the rides that have come or gone at DL, but other than ToonTown and Big Thunder Trail, I can't think of anywhere you could put someone who really knew Disneyland 30 years ago where they wouldn't quickly recognize where they were. Sure, many things are missing, added, or changed, but not to the point that you wouldn't recognize it anymore, and even with Big Thunder Trail, you should eventually recognize that you're crossing the path taken by the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. But there are so many parts of Knott's that have changed so much that someone who hadn't been there in awhile could look around and have absolutely no clue where they are or what used to be there, especially when you consider that when Bear Country was added to DL, Knott's still had the Gypsy Camp instead of the Roaring '20s areas.

    But sometimes you just have to concentrate on what's still there, rather than what's gone, and just appreciate the hell out of it in case it might also vanish in the future. And not everything that's new is bad, even if it replaced something that was better. It's still a nice park, it's just not what it used to be, but I'm glad it's still around. But just like I haven't been back to SFMM in 20 years, Knott's could one day get to the point that I'd say "That's it! I'm never going back!" and mean it. Luckily it hasn't gotten there yet, but it's taken some very worrisome steps in that direction over the last few years.

  5. #5

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    Re: Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    Quote Originally Posted by drb View Post
    A year or two ago, someone here scoffed when I said that Knott's has changed more since the 1970s and 80s than Disneyland has. Yes, you can list all the rides that have come or gone at DL, but other than ToonTown and Big Thunder Trail, I can't think of anywhere you could put someone who really knew Disneyland 30 years ago where they wouldn't quickly recognize where they were. Sure, many things are missing, added, or changed, but not to the point that you wouldn't recognize it anymore, and even with Big Thunder Trail, you should eventually recognize that you're crossing the path taken by the Mine Train Through Nature's Wonderland. But there are so many parts of Knott's that have changed so much that someone who hadn't been there in awhile could look around and have absolutely no clue where they are or what used to be there, especially when you consider that when Bear Country was added to DL, Knott's still had the Gypsy Camp instead of the Roaring '20s areas.
    I would venture to say it has had more changes to it's philosophy and ride design in the last 10 years, then in it's overall history. They list the various changes on the placemat. I will try and see if I can find one (we ate at Ghosttown last week). I was going to go today, but I decided not to and took the kids to Adventure City instead (TR pending... have to process the photos).
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  6. #6

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    Re: Knott's Berry Farm: 6/20/08

    Very nice and fair report. The park has changed, and it could be returned to a theme park. I have seen signs of some progress, and then they put a roller coaster through boot hill. It will be interesting to see what the next few years will bring. There is no doubt Knotts has changed more then Disneyland. I think maybe the feelings for Knotts are so strong is because it was almost free. You could go all the time. Even outside the park you had Jungle Island, and Henry's auto livery. Thanks
    Ralzap

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