Part 1 -- Knott's Berry Farm / West Coast Bash Day 1September 8, 2018
Knott's Berry Farm is a park I've heard about for a long time -- Xcelerator's groundbreaking launch, the well-themed mine train and log flume, GhostRider's prevalence on coaster TV shows many years ago, and boysenberry everything
. I'd have to miss out on GhostRider, which was down for maintenance, but the rest of the park was open for business.
I'll start by showing off the design on the shirt we got at the event, plus our lanyard / schedule for the day.
Yep, we started things off with a full two hours of ERT, and did most of our rides on HangTime and Xcelerator -- in my opinion, the two best coasters at the park. After ERT was done, we started to make a loop to pick up the rest of the coasters, before realizing ... oh wait, we're about to be late for the TPR group photo! Where the heck is the wagon camp? Well, we were
late, but somehow we snuck into the photo just in time.
From there we actually did go through the rest of the big rides at the park, exempting a couple of the coasters that would be on the evening ERT. With so much already knocked out of the way in the first few hours, we opted not to get Fast Lane passes, which ended up working out fine. Some of the big rides had decent lines in the middle of the afternoon, but we just skipped 'em until later.
I got my boysenberry fix in the form of a stuffed Churro. It was tasty, overly expensive, and looked kinda grotesque.
We also got evacuated off the brake run on Mystery Lodge ... do I have that right? Or was it the lift hill, John? Well, something broke, and we didn't get to watch the show.
Our group lunch was entertaining, mainly because we learned that over-enthused young teenage kids would pretty much do anything
to win a used coaster wheel. I wouldn't recommend following their example. John was sad he didn't get a wheel, but personally I'm glad he wasn't willing to do what was necessary to win one. Did you know that if Jeff Tucker tells someone to pick up a glob of cole slaw with their bare hand, and stuff it in their pocket, they'll actually do it? Jeff is one powerful, powerful guy.
With most of the rides out of the way, the afternoon and early evening was mainly spent doing photography, wandering around, and just enjoying the day. We did finally get to enjoy the magical wonders of Mystery Lodge, which ran successfully in the early evening. Oh, and we finally rode the train, which we'd missed twice
already due to downtime.
Evening Exclusive Ride Time was very, very exclusive. We used that time to finish the run on the coasters, ending on Silver Bullet. After two rides on the most intense B&M Invert ever built, we were totally exhausted, and ready to call it a night.How was Knott's?
I really liked the park. I was surprised at how well the park feels insulated from the outside world surrounding it, despite being enclosed by the gridded streets of a very busy area. The theming is very nice, especially by Cedar Fair standards. I'd say it's the nicest looking Cedar Fair park on its own merits, though Cedar Point has to win when the surroundings are factored in. Knott's isn't a huge park, and you'll definitely only need one day there, even for a first time visitor. However, the slate of attractions is very
well rounded, even when considering family attractions and the park's kids area. In fact, I really loved the cohesiveness of the kids area, right down to the ride signs that all shared the same branding. Put simply, despite being a corporate park, Knott's does a really good job disguising that fact.
I do think there's room to improve the dining options, which is a pretty typical complaint about any Cedar Fair / Six Flags park. We've seen some small steps in the right direction at places like Cedar Point and Kings Dominion, so hopefully that's a sign of things to come. Alternatively, I probably should have thought about actually eating at Mrs. Knott's to get some fresh fried chicken -- perhaps that might have changed my opinion. I do love the proliferation of boysenberry-flavored items, though. It's a unique thing for Knott's!How were the rides?Xcelerator
-- I was not expecting this ride to be this good. I looked at it and figured it'd feel like Storm Runner's launch with a less-interesting second half. Wow, was I wrong about the launch. The initial jolt on this thing is absolutely crazy -- way more intense than even TTD or Kingda Ka. It messed up my insides every single time I rode, and I think I rode it at least 7 or 8 times. The curves on the second half of the ride were more intense than I was expecting, too. This was my favorite ride at the park, and probably slots just into my top 30 overall.HangTime
-- When I first saw this ride's layout, I wondered if it'd be sort of like a mini-Kärnan, given the presence of a few similar elements. Kärnan, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is probably the most underrated coaster on the planet simply because no one ever talks about it, and it's insane
. Well, HangTime is not Kärnan, and its name should have been a clue. Kärnan takes its elements at speed, to produce an crazy-intense ride. HangTime takes them slowly, to provide ... well, hang time. That's not a bad thing -- this is a really fun coaster! It's got a fun first drop, some cool twists and turns, and it's the only coaster that I know of that ends
with a cobra roll. I can't believe there are people out there who don't think of this as a "major" coaster. It's a big deal if you ask me, and it's definitely worth multiple rides.Silver Bullet
-- Alright, this ride gets too much grief due to its ramp of a first drop. I forgot about that part pretty quickly, because the rest of it is quite fun! It's far from my favorite B&M Invert, and maybe I would have liked it a little more if I weren't so dead tired, but I still enjoyed it quite a bit.Sierra Sidewinder
-- I've been on D'wervelwind at Toverland, another ride of the same type, so I knew what to expect out of this one. It spins, it has a more creative layout than a lousy spinning mouse, and it's well worth your time for a ride or two.Montezooma's Revenge
-- My third Schwarzkopf shuttle loop! I really like these, though the backwards inversion keeps me from loving them, since I just don't love backwards stuff that much.Jaguar!
-- Yes, I do believe the exclamation point is part of the ride name! I love these Zierer super-long-train coasters! Frankly, I found the trains rather uncomfortable, but I enjoyed going all around that part of the park and checking out the views on the way! Exclamation point! Another one!Pony Express
-- Meh. Just glad to get this out of the way before the line got too long.Coast Rider
-- It's a mouse. A really, really tame mouse.Supreme Scream
-- It's an S&S tower.Sky Cabin
-- Ooh, an ob tower with windows that make it almost impossible to get good pictures out of? Of course I had to ride it twice, take about 300 pictures, and then use maybe 5 of them in this trip report because they all came out so awful. Mystery Lodge
-- You know what, I was impressed with the special effects. When that cloaked guy appeared, I had no idea where he came from. The best part was getting to see the intro twice in one day!Voyage to the Iron Reef
-- Eh, I liked it, but it felt a little over-complicated, I guess? The ride vehicles were weird, and a couple of the screens weren't allowing any shots to be fired. That was odd, and it probably hurt my score. I'm glad Cedar Fair decided to try a ride like this, but I can't help but feel that the next day's park had the better shooter...Timber Mountain Log Ride
and Calico Mine Ride
-- Absolutely loved them both. I was really excited for both of these rides, especially with the work put in to restore them in recent years. There's simply no reason to expect to find dark rides as good as these at a Cedar Fair park, but these are outstanding. If the lines were a little shorter I'd have loved to ride each of these again, and they'll be a priority for whenever I visit next.